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‘Finally!’ Third time’s the charm for Stampeders in Grey Cup victory

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Edmonton and Calgary football fans set aside their long-standing rivalries Sunday to celebrate bringing the Grey Cup back to Western Canada as the Calgary Stampeders beat the Ottawa Redblacks in the 106th Grey Cup.

“Finally,” said Wayne Anderson, dressed in his Calgary Stampeders jersey while watching the game at Hudson’s on 109 St. on Sunday, “after three years, finally.”

Calgary Stampeders coach Dave Dickenson a champion’s shower after his team defeated the Ottawa Redblacks in the 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton on Sunday.
Calgary Stampeders coach Dave Dickenson a champion’s shower after his team defeated the Ottawa Redblacks in the 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton on Sunday.  (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)

For Calgary Stampeders fans watching their team make a third attempt at taking the Grey Cup home in three years, the third time proved to be the charm as they defeated the Redblacks 27-16.

“We deserve this,” said Estaban Sein, a Stampeders fan living in Edmonton while he studies business at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. “It’s our turn to win.”

Cold weather and frozen turf didn’t seem to dampen any spirits during the 106th Grey Cup, the pinnacle of the CFL season, as both teams delivered explosive plays and fans huddled in the stands, at bars and around televisions to catch the action.

Sunday’s win marks the Stampeders’ first Grey Cup victory since 2014. The Stampeders lost 39-33 in overtime to Ottawa in 2016 before dropping a 27-24 decision last year to the Toronto Argonauts.

Read more:

West is best as Calgary Stampeders capture Grey Cup

Key moments from the Grey Cup

Running back Terry Williams played a vital role in helping Calgary win the CFL title in its third straight appearance, ending their recent Grey Cup misery.

Williams had a record 97-yard punt-return touchdown on a slippery Commonwealth Stadium turf.

Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell — the CFL’s most outstanding player this season after tossing a league-best 35 touchdowns — was the game MVP with two TD passes but also two interceptions. Stampeders receiver Lemar Durant of Vancouver was named the outstanding Canadian with four catches for 30 yards and a TD and a 22-yard run.

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was named the most valuable player of the Grey Cup. He had two touchdown passes and was 14-of-21 passing for 182 yards.
Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was named the most valuable player of the Grey Cup. He had two touchdown passes and was 14-of-21 passing for 182 yards.  (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Ottawa — in its third Grey Cup competition in four years — appeared to score on Greg Ellingson’s acrobatic one-handed grab in the fourth quarter but replays showed the ball hit the turf. The Redblacks ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Calgary 7-yard line with just over eight minutes remaining.

After Ottawa turned the ball over on downs again, Calgary’s Jamar Wall and Tre Roberson followed up with interceptions on consecutive Redblacks possessions. Roberson’s pick came with just 1:22 left in the game.

On top of bragging rights and accolades from fans, Calgary players will receive a $16,000 winner’s share while the Redblacks go home with $8,000 apiece.

Despite declarations of “ABC,” shorthand for the Edmonton sports fan’s mantra of cheering for anyone but Calgary, some Edmonton Eskimos fans who didn’t get the chance to see their home team in the championship adopted their rival team as their own, even just temporarily.

Calgary running back Terry Williams (38) celebrates a punt-return touchdown against Ottawa with defensive back Tunde Adeleke (27).
Calgary running back Terry Williams (38) celebrates a punt-return touchdown against Ottawa with defensive back Tunde Adeleke (27).  (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

One family of Edmonton Eskimos fans loyal enough to live in a house painted green and gold was just happy to see a Western Canadian team take back the Cup.

“Keep it in the West,” said 79-year-old Myrna Greene, who was cheering on the Stampeders from the comfort of her living room inside her Edmonton Eskimos themed house near 93 Ave. and 92 St.

Regardless of the result, most fans left happy just to have been a part of the Grey Cup experience.

“We love the spirit of an Edmonton party,” said Patricia South, cheering on the Redblacks from The Pint on 109 St.. “Edmonton is a great city. People are friendly. We love it. We love coming to Edmonton.”

In the lead up to the 106th Grey Cup championship, Edmonton shut down a section of Jasper Avenue downtown to host a Grey Cup Festival, featuring tube slides, a zip line, bungees inviting all to take part in Grey Cup revelry extending well into the night.

Hours before the game, the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club announced that the 106th Grey Cup had sold out all 55,819 tickets for the championship game.

“This is a situation where words cannot express how we feel,” said Len Rhodes, Edmonton Eskimos president and CEO and 2018 Grey Cup co-chair in the release.

“Edmonton and the entire nation have set a new standard of how to celebrate the Grey Cup together.”

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was the CFL's most outstanding player in the regular season, as well as the Grey Cup MVP.
Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was the CFL’s most outstanding player in the regular season, as well as the Grey Cup MVP.  (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Organizers estimated 500,000 CFL fans from coast to coast arrived in Edmonton to take in the big game, festival, awards and other fantastic events. It is expected to bring an economic boom of approximately $80 million to the local economy by the end of the festivities.

Next year, Calgary will host the 107th Grey Cup at McMahon Stadium.

With files from Kashmala Fida, Nadine Yousif and The Canadian Press

Claire Theobald is an Edmonton-based reporter who covers crime and the courts. Follow her on Twitter: @clairetheobald

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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