Mercedes-Benz magazine – Fall/Winter 2017

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17 ¡ FA L L/ W I N T E R m er c e d e s - m ag a z ine .c a C A D $12 .95

Canada 150

Celebrating the nation from Inuvik to Montreal and Gimli to Vancouver EQ Test

The new concept vehicle turning heads in Berlin

Finnish Line

Inside the world of F1 driver Valtteri Bottas

Playing It Cool

Tips and tricks from winter driving school


B® CHANEL S. de R.L.



Our toughest competition since 1967: ourselves. 50 Years of Driving Performance.

Š 2017 Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.

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a smooth finish Wine tasting after a drive through South Africa


52 relentless This year’s Formula 1 season has Valtteri Bottas driving for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. The 28-year-old from Finland has his sights set high: on the world title. 60 with hand and heart Forging, planing, riveting, sewing. A handful of manufacturers still cleave to the high art of fine handicrafts.

photos Paul Cocks (south africa); TIM ADLER/daimler Ag (concept EQ)

70 He says, she says Join Franz Joseph Blomendahl and his daughter Jacqueline on a road trip through South Africa in a GLE 550e 4MATIC SUV. 76 electric intelligence The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ heralds the coming of a new generation of vehicles – and is already turning heads in Berlin. 80 cool for school Ice tracks are no match for expert instruction at Canada’s AMG Winter Sporting program. 84 making her case Meet Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Mercedes-Benz Car Sales. 86 frozen in time On one of the last-ever drives along the seasonal Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road, a challenging route gives way to a warm and welcoming community.

proof of concept The sleek, zero-emissions future of Mercedes-Benz

in every issue 14 forward 108 innovation 112 society 114 inside track

stay connected Scan this QR code to check out the magazine (and more) online. mercedes


c ontents



local colour Classic Montreal cuisine inspires design


Tr avel

18 the list From dining to style, Canadian culture stays ahead of the curve.

92 stays Our favourite getaways from around the globe. 94 everything old montreal is new again From bustling port to artist- and entrepreneur-friendly neighbourhood, a historic quarter is reborn.

22 design Slip through the designer’s looking glass into a world of haute reflective surfaces that transform every facet of home decor.

100 force of nature Long isolated, Iceland is now trendy. But don’t worry, you can still soak up its raw beauty far from the crowds.

24 events Curators are ditching dusty exhibits for interactive events and all-night parties aimed at a new generation of museumgoers. 26 area Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant is getting a second life as a hub for culture and cuisine.

lifest yle

In good hands A look at Canada’s guitar-making legacy



32 all the right notes A pioneering group of Canadian guitar makers is shaping the sound of music around the world. 38 IT’S ABOUT HAVING THE STRENGTH TO NEVER GIVE UP Alex Thomson was the hero of the Vendée Globe sailing race. How did he cope with the solitude, the fear and the setbacks? 50 four secrets for entrepreneurs Tech guru Guy Kawasaki has worked in Silicon Valley for over 30 years. Here, he shares what he has learned.

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MOUNT PLEASaNT Vancouver’s first suburb is reborn

around the world Inside Alex Thomson’s 74-day solo trip 12

photos Knauf and Brown (food); Guillaume simoneau ( woodworker); ALEX THOMSON R ACING/LLOYD IMAGES (boat )

28 the music man Québécois conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin is on a mission to make classical music accessible to all.



NOW OPEN 80 Blue Jays Way, Toronto |


president’s n


aking a moment to reflect on the past year, it is clear that 2017 has already delivered on its promise to create memorable moments, from anniversary celebrations to new product launches and recordbreaking results. It hardly seems possible that winter is at our doorstep, but any pangs of nostalgia for the open-top driving season are tempered by the knowledge that there is much to look forward to throughout the colder months of the year. This edition of Mercedes-Benz magazine is sure to entice you to explore interesting new possibilities. Together, we’ll continue to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by exploring the country’s landscapes and culture – from Tuktoyaktuk to Vancouver, and from Gimli to Montreal – and will find time to make a side trip in order to delve into the future of driving. First, join me on a once-in-a-lifetime journey along the Northwest Territories’ ruggedly beautiful, isolated Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road – one of the last trips of its kind before the ice highway is replaced by an all-season route (page 86). Then, we’ll head a bit further south to brush up on our winter driving skills in Gimli, Manitoba, at the AMG Winter Sporting program (page 80), and see how a frozen Lake Winnipeg has been 14

transformed into a motorsport enthusiast’s dream thanks to adrenaline-charged curves and apexes, which have been modelled on worldfamous racetracks and rendered in milled ice. Following that pulse-pounding adventure, a more urban state of mind awaits us in Mount Pleasant, one of Vancouver’s burgeoning arts destinations (page 26). And there’s even more to explore on the other side of the country in Old Montreal, a bustling port neighbourhood (page 94) that is in the process of being re-revitalized in conjunction with the city’s 375th-anniversary celebrations. From there, we’ll discover some of Canada’s most impressive musical influencers: high-profile Québécois conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin (page 28) and the talented Canadians who play an integral role in the global music scene by building guitars that are used by classical, pop and rock stars around the world (page 32). Finally, we’ll switch gears to bring you up to date on the future of the automobile, with the pioneering Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ (page 76). This truly impressive vehicle comes equipped with a battery-powered drive that delivers 408 hp electric-motor output and a range of 500 kilometres, plus intelligent services that bring the dream of autonomous driving one step closer to being realized. If this concept car is any indication, we have a lot to look forward to when the first fully battery-electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle becomes available in Canada. There’s a lot to do, and a lot to accomplish, between now and then. I hope the final months of this special anniversary year see you laying a path for your own exciting future – whatever it may hold.


Brian D. Fulton President and CEO Mercedes-Benz Canada

photos Uli Jooss ( Winter sporting progr am); Gabrielle Sykes (Montreal); TIM ADLER/daimler Ag (concept eq)

f o r wa r d

pu bl icat ion de ta i l s Published by Daimler AG · Communications · HPC E402 · D-70546 Stuttgart Responsible on behalf of the publishers Thomas Fröhlich · Mirjam Bendak Publisher’s Council Ola Källenius (Chairman) · Thomas Fröhlich · Bettina Fetzer · Jörg Howe Gesina Schwengers · Dr. Jens Thiemer · Andreas von Wallfeld Canada Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc., 98 Vanderhoof Ave., Toronto, ON M4G 4C9 President and CEO Brian D. Fulton Vice-President, Marketing Virginie Aubert Director, Communications and PR JoAnne Caza Supervisor, PR Sinead Brown C o nc e p t a n d e di t i n g Germany Condé Nast Verlag GmbH · Karlstrasse 23 · D-80333 München Contributors Tim Adler, Marc Bielefeld, Paul Cocks, Steve Etherington, Yannick Fauth, Peter Greve, Jörg Heuer, Chris Neimöck, Thomas Rabsch, Alexandros Stefanidis Canada Bookmark Content and Communications, a Spafax Group Company, 2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1020, Toronto, ON M4W 1A8 500 St. Jacques Street West, Suite 1510, Montreal, QC H2Y 1S1 Ceo, Bookmark Raymond Girard Vice-president, content and creative strategy Ilana Weitzman Senior account manager, luxury and lifestyle brands Elana Crotin Editor-in-chief Elio Iannacci Managing editor Eve Thomas Contributing editors Violaine Charest-Sigouin, Christopher Korchin Senior editor Renée Morrison Assistant editor Kelly Stock Contributors Christian Blais, Karen Burshtein, Martin Flamand, Antoine Fortin, Mark Ambrose Harris, Anne-Laure Jean, Uli Jooss, Jasmin Legatos, Tracey Lindeman, Daniel Maurer, Natasha Mekhail, Omar Mouallem, Katie Moore, Katie Nanton, Brett Schaenfield, Guillaume Simoneau, Barb Sligl, Justine Smith, Gabrielle Sykes, Isa Tousignant Group design director Guillaume Brière Art director Annick Désormeaux Graphic designer Marie-Eve Dubois Photo researcher Julie Saindon Production director Joelle Irvine Production manager Jennifer Fagan Ad production manager Mary Shaw Production and circulation coordinator Stephen Geraghty Ad production coordinator Joanna Forbes Fact checker Jessica Lockhart Advertising sales Vice-president, media Laura Maurice, National sales manager Tracy Miller, Senior national account manager, Quebec and Eastern Canada Dominique Beauchamp, Senior National Account Manager, Western Canada Barb Welsh, Rights ©Copyright 2017 by Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. All rights reserved. Reprints and use, as a whole or in part, only with the express written permission of Daimler AG. No responsibility can be taken for unsolicited texts and photographs. Signed articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher or the editors. Some vehicles may be shown with non-Canadian equipment. Some vehicles may be shown without side marker lights. Some optional equipment may not be available on all models. For current information regarding the range of models, standard features, optional equipment and/or colours available in Canada and their pricing, contact your nearest authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer or visit All other content in this magazine has been compiled to the best of our knowledge, but no guarantee is given. Return undeliverables to Bookmark Content and Communications, 2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1020, Toronto, ON M4W 1A8 Printed on FSC® Certified and 100% chlorine-free paper (ECF) Printed in Canada ISSN 1925-4148 Canadian Publication Mail Agreement 41657520 Mercedes-Benz Customer Relations Centre 1-800-387-0100 16


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manufactured 51111-calibre movement with its seven-day power reserve. Time enough to forget time and follow the dream-like journey of the little prince. IWC . E N G I N E E R E D FO R M E N . Mechanical movement, Pellaton automatic winding, IWC-manufactured 51111 calibre, 7-day power reserve when fully wound, Power reserve display, Date display, Central hacking seconds, Screw-in crown, Sapphire glass, convex, antireflective coating on both sides, Special back engraving, Water-resistant 6 bar, Diameter 46 mm, Calfskin strap by Santoni

the list 1 7• f a l l / w i n t e r

C u lt u re

Bespoke Blooms Boring bouquets get the boot at Anatomie Fleur in Berlin, where Canadian expat Jean-Christian Pullin and business partner Amandine Cheveau create unconventional, sculptural arrangements for fashion editorials and stylish parties, revealing the poetic potential of petals – what they call “a dialogue between flowers, art and space.” a n at o m i e f l e u r . c o m


photo Volker Conr adus (anatomie fleur)

From dining to style, Canadian culture stays ahead of the curve

G o o ds

Flawless Finish Toronto-based entrepreneur Brittny Skylar Robins (pictured) is changing the way millennials think about skincare. Inspired by Korean beauty, and with the help of former Hudson’s Bay bigwig Bonnie Brooks, Robins’ brand is built around hydrogel eye and face masks meant to be used in the lead up to important events. For her part, Robins says she uses them while on planes! Next up, look for her line of no-fuss cosmetics. f l aw l e s s by f r i day. c o m

St y l e

Pret t y Wild

C u lt u re

that’s a wr ap There are over 100 different ways to wear a sari, and millions of women wear one daily. Canadian-born, Bangalore based, Malika Verma Kashyap is on a mission to demystify the iconic garment. Kashyap is the founder of fashion journal and agency Border & Fall. She is co-producing over 80 how-to videos on regional sari draping techniques and overseeing three independent shorts reflecting the history, meaning and future of the sari. The shorts are directed by Bon Duke, Q and Pooja Kaul and recently debuted at New York’s MoMA.

Animal bones, horns and fur are reimagined by Nunavut artist Adina Tarralik Duffy for her jewellery line, Ugly Fish. Beluga vertebrae become earrings and caribou antlers are fashioned into bracelets, not only putting a contemporary twist on traditional Northern fashions but making a statement about sustainability. All her work is crafted from found materials, making each piece as ethical as it is unique. fa c e b o o k . c o m/ u g ly f i s h d e s i g n

b o r d e r a n d fa l l . c o m





WINTER HARVEST Apple picking may evoke images of crisp fall days, but at Les Vergers Lafrance, the orchard gates open to the public every January for a different kind of harvest. Third-generation orchard owner Éric Lafrance says Quebec’s extreme cold allows the fruit’s sugars and flavours to develop more intensely. Through a process known as cryoextraction, frozen apples are used in a signature Cuvée Speciale iced apple cider (which pairs nicely with blue cheese and foie gras). In 2017, Les Vergers Lafrance also introduced its first apple vermouth, Rouge Gorge. LESVERGERSL AFR ANCE .COM


HIDDEN GEMS Chef Brandon Olsen’s recently opened Toronto restaurant La Banane is making waves with its creative cuisine and art-inspired plating, but diners have to order dessert to see the pièce de résistance: Ziggy Stardust Disco Eggs. With shapes inspired by Buckminster Fuller and Pollock-style splashes of colour, the chocolates break open to reveal surprise treats like chocolate truffles, dried cherries and pink peppercorns. The eggs are also available to go in the CXBO (Chocolates x Brandon Olsen) shop. C X B O . C A


The Museum of Fear and Wonder in Bergen, Alberta, is set to live up to its name. Opened by brothers Jude and Brendan Griebel (an artist and an Arctic archaeologist, respectively), the space is a tribute to roadside attractions and novelty collections of yore. Expect uncanny objects from around the world (antique dolls, medical models, religious charms) and visiting speakers reflecting on human relationships to the material world. FE AR ANDWONDER .CA





PUT A PIN ON IT Enamel pins are having a moment, and designs go way beyond a basic flag for your blazer’s lapel. Here are the Canadian companies sticking it to this trend. S TAY H O M E C LU B Montreal-based Stay Home Club offers wry and gloomy graphic pins that will help you wear your heart on your sleeve – sometimes literally. S TAY H O M E C L U B . C O M

S A D T R U T H S U P P LY Whether you want to profess your love of Drake or your Morrissey obsession, you will go gaga over this Toronto label’s clever pop-culture-inspired pins. S A D T R U T H S U P P LY. C O M



This nylon women’s handbag by BREE for Mercedes-Benz is as sturdy as it is stylish. With an adjustable, dedicated mobile phone compartment, it can go to the office or to brunch – or both!

FA I R G O O D S Let everyone know you’re Canadian and proud of it with this Calgary company’s Canada pin series, including a “double-double” cup, poutine and a curling stone. FA I R G O O D S . C O M





Mirror, Mirror

Slip through the designer’s looking glass into a world of haute reflective surfaces that are transforming every facet of home decor. WORDS Barb Sligl


pause and reflect

F&Y is an up-and-coming, multi-disciplinary design studio in Montreal. The name is an amalgam of founders Frédéric Beaubien and Yannic Ryan’s intitials. They define their work as “a search for solutions to the Nordic realities of Quebec life.” The result is pragmatic yet polished beauty. F&Y pieces range from handcrafted wooden handlebars for bikes to this Miroir console originally custom-built for a Montreal salon. Channelling Bauhaus and Art Deco while combining organic materials of concrete, wood, metal and, of course, glass, the standalone mirror works as a reflective spot and practical console in any space. f n y- m t l . c o m

Black magic

sit ting pret t y Design-world icon Karim Rashid (who studied industrial design at Carleton University in Ottawa and holds an honorary doctorate from OCAD University in Toronto) has incorporated mirrors throughout his pluralist creations – some 3,000 designs in production, with more than 300 awards. “The potential is endless, and mirrors are endless, and the complexity of finishes, surface treatments, colours and tints is very inspiring,” he’s said of the reflective material. In his Dawn to Dusk collection of furniture, created for Italian manufacturer Antique Mirror, a series of curvilinear “islands” (ottomans or tables) are wrapped or topped in a dizzying array of mirrors to reflect their surroundings.

Conjuring up the dark depths of a fairy-tale mirror on the wall, Castor Design’s Black Mirrors have a magical quality. With a black-tint finish and black powder-coated spun-metal back, the mirrors seem to hover off the wall and allude to another dimension. It’s a telltale space between art and design for Castor Design’s award-winning Toronto design team – the joint force of architectural stone carver Brian Richer and trained architect/set designer Kei Ng. c a s t o r d e s i g n . c a

photos Studio Le Quartier (F&Y); K arim rashid (dawn to dusk collection)

Steam works Poetic value is inherent in all the work of Canadianborn and world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, from the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to this Pito kettle designed for Alessi. Diminutive in comparison to the Pritzker Prize winner’s grand architectural masterpieces, the gleaming kettle retains and reiterates the same curvaceous and sculptural mirrored surface of Gehry’s most recognizable buildings. In mirror-like polished stainless steel with a mahogany cap and fish-shaped handle, it produces a melody, inspiring its name: Pito is Spanish for whistle. a l e ss i . c o m

Pocket mirror

Divide and conquer Mirrors have a curious duality in that they seem transparent while being solid, and this Roaring Twenties room divider expands and extends a space while effectively sectioning it off – with some serious retro glamour. Designer Janette Ewen (who grew up in Ontario and now divides her time between Toronto and California) created the piece as part of a collection for Montreal design house Mobilia, mixing gleaming marble and mirrors to reflect the Art Deco era’s reputation for opulence and excess. “It’s a nod to nostalgia without being too literal,” says Ewen of the vintage-inspired mirrored collection. m o b i l i a . c a

Everyone could use a vide-poche. French for “empty pocket,” it’s the term for a dish or container that serves as a catch-all. Set on a dresser or desktop, the Elli mirror is just that – a pretty place to collect and reflect everyday items. The playful blushhued mirror is one of several designed by Vancouver duo Knauf and Brown. D Calen Knauf and Conrad Brown are skateboard buddies who started their studio while at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. They have become known for their stripped-down, irreverent pieces – even making an appearance at Maison & Objet in Paris. k n au fa n d b r o w n . c o m




After Hours

Creative curators are ditching dusty exhibits for interactive events and all-night parties aimed at a new generation of museumgoers. W o r d s J a s m i n l e g at o s

M o n t r e a l , q u eb e c

Les Nocturnes du MAC

Discover why Montreal is known for its joie de vivre at this quarterly event that’s a cross between dance party and cultural outing at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Throughout the night, guests can enjoy performances from DJs like local Brazilian mix masters Tupi Collective and take an interactive tour of exhibits such as Olafur Eliasson’s “Multiple Shadow House, 2010” (pictured right). There are also hands-on art workshops, with past examples including a collage class inspired by Quebec painter Edmund Alleyn’s works (including “Sans titre, 1966” pictured above), and one on mixed-media portraits based on Fabrice Hybert’s drawing “Surproduction, 1987.” m a c m . o r g 24

V i c to r i a , b r i t i sh co lumb i a

Night at the Museum Uncover the secrets hidden among the relics at the Royal BC Museum (pictured left) during a family-friendly sleepover where visitors get to take part in activities inspired by the latest exhibit. For Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age, participants took part in a mock archeological dig. For 2017’s Family: Bonds and Belonging, the museum was transformed into a sleepaway camp complete with tents, crafts and a giant pillow fight. Though the event is geared toward children and their parents, it’s gained so much traction since it debuted five years ago that last August the museum launched its first adult camp – because who says kids should have all the fun? r oya l b c m u s e u m . b c . c a

to ro n to, o n ta r i o

photos sebastien roy, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (montreal); Estate of Edmund Alleyn (montreal); Connor Stefanison (victoria); instagram (Regina); getty (ottawa)

Friday Night Live For nine weeks in the spring and fall, the Royal Ontario Museum is turned over to revellers who mix and mingle as DJs spin tunes and musicians perform on stage. Recent acts include Ashley MacIsaac’s FDLER and legendary singer-songwriter Carole Pope. Over the years, the event has grown to more than 3,000 weekly attendees and regularly takes over the entire building. While nibbling snacks from local food vendors, you’ll also get the chance to peruse the galleries and exhibitions within the museum, many of which inspire #FNLROM themes, like a recent exhibit of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly’s work.

Ot tawa , o n ta r i o

Global Tastes International Food Night r e g i n a , s a s k atche wa n

Adult Science Night Indulge your inner scientist at the Saskatchewan Science Centre’s monthly event that lets adult visitors geek out – without having to wade through school groups. One month, attendees used wiggle cars to barrel-race, in honour of Saskatchewan’s farm show, Agribition; during another, they participated in a human version of Hungry Hungry Hippos (picture people on moving dollies using a basket to pick up the balls). It’s a concept that’s proved popular: The first event drew a modest crowd of eight; four years later, the museum welcomes about 250 participants for each edition. s a s ks c i e n c e c e n t r e . c o m

Broaden your taste buds at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum with a monthly workshop created in collaboration with chefs from local restaurants and embassies. During every event, the invited chef demonstrates how to prepare a number of different dishes from their native country, which attendees then get to sample. For the June workshop, held in partnership with the city’s Capital Ukrainian Festival, chef Tim Wasylko (formerly Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s executive chef) showed participants how to cook Eastern European classics like perogies, cabbage rolls and borscht. c a f m u s e u m .t e c h n o - s c i e n c e . c a



Such Great Heights n

Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant is getting a second life as a hub for culture and cuisine. W o r d s K a t i e N an t o

W i t h an i m p o ss i b ly idyllic name, coveted hilltop locale and mere 15-minute commute to downtown Vancouver, Mount Pleasant is the city’s next big borough. Founded in the 1800s as “Vancouver’s first suburb,” it is now attracting a faster crowd – including creative entrepreneurs and indieloving city dwellers – for its cafés, restaurants and arts scene. While exploring, keep an eye out for vibrant largescale murals, a souvenir from last year’s Vancouver Mural Festival [1], as well as sweeping views of the downtown skyline and North Shore Mountains. 1 2




photos Allison Kuhl (mark perrier); Knauf and Brown (pl ates)

In some buzzing neighbourhoods, the place to see and be seen and the place to actually eat well are not the same – but Savio Volpe [2-3] is both. Chef Mark Perrier’s simple, slow food includes handmade pasta (think cavatelli with sausage, mint and whipped ricotta) along with spit-roasted local meats and fish. At Burdock & Co., chef Andrea Carlson turns out expertly crafted local small plates and natural wines in an intimate room with an ambient bonus: The custom B.C. pine-beetle-wood drop ceiling reduces noise for guests next to the busy open kitchen. Anh and Chi serves up authentic Vietnamese in a modern resto-lounge with interiors by designer Karin Bohn (check out the palm-tree wallpaper in the washroom). The restaurant, whose name means “elder brother and sister,” is run by siblings whose parents once operated Vancouver’s first pho spot in the same space.



Open since 1973, the Western Front [4], one of Canada’s top interdisciplinary artist-run centres, hosts regular contemporary performances. Steps away is the Fox Cabaret – it was the city’s laststanding adult theatre before reopening in early 2014 as a comedy and music venue. (Check out the moody Projection Room upstairs for cocktails and DJ nights.) On a sunny day, take a stroll to the (in)famous Dude Chilling Park. Yes, that’s its real name – what started with a prank sign by a local artist became a permanent fixture and symbol of Mount Pleasant’s laid-back vibe. 5

THE SHOPS Mount Pleasant’s major artery, Main Street, is a walkable bundle of boutiques emanating from Kingsway and Main Street (a nexus marked by the triangle-shaped indie coffee shop, Gene). Local designers are prized at Much & Little, where owner Sarah Savoy stocks greeting cards by Porchlight Press, jewellery from Wolf Circus [7], as well as B.C.-born candles, leather goods, textiles and clothing. For gentlemen, locals skip the smattering of shiny new barbershops in favour of a classic: Belmont Barbershop, owned by musician and senior barber Rich Hope. Design hounds flock to Vancouver Special [8], which sells a curated selection of art books, Scandi furniture and Japanese minimalist design (it’s the perfect spot to stock up on Hasami porcelain mugs).



THE DRINKs Beer is on tap all over the borough, and it’s no wonder why: In the late 1800s, the area was known as Brewery Creek, named after a river running through it that made the location ideal for beer production. These days, there are about half a dozen next-wave craft breweries, perfect for a walking tour. Two to try: 33 Acres Brewing [6], which draws the Instagram crowd into a whitewashed room bedecked with potted botanicals, then keeps them coming back with poached-egg brunches and to-go bottles of award-winning Belgian Tripel 33 Acres of Euphoria; and Brassneck Brewery, where the wood-panelled, 50-person space is always overflowing with visitors sampling stronger brews, like the Massive Aggressive (it clocks in at 8.0 percent ABV). Bonus: Detox from a brewery binge with a chlorophyll-packed Deep Green at the Juice Truck, one of the brick-and-mortar locations of the city’s first cold-pressed-juice company, or get buzzed on lattes and cold brew at 49th Parallel, Kafka’s [5] or Matchstick Coffee.



Lifestyle The best in events, innovation, arts and entertainment

The music man Québécois conductor Yannick NézetSéguin may be taking the helm of the prestigious New York Metropolitan Opera at the young age of 42, but that won’t distract him from his primary mission: making classical music accessible to all. W o r d s V i o l a i n e C h a r e s t - S i g o u i n p h o t os c h r i s t i a n b l a i s


rom the choral section of the Maison symphonique concert hall, I have a bird’s-eye view of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain. Bows poised, embouchures moistened and scores open, the musicians await the signal to start the Concerto per arpa e orchestra by Nino Rota. Harpist Valérie Milot is positioned at the front of the stage, facing the hundreds of filled seats, but all eyes are on someone else: Yannick Nézet-Séguin. At the first flick of his baton, an ethereal melody fills the room. His movements are expressive and graceful, his eyes flicking from one musician to another. A smile here, a wink there. While watching him work, one word comes to mind: kindness. The Montrealer is the farthest thing from the conductor cliché of authoritarian pretension, though he certainly has earned the right to be that way if he so desired. At a mere 42, he’s among the world’s most renowned maestros. Last year, he was honoured by being named James Levine’s successor at the helm of the New York 28

homing instinct Despite his work with orchestras around the world, Yannick NézetSéguin frequently returns to Montreal to conduct its Orchestre Métropolitain, most notably at the city’s Maison symphonique.

photos Fr ancois Goupil (Orchestre Métropolitain); Caroline Bergeron (maison symphonique)

I’m at home here. I think my musicians are proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, and it inspires them to do their best. They constantly surprise me. That’s why I stay. Metropolitan Opera, when Levine retires after 40 years of loyal service. It’s a notable challenge, especially because Nézet-Séguin is already musical director for both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, in addition to his undying dedication to Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain for the past 17 years. “I’m at home here,” explained the conductor three days earlier after a rehearsal. “I think my musicians are proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, and it inspires them to do their best. They constantly surprise me. That’s why I stay.” The day before our chat, he’d been conducting at New York’s Carnegie Hall. That night, he was doing a show in a church in Montreal’s Verdun neighbourhood, and in a few days he’d be off on a pan-Asian tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He’s used to this breathless pace, but things will slow down when he takes on the Met in 2020. His contract with the Rotterdam Philharmonic is ending next year, and he plans to accept fewer international invitations as guest conductor. “Those trips are the most exhausting. To direct the Met represents many responsibilities, so I’ll be staying closer to New York, with frequent trips to Montreal and Philadelphia – both relatively close. It should be a healthier lifestyle.”

A true vocation

red carpet Nézet-Séguin has achieved one of the top honours of his profession: being named musical director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

Nézet-Séguin knew at 10 years old that he wanted to be a conductor. “I told my parents that’s what I was going to become. At home, I’d put on records and role-play,” he says. By the age of 13 he was admitted to the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, and at 19 named art director of the Choeur polyphonique de Montréal. But he hates being thought of as a wunderkind. Rather, he sees his success as a mix of luck and talent, propelled by a series of opportunities he knew not to miss. Take, for instance, the day he was offered the directorship of the Orchestre Métropolitain. He was a fresh-faced 25-year-old. “People thought it was too local an orchestra; they advised me to pursue my studies in Europe rather than take the job. I didn’t have much experience, but my gut told me to take it.” It was the right decision. The position would allow Nézet-Séguin to truly master his craft and discover his primary passion: to democratize classical music. In those days, the Orchestre Métropolitain was already presenting public concerts in all sorts of Montreal neighbourhoods. “It was very progressive. Very few orchestras did that at the time.”



What he loves MTL “It’s a human-scale city where the living is good.” NYC “It’s the city to end all cities.” Where he goes MTL “To the French restaurant L’Express. Nothing compares, not even in France.” NYC “To the restaurant NoMad, in a completely restored old hotel. The service, food and clientele all amount to the ultimate New York experience.”

a high note Last spring, Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain performed Nino Rota’s concerto under maestro NézetSéguin’s direction.


It’s a mission the maestro intends to pursue once he’s with the Met. “It’s a world-renowned orchestra, sure, but I want New Yorkers to regain possession of it. I intend to put on concerts all over the city to make people who don’t usually feel concerned with opera engage with it.” He certainly has no trouble rallying the troupes: Last April, after a performance of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, the first opera he directed since he got the job, the Met musicians celebrated him by showering him with roses. He was immensely relieved. “Expectations were high, and they showed me I was worthy of them. It was their way of telling me they supported me, that they were ready for this next chapter. It gave me wings.” The Orchestre Métropolitain musicians who’ve watched their leader garner acclaim worldwide, meanwhile, will get their own taste of fame starting in November, when they embark on a European tour with stops in Paris, Amsterdam and Hamburg. It’s a first for the orchestra, which, thanks to Nézet-Séguin, will never again be thought of as “too local.”

What he eats MTL “Anything maple. Syrup, butter, sugar, toffee… I love it all!” NYC “Japanese food. It’s particularly good there.” What makes him nostalgic MTL “Walking around Old Montreal. The river, the architecture… I miss it a lot.” NYC “The skyscrapers.”

photos françois goupil ( Yannick Nézet- séguin); Massimiliano Pieraccini/Alamy Stock Photo (old montreal); Andy Selinger/Alamy Stock Photo (New york); Natasha Breen (japanese food)


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all the right notes A pioneering group of Canadian guitar makers is shaping the sound of music around the world. w o r d s T R A C E Y L I N D E M A N p h o t o s g u illa u me S im o nea u


Linda Manzer has a year-long waiting list, with guitars ranging in price from $20,000 to $55,000. A new tune

twice as nice Veteran luthier Linda Manzer works on a new guitar frame in her Toronto workshop. Left: Manzer built her first Pikasso guitar over 30 years ago for jazz artist Pat Metheny.

Fifty-two. That’s the number of strings on Torontobased guitar maker Linda Manzer’s Medusa, owned by Danish jazz musician Henrik Andersen. It’s the most strings she’s put on a single guitar – a step up from her 1984 Pikasso, named as such for its Cubist inspiration, which only has 42. “The thing about the Pikasso – to walk onstage with a guitar like that, you can’t just play anything ordinary. You have to rise to the occasion,” Manzer says. The Pikasso’s owner, American jazz-guitar virtuoso Pat Metheny, still plays it, along with the 25 or so other guitars Manzer has made for him. “Each one has a different sound; each triggers a different side of him, musically,” she says. Manzer is a revered luthier whose guitars possess a tonal quality she describes as bell-like, with a piano-like fullness. She aims, in particular, for clarity and the ability to sustain a note: “Sometimes people would call that a dark sound.” That sound resonates with musicians around the world; as a solo worker, she has a year-long waiting list and makes about a dozen guitars a year, each ranging in price from $20,000 to $55,000. Guitars in Canada with that kind of price tag are made by an inner circle of masters who painstakingly pore over even the minutest details, from the angle of the neck to intricate inlay art. Client lists like Manzer’s are extensive, marked by household names such as Carlos Santana and Gordon Lightfoot. The bulk of her client base, however, is dominated by people the average person may have never heard of – the session musicians, the backing band members, the solo guitarists and the singer-songwriters behind some of the world’s favourite music. Manzer has been honing her craft since 1974, when, at the age of 22 and after having made a few dulcimers (a kind of zither) in between attending art-school classes, she set her sights on becoming a guitar maker. She caught wind of Jean Larrivée, a luthier from a small community near Montreal who’d settled in Toronto, and


called him up repeatedly to ask him to teach her. He finally agreed, inviting her to visit his workshop. “As soon as I walked into his shop, I knew. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” Larrivée hired her as his apprentice – making her the first woman to fill the role, and the country’s first female luthier. Excited to have found a mentor who could show her the ropes, Manzer joined Larrivée’s first cohort of apprentices: George Gray, David Wren, Tony Duggan-Smith, William “Grit” Laskin and Sergei de Jonge. Together with Larrivée, they form the informal Canadian school of guitar making – the originals who pioneered the craft and the keepers of the Canadian tradition. All are accomplished luthiers, although Manzer’s natural propensity to make unusual and experimental guitars has made her stand out. “Even as an apprentice, on my very first guitar with Larrivée, I changed two of the design features on his guitars,” she says. She had modified the neck joint and the depth of the body, neither of which yielded particularly good results. The experience did teach her an invaluable lesson, however: “You’ve got to have a purpose for experimenting.” 34

in the studio Manzer shows off a guitar in progress. Below: Jean Larrivée shares shots of his work, including special 50th anniversary inlays, on social media.

Jean Larrivée is exhausted. It’s the start of December, and he’s just come back from Europe, where he drove 7,500 kilometres visiting distributors, consulting with wood dealers and holding guitar clinics. “I’m always working. I work all the time,” says the 72-year-old guitar maker who now lives in Oxnard, California, near Santa Barbara. He moved there from British Columbia in 2000, setting up a U.S. production facility to more easily access the American market, which constitutes a majority of his clientele. Larrivée was born in L’Abord-à-Plouffe, a community north of Montreal that no longer exists, in name. He began his working life as an auto mechanic, which eventually led him to the General Motors factory near Toronto in the mid-1960s. Not long after, he met German luthier Edgar Mönch at a concert, telling him, “I would give anything to learn how to make guitars.” To which Mönch replied, “Come tomorrow!” Under Mönch’s tutelage, Larrivée built his first guitar at the age of 22. He learned quickly, developing a particular style early on that would set him apart from American guitar makers like the Martin company. He made his guitars smaller, with steel strings rather than the nylon ones typically used on classical guitars. He’s known in the guitar-making world for his bracing style, called X-bracing, a hugely influential strutting method used to create well-balanced instruments. “The bracing – I made mine without looking at anybody else,” says Larrivée, pointing out that the books and videos that exist today to teach people the art of guitar building did not exist then. “I just played it by ear.” To date, the Larrivée company has produced well over 140,000 custom and standard guitars, some of which have gone to musicians like Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul and Mary), Brad Paisley and Bruce Cockburn, the latter of whom also has several Manzer guitars. The Canadian guitar-making heroes, who started as apprentices, still see each other from time to time. The six, plus Larrivée, were recently reunited to participate in an art project for the McMichael Museum, in Vaughan, Ontario, in which they are each creating one guitar for each of the Canadian painters in the Group of Seven. They met in Quebec to create an eighth guitar for Tom Thomson, a painter who influenced the Group of Seven but who died before it formed. “It turned out to be an incredible three days,” Manzer says of the group project. “It was like walking into a time machine, to one of the happiest times of my life when I was an apprentice.”

photo instagr am (@l arriveeguitars)

Beat of his own strum


Into the woods On Michael Greenfield’s wall hangs a photo of him with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. The Montreal luthier met Richards when the Stones were coming through town in 2006; a personal connection hooked him up with the guitarist’s management, who told him he could build a guitar on spec for Richards. Richards bought the guitar, and several months later asked for another. “I think it’s as cool as it gets. You wanna talk about an icon?” says Greenfield. Other notable clients include famed Celtic guitarist Tony McManus and Andy McKee, a world-renowned fingerstyle guitar player with hundreds of millions of YouTube views. Greenfield’s workshop sits on the top floor of a 100-year-old loft building, where he and his assistant, Julien Saint-Jalmes, make handcrafted custom guitars. Together, they produce a couple dozen guitars a year. Greenfield is particularly obsessed with perfecting his guitars’ tone, achieved through dozens of intricate details that include revising of the guitar’s geometry, bracing and wood thicknesses, as well as consulting physicists and a prototype machinist at McGill University. But first and foremost, Greenfield is all about wood – so much so that he’s referred to as “the wood whisperer” in a 2016 Acoustic Guitar article. He’s got stacks of mahogany, maple, spruce, cedar and African blackwood, all cultivated from the far reaches of the globe; all the woods

lofty ambitions Michael Greenfield creates a custom guitar in his workshop on the top floor of a century-old Montreal loft building.

behind the music

More names to know in the world of Canadian instrument making. Casavant Frères was founded in 1879 in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. The pipe-organ company has made and installed pipe organs in churches, concert halls and schools across North America and Asia. Bégin Bows is just one of Canada’s dozens of gifted violin, viola, fiddle and cello bow makers. Louis Bégin’s historical bows are a favourite among professional musicians. His son, Emmanuel Bégin, inherited his talent and followed in his footsteps. oh brothers Casavant Frères founders Joseph-Claver and Samuel-Marie Casavant

Jules St-Michel moved to Montreal from France in 1959 and found work as a violin luthier’s

apprentice. Since then he has become a masterful and reputable violin maker in his own right. James Ham of Victoria, B.C., is an award-winning luthier whose double basses are built chiefly with the player in mind. An adjustable neck, ergonomic design and innovative way to guard against cracking in the bass’s ribs make Ham’s instruments a gold standard. Dunbar Bagpipes was founded by Scottish immigrant Jack Dunbar in the 1960s and has a long legacy. Dunbar had apprenticed at Peter Henderson Bagpipes in Glasgow prior to moving to

Canada, and once he set up shop in St. Catharines, Ontario, he had a number of apprentices of his own who today continue the craft all across the country. Sabian has become one of the world’s biggest makers of drum cymbals since its establishment in a small New Brunswick town in 1981. You may recognize the family name of its founder, Robert Zildjian. He started Sabian to compete with Zildjian cymbals after a family feud. Son Andy – the “An” in “Sabian” (his siblings’ names spell out the rest of the word) – now runs the company.



have designated purposes, from necks, to sides, to tops and bottoms. “I like buying wood with a story,” he says, pointing to a guitar awaiting completion. It’s made from the wood of a single Honduran tree known simply as “The Tree” – a legendary mahogany that was felled in 1965 and left for nearly two decades before being removed from the jungle. The rarest wood from The Tree has a beautiful, rich tortoiseshell pattern, making it one of the most precious and sought-after guitar-making woods on the planet. Its rarity has also made it extraordinarily expensive, and guitars made with it are commensurately so. However, his non-Tree guitars currently start at US$10,400. The cost of a handcrafted custom guitar by a deeply skilled luthier may be prohibitive to some, but the experience is unlike any other. The kind of connection the guitar maker has to the instrument – and by extension, to its owner – is uniquely profound. “It’s a very intimate journey for me, from start to finish,” says Manzer. And the journey doesn’t end simply when the guitar is carried out of her shop by a musician: “They are wrapping their arms around this thing you made and pouring their soul into it.” Once, Manzer was in a shop when a familiar-sounding song came on over the PA system; she paused, recognizing the guitar in the recording as one of her own. “I don’t want to take credit for how amazing the musicians are, but being part of that is just incredible. They give me a lot of credit for their sound, but I’m just a catalyst.” 36

life lessons From top: A close look at the carpentry involved in guitar production; Linda Manzer and her mentor Jean Larrivée pose for a photo in the 1970s.

Linda Manzer: How to Make a Guitar 1. “It’s all about the wood,” says Linda Manzer. Every luthier has their own preferences, and she is partial to mahogany, rosewood and European spruce. “You select and buy the best possible woods, and then you put them away for years and they sit there waiting.”

on the back, struts (braces) the guitar to reinforce its inner construction and then affixes the top. “All the woods matter, but particularly the top will inform the sound,” she says. 4. Manzer then makes the guitar neck, usually out of mahogany or maple, and attaches an ebony fingerboard before carefully hammering in the frets.

2. When it’s finally time to use the wood, Manzer selects the pieces that will make the back, top and sides. The back and front need to be book-matched – meaning they are as identical as possible, to allow for maximum continuity.

5. Then it’s time to shine. Manzer says she usually does 12 coats of lacquer, which she then buffs out to a high sheen.

3. Manzer bends the side panels into the shape of the guitar. Once the sides are bent, Manzer glues

6. And finally, the moment of truth: “There’s this magic moment when you put the strings on.”


IT’S ABOUT HAVING THE STRENGTH TO NEVER GIVE UP Non-stop around the world. Seventy-four days alone on his boat. Coming in a close second. Alex Thomson was the hero of the Vendée Globe sailing race. How did he cope with the solitude, the fear and the setbacks? I n t e r v i e w M ar c B ie l e f e l d


photo Thomas Rabsch

A MAN OF THE SEA Born in 1974, British seafarer and adventurer Alex Thomson is a charismatic storyteller on land.




ready for TAKEOFF Standing in the cockpit, the skipper of the Hugo Boss is barely visible. The racing yachts competing in the Vendée Globe are about 18 metres long – few seafarers have the skill to pilot these boats single-handedly. The starboard foil that was badly damaged during the race can be seen on the left.


Alex Thomson reached speeds of over 37 knots during the Vendée Globe – that’s around 70 km/h. He also set a world record for the greatest distance sailed solo in 24 hours: 536.8 nautical miles (nearly 1,000 kilometres). Thomson clocked a total of 40,000 kilometres during the race.



THE FANS Top: Crowds flock to Les Sables d’Olonne on the French Atlantic Coast to watch the start of the race. THE PACK Left: 29 boats crossed the starting line in November. Eleven skippers were forced to drop out.


THE LIVING ROOM Below: Thomson below deck. A satellite telephone enabled him to stay in touch with his family and team.




ave you caught up on your lost sleep yet? More or less. But I’m still tired. More tired than usual. Really? You’ve been back on land for six weeks now. Yes, well. Throughout the 74 days that I spent at sea, I never slept for more than an hour at a stretch. In fact, most days I slept just 20 to 40 minutes every two to four hours. Certainly not more. It takes a while for your sleeping routine to return to normal. That sounds unbearable. That’s just how it is in a race like this. You’re on your own in the middle of the ocean on an 18-metre yacht that’s cranking along at 60 km/h. There’s always something to do. Isn’t sleep critical under those circumstances? You do sleep – it’s just a different routine. I trained before the race with two researchers on sleep. I called them the Sleep Police. I started training three weeks before the race so that I could get by with just 20 minutes of sleep every two hours. Sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture. You have to train your body to cope without deep sleep. And it can. But sure, you’re constantly battling fatigue in a race like this. Every day you’re sailing just this side of complete exhaustion. It’s like the raptures of the deep that divers experience. Faced with a simple arithmetic problem – say, 45 divided by nine – your brain just shuts down and you can’t do it. Everything is a blur. Did you lose weight? After an earlier race, I had lost 10 percent of my body weight. So I took along more food this time. Dry rations, mainly. How do you cook on board? Well, this is my kitchen [pointing to a photo on his mobile phone]. A small FAREWELL gas stove – that’s it. I heat up Top: Thomson with his wife Kate the water, stir in the food... and dinner before the start of the race. is served! The yacht is trimmed for performance; it’s brutal, there’s not a single gram of excess weight. No cot, no cupboards, no sink. The toilet is a small carbon-fibre bucket specially designed to stay upright even when the boat is tilted at an angle of 50 degrees. There is a small mattress that I can throw down somewhere depending on the sailing conditions. The boat is a carbon-fibre coffin. I don’t < even listen to music on board. 44


HOME AT LAST Thomson crosses the finish line in France on January 20. His time: 74 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes – just a few hours behind winner Armel Le Cléac’h.

Winner Armel Le Cléac’h reached Cape Horn No break at all? with a lead of 800 nautical miles [almost I want to be completely in touch with what’s going 1,500 kilometres]. You managed to whittle on during the race – with my senses that down to just 37 miles [68 kilometres], and my emotions. I’ve got to feel exactly despite a broken foil. In the end, your AIS what the boat is doing, what the wind is collision warning system failed. How did you doing, and the sea. Music would only be deal with that? a distraction. If seagrass wraps itself After breaking the foil, the next 60 days were inaround the rudder, I can feel it credibly frustrating. I had some dark times to get immediately. through. I fell behind and then made up ground That must be utterly exhausting. again. After passing through the doldrums at the It is – I can get quite grumpy out there. equator, I failed to catch a good wind. In the end, I scream at the wind, yell at the skies. GOING DEEP my only hope was that something would go wrong But there are ways to put yourself in a Author and fellow sailor Marc Bielefeld (right) spoke with Alex Thomson for for Le Cléac’h. In a situation like that, you’ve got to positive state of mind. I rub the bridge of Mercedes-Benz magazine in London. keep believing that you can still win – just to stay my nose, for example – it’s a sensation motivated. The odds were against me, of course. that I associate with a particularly If men spend too much time at sea, they beautiful moment in my life. It’s a mental trick. can become somewhat eccentric. Would you These things take a while to train. But they work. still describe yourself as normal? To the French, the ocean is a woman; I think so. When I set sail, I’m going out there to the Italians refer to it as a man. What is the sea to you? do my job. And I’m just a small cog in the big It’s my playground. wheel that’s our team. I don’t get lonely when I’m How do you train for the race besides sailing? at sea. I have pictures of my family all over the I do 10 hours of fitness training per week. yacht. And I don’t need to have someone around to know that there are people who are thinking of Endurance and strength. But mental training is far me and who miss me. How could I possibly feel more important when you’re racing around the lonely? Isolated, yes. But not lonely. Besides, I can world. I work with a sports psychologist. talk to them on the satellite telephone whenever And what do you do together? I want. That is, if I can get a good signal. There We talk through all the things that might happen were perhaps three or four days when I didn’t talk during the race. How can I motivate myself if to anyone. something terrible happens? What can I do to Do you see land at all during the race? keep my cool when I’m sailing through a hurricane in the Southern Ocean with a 10-metre swell The Cape Verde islands, Cape Horn, one of the and there’s nobody around for thousands of Azores islands. And that’s it. Not many ships, kilometres? When that happens, your whole mind either. I did spot a fishing trawler on my radar is screaming: You’re not going to survive this! south of New Zealand. Otherwise, just You’re going to die! But there are techniques that the sea and the sky. can help you to cope. And the albatrosses. Can you give us an example? Yeah, you see them every day in the Going below deck when the boat is moving at top Southern Ocean. And I have a ritual. I alspeed can be rather terrifying. The waves crash ways give a name to the first albatross against the hull and raise a terrible racket. When that I encounter on my journeys. And I it’s pitch black and there’s a strong wind howling, always call him George. These giant birds it just strikes fear into your heart. It’s a very priwill stay with you for weeks at a time. SIGNS OF LIFE mal reaction. I use a visualization technique. They like to fly along beside and above Thomson uploaded messages and the yacht. Wonderful. Instead of seeing myself on board the yacht in the videos to Facebook to share his Do you take any safety precautions cockpit or on deck, I project my mind and my Vendée Globe experience from on deck? perspective to cloud level. It gives me a broader beginning to end. The skipper stayed I try to go on deck as little as possible. Each perspective on what’s happening. This trick helps in close contact with fans while he sailed alone on the high seas. situation is different: You have to do a pera lot, but it takes months to learn. sonal risk assessment each time you leave How exactly does it work? the cockpit. On the last race, the yacht reached a top In my mind, I can actually see the boat from above. speed of 37.2 knots – that’s almost 70 km/h. When And the sea. And I can see that there are no icebergs ahead, no drifting containers, no whales. a wave hits you at that speed, anything that’s on And that reduces my adrenalin level – your addeck goes overboard. The yacht is constantly accelrenalin levels are sky-high when you’re racing. erating and decelerating as it moves through the That slows my heartbeat in turn and helps me to waves. You get thrown to the deck and tossed about the yacht. It’s like playing rugby. I wear a padded get some rest and some sleep. You’d eventually < helmet when I go below deck at speed. lose your mind otherwise. 46



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To race singlehandedly around the world – it’s a privilege.

Mental Battle Being alone at sea is psychologically tough. Alex Thomson prepares for that as well.

What have you learned from these races? I’ve notched up 400,000 nautical miles (740,000 kilometres) in my life so far. I’ve made nine attempts to sail around the world. I have learned a lot along the way. I learned that it is human nature to want to be the best. The best photographer, the best footballer, the best sailor. Most people believe that success is what makes you happy. But I’ve learned to see things differently. Instead, I believe that success is born from happiness. This has taught me to put a premium on feeling good. I have also come to understand that success isn’t always reflected in the results. It’s the journey that counts. And that journey has to be tough, it has to be hard, or it wouldn’t mean anything. Ultimately, at sea and on land, it comes down to one thing: You’ve got to have the strength to keep going. The strength to never give up. Will you compete in the next Vendée Globe? I’ve finished third, then recently second in the last race. I think it’s time to seal the deal!

photo Thomas R absch

What are the roughest conditions that you have encountered? The wind was blowing at 40 knots, with gusts of 50 knots – that’s a force 10 to 11 wind. I was 1,300 nautical miles [2,407 kilometres] south of Tasmania, sailing in a seven-metre swell with water temperatures of around zero degrees. The wind-chill factor was 15 degrees. It was bitterly cold. Do you risk your life racing the Vendée Globe? You’re at sea alone. Ultimately, you’re potentially risking your life each time you race offshore. But I can’t think like that – if I did, I wouldn’t do it. Why do you do it? What is it that drives you? A sailing race like this presents a very special challenge. There are far more astronauts than there are people who have raced single-handedly around the world. To experience something like that – it’s a privilege. And then there’s the competition. Sailing as fast as you can and as good as you possibly can. Mastering your vessel, defying the sea. You have to grapple with yourself. And with the elements. Is there anything else that drives you? There’s my yacht. I love yachts. I race an 18-metre-long IMOCA 60. It’s a racing machine. It was custom-built for me with a price tag of several million dollars. I had complete control of the design: the width, the size, the height, the sails. The cockpit layout. It sounds like a dream, right? There must be more to it than that. You’re right. There’s something else about boats of all sizes. There comes a moment when you head out to sea and lose sight of land that you realize just how small you are. It’s a humbling experience. It’s just you and nature. You’ve spoken about the competition. But what else do you experience out there? The 2004 Vendée Globe was the first race that took me out into the Atlantic on my own, and I remember being quite overwhelmed by the situation. I thought to myself: So this is it for the next 90 days. Water and more water. It was too much. I lay down in the cockpit and – probably acting subconsciously – curled up in the fetal position. I rolled myself up into a little ball. Even some sailors say that you have to be crazy to compete in a race like that. I think you’re just taking yourself to another level. A race like the Vendée Globe offers an extremely pure experience. You’re not allowed to take anything on board or set foot on land once the race has started. No assistance whatsoever is allowed. It’s the greatest sporting challenge there is on Earth at the moment. It tests the competitors’ physical and mental fortitude. Do you take a talisman with you? Yes, Speedy the Turtle. A cuddly turtle that my son gave to me to take along.

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Four Secrets for Entrepreneurs Tech guru Guy Kawasaki has worked in Silicon Valley for over 30 years. Here, he shares what he has learned. i n te r view PETER G RE V E ph o t o s Y A NN I C K F A UT H



EMBRACE YOUR IGNORANCE When you look at the entrepreneurs who have changed the world, you realize: Most of them did it while they were young. The reason is simple: When you are young, you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s empowering. Because if you knew the difficulty of the path that you are about to undertake, you might not take it. When I was younger, I worked for Apple. I evangelized Macintosh, which was a new operating system at the time. I had no idea how hard it would be to do that. If a company were to call me today and say, “Guy, we have another new operating system,” would I do it? Probably not. Because I know how hard it is to do. But someone who’s 20 or 30 just doesn’t know how hard it’s going to be and might try. And, lo and behold: might succeed. 50

DON’T WORRY, BE SCRAPPY Many people spend too much time planning and too little time doing. My experience is: You don’t need a business plan of 50 pages with excruciating details about your technology, rollout strategy and team background plus a financial forecast for five years, so that in the fourth month of the fifth year you know how much you’re going to spend on a toner cartridge. The best pitch an entrepreneur can make is: “Let me show you the product.” That’s the first step toward changing the world: getting started. Launch. Figure it out as you go. The most important thing is not where you started. It’s how fast you change.



GUY KAWASAKI Born in 1954, Kawasaki is one of the most prominent faces in Silicon Valley. He started his career at Apple, working with Steve Jobs and marketing the very first Macintosh in 1984. He is a bestselling author, renowned speaker and successful venture capitalist. He is also an avid surfer and a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador.

When searching for potential employees, most people apply two basic criteria: educational background and work experience. I have learned that the key to forming a team of people who are going to change the world with you is to add one more: Do they love what we do? Do they love that we make a car, that we make a surfboard, that we make a website? Someone can have the right educational background, the right work experience, but if the passion isn’t there, if it doesn’t change their pulse to think that they’re going to work on this, then they are not right for you. This should be the first thing you look for. Then, check their work experience and educational background. But if in doubt, take the person who loves what you do. Everything else can follow.


JUMP CURVES A very good mental framework for innovation is to jump curves. To not stay on the same curve and do something 10 percent better, but to get to the next curve. An example from history: There used to be an ice-harvesting business in America. In the 1900s, ice harvesters would go to a frozen lake, cut a block of ice, put it on a sleigh and have the horse pull the block of ice someplace else. Thirty years later, there were ice factories: Water was frozen centrally,

the ice man put the ice on a truck and the truck delivered ice to your house. Today, everybody has their own personal ice factory, called the refrigerator. None of the ice harvesters became ice factories, and none of the ice factories became refrigerator companies. That is the problem: Most organizations define themselves in terms of what they already do. The great world-changing technologies, however, occur because you got to the next curve. Not because you did it slightly better on the same curve.

That’s the first step toward changing the world: getting started.


drive The automotive world, from motorsports to vehicle previews

RELENTLESS This year’s Formula 1 season has Valtteri Bottas driving for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. The 28-year-old from Finland was once considered an underdog, but his sights are set high: on the world title. PHOTOs STEVE ETHERINGTON

photo Gett y Images



HE’S GOT DRIVE New Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas throws down the gauntlet to the title favourites.

WINTER WONDERLAND Bottas enjoys his solitude. Here on the dock at his lakeside house near Lahti, Finland, he can bask in silence.

WARMING UP Bottas adds more wood to the fire – no wonder when the temperature outside is -18°C.

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he helmet weighs seven kilograms. When Valtteri Bottas moves his head from right to left or nods it up and down, you can see his T-shirt absorbing all the sweat that these movements generate, becoming darker by the minute. Forty-five minutes of neckstrengthening training. Forty-five minutes of being subjected to the centrifugal forces of a Formula 1 curve – forces comparable to those that pilots withstand. Formula 1 drivers have a slight build and are not particularly tall. But see them without a shirt on and the amount of training they put in is immediately apparent. Bottas is 1.73 metres (5'8'') tall and weighs 70 kilograms (155 pounds). His neck is thick and muscular, and his triceps wind around his upper arms like steel cable. A few hours later, a typical February evening in Finland. Windy, wet, -18°C. The region, about 100 kilometres north of Helsinki, is covered in snow for half the year, its lakes resting below thick ice. That a native of this area, where most children take up hockey as a hobby, has made it into Formula 1 seems like a winter fairy tale. Bottas grew up in Nastola, a municipality so small that even many Finns have never heard of it. And while he now lives in Monaco, he still owns a wooden lakeside cabin back in his hometown. Like the small sauna hut next door, the cabin is painted in a greyish blue with white stripes. Its terrace looks out across the lake and, to its right and left, fir, birch and aspen trees stand tall like guardians of the peace. This lakeside cabin is Bottas’ retreat. His first race, in Australia, where he would come in third behind Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, is still a good six weeks away. Today, wrapped up warm in a woolly hat, thick down jacket, thermal trousers and dark boots, Bottas stands on his terrace and points at a square hole in the frozen lake – his dad sawed it for him the evening before – and wonders aloud if he’ll take a sauna later. The announcement that he would be Nico Rosberg’s successor took many motorsport fans by surprise. He had been a very good driver at Williams, no question, but at 28, he was no spring chicken. The fact that he was only given a one-year contract served to further embolden his critics, who called him a stopgap solution, a driver unable to hold a candle to the likes of Hamilton. Since then, however, Bottas has proven his detractors wrong multiple times, including brilliant performances in the Canadian Grand Prix and Russian Grand Prix. So, who is the Finnish underdog who has gone from test driver at Williams to racing driver at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport? “I was four years old when my dad first took me to a kart circuit,” explains Bottas while

Race to the Finish Line The 2017 F1 season concludes with pit stops in seven countries on four different continents. Sept. 3: Italy/Monza (2nd) Sept. 17: Singapore (3rd) Oct. 1: Malaysia/Kuala Lumpur (5th) Oct. 8: Japan/Suzuka (4th) Oct. 22: United States/ Austin (5th) Oct. 29: Mexico/Mexico City (2nd) Nov. 12: Brazil/São Paulo Nov. 26: UAE/Abu Dhabi

SCHOOL VISIT “Valtteri always achieved what he set out to do,” recalls Bottas’ former teacher, Ari Siltanen (right).

standing on his terrace. He goes on to tell the story of a young boy who instantly fell in love with the noise of engines and the smell of gasoline. “I got into this kart and sensed immediately: This is what I want to do.” But Valtteri was too small back then – his feet didn’t even touch the pedals. “I had to get back out, and was desperately disappointed,” he recalls with the smile of someone who already knows the story has a happy end. “When we got back home, my granddad teased me, saying, ‘If you finish your muesli every morning for a whole year, you’ll be able to reach the pedals by next summer,’ to which I replied: ‘Okay, I promise I will!’” And so, from that day on, four-year-old Valtteri ate his muesli every morning. The long, cold, dark autumn and winter days passed, and when early summer came and the snow had melted, he was allowed to return to the kart circuit. Little Valtteri climbed into a kart and pressed his foot down on the accelerator. “I’ll never forget how that felt,” he beams. His cheeks are flushed from the cold and his blue eyes twinkle smilingly below his woolly hat as he recalls the first time he felt the power and energy of the kart coursing through his young body, and the speed that pressed him down into his seat. But what he wants to emphasize most of all is how worthwhile all that muesli-eating was. “Because I didn’t actually like muesli back then,” he grins. When Bottas laughs, his angular features and pronounced jawline lose some of their competitive severity. His dimples tell us that, while he may be a cool-headed Finn, Bottas is in all likelihood a grounded, congenial < kind of guy.




LETTING OFF STEAM Every Finn has a sauna – often in its own hut situated next to the main home. Bottas’ sauna looks out onto the frozen lake.


Some childhood stories can reveal a lot about who a person is, expose an aspect of that person’s character as unchangeable and distinctive as an angular jawline. Valtteri Bottas, who is following in the footsteps of Finnish racing legends Mika Häkkinen and Kimi Räikkönen, learned a very important lesson early on. Because any person who eats something they really don’t like every morning for an entire year must be especially pigheaded, or be so driven by dreams and ambitions that they will stop at nothing to achieve them. “Pigheaded?” asks Bottas once the question has sunk in, breaking the silence as he does so. This is another distinguishing detail. He thinks carefully before he responds. Sometimes he sits in silence for 10, even 20, seconds before answering questions. Many put this down to his typically Finnish restraint. But anyone who has accompanied him to Finland for a few days will soon notice that this cliché does not apply to all Finns, and will learn to appreciate Valtteri Bottas’ contemplative nature. Not every racing driver answers questions as quickly as they drive a car. Indeed, in verbal terms, many of them are often left by the wayside. “My willpower,” explains Bottas, with no hint of the dimples, “is as hard as iron. I go hungry, I go thirsty if that’s what it takes, and I am deeply driven by my desire to become ever better. So, if by pigheaded you mean highly tenacious and ambitious, then yes, that’s what I am.” His words echo out from the terrace and down to the frozen lake, floating above the hole in the ice that Bottas will soon be lowering himself into. A will of iron. This doesn’t sound like someone content to continue crossing the finish line in second or third place. “I have nothing to lose, I can only win,” he says after a short pause. He seems to like the role of the underdog. It was Bottas who, in the wake of Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement announcement, called Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to ask him for Rosberg’s place on the team. Although Bottas has in the past picked up points in a lesser car, and even made it onto the podium, he doesn’t consider these successes real achievements. “To me, the only real achievement out there is winning a title, but I have to win a race first.” This will come soon enough: He clinched the first victory of his career as a Silver Arrow last April in Sochi, Russia. As a racing driver, Bottas is considered an extremely diligent, inquisitive worker with an organic propensity for speed. He is also known for his strength in wet conditions and talent for calculating risks on the circuit. He worked as a test driver for Williams between 2010 and 2012, and as a racing driver from 2013. By the start of this season, he had picked up 441 World < Championship points in 77 races. On the

AMONG PROFESSIONALS In winter, Bottas trains at Pajulahti, Finland’s Olympic Training Centre, where track-and-field athletes prepare for their season.

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Valtteri has what it takes to drive at Rosberg’s level. ORT


Victory Left to right: Valtteri Bottas won for the first time in late April, in Sochi, Russia. He and Lewis Hamilton make up the 2017 Mercedes duo.

The Lähde-Kioski still has his photos hanging on the wall along with cut-out newspaper reports of his first wins. The images are 10, 15, 20 years old. They show a slightly tubby young boy with blond hair sitting in a kart. Bottas the grown-up smiles coyly. “I was carrying a few extra pounds for a while.” The menu at Lähde-Kioski includes a dish named after him: the “Bottas burger.” Price: six euros. Taste: much better than expected. Maybe this is precisely what Bottas’ advantage is. Nobody expects him to run rings around World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. But if he does succeed in beating them, it will probably mean winning the race as well. Bottas puts on his slippers and bathrobe, opens the door of the sauna hut and makes his way down to the lake. He is careful on the icy ground, cautiously putting one foot in front of the other to avoid slipping. Once he reaches the hole in the ice, he doesn’t mess about. There is no shivering, no shouting. He sinks his still-steaming body down into the hole until the water is at chest height. It is clear that Bottas has never been afraid of being thrown into the deep end.

photos Daimler AG

wall of his private gym hangs the Muhammad Ali quote, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” According to Niki Lauda, the Mercedes team’s Non-Executive Chairman, “Valtteri has what it takes to drive at Rosberg’s level.” And Rosberg’s level, as we all know, is World Champion level. But Lauda also knows that Valtteri Bottas is no macho driver, no huge ego made for the big screen. Bottas is at peace with himself, politely asking visitors to remove their shoes before coming into his home. Whenever he finds the time, he likes to get together with old school friends to play NHL hockey on PlayStation. After finishing school, Bottas completed an apprenticeship as a car mechanic. “It was the logical option,” he explains. He is now sitting in his sauna, pouring water onto the hot stones: It spits and hisses as it hits and the temperature gets hotter and hotter. His former teacher, Ari Siltanen, describes Bottas as a calm, focused pupil. “There were certainly wilder boys in the class, but Valtteri always achieved what he set out to do.” On the way back home after training, we stop at a roadside restaurant that once sponsored Bottas.


Learn more at

ON A KNIFE EDGE A hammer and anvil, sensitivity and patience: When it comes to the fine art of knife making, tradition and honest work have an edge over even the best 3-D printers.

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WITH HAND AND HEART Forging, planing, riveting, sewing. A handful of manufacturers still cleave to the high art of fine handicrafts. The result: sophisticated products made by accomplished artisans. w o r d s M A r c B ielefeld



hat does it take to build the best gliders in the world? No, not a computer. And not laser-controlled milling machines or data-fuelled 3-D printers. Skilled hands are the essential ingredients. Nestled in the Rhön Mountains, Schleicher is a world-leading manufacturer of sailplanes. The snow-white surfaces of these elegant sailplanes are still formed and polished by hand. Millimetre for millimetre, using ever finer sandpaper until eventually the paper is softer than a page of newsprint. Dedication, dexterity, and ­patience are essential. And these breathtakingly beautiful gliders are just one example. Many workshops and factories continue to prize traditional skills over high-tech manufacturing processes. Skills that require keen eyesight and a steady hand, sensitivity and strength, knowledge that is gained through years of experience and – perhaps most crucially – the inimitable art of thinking with your head, your heart and your gut.

Intuition. Passion. Watchmakers sit at precision vices for hours at a time, deftly manipulating the movements of timepieces with their minute mainsprings, wheel trains and escapements. Porcelain painters embellish the surfaces of their pieces with brushes made from the finest sable, plucked from the soft underbelly of Siberian squirrels. The stunning beauty of handforged Damascus steel testifies

to a passion for something more than cold efficiency and precision, with knife makers often spending weeks at their forges as they perfect their blades. Lost in silent reverie, they fold layer upon layer of steel. These skilled artisans are united in their passion for flawless workmanship, smooth surfaces and fine angles, for materials that delight and for the perfect composition of line, curve, form and function. It is a passion that borders on obsession. A passion that instrument makers share with pastry chefs, compass manufacturers, saddlers, cobblers and many others. But in the end it is difficult to say what really makes for excellent craftsmanship. The work of an accomplished tradesperson should flatter the hand and the eye, of course. It should be flawless. And more. It is impossible to put a price on the sensibility that shapes these objects. The accomplished tradesperson can breathe life into an object, filling it with nearly indescribable beauty. In a world of throwaway gimmickry and cold efficiency, their creations are an expression of a world view that prizes proficiency. Many tradespeople make a conscious decision to turn their backs on the everchurning cogs of mass production. They disappear behind their workbenches and dedicate themselves to a single-minded passion. The fruits of their labours A LOVE OF DETAIL are instantly recognizable Quality workmanship begins with the and frequently elicit a choice of materials. All of the leather timeless response: “Made used in a Mercedes-Benz G-Class is meticulously appraised. with love.”


PRECISION WORK Tailor Anita Rathkolb finishes a door handle with leather. Topstitching and tufting call for the utmost concentration.



NEEDLE AND THREAD Siegfried Schröttner bends to examine a large piece of leather. Closing his eyes, he caresses its surface with his hand. Feeling, smelling. Only the best full-grain leather treated with organic mineralbased tanning agents meets with his approval. If Schröttner comes across the slightest flaw – an insect bite or some other barely perceptible impurity – he will cast a piece aside without so much as batting an eyelid. Quality is everything when it comes to fitting a G-Class. Schröttner and his colleagues have more than enough to do selecting the materials. Around 22,000 square metres of untreated leather are on hand at designo manufaktur; over 200,000 square metres are handled by their artisans every year. After passing under the merciless gaze of the quality controller, the leather undergoes a series of tests to assess its tensile strength, shrinkage characteristics and climatic 62

responsiveness. Only leather that achieves good grades across the board is passed on to the cutting room. There, an array of presses, waterjet cutters and splitting and skiving machines awaits. Sections of leather are cut to a pattern using precision punching knives that are accurate down to the last millimetre. But the finest work is yet to come – and steady hands are now required. Anita Rathkolb and Klaudia Eicher have the steadiest hands in the game. Together, the two are masters in the fine art of Indianapolis stitching, using curved upholstery needles to trim interior door handles with leather and handfinished top-stitching. “Concentration, good eyes and a soft touch are essential,” explains Rathkolb. Many of the sections they work on, such as the elevated passenger grab handles, are all but inaccessible. There

The tailors in this workshop go about their business – measuring, cutting and sewing – just as they would on Savile Row. But the tailors at designo manufaktur in Graz do not dress people. Their work revolves around a car: the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. All 178 employees at the factory work exclusively on the car’s sophisticated leather interior furnishings. Vehicle upholsterers cut the materials for the car’s seats, glove box, rear door, centre console and flooring. Seamstresses work on the signature top-stitching and elaborate tufting. The interior of the G-Class off-road vehicle can be furnished according to the customer’s wishes. Creativity and craftsmanship are in demand: From its seat covers to its leather-trimmed handles and grips, every G-Class vehicle has the potential to be unique. M B 4 . M E/ D E S I G N O - M A N U FA K T U R

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NYMPHENBURG M U N I C H , g er m a n y

HANDMADE Hard-wearing, sophisticated, tailor-made: Fine leather details define the look of the G-Class.

This Munich-based porcelain manufacturer unlocked the secret of “white gold” close to 300 years ago: a special blend of feldspar, quartz and kaolin. The factory employed several famous sculptors to create figurines, such as the renowned Commedia dell’Arte series. The rest is history: Nymphenburg has continued to set standards in fine porcelain artisanship ever since.



isn’t a machine in the world that can top-stitch the inner face of a rounded object. “You have to commit the precise shape of every component to memory,” she says. And if that isn’t enough, the G-Class invites owners to make a statement with custom ornamental seams, leather colouring and tufting. Sophisticated top-stitching sets off the mirrors, head restraints, seats – even the vehicle’s centre console beguiles with fine accents. And all this in a range of colours: saddle brown, silk beige, deep-sea blue. There’s a reason why so many drivers and passengers compare the off-road experience of the G-Class to a luxury lounge. It’s not just the technology. Mercedes-Benz has perfected the fine art of designing exquisite vehicle interiors over the course of 70 years. Bits and bytes simply can’t compete with that kind of experience. Nothing can beat a needle and thread, a hand and a heart.

Thick mechanical belts criss-cross the room to the thrum of mixing vats and the hiss of valves. The filter press and kneading machine have served at the paste mill for over a century. Here, everything is as it once was. Hydropower still drives the machines. This room is like a second home to Dieter Zeus. The miller has been producing porcelain paste for Nymphenburg Porcelain for 37 years – he is one of the few to have been initiated into the secrets of its production. Mixing the special blend of feldspar, quartz and kaolin is an art form. Kaolin lends porcelain its strength, feldspar its lustre. The exact formula is a closely guarded secret. Once the ground raw kaolin has been cleansed, the quartz and feldspar are ground in drum mills for some 30 hours. The kaolin slurry is then mixed with the milled minerals in a vat, and the resulting paste is then pumped into the filter press. In the next step, Zeus must live up to his namesake. Standing beside the filter press, he must use all his strength to depress its lever until the paste emerges in the form of a square cake. While doing so, he must also pay attention to the suppleness and homogeneity of the porcelain paste. “It takes years of experience to develop a feeling for the consistency of the perfect porcelain mass.” And something else: muscle power.

A PASSION FOR FORM Dieter Zeus in his sanctum: Little has changed at the porcelain paste mill over the last century.

MESSER WERK A S c H AU , g er m a n y

Luca Distler and Florian Pichler ply their craft from a 200-year-old forge in verdant Chiemgau, in the shadow of the towering massif of Kampenwand Mountain (1,700 m). The two were once school friends. Today, the trained artisan metalworker and former dental technician make fine knives of Damascus steel. They call themselves craftsmen. Customers around the world know them as artists. Their prized steel blades are made for fishing and hunting, and are treasured by many a chef. But to their proud owners, the knives are rare jewels and companions for life. Beautiful, unique and – above all else – unforgivingly sharp. MESSER-WERK.DE


A Labour Of Love Standing at his forge, Luca Distler studies the glowing, 1,200-degree embers intently. Sparks fly, hot slag spits across the workshop. Distler thrusts a pair of tongs bearing a “parcel” of steel weighing 2.5 kilograms into the flames. From this raw mass, the smith will craft his knives. Fire welding is conducted over glowing coals and requires smiths to first produce the material from which a product is formed. Distler’s knives are forged from a special alloy (the nature of which he declines to divulge), comprising three different types of steel. The parcel – a stack of five layers of steel – must now be heated evenly. As the steel begins to glow, the forge hisses and snarls. Then, Distler folds the hot layers together, as if closing a book. And again. And again. Gripping a heavy hammer in the other hand, he strikes the layered steel 64

several times. Then folds it again before striking it anew. Layer upon layer of steel is forced upon the last as Distler toils in the heat, striking and folding the mass again and again to form a blank of 320 layers of finest Damascus steel. And the secret to its quality? Tradition. Layering the steel lends the blades both strength and their striking patterning. Each knife is distinctive. Each has its own character. Knife making is hard work. “It’s akin to lifting weights all day – heavy, glowing dumbbells,” says Distler. “I’m exhausted by nightfall.” And the knives are far from finished. These raw blanks must be forged again and their blades shaped. This is followed by grinding, smoothing and polishing. The steel must be treated with acid to bring out the pattern. And the surface buffed until it is smoother than a mirror. The

grips are carved from desert ironwood and water buffalo horn, or formed from bog oak and ancient mammoth ivory recovered from the Russian permafrost. When all this is done, the blades are engraved and adorned with silver rivets and mother-ofpearl inlays. Occasionally, customers approach Distler and his partner Florian Pichler with special requests, and the knife makers have in the past fashioned custom grips decorated with leopard heads or nudes. Some knives are made in two days. On others, the two perfectionists might work for up to 300 hours. It is a passion that borders on the insane. But perhaps that’s what it takes to make a knife that is both breathtakingly beautiful and so sharp that you could quite literally split hairs with its blade.

photos Seifert/Uebler/Messer werk; Damastenerschmiede Distler & Pichler; C. Bechstein

HARD WORK Sparks fly as Luca Distler sets to work. From a mass of molten metal, the blacksmith will forge a 320-layer patterned blade of Damascus steel.

A lesson in ice carving. This winter, frozen Lake Winnipeg becomes a racetrack. A challenging circuit carved in ice, designed to hone your technique behind the wheel and help you master speed, precision and control. Put your skills and our selection of Mercedes-AMG vehicles to the test at the AMG Winter Sporting program. Book now. Limited space.

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THE RIGHT TONE Piano maker Katrin Schmidt must tune each of the grand piano’s 230 strings repeatedly.

musical MASTERPIECES The instrument makes the music. The rich tones of a grand piano are months in the making and require thousands of precision components.


The C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik was founded in Berlin in 1853 and soon attracted the patronage of numerous royal houses. Today, its pianos are manufactured in Seifhennersdorf, in Saxony, and distributed all over the world. A host of famous jazz, classical and pop recordings were made using Bechstein instruments, and the C. Bechstein logo is a welcome sight for many performing musicians. The tone is unmistakable: warm, colourful and lyrical, with an intense clarity and purity – whether the pianist is playing a delicate cantilena or embarking on a powerful fortissimo. Of course, it takes a fine ear to recognize a fine piano. But for those in the know, the experience is one of profound wisdom and sublimity. BECHSTEIN.COM


Building a concert piano is a complex undertaking. The first challenge is to select a suitable piece of wood from which to craft the soundboard – the soul of the instrument. C. Bechstein uses only mountain spruce grown at elevations above 1,000 metres for this purpose. Many other components are crafted from maple, beech or mahogany. A concert piano consists of around 20,000 individual parts – from back posts to casing walls to keys and hammers to the playing mechanism and frame – and the construction of a single piano can take up to a whole year. The role of piano maker Katrin Schmidt in this undertaking is a particularly meticulous one: Schmidt must tune and intonate the instrument’s 230 strings. Her task is made all the more difficult by the piano’s steel strings, which lose their tension frequently until the piano has matured. And what’s more, young pianos are sensitive to the slightest changes in temperature and humidity. Her work is a tightrope act, akin to making music from a horde of children humming wildly different tunes. To achieve her goal, she must retune the instrument again and again, tightening and stretching its strings. All 230 strings must be tuned at least four times. Applying a tuning lever to each of the piano’s tuning pins, Schmidt must carefully adjust the strings to their proper tension, a task that requires the utmost patience and a fine ear. A tuning metre is used to set the concert pitch – after that, Schmidt must be all ears. “Mastering the process,” she explains, “takes a lot of practice. When I began my apprenticeship, I spent three hours every day doing just one thing: tuning, tuning, tuning.” Next up: the hammer heads. These are the little “mallets” that actually strike the piano strings. It is vital that they be properly fitted. Deviations of a tenth of a millimetre in their angulation, spacing or height can detract considerably from the tonality of a concert piano. Following this, Schmidt attends to the piano’s intonation, adjusting the hammers repeatedly until the instrument finds its true voice. Each of the piano’s 88 Australian merino-wooltipped hammer heads must be tuned for this. To do so, Schmidt pricks at the felt-tipped heads with an intonation needle, altering their shape, density and elasticity until their timbre and volume are in perfect harmony. An art form, intonation is all but inexplicable. Each and every hammer head has its own inner life and character. “You have to sense it,” Schmidt says of what is perhaps the most sacred moment in the construction of a concert piano. To give a piano its proper voice is to breathe life into the instrument. A craft and a calling of its own. And a feast for the ears.


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A FINE NOSE Wood veneer expert Johann Paintmeier at work. Quality has its own distinct scent.


branching out



Family-owned and operated for three generations, Bavarian manufacturer Bulthaup produces highquality kitchens – living spaces that set standards worldwide. Exquisite woods take centre stage in their compositions. The reason is simple: The environment in which we prepare and enjoy our food should reflect its natural origins. Beauty and sustenance, from and with nature. B U LT H AU P. C O M

always different. Sometimes yellow. Sometimes almost green. Then just shy of red. Are there any down-to-earth varieties among the trees? Yes, the oak. A classic. A resilient wood with slight variations in its colouring and structure. Oak has lived alongside us in our homes for over two thousand years. Walnut, with its appealing dark coloration, is rather more exotic. Walnut represents the sweetness in life. How do you transform a tree into a kitchen? We immerse the trunk in a basin at 50°C to 60°C for several days to ensure that the wood is not damaged during processing. Then it is cut and brushed to lend the surface more texture. The veneer sheets are then stored before the actual manufacturing process begins. What do you do when you’re not manufacturing veneer or studying wood grains? I am a passionate whittler. I find it very soothing. And I like to spend time in the forest that I bought 20 years ago. I look at the trees and imagine how the forest might appear a century from now when future generations can hopefully still enjoy walking beneath its canopy.

photo bulthaup

Johann Paintmeier is Bulthaup’s veneer expert. Even as a boy, he knew: “I want to work with wood.” Today it is his job to select fine timber for the kitchen manufacturer. Wood with the most beautiful of grains. He even stumbles across 2,000-year-old bog oak from time to time. Where is Bulthaup’s wood sourced from? I visit dealers in Germany and Europe as many as 12 times a year to inspect their inventories. The majority of our wood is purchased in the spring. The trees are felled and processed in the winter, making spring the best time of year to obtain wood. Do you spend much time in the actual forest? Naturally. The forest is a contemplative place. I love the forest. And it is the source of our product. I am never closer to the trees than I am there. Is there something akin to a caviar of the timber world? Yes. Rare woods like bog oak crop up from time to time. The dealers are usually quick to call us when that happens. Bog oak? That would be an absolute stroke of luck, particularly if the wood was suitable for manufacturing veneer. The trunk needs to be intact. And for that to occur, the tree has to lie below the surface – depriving the wood of oxygen – in bog-like conditions for between 1,000 and 3,000 years. How do you know how old the trees are? Their age can be determined very precisely by carbon analysis. We were recently offered a bog oak that was 2,970 years old. What makes it so special? Its intensely dark coloration, which ranges from black-grey to dark brown. Bog oak is very sophisticated. Few customers have a wood of that quality in their kitchens. How do you recognize good wood? By examining its grain. How did the tree grow? Is it so pleasing to the eye that it could be used to compose an object of beauty? I have to feel the wood. Touch it. Its strength and its grain are the decisive factors. And I have to smell the wood, of course. It should smell of nature. Does wood have a personality? Oh yes! Like a human fingerprint, each trunk is unique. The grain tells the life story of the tree. In what climate and in what soil did it grow? Wood is a living material. And that is what makes each of our kitchens unique. Does each type of wood have its own character? Yes. Olive is very expressive. Just think of its grain. Its pattern can be calm or wild. The colours are


He Says, She Says Driving through South Africa in a GLE 550e 4MATIC SUV puts Franz Joseph Blomendahl and his daughter Jacqueline in a great mood. He loves the wine, she loves the clean air, and taking this vehicle for a spin is a completely new experience for them both. w o r ds M a r c B i e l e f e l d p h o t o s P a u l C o c k s European model shown


FRANZ JOSEPH BLOMENDAHL, 53 Occupation: Winemaker, entrepreneur and distiller Kilometres per month: 6,000 to 10,000 Motto: Make sure you are happy, then you can also make others happy

JACQUELINE BLOMENDAHL, 22 Occupation: Business mathematics student Kilometres per month: 2,000 Motto: Laugh and learn, fun and speed

he generational conflict kicks off with the key question: Who’s driving? The answer is quickly found: Dad is! Franz Joseph and Jacqueline Blomendahl are outside their house in Grabouw, South Africa, 50 kilometres from Cape Town. They get into a brand new Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e 4MATIC SUV and shut the doors. The scent of leather. The large, central display. Franz Joseph takes hold of the steering wheel, his daughter runs her hand over the touchpad on the centre console. Franz Joseph Blomendahl has always driven Mercedes-Benz vehicles. At the age of 18, he bought his first 240 D, a “Stroke 8,” and now the winemaker owns two SL Cabriolets, a white S 500 of the 221 model series, and a C-Class Wagon. But now he wants to experience something new: A vehicle that leads the way into the future, ushering in a new generation of vehicles with its hybrid technology. With various modern assistance systems, including the ionization of the cabin air, the GLE 550e has many innovations that make driving safer, more efficient and more pleasant. In particular, it thinks ahead when it comes to protecting the environment. This is Franz Joseph’s first time sitting in a vehicle with a combined electric drive and V6 engine. A plug-in hybrid. A luxurious off-road model with a lithium-ion battery under the hood to power the car for 30 kilometres of electric driving at speeds of up to 120 km/h. It can be charged via a normal power outlet and achieves a local CO2 emissions figure of 0 g/km when driven electrically. Blomendahl puts his foot on the brake and presses the starter button. They are ready to roll. FATHER: Listen, you can’t hear anything. Absolutely quiet. I can’t believe it. DAUGHTER: It’s about time, then! It’s a clever car. A car that uses less and less fuel. That’s the direction we have to head in. FATHER: When you brake, you gain energy. The principle is called recuperation. The battery also recharges itself while you’re driving. Brilliant, isn’t it? You don’t have to waste any energy.


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South Africa

Rugged Scenery Clockwise from top: The nature reserve; False Bay; Jacqueline finally takes the wheel.

DAUGHTER: Clever. But they could’ve thought about that earlier. FATHER: Do you know how complicated it is to develop technologies like these? Your generation is always demanding an emissions-free future, but you can’t just drive off into it like it’s the easiest thing. It takes time. Thousands of people are working on it. DAUGHTER: I think you can start driving now. Franz Joseph steps on the right pedal, the accelerator. But he doesn’t hit the gas – he hits the electricity. Almost soundlessly, the car glides out of the gate onto the street, out into the wine region of Grabouw & Elgin. Cypresses, cacti and blossoming proteas are growing up the mountainsides. The world folding itself into the mountains to the east of Cape Town is almost Mediterranean. South Africa in winter. An inspiring image. 72

It’s a clever car. A car that uses less and less fuel. JACQUELINE BLOMENDAHL

The fact that father and daughter are on a lowemissions voyage is particularly significant to Jacqueline Blomendahl. For her, the term is not some kind of slogan, it carries meaning in itself. When her family was living in Germany, she suffered from bronchitis and asthma, as well as various allergies. On her way to school, she had rattling coughs. Her doctor recommended a lengthy period in a dry climate with clean air. So, the Blomendahls travelled to South Africa for a long holiday. And, lo and behold, after a week Jacqueline was without any complaints and could breathe freely for the first time in her life. This was a huge weight off her shoulders, and a huge relief for her parents. So Franz Joseph, a trained wine engineer, winemaker and whisky producer, looked for opportunities to relocate his business. He saw the vineyards, the hills and mountains near Cape Town. He felt the sun. The Blomendahls didn’t

Jacqueline, like any member of the digital generation, swipes the touchpad with her fingers, accessing the various functions of the GLE on the screen. Graphics appear, displaying the consumption and energy flow. The car basically explains itself. Its smart technology accompanies driver and passenger as they roll through the Cape Province along the coastal cliff toward Sparks Bay and Mermaid Pool. DAUGHTER: Look, I can control and recognize everything from here – all the colours of ambient lighting, Crosswind Assist, Traffic Sign Assist. Dad, the battery is at 70 percent. We’re driving in hybrid mode. FATHER: I didn’t do anything. DAUGHTER: It does it by itself. Is it my turn now? FATHER: Yes, in a moment.

winding down Father and daughter end their road trip with a tasting at a wine cellar.

hesitate for long: They packed their bags and moved to South Africa. They turn west, following the country road to Gordon’s Bay. The wild South Atlantic appears in the vista of the windshield. A swell several metres high is rolling in from the Antarctic. But the Blomendahls aren’t distracted by this natural beauty. Their attention is completely immersed in the GLE. DAUGHTER: What’s that? Something red is shining in your side mirror. FATHER: That’s the Blind Spot Assist. It tells you when something is coming diagonally from behind that you can’t see without looking over your shoulder. DAUGHTER: I’m telling you, the car thinks for itself. It’s got its eyes on everything. Can I please drive now? FATHER: Yes, in a moment.

Step on the gas a bit, then you can feel what it can do. FR ANZ JOSEPH BLOMENDAHL

They drive along Ocean Road. Breaking waves crash against the shoreline, the coastal cliffs glow in the east, a mild breeze gently blows in through the window. Franz Joseph drives the car onto a dirt track, around a rock, and stops at the sea. In the grass by the road is a pale stone with the inscription “David Lilienfeld – Warrior.” Lilienfeld was one of South Africa’s finest bodyboarders. When he was surfing the waves here in the Koeël Bay on April 19, 2012, a four-metre-long great white shark attacked him. Lilienfeld died shortly afterwards. South Africa isn’t always mild. Franz Joseph looks out to the open sea and breathes the air. As a winemaker, he appreciates the South African climate for the vines more than the perfect waves. He has been producing his own wines here for many years. Each year, he exports some 50,000 bottles to China, Africa and Germany. Distinguished wines, high-quality brandy, whisky and liqueur, such as the “Old Swede,” which he makes in his own distillery. On the trip north, the Hottentots Holland Mountains rise into view in the hinterland. Thanks to the hybrid drive, the GLE alternates between electricity and gas mode. First a quiet purring, then the full sound of the combustion engine. Franz Joseph steers the car along the curves with precision, glides along serpentines and country roads. DAUGHTER: So, now I can drive? FATHER: Okay, okay. I’ll get out. DAUGHTER: It’s crazy, we are only using electricity at the moment. Our battery level is at 50 percent. And in a full-fledged SUV, no less. FATHER: But if you step on the gas a bit, then you can feel what it can do. DAUGHTER: Why not… you know how much I like to drive fast!


breathing easy Father and daughter take a break to admire the views; the GLE navigates a national park and the rolling hills of South African wine country.

i GLE 550e 4MATIC SUV Engine/Performance 3.0-litre V6, 436 hp (combined engine and electric motor) at 5,250–5,500 rpm; maximum speed 245 km/h

Transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS

Fuel consumption (2017 model) City: 11.8 L/100 km Hwy: 10.3 L/100 km Combined: 11.1 L/100 km

Electricity consumption (kWh/100 km) Weighted: 18.0–16.7

CO2 emissions (g/km) Combined: 84–78 The figures may vary depending on the wheels/tires.

ECO start/stop function Yes The above data do not relate to an individual vehicle and do not form part of an offer but serve solely to facilitate comparisons between different models.

M E R C E D E S - B E N Z . CA


They have swapped seats. Jacqueline steps on the pedal. The V6 motor springs into action and now shows its full strength. The GLE dashes north on the highway. When kickdown is activated, the electric drive is spurred, giving an extra-big boost. Soon, the famous wine regions of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, their gently rolling hills bathed in the rosé-coloured afternoon sun, will rise up in the distance. But then Jacqueline brakes, signals, turns left onto a dusty track and stops at the side. She has spotted a gang of monkeys.

DAUGHTER: Look, there are baboons climbing around. An entire family. FATHER: Let’s see what they’re doing. DAUGHTER: Normally, they would escape into the trees, but I’ll drive toward them carefully. That way we won’t disturb them. FATHER: This beats any clattering safari bus. Silent through the wilderness. DAUGHTER: I told you so. Quiet and clean, that’s the direction we are heading. Even the monkeys can’t say no to that!

Extraordinary moments happen on ordinary days. Let’s set the stage for the extraordinary to happen every day.

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streets ahead The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ on its tour through the streets of Schรถneberg, Berlin.


Electric Intelligence The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ heralds the coming of a new generation of vehicles – and it’s already turning heads on the streets of Berlin. words Jörg Heuer

P h o t o s TI M A D L E R / da i m l e r A g


ride in the sleek, futuristic Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ is an unforgettable experience, inspiring the kinds of reactions you would normally associate with the roar of a brand new Mercedes-AMG supercar. Pedestrians stop dead in their tracks, mouths agape. Pointing and staring in wonder at the vehicle, they whip out their phones to get a photograph. Our maiden voyage in the Concept EQ takes us to the EUREF-Campus, a high-tech research centre and sustainable energy pilot project in the district of Schöneberg. There, we cruise the streets of this former industrial park located in the heart of Berlin. A four-door SUV coupe, the Concept EQ is a sophisticated machine. There is a monolithic quality to its all but seamless body, and its interior is functional: spacious, tidy and pleasantly airy. But, of course, this isn’t a Mercedes-AMG supercar. It’s not even a sports car. Rather, it’s a coming revolution on four wheels. It’s the Mercedes-Benz of the future.

Smart moves EQ is shorthand for “Electric Intelligence.” The vehicle features zero local emissions, but it evokes a thousand emotions. Touch-based controls open the doors. Cameras fill the roles of conventional side and rear-view mirrors, with displays to project the view in real time. While the cockpit still features accelerator and brake pedals along with a steering wheel, it is the intuitive controls and touch-sensitive elements on the < central console that really matter here. The


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With a maximum output of

408 hp

the concept vehicle packs a real punch. The new models, Mercedes-Benz promises, will deliver plenty of power, with enhanced engine and battery capacities.

design is accented by light leather, ambient lighting and LED displays integrated into the front backrests. The vehicle’s positive energy can be felt from the cockpit to the back seats. The signature electric seat adjustment – a Mercedes-Benz tradition – has been retained, as have conventional seatbelts. But otherwise, almost everything is new, at once sensuous, sensible and avant-garde. A widescreen display almost appears to float in space. As we drive, the vehicle’s two electric motors are barely audible. A quiet hum is all that can be heard. Despite this, the Concept EQ continues to turn heads. With its sleek design and electric aesthetic, this is a vehicle that stands out in a crowd. And yet it’s only a concept car – for now. But 78

i A RISING STAR The portfolio of the new EQ sub-brand covers all future battery-powered vehicles as well as the related products and services. Equipped with battery-powered drive and intelligent features, the Concept EQ is a pioneering vehicle.

according to the developers and engineers behind the Concept EQ, its exterior design offers us a very clear picture of the future evolution of mobility. This new model series by Mercedes-Benz is expected to be available in Canada by 2020. Mercedes me will also roll out a host of new services to create a holistic ecosystem for the EQ brand. Combining data from different sensors will bring the vision of automated driving one step closer to reality in these Mercedes-Benz models.

Driving pleasure The concept car wows users with a 408-hp electric motor, a maximum range of 500 kilometres and 70 kWh of battery capacity. Fully electric, fully integrated and fully reliable on the road. And

close encounter The new Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ fascinated onlookers Janine Kuhla and Michael Nakoinz (pictured right), who were invited to take a test drive.

The concept vehicle has a range of up to

500 km

With this new brand of fully electric vehicles, MercedesBenz is set to make its mark in the future of mobility.

the performance specifications promise endless driving pleasure – from 0 to 100 km/h in under five seconds. There’s much more power under the hood than you might think. We continue to cruise around the old industrial park. Leaning back, we take a moment to imagine how all this might soon be everyday reality. Outside, the Concept EQ continues to command the attention of pedestrians. One young man, Michael Nakoinz, looks as if he might step forward and kiss the strikingly illuminated surface of the vehicle’s virtual grille. His rapturous response to our arrival has earned him First Prize: a ride in the Concept EQ. “I don’t believe it. That’s the future passing by!” Nakoinz remarks to his girlfriend, Janine Kuhla,

I don’t believe it. That’s the future passing by! M I C H A EL N A K O I N Z , p e d e s t r ia n

when the Concept EQ drives by them for the first time. He nudges her, grabs his mobile phone and photographs the vehicle – all in a single fluid motion. Then he is informed that today is his lucky day. With a gleeful smile, Nakoinz accepts his prize: a test drive. Beaming as they climb aboard, Nakoinz and Kuhla buckle up and cautiously pull away from the curb. We catch up with them three rounds of the block later to find out how things went. “Those few minutes,” says Nakoinz, “were magical, simply unforgettable. I feel like the Captain Kirk of the 21st century. Honestly, I would love to drive one of these myself, or even just let the car drive me around. I want to own one – and as soon as possible.”


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cool for school


he seat tightens around my left midsection as I make a right turn on the ice. It’s as if the car is trying to give me a reassuring hug as I drift across the track – that’s the Mercedes-Benz Drive-Dynamic Seat in action, inflating slightly to support the driver’s body during cornering. Despite the slippery surface, I’m not afraid. I want more. After all, that is why I, and about 100 other enrollees from across North America, have come to Manitoba in the middle of February: to take on a frozen Lake Winnipeg in the latest Mercedes-AMG models. (The school is open to Mercedes-Benz and non-Mercedes-Benz owners from around the world.) Mercedes-AMG has hosted winter driving programs in Sweden for over 12 years, in a town near the Arctic Circle, so when planning the Canadian 80

Ice tracks are no match for expert instruction at Canada’s AMG Winter Sporting program. words KAREN BURSHTEIN p h o t o s U l i J o o ss

AMG Winter Sporting program, something comparable was sought out on this side of the pond. They ultimately chose Gimli, a fishing village on the shores of one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. A mere hour’s drive from Winnipeg, Gimli is cold, friendly and ideal for these specialized courses lasting three or four days, offering instruction in high-performance driving with exercises in understeer and oversteer, hitting the brakes, inducing slides and drifting – all on four expertly designed ice tracks. I start my school day by joining the group for a daily briefing. After our arrival the night before, a camaraderie between the students is already firmly in place. There’s egging on and joshing while instructors answer questions about, for example, the ideal place to be on the torque curve for each vehicle so that it “never bites you too much,” and follow-ups about the skid-control

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manoeuvres. As I’ll discover throughout the course, the topics are serious, but the tone is often light. After the briefing, we’re off. Our fleet heads down sleepy First Avenue toward the harbour and the lake. Once there, we spot Travis Toomey brushing off a fresh layer of snow just as we arrive. He has been up all night building and maintaining tracks, and will make sure they’re in top form for us every morning. We pull up against a picture-perfect background of fishing huts dotting the lake under an endless blue sky. Outside the track area, cracks from frozen, shifting ice have created beautiful formations. While the ice is a metre thick, more than solid enough for driving, new students tend to have a few concerns – at least at first. “That’s always the first question we get: ‘Will we go through the ice?’” Danny Kok, the

in a flurry Located on the shores of Lake Winnipeg (the perfect spot for ice fishing), Gimli was chosen as the site for the Canadian AMG Winter Sporting program.

AMG Driving Academy chief instructor, and my driving partner for the day, tells me with a knowing smile. To nip those jitters, course leaders get participants in cars and on the ice from the first evening. It’s baptism by fire (or by ice, if you prefer), not to mention a beautiful beginning to the program under the shimmering stars or, if you’re lucky, the northern lights. Students are split into small groups for maximum driving time and personalized instruction. One group heads out to Laguna track, a tight, twisty, high-speed course 1.8 kilometres in length; another to the AMG ARENA, a wide, peanutshaped track that’s 500 metres long. We’ll all rotate cars and tracks later in the course, also trying Tremblant, another 1.8-kilometre circuit with sweeping turns, tailored for medium speed, and Mosport, 2.1 kilometres in length, with multiple high-speed, left-right combinations. Settled into a Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S 4MATIC Avantgarde Edition, Kok and I head over to Dynamic, the 1.6-kilometre-long practice area. I do a couple of easy laps to churn through a thin sprinkling of morning snow. After some basics from Kok – “Look as far down the road as you can!” “It’s just using brake, gas and steering, and how well you combine those three, that allows you to slide the car” – I’m ready to try some transitional corners and big slides. While drivers typically clock at about 120 km/h, the course is not


so much about speed as technique. “At first, everyone just wants to go fast,” says Kok. “Then they realize that, okay, going fast is one thing, but boy is it fun when you start going sideways. Once they get into a nice rhythm of sliding the car back and forth with these nice lazy slides, and once they start mastering the controls, then it’s ‘How much fun is that!’” The not-suitable-for-city-life, 400-stud tractionwielding tires (handmade specifically for the program by a husband-and-wife team in Sweden) are an essential feature that also adds to the fun. Otherwise, the ice is quite the level playing field. “Everyone starts out at a certain level of experience: Some have had racetrack experience, and then you get people with zero experience or one day of experience,” explains Kok. “But we’re all rather equal because it’s pretty foreign. Everyone’s learning the same new thing. The winter course is special that way.” As the drivers rotate vehicles, they get a feel for the unique handling characteristics of each, from the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Sedan, a 503-hp rearwheel-drive vehicle, to the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC, a 375-hp all-wheel-drive model. Then there’s the fast, heavy-duty AMG CLS 63 S 4MATIC, which is biased to send more power to the rear wheels. (The Mercedes-CLS 63 S 4MATIC will be replaced by the E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan in 2018.) When the driving day is done and the pace has slowed, Gimli steps in to impress the participants. The town has pulled out all the stops to welcome the Driving Academy, with the mayor popping in to bring us Icelandic treats like vinarterta, a cardamom-infused layer cake. Gimli has the largest Icelandic community outside of Iceland, and there are touches of the old country in the local shops and bakeries, as well as a Viking festival every summer. “They’re happy we’re here,” says Kok, noting that while Gimli is a vibrant resort in summer with packed beaches, boating and fresh-caught pickerel, winter is another story. The hotel struggles to keep staff, and many restaurants and stores are shuttered for the season. One delightful pub, Ship and Plough, stays open, though, and has been the group’s go-to after coming off the lake. Another favourite hangout: locals’ wellequipped ice-fishing huts, where they’ve invited us to watch Winnipeg Jets games. Mercedes-AMG’s own unconventional break room is a snazzy log-cabin-style ice hut with fireplace, snacks, coffee and tea – the perfect place to warm up in -30°C weather and connect with my fellow students. They are a diverse bunch, mostly Mercedes-Benz owners, and include Sheree, from Toronto, who has never done anything like this but works in the automotive industry and seems to be up for a new adventure.

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model students Driving school participants test out Mercedes-AMG vehicles on a series of custom ice tracks.

The course comes with bragging rights about driving on Lake Winnipeg.

It’s also the first time on the ice for David, from Vancouver, although his third time out on a track. “It’s quite a bit different on ice: more speed, more technical, as there’s more drifting and more track time.” David jokes about his main takeaway from the course: “I’ll probably be hoping for more snow in Vancouver.” One student, Israel, originally from Mexico City, was impressed by the spirit of the program and the Mercedes-AMG vehicles, as well as the Mercedes-Benz G-Class that was used as a support vehicle “when I got stuck in the snow on my first day,” he explains, with a laugh. For students coming from closer by, the course comes with bragging rights about driving on Lake Winnipeg. Allan, from Brandon, Manitoba, says he’s also been impressed by the setting, but especially the instructors and how easily they bring out confidence in their students. Looking out over the dramatic frozen terrain, we know that while most of us won’t encounter conditions quite this harsh in our daily commute, having the chance to push these vehicles – and ourselves – to the limit will serve us long after we’ve left Gimli.


sales force Britta Seeger poses with the new E-Class Coupe by Mercedes-Benz.

photoS Daimler AG


Making her case

fter having spent long periods living and working in South Korea and Turkey, you are now back in Germany. In your view, is there such a thing as the global customer – that is, a mindset shared by customers all over the world, irrespective of whether they come from Seoul, Istanbul or Stuttgart? Well, Mercedes-Benz customers around the world certainly have one particular thing in common: exacting demands when it comes to service and quality. They will settle for nothing short of the best. These expectations are the same everywhere, and are the standard that guides each and every Mercedes-Benz employee. In other respects, though, I have noticed that customer requirements tend to vary greatly, and are becoming ever more individualized. Can you give us some specific examples of how they vary? Let’s look at Asia, for example: Seoul is home to around 10 million people. So you would think that demand for compact vehicles such as the smart would be high. But in fact, Koreans are much more inclined toward sedans such as the E-Class or S-Class. In China, demand for seven-seaters is especially high. Cars are used differently there, and tend to seat many more people than in Germany, for example. Our customers in Europe and North America gravitate toward entirely different mobility solutions. Mercedes-Benz uses the acronym CASE to describe the company’s strategic future focus. How do these four areas correspond with customer demands? CASE centres on the everyday issues people deal with, regardless of whether they drive a smart or a Mercedes-Maybach. CASE stands for connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared) and electricdrive systems (Electric). All developments that take place within these areas focus first and foremost on our customers and their needs and wants. We call this principle “human-centred innovation.” And in this respect, there are lots of fascinating questions we want to find the answers to on behalf of our customers. How can I remain continuously connected so that I can control all the things my car can do via my smartphone? Or think about autonomous driving, about the coming age of self-driving cars. How will I use the

Britta Seeger joined the Board of Management of Daimler AG in January 2017. She is responsible for Mercedes-Benz Car Sales. What are her plans? Interview Chris Neimöck E U R O P E A N M O D E L SH O W N

BRITTA SEEGER At Daimler AG since 1989, Seeger’s work for the company has included roles in South Korea and in Turkey.

time I spend in the car if I no longer have to steer it? We are also very focused on “E” for electromobility. How can I get from A to B in a way that is both ecologically sound – that is, emissionsfree on a local level – and comfortable, and doesn’t require me to recharge the batteries when travelling for longer periods? “S,” for “Shared & Services,” also centres on people, with one of its focal areas being shared mobility. How can we adapt our personal mobility solutions to best accommodate people’s increasing desire for flexibility? We have lots of very clever people working on these and many more questions. The term “customer” is undergoing a change in significance, don’t you think? Indeed. In future, our customers won’t necessarily be defined as such simply by the fact that they own one of our cars. We are focusing increasingly on mobility services such as car2go, which enables customers to book a Mercedes-Benz or smart whenever they need one, and moovel, an app that offers highly individualized mobility solutions. These are the directions the trends are moving in. What can Mercedes-Benz do to one day turn the highly mobile generation of digital users into loyal customers? By offering them the right products and services. Interconnectedness in our cars is becoming increasingly important. How do you pick up on digital trends? As a company, we monitor the corresponding developments very carefully. On top of this I have my own personal trend scouts, who are my teenage children and their friends. They don’t read newspapers or magazines, don’t watch the news on TV, but are pretty well-informed all the same. They are also absolutely uncompromising in how they judge what we as Mercedes-Benz do on social media. You say there is nothing that drives business like personal customer contact. Why do you feel this is the case? For one thing, direct contact and conversation are very important to me personally. Moreover, our goal at Mercedes-Benz is to offer our customers the best possible products and services. In everything we do for them, we want them to be able to feel both our strong innovative spirit and our passion for the company’s history and tradition. And direct conversation is the best way of conveying this.


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frozen i N t i me On one of the last drives ever taken along the seasonal Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road, a challenging route gives way to a warm and welcoming community. wor d s O M A R M O U A L L E m p h oto s D a n i el M aurer


eated on a bar stool inside a windowless dive on the heels of the Arctic, I nurse a beer under a string of Christmas lights – in the middle of April. Newspaper clippings of the Mad Trapper Pub’s namesake, Depression-era fugitive Albert Johnson, adorn the walls. The only other customer is someone around the corner and out of sight who’s just fired up a game of Pac-Man. Clock hands must move differently in Inuvik, or at least that’s my conclusion after yet another extended disappearance by my bartender. I tip back the dregs of a Yukon Gold lager, slide a stack of toonies across the bar and leave, wincing at the sudden blast of light reflected off the snowy town. The midnight sun is yet another factor that makes Far North timepieces feel frozen, but a dramatic shift is coming in less than a year. It’s an anticipated change that will be a relief for many, yet a development so basic for most Canadians that it just underscores the divide between Southerners and Northerners: a permanent road connecting the region’s 2,500 Inuvialuit (or Western Canadian Inuit people) across a speckle of islet towns. Until now, they’ve relied on ice – as have I, here to be among the last to drive the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road before it turns to slush, to water, then is gone forever. Beyond the rainbow-coloured townhouses that pop like paint blotches on a fresh canvas, and Inuvik’s two striking white domes (one an iglooshaped church, the other a satellite transmitter broadcasting cable TV), the ice road dips

wild things Sled dogs race alongside the fleet of Mercedes-Benz GLE 400 4MATICs.



into the Mackenzie River and stretches 187 kilometres into the tip of the Arctic Ocean. Made famous by the reality show Ice Road Truckers, it has been grated and ploughed regularly since the 1950s. That is, until 2013, when construction began on a much narrower but more reliable gravel road atop the permafrost, with highly scientific geotextiles limiting further damage to the precious frozen soil. Thawing permafrost is one concern, immobility is another. For many in islet towns – “Tuk,” Aklavik and Paulatuk – this past summer could be the last time they have to spend $400 on a half-hour flight to Inuvik’s dentists, or $10 for a jug of milk. Since Prime Minister John Diefenbaker conjured the Dempster Highway 60 years ago, it’s connected 730 kilometres of Western Arctic communities with many false starts whenever mining in the Klondike region boomed and busted. This, the final stretch, is being compared to the “last spike” of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Team spirit My travel mates are British and German automotive journalists, ready to push our fleet of Mercedes-Benz GLE 400 4MATIC SUVs to their limits. We meet over breakfast to hash out the plan: trace the Dempster from end to end, from 88

Survival gear in the G-Class includes safety flares, rescue blankets and race-car jacks for rapid tire changes.

the Arctic Circle through the heavenly Richardson Mountains, and finally arrive in Dawson City. Dawson is where the Gold Rush had its start, but today it’s better known for the sour-toe cocktail. “Sour toe?” asks one of the Germans. I dare him to Google it. When he winces, I know he’s discovered the story of a blackened, shrivelled digit in a whisky glass. “It has to touch your lip to count,” I explain. He passes his phone around the table, each European wincing in horror until it reaches Danny Kok, a semi-retired Formula 1 racer from Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, who simply nods to affirm its existence. Kok and three others from Driving Unlimited are our instructors on this trip – and rescue party, should it come to that. “You can drive six hours on the Dempster and not see another vehicle,” he says, recalling a time he covered it in -50°C temperatures and 80 km/h winds. “Just going out to change a tire… people can die in that extreme weather.” Hence the survival gear in his G-Class: safety flares, rescue blankets, satellite communications, race-car jacks for rapid tire changes and recovery equipment should a vehicle go off-road. “Our number-one priority is making sure everyone comes back in one piece.” Priority number two? A bucket-list-worthy adventure, of course.

Full speed ahead

cold cuts Tuk’s isolation has translated into high prices for basic imported goods like milk and vegetables – a situation the new road is set to help improve.

“I’ve driven on every continent but Antarctica, but this comes pretty close,” Kyle Fortune, a Scottish writer and World Car of the Year juror, says reassuringly as he steers the heated wheel, pointing the car onto the river. The sign says Area unsupervised: Swim at your own risk, but the COMAND navigation assures me there’s a winter road beneath the tires. With snow-dust blows from bank to bank, a scarred but sturdy glass appears under us, reflecting a clear blue sky. Spruce forests thin out as the latitude on the screen rises from 68° to 69° and the temperature drops from -14°C to -20.5°C. The windows quickly frost. I could be fooled into thinking we were roving the moon at high speed, save for remnants of oil barges frozen in place. Every 10 minutes or so, someone passes our four-vehicle fleet – heavy-duty trucks, a converted school bus, a $200 taxi ride from Tuk and, most photogenic, a caravan of huskies pulling



map quest A drive along the shores of the Arctic Ocean includes rare splashes of colour care of the Hotel Tuk Inn and the historic schnooner Our Lady of Lourdes.

tourists who are surely grinning under their balaclavas. As Fortune takes wide turns on the river, he keeps his foot off the brake, simply steering and letting the electronic stability program correct the slightest skids. “You can feel just the slightest adjustments,” he says, adding, “I tend to drive cars hard.” Soon, with Kok’s crew up ahead communicating a clear path via radio, Fortune shuts off the ESP, accelerates well past the limit and jerks the wheel. Powder whips around us and we spin wildly in sport mode, surely rearranging the contents of our stomachs. The seatbelt gives a reassuring hug as we drift, then releases with a soft sigh as Fortune takes back control. My envy growing, we swap seats halfway to Tuk, just past an embroidered shirt on a stick that signals a turn to Aklavik. At 90 km/h, aggressive winds whistle past my window and try to sway the light-truck-rated tires, but the aggressive tread clings to the ice. The wheels make constant micro-movements to maintain traction, even as unavoidable pressure ridges become more frequent closer to land, forcing my hands to gesture like I’m sharpening chopsticks. 90

Our convoy stops again to take turns posing in front of the Arctic Ocean sign – the only thing to do when you’re on top of the world.

Treasure hunt

After a three-hour drive through barren tundra, Tuk looks like a mini Manhattan.

After our three-hour drive through barren tundra, the beige trailers and stilted houses on the horizon make Tuk look like a mini Manhattan. But, really, it is as traditional as an Indigenous community can be in 2017, where hunting and fishing are both sacred and essential for a town with high unemployment and astronomical grocery costs. We spend a few hours photographing the unique landscape, stop at the RCMP station for a bathroom break (where else would we go?), then head back to Inuvik to rest before the full-day drive to Dawson City. But we soon learn that a blizzard and 100 km/h winds have forced the closure of the Dempster. Ploughers can’t even work it, and over lunch the next day, Kok explains that we’ll have to be flown out. It is just a taste of what locals experience most of the year, and evidence of why “the road,” as they’ve come to call it, is so vital.

ice of life Writer Omar Mouallem takes a break in between driving shifts as part of one of the last convoys to navigate the famous ice road.

“Who’s donating their toe tonight?” asks Fortune. After a long pause, I chime in. “We’ll just have to draw straws then.” With an extra day – a beautiful and sunny day – in Inuvik, I head to local Mavis Jacobson’s in search of an authentic souvenir, beyond photos and memories. There I find the aroma of moose hide and cabinets displaying seal hats, ornate moccasins and stone carvings, which she sells on behalf of makers across the territories. The Inuvialuit woman grew up in Tuk, where her father was a hired bear monitor – protecting oil workers from Earth’s largest land carnivore with a shotgun – but moved to Inuvik when she was 12. Jacobson recalls her childhood in Tuk, where a favourite pastime was looking for artifacts. “I found a couple of spearheads, a coin could have been left behind from the explorers,” she says, “and I took an arrow to the research centre. They said it was 600 years old.” She still makes regular trips to see her siblings and many relatives in

In Tuk, hunting and fishing are both sacred and essential.

Tuk, though they find themselves visiting Inuvik more out of necessity, and at great cost. I purchase a beaded brooch and pin it to my expedition coat, then set out to explore a town that’s become surprisingly multicultural since the Dempster opened to it in 1979. I eat at one of the most popular restaurants, the Roost, a Palestinian-owned Chinese takeout place with a Filipina hostess, Sudanese deliveryman and indigenous cook, and visit the western hemisphere’s northernmost mosque. Diversity is a strong indicator of economic opportunities, but also urbanity. As I return to the car and pull icicles off the Mercedes-Benz star emblem, I recall Jacobson’s words when asked if she’s worried about the road. Whether its virtues could also pave over the Inuvialuit traditions protected by isolation. “No,” she told me. “Tuk will always be traditional. Their sense of culture is too strong. It’s going to be awesome for them. And for us, to visit more.”


tr ave l The best in hotel getaways, weekend road trips and far-flung adventures

s tays Our favourite getaways from around the globe. Z u r i c h , S w i t z er l a n d


grandiose gallery The copper turrets of the Dolder Grand provide a picturesque backdrop for its extensive art collection, which includes Henry Moore’s Three-Piece Reclining Figure: Draped (pictured).

photo Kirstin Mckee (Sorrento)

Stroke of Genius Much hotel “art” is mass-produced and forgettable, but the museum-worthy collection at the Dolder Grand is one of the hotel’s main draws. The 11-metre-long Big Retrospective Painting above the reception desk is by Andy Warhol; Salvador Dalí’s painting Femmes Métamorphosées – Les Sept Arts can be spied in the restaurant; and the imposing bronze statue on the spa terrace is Fernando Botero’s Woman with Fruit. Explore over 100 works throughout the property on a self-led tour with the help of the hotel’s complimentary iPad guide. t h e d o l d e r g r a n d. c o m

S o r r en to, I ta ly

Antique Italia Founded by the Fiorentinos in 1834 and still run by the family, the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria is a must-visit not only for its cozy atmosphere, Michelin-starred dining and clifftop views of Mount Vesuvius, but also for the history lessons inside its walls. e x v i t t. i t Museum decor

With original frescoes, period furniture, framed photos of historic guests and bronze sculptures from Positano’s Liquid Art System gallery, the eclectic interiors often feel like a liveable gallery.

J a m a ic a

In Good Company


Round Hill is still as glamorous as it was when the Montego Bay hotel played host to the who’s-who of 1950s Hollywood. Stay at Villa 10, where Jackie and John F. Kennedy spent their honeymoon, or opt for a room decorated by Ralph Lauren (who has a residence on the property). r o u n d h i l l . c o

B a r bAd o s

Cliff Notes From its perch overlooking Barbados’ rugged Atlantic Coast and an iconic pinksand beach, the Crane Resort celebrates its 130th anniversary in 2017. The beloved Caribbean property is built on the site of a former cargo port and its architecture is distinctly past-meets-present. Find restaurants and shops in a town square inspired by Barbadian heritage culture complete with cobblestone walkways and jalousie windows. Original rooms are awash in handcrafted mahogany furniture, including dramatic four-poster beds, while the brand new Crane Private Residences offer contemporary interiors for those who love the white-and-bright look. Starting in 2018, 63 new beach houses at nearby Skeetes Bay will add an even more secluded offering. c r a n e r e s o r t s . c o m

R o ma n r u i n s

Legend has it that this is the same site where Roman emperor Augustus once lived. You’ll find excavated stone pillars and baths across the grounds (similar to those you’ll spy at nearby Pompeii). Musical history

Famous hotel guests have included Wagner, Pavarotti and Enrico Caruso, who actually lived there in the 1920s. His eponymous suite remains. In fact, staying there inspired singer Lucio Dalla to write his hit song “Caruso.”


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Everything Old Montreal is New Again

past present Left to right: Crew Collective & Café was once a 1920s bank, while the Phi Centre is made up of two buildings from 1861.

L From bustling port to tourist trap to burgeoning artist- and entrepreneurfriendly neighbourhood – a historic quarter of the city is reborn. wo r d s B RETT SC H AEN F IE L D pho t o s g a b r i e ll e s y k e s

city sites Opposite page: Perché rooftop terrace at Hôtel William Gray; right: the eclectic gift shop at the Phi Centre stocks local art and souvenirs.

et Toronto become Milan. Montreal will always be Rome.” Thus remarked Jean Drapeau, Montreal’s longest-running mayor and the man credited with transforming a smallish port city into a world player by the end of the 20th century. Indeed, his administration is behind Montreal’s most ambitious projects and enduring icons: the Expo 67 world’s fair; the 1976 Summer Olympics; a state-of-the-art metro (“second only to Paris,” locals still claim); an artificial island in the St. Lawrence River, created from excavated land; a stadium whose tower is the tallest inclined structure in the world, and whose striking silhouette is rivalled only by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome turned Biosphere; and the Mount-Royal cross. All of which have become synonymous with the city over the years. Montreal had a vitality and sophistication that made other cities look hopelessly parochial by comparison, and when I made the move there for university, decades later, I found my parents reminiscing fondly about their youthful jaunts to la belle province for unofficial but just-as-vital tourist attractions: late-night poutine, buzzing terraces and the weekly drum circles by the George-Étienne Cartier monument. Montreal: the place where you couldn’t help but feel like one of the cool kids. While the glow of this golden era has since somewhat dimmed – political scandals and construction headaches have kept the city in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons – the party picked up again in 2017 as the city matched Canada’s 150th with a year’s worth of celebrations for its own 375th anniversary. Whimsical, city-wide events and installations have abounded, from giant marionettes parading the streets to a tribute to Leonard Cohen to an interactive light installation on the Jacques Cartier Bridge.


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It’s a remarkable transformation for an area that once resembled an open-air museum. More than just another excuse to make merry, the milestone has been an opportunity for residents and frequent visitors alike to rediscover a city merging old-world charm with innovation. To get to the heart of this juxtaposition, I skipped the burgeoning hipster boroughs of Mile-Ex and Griffintown and went to the city’s most unlikely spot to unearth something new: Old Montreal. Officially designated a historic district in 1964, over the years Old Montreal became a fossil trapped in amber, offering little more than horsedrawn calèche rides between mediocre restaurants and souvenir shops. And while its building exteriors and cobblestone streets often double for Europe in Hollywood movies – styles in the area range widely from Gothic Revival to Italian Renaissance to Art Deco – until recently there was little to appeal to locals, whether they were in search of a well-made cocktail or a litre of milk. “It was a picturesque nothing,” states restaurateur Daniel Notkin bluntly. Co-owner of Notkins, the city’s best spot for brackish bivalves (not to mention a champion shucker himself), he is a bona fide local luminary whose ties to Old Montreal go back to the early 2000s, when he found it to be a corner of the island with surprisingly affordable loft spaces. “When I first moved in, there was really nowhere to go at night,” he admits, “but I had a hunch that there would be a turnaround if one or two people took a risk.” Enter Chuck Hughes. The now celebrity chef opened his first restaurant, Garde Manger, back in 2006 and, according to Notkin, led the charge for a wave of new bars, restaurants and cafés that would revitalize Old Montreal as a dining destination – beyond house wine and steak frites. As we down Malpeques in Notkin’s eponymous, two-floor restaurant, he tells me of happy childhood summers spent by the ocean in Massachusetts with his family, diving for lobster and crabs. This nostalgia saw him forge an immediate connection with the city’s Old Port – where all the fresh seafood once came into the city – and inspired him to launch Montreal’s annual Oysterfest seafood festival, a charitable initiative that brings together the city’s best chefs, musicians, bartenders and shuckers. 96

vision quest From top: Testing out VR headsets at the Phi Centre; Hôtel William Gray seamlessly blends heritage buildings and modern design.

Yet with great success comes great responsibility – and rising rents. But despite the declining availability of affordable commercial spaces for entrepreneurs such as himself, Notkin remains steadfast in his love of the area. “It was bound to happen. Living on an island means we can’t really expand or sprawl like other cities, but the adversity is what keeps us creative.” As I head down the cobblestones toward the Old Port, I quickly see what Notkin is getting at. Formerly neglected, perpetually À Louer buildings have been converted into luxury condos, office spaces and eateries. I step into Crew Collective & Café – a regal 1920s bank building turned communal workspace – and find it full of both local creatives and curious tourists. It’s a remarkable transformation for an area that, even a decade ago, resembled an open-air museum. As I round a corner onto Rue Saint-Pierre, one of the area’s particularly impressive conversion projects comes into view: Two formerly abandoned buildings dating back to 1861 have found new life as one of the city’s most innovative arts destinations.

sea change Daniel Notkin doesn’t just own a seafood restaurant – he is also a champion oyster shucker.

The Phi Centre was founded in 2012 by Phoebe Greenberg, an heiress of the Ottawa-based Minto property group. She first made her mark on the Montreal social scene in 2007 with DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, an independently funded gallery located a few blocks east. The LEED-certified Phi Centre was Greenberg’s idea of a future-forward cultural sandbox: an evolving space in which to both make art and experience it. Its five floors and terrace comprise a cutting-edge digital production studio (recently upgraded by temporary resident Red Bull Music Academy), a multi-purpose acoustic space and a small cinema perfect for private screenings and indie film fests. The crowning jewel, however, is the Virtual Reality Garden. Installed in 2015 after the overwhelming success of the Sensory Stories exhibit – which included a music video for Jeff Buckley and a film featuring LeBron James – the VR Garden gives the public an opportunity to experience a new form of immersive storytelling. This is where Myriam Achard, Phi’s Director of PR and Communications, finds me, goggles on, watching (and reaching for) an imaginary Iron Giant-like robot trying to reattach its hand. “Phi doesn’t plan so far in advance, about four months, so we can react quickly to new exhibit offers,” says Achard with a typically laid-back Montréalaise laugh. “We try to be flexible, like the building itself. We’re not sure what’s on tap for 2018, but for us, that’s part of the fun.” This flexibility has no doubt been a factor in the Phi Centre’s ability to attract a broad swath of renowned musicians and artists who would normally fill stadiums. Achard nonchalantly recounts memorable film screenings with Nick Cave and Henry Rollins, the first foray of Yasiin Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def) into stand-up comedy and the night when Diplo and Madonna joined Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne and Win Butler on stage for a DJ set in support of the Haitian charity KANPE. “Artists love it here,” she says. “Our spaces are very intimate and reassuring.” According to Achard, however, the Phi Centre’s appeal goes beyond its artistic ambitions and extends to the city itself. “We would have never set up Phi anywhere else in the world. The people here are hungry for culture and very open to new things. They love their city.” For another old-meets-new architectural project hiding in plain sight, I wander over to nearby Rue Saint-Vincent and William Gray,


south side Café Olimpico’s hotel outpost brings Mile-End cool to Old Montreal.

the city’s newest boutique hotel. The property comprises two 18th-century buildings (including one built by sheriff and merchant Edward William Gray) and a sleek new eight-floor glass tower. Walking through the eye-catching, lightbox-like entrance and into the airy atrium dubbed the Living Room, I can instantly see how this hotel differs from so many around it: While the minimalist suites cater to the style-conscious traveller – with exposed concrete ceilings and Le Labo amenities – it is the public areas of the hotel that highlight local pride. Corridors are adorned with colourful, artfully cropped photos of Montreal’s Modernist metro stations by Jesse Riviere. In the lounge, a communal library is stocked with a curated selection of titles (including graphic novels by Montreal authors and artists) from independent Mile End publisher Drawn & Quarterly. Across the hall, an offshoot of Montreal streetwear boutique Off The Hook aka OTH promotes local brands, including Naked & Famous denim, Want Les Essentiels bags and the shop’s own “Chez Nous” line – a range of graphic tees that celebrate the city’s neighbourhoods, from SaintHenri to Villeray. A quick walk through the shop and I’m standing in my favourite Montreal institution – only I’m not. It’s Café Olimpico, the second outpost of the 47-year-old Saint-Viateur mainstay. According to barista Joey Caputo, the new Olimpico, 98

Montreal is a work in progress that seems to work best when it’s at play.

like its predecessor, has been adopted as a café for the community – a meeting point where people come to chat, work and relax. Much to his surprise, it has also attracted some familiar faces who wouldn’t have otherwise made the journey. “The people who live or work in the area really want that local coffee spot,” he explains, deftly pouring a dollop of milk into my macchiato. “But we’re also seeing a lot of regulars coming down to Old Montreal on the weekend to have a coffee and wander around. It’s really changed the vibe of what was always just a tourist ’hood.” That evening, on Caputo’s advice, I go up to one of the hotel’s two rooftop terraces for what he assures me is the best view in the city. It’s a crisp but not too cold evening, perfect for nursing a gin cocktail finished with local honey and lager. As I gaze out over the St. Lawrence River, the evening sun casts a soft orange glow over the cityscape’s most famous faces: the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, Farine Five Roses, Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67. It’s a postcard view that, save for some new building developments, remains comfortingly timeless. But by now I know that, at street level, the city is moving beyond its glory days, with its sights set firmly on the future. Montreal remains the unconventional island it has always been – creative, artistic, pioneering, decadent – a work in progress that seems to work best when it’s at play. The cool kids are still here, they’ve just grown up a little.

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Old Montreal Go to N o t k i n s for the oysters, stay for what founder Daniel Notkin calls Early Coastal American cuisine – think steamed lobster and clam chowder. n o t k i n s . c o m

new world wheels

Exhibits change frequently at P h i C e n t r e , so check their site to see what’s on, from independent film screenings to virtual-reality conferences. Stop by the gift shop for an eclectic mix of accessories from local artists and designers. p h i - c e n t r e . c o m

Explore the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal in a vehicle as elegant as the city itself. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe features the only “pillarless” design in its class, meaning there is no visible framework interrupting the four side windows, creating a nearly open-top driving feel when all side windows are down. An enhanced and customizable console featuring 3-D maps in the navigation system will help get you from the Biosphere to the Big O in no time, and a bold grille and stylish high-performance LED headlamps will add a “je ne sais quoi” to every journey. MERCEDES - BENZ . CA

Opened in 2016, H ô t e l W i l l i a m G r ay comprises 127 rooms and suites and one penthouse in three buildings. In warmer weather, head to one of the property’s two terraces (including tropics-themed Perché) for drinks, light bites and panoramic views. h o t e lw i l l i a m g r ay. c o m

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chic shops




Who says a souvenir should be kitschy? These Montreal designers draw inspiration from the city for their unique, local wares.


1 Reycled-fur keychain, Harricana par Mariouche h a r r i c a n a . q c . c a 2 City coat of arms coasters, Atelier-D at e l i e r - d. c a 3 Place Ville-Marie figurine, Façades MTL fa c a d e s m t l . c o m 4 Poutine, bagel and smoked meat notecards, Paperole pa p e r o l e . c o m 5 Snowshoe and Ski-Doo wallets, Ute Wolff u t e w o l f f. c o m 6 Montreal memory game, Jules Mon Poisson Bulle


j u l e s m o np o i s s o n b u l l e . c o m


7 Bar_chitecture Biosphere-inspired coasters and Olympic Stadium-inspired bottle opener, F&Y f n y- m t l . c o m 8 Fragments roadwork meringue pieces, UI Culinary Oddities Creators u i - da . c o m 9 Mini hockey sticks, Shed Espace Créatif d e s e n fa n t i l l a g e s . c o m 10 Photo op magnets, Monumental LoveAmDoD n u m e n ta l o v e . c o m





Long isolated, Iceland has now become a trendy destination. But don’t worry – you can still soak up its raw beauty far from the crowds. WORDS VIOL AINE CHAREST- SIGOUIN PHOTOS MARTIN FLAMAND

T TOP OF THE WORLD The two basalt pillars of Lóndrangar, on the southern coast of Snæfellsnes Peninsula, are remains of an ancient volcanic crater.

he fog is so dense, I have to slow down. It was a bright, sunny day when I left Reykjavik in my Mercedes-Benz B-Class, but Iceland is a land of contrasts. The landscapes were forged by volcanoes and glaciers. In keeping with these extremes, here it isn’t unusual to experience four seasons in a day. I’m not alone on misty Route 1, which runs 1,339 kilometres as it loops around the island. In fact, I’m on its most popular stretch, known as the Golden Circle, which links Reykjavik to the country’s three most visited natural sites. Every day, a throng of tourists make the journey to admire the impressive Gullfoss waterfalls, and step over the gap separating the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates in the Thingvellir National Park. Others choose to gape at the power of what is known as The Great Geysir, a geyser that can shoot water up to 70 metres in the air. The 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano has nothing on the recent tourist boom here. Tourism has enabled Iceland to recover from its 2008 financial crisis, and has become the country’s economic backbone. In 2016, the island 101

welcomed 1.77 million tourists – that’s five times its population. As you walk through the streets of Reykjavik, this increase in visitors is plain to see. There are dozens of cranes overhead, busily transforming this city of 120,000. “People realized we weren’t so far away after all,” said Sigurlaug Sverrisdóttir three days earlier. After having travelled the world, this former flight attendant returned to her native Iceland to realize a crazy dream: to turn the workmen’s digs at a geothermal factory site, set amid a lava field, into a luxury hotel. That was in 2013, just before the jump in tourism. Today, it’s a regular occurrence for the ION Adventure Hotel to have no vacancies – so much so that Sverrisdóttir just inaugurated her second Reykjavik establishment. “Iceland measures 103,000 square kilometres. That’s half the size of Great Britain. Our island may be big, but it’s partially uninhabitable because of glaciers and lava deserts. It’s still possible to feel alone in the world here,” she promises. Those are the words that resonate as I’m hiking up a steep path in Reykjadalur, or the “steamy valley.” Soon enough, clouds of smoke mix with the mist and vapour from the hot springs (heat courtesy of the Hengill volcano, which last erupted 2,000 years ago). I stop a moment to peer into a crater filled with water boiling at 100°C. Other hikers pass by, and I see that they, too, have donned their bathing suits, ready to sink into the reward that awaits us at the end of this hour-long hike. Soon I spot bathers lounging by the river that runs through this valley. I slip into one of the natural hot springs. All around me, majestic mountains. I can feel Iceland’s magnetic pull.

Enchanted world The next day, while crossing the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on the island’s west end, I feel like I’m on another planet. The road weaves its way through the giant lava desert of Búdahraun. There are rocks as far as the eye can see, in odd formations that make silhouettes – some of which are shaped like legendary huldufólk elves. If it were a sunny day, I could probably spy the snowy planes of the Snæfellsjökull glacier from here, immortalized as the entryway to the centre of the earth in Jules Verne’s famous novel. But it’s still misty, so this journey has an eerie atmosphere worthier of a whodunit. In the pretty seaside village of Hellnar, I stop by the Fjöruhúsid Café to sip on their renowned fish soup. This defunct fisherman’s hut only has six tables, and its decor looks like it’s been frozen in time. “We opened 20 years ago,” says owner Sigrídur Einarsdóttir. “We just wanted to serve waffles and hot chocolate to the fishermen.” The place is still filled with patrons wearing lopapeysa, the 102

In 2016, the island welcomed 1.77 million tourists – that’s five times its population.

traditional Icelandic sweaters, but I have my doubts that they are fishermen. After my meal, I head to the waterfront to fill my lungs with fresh air. I’ve got company: Hundreds of birds are cutting shapes in the sky. On Ytri-Tunga Beach, my flying friends and I spot a couple of seals timidly dipping into the cold water. Then, on Lóndrangar Beach, I see the impressive basalt stone columns, 61 and 75 metres high respectively, and a former crater sculpted by the tides. I walk all the way to Dritvík Cove, which until the 19th century was a port that hosted up to 600 fishermen.

photos Efr ain Padro/Al amy Stock Photo ( this page); imageBROKER/Al amy Stock Photo (opposite)

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Délices d’ailleurs Chou grillé, purée de datte tiède et fromage de chèvre : une spécialité d’inspiration méditerranéenne du restaurant Marshall House, à Reykjavik.

head in the clouds Even Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions, like the hot springs and Harpa concert hall (opposite), are worth visiting – and photographing.

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Catch of the Day It used to be a herring processing plant, but today Marshall House is home to the Living Art Museum and Kling & Bang Gallery. It is also the studio of reputed Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. Sit down to a meal at the Marshall House restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows give onto the Reykjavik Port. Chef Leifur Kolbeinsson serves up dishes with a Mediterranean inflection, like grilled cabbage with warm date purée and goat’s cheese, or a delectable whole flounder stuffed with capers and anchovies. m a r s h a l l r e s tau r a n t. i s

western base

naturally sourced The Hraunfossar falls are formed by rivulets of subterranean water that flow from a lava field. Below: ION hotels owner Sigurlaug Sverrisdóttir.

Halfway between the Langjökull glacier and the stunning Hraunfossar waterfalls, Hotel Húsafell is an excellent base for exploring the island’s western quarter. Relax after a day on the road in the nearby geothermal pools or treat yourself to a five-course feast at the hotel restaurant. Here you’ll find dishes like smoked goose and duck confit served with creamy wild-mushroom barley, or a filet mignon plated with artichoke chips and celery-root mash. hotelhusafell .com

Today, I’ve got this pebble beach to myself, save for the vestiges of a British trawler that ran aground in 1948. As I watch the waves violently crash against the shore, I can’t help but imagine how rough life must have been in the old days on this island licked by winds and sunless in winter.

Endless ice “No one used to come this far, other than criminals banned from Iceland who would find refuge in the lava caves,” says Thór Birgisson. He’s my guide on an excursion to the Langjökull glacier. We’re riding in a modified military truck, but it feels as if we’re speeding forth on a giant 104

centr al stay Right on Reykjavik’s main strip, Laugavegur, the ION City Hotel brings a touch of Icelandic nature into the heart of the city with its contemporary decor inspired by lava deserts and glaciers. Book the panoramic suite for a stunning view of the sea and majestic Mount Esja, which you can admire from within the sauna on your private terrace. You’ll find just the vintage for the occasion in the well-stocked and complimentary minibar. i o n i c e l a n d. i s

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On the Road Iceland is at its best on the roads less travelled. Inquire before your trip, because certain roads close for the winter season or are only accessible with four-wheel-drive vehicles. The Höldur rental company offers MercedesBenz A-, B- and C-Class vehicles, as well as GLC, GLE and GLS SUVs and Sprinter vans. You’ll appreciate their renowned road-holding capabilities when the weather throws you a curve.

A Taste of Yore Matur og Drykkur owes its name, which translates to “food and drinks,” to a 1947 cookbook by Helga Sigurdardóttir. Chef Arnar Sævarsson draws inspiration from her traditional recipes and spins them into contemporary interpretations of dishes like saltkjöt og baunir, a soup served during Sprengidagur, the Icelandic answer to Mardi Gras. His deconstructed version involves salted lamb, pea purée and potato, carrot and rutabaga chips. “Icelandic cuisine came from survival above all else,” he explains. “Cod head, for example, became a typical dish because we would sell the fillets to the Brits for their fish and chips, and the head is all we had left!” In his hands, the recipe becomes a fabulous flambéed affair topped with fried cod cheeks.

inside view A snow-topped mountain near Langjökull glacier, where carved ice tunnels (right) let visitors trek through Europe’s second largest glacier. Far right: Matur og Drykkur restaurant in Reykjavik.

snowball, the way the snow is mixing with the mist. Our driver, Guttormur, seems in no way concerned. Using a simple smartphone app, he’s working the pressure of his studded tires like a pro to help us climb this ice mountain. At an altitude of 1,260 metres, we stop in front of a gap in the snow. No, it isn’t another doorway to the centre of the earth. Rather, it’s the entrance to a tunnel that cuts through 550 metres of the glacier, a marvel of engineering by the people at Into the Glacier that enables 106

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visitors to experience the inside of this outsized natural phenomenon. I dive into the tunnel, walk, and take a brief pause in the middle, under 40 metres of solid ice. I can’t help but think of Narnia. After having crossed through this sleeping giant, I take a few steps out into the endless field of snow that lies before me. I feel tiny against this white immensity. Suddenly, the fog lifts, and as if by magic, a shining sun is revealed. Clearly, nature here always has the last word.

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GARDENING IN THE CLOUDS For urban planners, it is the vision of the future: a high-rise building that can be as green as a park or garden. Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut is constructing just that in Taipei. The tower’s exterior is reminiscent of DNA’s double-helix structure, twisting 90 degrees from base to top. Its form allows for the construction of large terraces that project outward beneath the floors above. Callebaut compares the concept to the creation of an urban forest. “The garden is no longer positioned alongside the building. It is the building,” he says. The high-rise is called Tao Zhu Yin Yuan, or “the Retreat of Tao Zhu.” Some 23,000 trees and shrubs were planted by the time it was completed in September. Residents will look out from their windows onto trees and orchards – right in the heart of Taipei! The gardens will also help to combat smog in Taiwan’s capital. The building has been designed to absorb 130 tonnes of CO2 per year. VINCENT.CALLEBAUT.ORG 108

think ahead Vincent Callebaut develops visionary sustainable-architecture projects worldwide.

photos Vincent Callebaut Architectures/Paris; WILLIAM BEAUCARDET ( vincent callebaut ); Illustration Florian Bayer

High-tech meets fine design on the international stage


Vinyl sales rose by this much last year (while CD and cassette sales dropped) with help from Precision Record Pressing in Burlington, Ontario. Launched in 2017 with a limited‑edition release of the Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem, it is the world’s first vinyl manufacturing plant to use all-new equipment in over 30 years. While most companies won’t produce under 300 records, Precision Record Pressing offers affordable smaller pressing runs.

STRESSLESS DRIVING In cooperation with the Daimler Research Centre in Berlin, traffic psychologist Dr. Peter Kiegeland has conducted a number of studies on the effects of fatigue on motorists. He is currently a chairperson of the Association of German Professional Psychologists. We talked to him about driving and road stress. What causes more stress, driving in the inner city or on freeways and highways? I would say that inner-city traffic is more stressful. It can be particularly trying for drivers forced to navigate unfamiliar surroundings. That said, getting stuck in traffic on the freeway can also be nerve-racking. How do driver-assistance systems help? They help us to relax in difficult situations such as stop-and-go traffic or in poor lighting conditions. We find reassurance in the knowledge that these systems will intervene in an emergency. What other technical advances can support drivers? Ergonomics is very important. An improperly adjusted and uncomfortable seat can be a stress factor. Many people underestimate the role of ergonomics in managing stress levels. What other factors contribute to stress ? Noise. The less noise we experience when driving, the better. Air quality also plays a decisive role.

Well-Armed Step aside, sci-fi – the future is at hand thanks to Thalmic Labs. The Waterloobased company caused a stir with the Myo armband, a gesture-controlled device that allows users to interact and use technology from a distance. The armband has not only changed the way users play games (it is especially popular with VR enthusiasts) but it is also being integrated into revolutionary medical science. The technology in the armband is being used to create prosthetic arms controlled by the users’ muscle movements. t h a l m i c . c o m

Could you explain that for us? Good climatic design is an important factor in ensuring that drivers are relaxed. Studies show that poor air quality in vehicles leads to a loss of alertness that is on par with that experienced by drunk drivers. Purified air relaxes drivers and enhances their well-being. Stress is also a matter of attitude. What would you recommend to notoriously pushy drivers? They should have a long hard think about what really causes their behaviour. Are they truly worried about arriving late? Or, are they taking their private issues onto the road? 109

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In a remote part of West Virginia, a group of residents has set up home in the National Radio Quiet Zone, a place nearly free of the imperceptible noise born from wireless technology. In their documentary, The Quiet Zone, Canadian filmmakers Daniel Froidevaux and Elisa Gonzalez follow the lives of four “electro-refugees” in an attempt to explore our complicated relationship with communication technology.

Put more bass in your life with this portable Bluetooth loudspeaker. Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A1 sports a stunning design and weighs just 600 grams. B E O P L AY. C O M


Sound Off

q u ie t z o n eproj ec t.

R O UT E : From Miami

to Key West




U n i t e d S tat es

the long road ahead Taking the Overseas Highway in Florida is like driving across the open sea. Come evening, things take a romantic turn on this road as the red sun sinks slowly below the horizon. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy the trip!

photos B&O Play; Getty Images

L E NGTH : 182 kilometres T R AV E L T I M E : 3.5 hours

Watch This Space


It’s time to chuck your charger and trade it in for the Uvolt Watch. The Canadian designed accessory displays time and doubles as a solar battery pack that charges your smart phone on the go. Slated to be released in late 2017, the Uvolt Watch is as stylish as it is functional. u volt.

QUICK MICK When Mick Schumacher celebrated his 18th birthday last March, getting his driver’s licence was – unsurprisingly – among his top priorities. Mick, the son of former F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, is widely regarded as one of the world’s most talented young motorsport drivers. Instructors are a bit skeptical of teaching the young driver who clearly knows how to put the pedal to the metal. Five video clips follow the new Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador as he comes to grips with the rules of the road at a German driving school Farschule Furious. FA C E B O O K . C O M/



Back to School Canadian field-trip planners can finally rest easy: The Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa reopens in November 2017. This long-time school and family favourite will be launching new interactive exhibits, such as Steam: A World in Motion, on the history of steam technology in Canada, and ZOOOMobile, where children can experiment with vehicle design. Last but certainly not least, word is they’re bringing back the museum’s most popular exhibit: the sensory-distorting Crazy Kitchen.

picking up steam An interactive exhibit at the Canada Science and Technology Museum immerses kids in Canada’s locomotive history.

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People & Places

Step out with Mercedes-Benz at the season’s hottest events, from F1 parties to sold-out concerts.

All- Star Access

Part y Circuit

Formula One weekend in Montreal is a highlight of the city’s summer social scene, and Mercedes-AMG Motorsport and Hugo Boss helped attendees party in style. The two brands teamed up to host “A Night Forged in Time” at Windsor Station, a luxe downtown venue and former headquarters of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The red-carpet event celebrating 50 years of AMG was hosted by former F1 driver David Coulthard and attended by over 700 guests, including current Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured at top) and Valtteri Bottas, as well as racing legend Niki Lauda. 112

This August, 30 Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg customers received tickets to the sold-out Bruno Mars concert, featuring Camila Cabello, at the city’s Bell MTS Place. The evening, which featured food, drinks and a private tour of the venue, was a Star Access VIP event made possible by Mercedes-Benz Canada’s partnership with Live Nation Canada. Through the Live Nation partnership, premium concert tickets are made available exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and smart fortwo customers in Canada.

AMG extr aordinaire

Twenty-four lucky Mercedes-AMG customers (with prior AMG on-track experience) were selected to be treated to a unique evening at the AMG Driving Academy this June. The participants tested out high-performance AMG vehicles on Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve (pictured below), experiencing F1 driving first-hand on the Canadian Grand Prix-approved track.

Retail Ther apy

photo Serebral360/Stockimo/Alamy Stock Photo (STADIUM)

CF Markvillle, a shopping mall in Markham, Ontario, is now home to the new Mercedes me Store Markham. The city is a growing automotive hub in the GTA, and Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti (pictured above, left) presented the store with a plaque to inaugurate its opening. Philipp von Witzendorff (pictured above, right), Vice-President and Head of Toronto Retail Operations for Mercedes-Benz Canada, said, “The store is designed for people to informally stop by and check out the latest models, ask questions or just browse items from the Mercedes-Benz Collection.”

dream team Following 19 tournaments held across Canada between May and August, Karl Reuber, Tim Belter and Real Thibault (pictured left to right) won the Canadian Final of the 19th annual MercedesTrophy golf tournament. Participants in the final – all Mercedes-Benz owners from across the country – stayed at the Sherwood Inn in Muskoka and played at the nearby Öviinbyrd Golf Club, one of Canada’s toprated courses. The three winners went on to play as Team Canada in Stuttgart, Germany, at the 2017 MercedesTrophy World Final.

Super Stadium The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, is now open and hosting excited sports fans and concert-goers. The next-gen venue is the new home of Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United FC and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. It features a 360-degree “halo” video board that wraps around the stadium’s interior and a 16-storey window that reveals a spectacular view of downtown Atlanta. The state-of-the-art stadium also boasts magnetometers that scan entrants and increase turnstile capacity by 40 percent. More proof that the stadium is playing in the big leagues – it has already been booked for the 2019 Super Bowl.

inside track

love language Watch the short film Painted with Love at

wall to Wall

Art and Pride go hand in hand in Toronto (and online) thanks to a new mixed media project. W o r d s M a r k Am b r o s e H a r R i s

“ B e u n a p o lo g e t i c a l ly yo u r s e l f a l l t h e t i m e .” This credo of self-acceptance dedi-

cated to the LGBTQ2 community comes courtesy of the documentary short Painted with Love. Directed by Mark Bone, the video is part of a digital campaign to address the concrete impact of homophobic and transphobic hate speech, using the transformative power of art to show that love can triumph over hate. “We wanted to shine a light on the real effects of hate speech,” says Virginie Aubert, Vice President of Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Canada. 114

We wanted to shine a light on the real effects of hate speech.

Mercedes-Benz commissioned queer visual artist and tattooist Thomarya “Tee” Fergus (pictured left) to paint a public mural inspired by conversations with Toronto LGBTQ2 community members who have faced harassment and abuse. Fergus’s style ranges from lush portraits to large-scale stark line work, and her artistic process, as well as her intimate discussions with LGBTQ2 participants, are distilled into Bone’s short film. Despite the stories in Painted with Love of bullying and homophobic vandalism, Tee Fergus’s vision cranes towards the future. “This is a piece that is meant to reflect not where we were, but how far we’ve come,” she explains. “When people see it, I hope they feel a sense of possibility, change and excitement.” Since the mural’s unveiling at Dovercourt and Dupont during Toronto Pride 2017, the kaleidoscopic work of art continues to generate messages of solidarity and support, even inspiring its own hashtag: #LoveTransforms.


on the fights that build cities and culture OPEN DAILY OCT 14 — DEC 17

at the Fairmont Pacific Rim FIGHTFORBEAUTY.CA