Crosscountry: Canada at a glance — January/February 2016

Three Canadian whiskies take top honours at international competitions, and Vancouver could soon become the North American headquarters of a major Chinese theatre and art company.


Vancouver bound

The BC government has signed a memorandum of understanding that could bring the North American headquarters of Poly Culture Group, a major Chinese theatre and art company, to Vancouver, reports Business in Vancouver.

PCG is part of the China Poly Group, founded in 1993 as an arm of the People’s Liberation Army. The group is diversified, with activities ranging from arms dealing and real estate development to fireworks and mining.

The group doesn’t produce a financial report, but a New York Times profile estimated in 2012 that it was worth US$61 billion.


Let’s toast to that

Whisky barrels 

Three Canadian whiskies have recently earned top distinctions internationally.

Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye takes top honours as World Whisky of the Year 2016 in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible.

And at the British World Whiskies Awards 2015, J.P. Wiser’s garnered the gold medal in the category of Best Canadian blended, while Caribou Crossing Single Barrel earned gold for best nonblended.

Most people associate whisky with scotch. But scotch whisky is only one of four major whisky categories, explains The Scottish variety is made from malted barley, while the Irish version uses any cereal grain. US whiskey, known as bourbon, is made mainly from corn, and the Canadian version is made from rye.


TSX rising

Toronto Stock Exchange 

BMO World Markets’ chief strategist, Brian Belski, has made the audacious prediction that Canada’s foremost stock index, the S&P/TSX, will rise by 7% in 2016, reports Les Affaires.

If Belski’s prediction comes true, the Canadian stock market will surpass its US counterpart for the first time in six years. The Toronto Stock Exchange has never underperformed US marketplaces for more than five years in a row.

According to Belski, corporate profits should rise by 4.7%. And the Canadian market will look good in large part because the US one will head south for the first part of 2016 owing to the Federal Reserve interest rate increase.


Step it up

Living in a car-dependent suburb could be harmful to your health, according to research presented at Vancouver’s World Diabetes Congress, reports the Calgary Herald.

In Metro Vancouver, residents of the most walkable neighbourhoods are 30% less likely to be overweight or obese than residents of the least walkable neighbourhoods. And obesity is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

“What we want municipal planners to realize is that ... they need to look at their sidewalks as physical activity resources for the community,” says Jat Sandhu, the principal investigator for the study.