Morning Brief: Top Winter Destinations, A Colourful New Loonie & More

9 things you need to know for Friday, October 21.

​Boats at a sandbar in Destin, Florida. Right: New Canadian loonies featuring inventor Alexander Graham Bell.
Features Editor

Boats at a sandbar in Destin, Florida. Right: New Canadian loonies featuring inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

We made it; TGIF — Andrew from Narcity here. ☕

Off The Top: Today, Drake is one of Canada's most valuable cultural exports. However, according to an unearthed invoice, a concert promoter paid the "6ix God" a mere $100 to open for Ice Cube back in 2006 — barely half the price of a single nosebleed ticket to see the Toronto superstar in 2022.

In Case You Missed It

1. Canada's Most Valuable Brands Were Revealed & You Can Guess Who Ranked High

For the second straight year, Royal Bank of Canada was determined to be Canada's most valuable corporate brand, according to a new report by data analytics firm Kantar. The ranking is determined by financial performance; in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, RBC grew its "brand value" by 74% — US$37.7 billion — since 2020. In fact, banks featured prominently atop the list; TD Canada Trust finished second, while Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal and CIBC also cracked the top 10. For more on the ranking, here's Helena Hanson.

  • Who Else? In addition to the five banks, the top 10 also includes three telecom firms, a restaurant chain and an apparel company. Any guesses?
  • My Take: I imagine the Canada Morning Brief with Andrew Joe Potter finished just off the list.

2. Rock Star Jacob Hoggard Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison For Sexual Assault

Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard, who rose to prominence as the frontman of the Juno Award-winning rock band Hedley following a top-three finish on Canadian Idol back in 2004, was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman six years ago. Hoggard's team had hoped for a three-to-four-year sentence; the Crown had sought six-to-seven years. Brooke Houghton has additional details on the proceedings here.

  • In Her Words: Ontario Superior Court Justice Gillian Roberts acknowledged Hoggard's previously clean record but ultimately determined the sentence "must be sufficient to reflect the inherent harmfulness of a manipulative and particularly degrading rape."
  • What's Next? Hoggard's legal team is appealing the verdict. As things currently stand, in addition to his prison sentence, the 38-year-old will be listed as a registered sex offender list for 20 years.

3. Viva La Mexico! Hot & Sunny Winter Vacation Destinations Are Waiting, Canada

If the chilly weather and dwindling daylight has you down, it might be time to begin planning a winter getaway to a toastier locale. Home rental service VRBO ranked the top 10 sunny destinations that Canadians will be flocking to this winter and in addition to a few familiar favourites like Maui and Palm Springs, there's a few spots that are a bit off the beaten path. Katherine Caspersz breaks down the list, including some of the more interesting rental properties available.

  • My Take, No. 1: I think the smarter play here is to book a late-January weekend in Winnipeg. After that, wherever you live will feel like Boca Raton.
  • My Take, No. 2: If you actually already live in Winnipeg, first of all: I'm sorry. Second of all: ever been to Yellowknife?

HEY YOU! You should sign up for the email version of the Canada Morning Briefright here. It's better than this version. Trust me.

What Else You Need To Know Today

In the lead-up to Monday's municipal elections in Ontario, holdover Toronto mayoral candidate John Tory raised eyebrows by suggesting in a radio interview that the city would explore converting the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Express into toll routes. However, Stuart McGinn reports that the two-term mayor later clarified that the decision falls under provincial jurisdiction and isn't a priority anyway.

It's the end of route as Montreal knows it — or at least the end of hopes that the city's forthcoming REM light rail system will open this year. According to La Presse, the project's owner is expected to announce that the grand opening will be pushed to spring 2023 at the earliest, MTL Blog's Sofia Misenheimer writes. Here's what that means for Montreal's commuters.

The Royal Canadian Mint confirmed that a new $1 coin design entered circulation on Thursday. According to Helena Hanson, the new loonie features telecommunications and marine tech pioneer Alexander Graham Bell — and just like the previously released Oscar Peterson loonie, some of the Bell loonies will feature a beautiful splash of colour. Here's what the new coin looks like.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued recalls and safety alerts for a wide swathe of products. Sarah Rohoman reports that Canadians should be on the lookout for these five items, including over a dozen varieties of sandwiches sold by Circle K/Couche Tard. Hey, who ordered the listeria and cheese on rye?

"Say So" singer Doja Cat turns 27 years old today. Country star Kane Brown is 29. Kim Kardashian is 42 — and, quite frankly, hopefully doing OK through all this Kanye West BS. Retired Blue Jays great George Bell is 63. The wonderful and raw Carrie Fisher would have turned 66 today. Dynamite inventor (and prize founder) Alfred Nobel was born on this day in 1833. Kaboom.

Thanks for reading Narcity'sCanada Morning Brief — the newsletter that can be read in the corner or the spotlight while taking public transit in Montreal.

Where is your ultimate winter vacation destination? Let me know at or hit me up on Twitter if you'd prefer at @andrewjoepotter.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend and I will see you back here on Monday!

Andrew Joe Potter
Features Editor
Andrew Joe Potter was a Features Editor for Narcity Media Group based in Toronto, Ontario.