Participation in war movie provides challenge, new insights for family

Nazi soldiers took Gladys Seguin from her home in Poland to slave in Germany, wrote The Owen Sound Sun Times Nov. 10. Almost seven decades later, her Owen Sound-raised grandson, York student Levi Dow, dressed as a Nazi soldier, to play a small role in Storming Juno, a film made last summer partly at Sauble Beach with close to 40 local extras.

The movie airs for the first time on The History Channel on Thursday.

Seguin’s daughter Sue took her mother to watch the filming at Sauble. She recently recalled the emotional encounter, and it helped her finally understand something about war.

Dow and his mother both worried what impact seeing her grandson in the once-hated uniform might have on Gladys, now 83. “It could have been unsettling for mom. It was quite unsettling for me,” Seguin said.

Instead, Dow said from Toronto, the day seemed like “a sense of closure.” “It think that was pretty powerful,” he said.

Dow’s is a bit part in the movie, prominent in the promotional trailer. He is on screen as Canadian soldiers take several Nazis prisoner. He applied to a newspaper ad looking for extras for the filming at Sauble Beach, where he spent five 12-hour days on the project.

Although Dow tried to spare his grandmother seeing him in the German uniform, her only comment when she saw it, before giving him a hug, was to say how handsome he looked, Seguin said.

York University ‘all clear’ after gas leak

Toronto Fire has deemed four buildings at York University safe after a gas leak forced their evacuation Tuesday afternoon, wrote the Toronto Star Nov. 9.

Toronto Fire arrived on campus just after 2:30pm. A student residence, the athletic centre, and the chemistry and science buildings were evacuated after construction crews accidentally cut through a gas line.

York spokesperson Keith Marnoch, associate director, media relations, said classes beginning after 7pm Tuesday were scheduled as usual.

There were no injuries.

  • News of the gas leak was also carried on most Toronto major media outlets Nov. 9.

Class actions can target firms as defendants

As class actions gather momentum, several major law firms have been targeted as defendants in the past year, wrote the National Post Nov. 10. It’s a trend that is indicative of larger law firms’ propensity to expand their areas of expertise to become a one-stop resource for all types of legal advice.

That major law firms are being named as defendants in class actions is noteworthy for legal academics. Lorne Sossin, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, has been watching each case closely.

He said the trend may prompt law firms to revamp the way they conduct business. “I think there will be a reaction in terms of risk assessment for law firms when they’re getting involved in certain kinds of transactions,” Sossin said. “The range of scenarios where a law firm can be involved as a defendant or as a co-defendant is very broad, so larger law firms will probably have to revisit their policies about conflict of interest and liability.”

Sossin added that all law firms will be watching the courts to ascertain what each case will mean for their firm. “At the end of the day it will take a few judicial decisions to clarify the scope of a lawyer or law firm’s exposure,” he said. “It will be very interesting to see the outcome and what this will mean for law firms and their policies in the future.”

Aviva gets it right on corporates, stays bullish

Doug MacDonald (MBA ’93), president of Aviva Investors Canada Inc., got it right in July when he forecast corporate bonds would outperform government debt, wrote Bloomberg News Nov. 10. He expects more of the same trend as earnings rebound.

“Even though yields on every bond instrument have come down, corporate yields still, on a relative basis, offer the best value,” said MacDonald, who oversees about $6 billion. “They are a little less interest-rate sensitive, they offer additional yield and corporations, despite a poor recovery, are actually in good shape.”

MacDonald, 43, a chartered financial analyst, has held jobs at KBSH Capital Management and ING Investment Management. He has finance degrees from the Schulich School of Business at York University and McMaster University.

Realty mogul returns to music

It’s a rare measure by which former York student Mario Romano would not be considered a success, wrote the Toronto Star Nov. 9 in a story about the one-time student, now a friend of the University, and his career as a jazz pianist.

As founder and president of the Castlepoint Group, the Star said, he oversees a multimillion-dollar development empire behind buildings in New York, Philadelphia and LA, as well as landmark Toronto structures, such as Palace Place on Lake Shore Boulevard West and the Daniel Libeskind-designed L Tower being erected at the Sony Centre.

When his dad died at 85 in 2008, quickly followed by the death of his mother and a split from his wife of 30 years, Romano started playing the piano again. He practised his way to public performances, here and in Italy, and this week released his first CD, Valentina.

He studied at the Royal Conservatory and in the inaugural jazz programs at York University and Humber College where classmates included guitarist [and York jazz instructor] Lorne Lofsky and drummer Vito Rezza, respectively. He also played the downtown club circuit.

York University gets $150,000 for student exchange project

A York University project to give Canadian, American and Mexican social science students a continental perspective on migration and immigrant integration has received funding from the federal government, wrote YongeStreet online magazine Nov. 10. Last month, HRSD Canada announced $152,680 in support of the project, entitled, Migration Studies Initiatives to Promote Curricular Development and a North American Community.

The money is granted under the government’s Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education, founded in 1995, which funds exchanges and co-operation between university students across North America.