John Thomson  

John Thomson's I Didn't Know That!

With my two weeks away from writing I must say the inflow of story ideas was tremendous. Today I am going to go over some of those things as well as whatever else comes across the desk.

The handling of the Burke firing by the new owners of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment was very badly timed and amateur by the board of directors of such a powerful organization.

The question that must be asked is, why now? This is a savvy group of people in that board room. They are leaders in their field and own the richest team in the NHL. They should know how to handle these things. Hitting a man on the side of the head is not the answer. These new owners want a winner because their corporate friends who buy most of the seats in Air Canada Center want a change.

Brian Burke was very easy to deal with when my Media Marketing Club brought him to speak at a luncheon at the Coast Capri Hotel. It was the first and last time we used a helicopter to bring in a guest. Burke was staying up with Mike Duggan at Silver Star with his children and so we had him here and back very quickly. He was manager of the Canucks in those days and came to the Okanagan a lot with his kids.  As well, he coached at Nick Iannone’s Hockey School in Penticton for many summers.

Note:  Not so long ago I read a new book written about the Maple Leaf Empire.  It was a terrific read.  The organization is so wealthy because everything they own, the people want to buy. If you take the three teams, Maple Leafs, Raptors and the Toronto Football club, then consider all the money people spend on souvenirs, jerseys, programs (not to mention the food and drink) - this is one giant organization. The book states that this amounts to a clear profit of 23 cents on every dollar they take in.


I hear there are two new wineries about to be built on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna.  These will be added to the over two hundred wineries we now have in the province. When we came here thirty-five years ago there were twelve if my memory serves me well. Calona Wines and Casebello Wines are the two that I can remember.

Here is a paragraph from my column in 2006:

“I was surprised to hear that the B.C. wine industry now has 132 wineries in operation with twenty-four more being planned. That is quite a number. When we came here twenty-eight years ago there were Calona Wines in Kelowna and Casebello Wines in Penticton. Harry McWaters was just starting his Sumac Ridge Estates Winery in Summerland. We drove out one Sunday to John de Trepanier's Estate Winery in Peachland, the first estate license in B.C. in 1978. It was the first winery committed to making 100 percent B.C. Wines”.


I have received word that the empty Extra Foods store in West Kelowna is going to be designed into a major outlet for the City Furniture chain in B.C. They have carved a niche for themselves across the province and in this case there isn’t a lot of competition in their back yard.


It is such a pleasure to shop at Paul’s Produce in the Guisachan Plaza. Everything is kept so well and the vegetables are so clean. I have a lot of fun in there and end up trying new things all the time. It’s a great place to shop.


Six or seven years ago, Colin Fezziwig started his first café and Artesian bakery in the Mission Shopping Center. It was a small cozy spot and the food was terrific. The soups and sandwiches were different in every way and a food eating experience each time, as were the soups they produce. We shop at the bakery at the Mission quite a bit and both of us like their honey bran muffins.

The carpenters and electricians etc are all busy at the new location on Gordon Road.

One of the big breaks along the way was the opening of a store at Okanagan College. From the beginning this move proved to be successful. They produce a fine product and I can see more of these café’s and bakeries in other areas of the city.  Colin has the right formula and it always works.


About eleven years ago Johnny Siegman was my butcher at Cooper’s in the Mission Shopping Center. He had been employed for many years when he decided it was time to try it on his own. He was nervous about the possibilities of a new butcher shop/deli in town but wanted to try.  He established Johnny’s Meats and Deli in the Hollywood Plaza in Rutland. It was a success and after three years he had to enlarge the space because they were manufacturing so many products. Then came a satellite store on KLO Road and he was planning his third store for West Kelowna.

Now Johnny has sold both the West Kelowna and the Rutland stores to the people in the West Kelowna location. The KLO store will remain with the  present owner.


Remember back in the good old days when the Moirs Chocolate Company from Halifax delivered their famous Pot of Gold chocolates across the country? That all started in 1928 and that meant the beginning of the Christmas season. Every woman wanted a black box of the Moirs chocolates for Christmas. Men made that black beauty their "out" in shopping for the Mrs.

The family was one of the first makers of chocolate delicacies when they opened a bakery in Halifax in 1815.  Nabisco bought the company in 1967 and Hershey purchased the company in 1987.  Now there are five different combinations of chocolates in different coloured boxes, led by the black box, Pot of Gold.   

Back then you could only buy the chocolates in your favourite drug store.

Now I believe the chocolates are produced in Hershey’s factory in Mexico.

It still means St. Nick is on his way.


Ever since I wrote that piece on SOPA Square last week, I have had emails about the flag. One such email said it was time to tell the owners that it was illegal to have just one flag. In other words if you hang one country's flag there would also have be a Canadian flag on the crane as well.

Come on folks, this is the act of a loving husband who wanted to honour his wife with something meaningful from her country. This sounds like something the courts brought into play along with the "no take the wine home to your province - you could be gunned down at the border!"

Ease off folks, take a deep breath and step back.

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