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Harold and Harry – a friendship that spanned seven decades

left: the late Harold Richman
right: Harry Warren

Ed. note: It’s been quite some time since we had run a piece by Harry Warren in the print edition of the JP&N. Harry’s often whimsical musings were regular features in the paper for many years. So, when I happened to call Harry not too long ago, I was more than  a little concerned that I might find out there was something seriously wrong that had prevented him from sending us any more contributions.

But, when I asked Harry why it was that he had stopped writing for us, his answer, quite simply, was that he just couldn’t think of anything else to write about. In response, I asked him if it would be all right with him then if I looked back at his many pieces and chose one to reprint for our Rosh Hashanah issue. I should also mention that, in his meticulous manner, Harry numbered every one of his articles.The last one we received, for instance, was #110. I chose the following piece, #102 as it happens, because it’s both humourous and poignant, as in it Harry looks back on a lifelong friendship with his dear friend, Harold.

It all began in 1946, when I met Harold at The University of Manitoba Ski Club. Harold was enrolled in Electrical Engineering faculty and I in the faculty of Civil Engineering. This was the beginning of a friendship that lasted over 65 years.
When Harold was invited to become the editor of the annual publication “The Slide Rule” he accepted on the condition that Iwould be his co-editor. That’s how we both became members of the Engineering Council.
This was usually a fairly technical publication where students usually reported on their summer work experiences.
We decided to jazz it up a bit by adding humorous articles and lots of photos of the students. One of the articles that Harold wrote about was on German inventions. It was our understanding that the copyrights on these inventions ended when Germany capitulated to the Allies at the end of World War II. We discussed possibly going into partnership after we graduated, but it never came to pass.

Harold headed for Montreal after graduation in 1947, and I stayed in Winnipeg with a job at the Dominion Bridge Co. as a Concrete Design Engineer. Harold corresponded with me and ultimately convinced meto move to Montreal because there were more opportunities for engineers in that city. I was able to get a job with the Dominion Structural Steel Co. in Montreal and found a room for rent on Esplanade Ave., near Mount Royal. This was a rooming house shared by another friend of mine, Al Yentin, an architect from Winnipeg.

Harold and I took a week-end trip to Ste Agathe, a resort, north of Montreal. We had intended to take a swim in the beautiful lake, but had trouble finding a public beach, as the resort hotels were able to build on private lots that stretched to the water’s edge. When we finally did find a public beach it was littered with trash and empty beer cans.
It was a very warm day and we decided to go for a swim. There was a fixed raft about 100 yards from the lakeshore. When we arrived we lay down on it, and thought we would take in some sun. Presently we heard someone shouting at us from the lakeshore. At first, we ignored it, until we realized he was trying to get our attention, but we couldn’t make out what he was saying, until he swam up to us climbed aboard and said:
“C’est privée monsieur!”
Imagine a diving platform out in the lake that was private property and owned by one of the resort hotels! Unheard of in the province of Manitoba! We passed one of the hotels that had a sign on its front lawn: “Restricted Clientelle”.
Just for fun we went to the main desk to inquire and were told that they did not allow Jews or Coloured guests on their property – blatant bigotry and anti-Semitism – something we had not experienced in Manitoba. We were gaining an education in the province of Quebec. If you were not registered in one of the hotels there was simply no place to go! We finally found a bit of shade by sitting on the grass beside the road with our backs up against a retaining wall. Presently we heard someone calling us from the top of the retaining wall:
“C’est privée monsieurs”
Even the grass beside the roadway was private!

I persuaded Harold to take a drawing course. We proceeded to buy our supplies, some drawing paper and charcoal sticks and showed up at the studio. There were a number of students already in front of their easels. We looked around and thought that perhaps we would start by drawing some still life, like apples or oranges in a dish.
As we waited a door opened into the studio and an attractive young woman proceeded to the centre of the floor, dressed in a robe. Presently she dropped her robe, and she was absolutely stark naked! The other students started drawing immediately while Harold and I simply stood there with our mouths open, and took it all in. The teacher came up to us, and with a stern look on her face and exclaimed: “You better put something on paper, fast, or out you go!”
So much for our venture in to the art world of Montreal.

On another occasion Harold received an invitation to visit some friends at their cottage in Ste. Agathe. He asked our host if I could join them on this trip, and it was agreed. We acted like a couple of twins, joined at the hip. It was a beautiful cottage and appetizers were being served. Harold introduced me to our host, a Jewish businessman from Montreal, in the shmata business (clothing manufacture) – also his daughter. He took me aside into the solarium and said.
“Harold tells me you’re an engineer.”
I said that was correct.
“I like you, and my daughter likes you. I am getting ready to retire and am looking for someone to take over my business.”
Holy mackerel! I was being propositioned! On our very first meeting! I withdrew with some lame duck excuse. And I was furious! Harold had set me up! Obviously he had been propositioned first, and obviously he wasn’t interested. Neither was I! Everything moves much faster in Montreal than it does in Winnipeg! I was gaining an education!

My boarding housemate, Al Yentin, took me aside one evening and said:
“Harry, do you like to play tennis?”
“Sure”, was my reply, “What’s up?”
“I have a tennis date, on the mountain, tonight, and my girl friend has a girl friend who would like to play doubles.
“I don’t like blind dates.” was my response.
“Come on, be a sport, it wouldn’t hurt you to try it once.”
Reluctantly I agreed to join them.
When we reached the tennis courts on Mount Royal, I was introduced to my tennis partner, Nora Bain. I can’t remember who won the match. It didn’t seem to matter! We talked a great deal that evening. I discovered that she came from a small Jewish community in Quebec city, and was working as a Burroughs Bookkeeping machine operator. She was interested in sports. And so was I. She was also interested in downhill skiing. Wow! So was I! We had a lot in common and I was definitely interested in dating her again.

Harold noticed that we weren’t seeing each other much, and his curiosity was aroused. Try as he might he wasn’t going to extract this information. I was in love with Nora and I was going to ask her to marry me! Soon, I proposed and she accepted.
I was prepared to introduce Nora to Harold. One weekend we went to Quebec City to see Nora’s family, including her younger sister Ray, and her younger brother, Ossie.
Our wedding date was set for January 15th. 1949, in Montreal and Harold was invited to attend. The best man at my wedding was my older brother, William (Val), and it was held on his birthday. William and I had shared the same bedroom for 18 years, and he was my mentor. If he had refused, Harold would have been my second choice. On our 60th wedding anniversary, Harold was asked to verify this fact.

A year after we were married I persuaded Nora that Winnipeg would be a better place to raise a family. We left for Winnipeg. In May of 1950, in time for the worst flood Winnipeg had experienced in 50 years! Harold returned to Winnipeg at a later date.
Subsequently, Harold met the love of his life, Laura Newhouse, in Winnipeg and they were married on September 8th. 1953. We attended their wedding, our wives got along very well, and we double dated. Harold had acquired a manufacturing business in Winnipeg called JR Wire and he proceeded to build a very successful future for his family of Laura and their daughters Joy, Sally and Rebecca. Rebecca graduated in Mechanical Engineering and joined her dad in the manufacturing business for a short period of years. Joy pursued a career in Dentistry, ultimately receiving her Phd in Dentistry. She was engaged in research and gained an international reputation as a speaker in the area of dental research. Sally graduated from the Ryerson Institute in Toronto and pursued a career in clothing design.

Our family consisted of Paul and Martin. Paul graduated in Commerce and Law and ultimately moved to Calgary, where he became successful in the sale of pre-owned cars. His younger brother, Martin, graduated in Dentistry from The University of Manitoba and followed Paul to Calgary, where he established a dental practice. Subsequently, he purchased several dental practices in Edmonton. Our children became friendly with Harold and Laura’s children.

In December of 1993 Nora and I purchased a winter home built in Sun City West, Arizona, a small retirement city about 45 miles north and west of Phoenix. We were really enthusiastic about our new winter home and communicated our excitement to Harold and Laura. As a result they also bought a home in Sun City West a year later. This was a city of active retirees, age 55 and older, with over 100 different clubs! Harold and I shared many common interests. We enjoyed participating in photography, writing and the Rio Institute of Senior Education. Harold also became interested in the Metals Club, and produced some very fine metal furniture for their winter home.
In November of 2006 we lost our son Paul in Calgary as a result of complications from Type One Diabetes. In March of 2008 I had an operation in Winnipeg for colon cancer and miraculously survived, thanks to my surgeon, Dr. Clifford Yaffe.

In October, 2010 Laura informed Nora that Harold had been diagnosed with leukemia and was being treated with blood transfusions. Cancercare Manitoba did everything they could do to save him, but tragically he passed away on Thursday, October, 21st. 2010.
We will all miss him. He was the consummate engineer. When he faced a problem his philosophy was:
“The difficult we can do right away, the impossible will take a little longer.”
Harold and I attended courses in anthropology at the University of Manitoba, together, as well asat the Manitoba Naturalist Society and the Rio Institute of Senior Education. He was generous to many worthy causes and always ready to help out when he was needed.

Editor’s post script: In the original version of this story, Harry never did disclose Harold’s name – for reasons I never quite understood, but I don’t suppose that Harry would be upset if I mentioned that the Harold in the story was Harold Richman, z”l.

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A Jewish Perspective on the Hidden Gems of Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta

Nestled along Mexico’s Pacific coast, Nuevo Vallarta and its neighboring city, Puerto Vallarta, have become popular destinations for travelers seeking sun, sea and cultural experiences. For Jewish travelers, exploring these cities offers a unique blend of relaxation and discovery; from pristine beaches to vibrant local culture, here’s a perspective on the hidden gems these destinations offer.

Traveling to Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta

Barceló Puerto Vallarta: A Tranquil Haven

Among the myriad of accommodations in the region, the Barceló Occidental Nuevo Vallarta (with bookings at stands out as a serene retreat. Situated on Mismaloya Beach, this resort combines traditional Mexican architecture with modern amenities. Its all-inclusive packages cater to families, couples and solo travelers, providing an ideal base for exploring both Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta.

Exploring Nuevo Vallarta

Embracing Nature at El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary, located a short drive from Nuevo Vallarta. This sanctuary not only preserves native wildlife but also offers educational tours that delve into the region’s ecosystem. For Jewish travelers, it provides an opportunity to connect with nature while appreciating Mexico’s biodiversity.

Cultural Insight at the Marina Vallarta

The Marina Vallarta, known for its upscale ambiance and waterfront dining, offers a glimpse into local life. Jewish travelers can explore boutique shops and art galleries while enjoying a variety of international cuisines. The marina’s lively atmosphere during sunset, with boats bobbing gently in the marina and street performers entertaining passersby, creates a memorable experience.

Discovering Puerto Vallarta

Historic Exploration in the Zona Romántica

Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romántica, also known as Old Vallarta, beckons history buffs and culture seekers. Cobblestone streets wind through quaint neighborhoods lined with colorful colonial architecture. Jewish travelers can visit the Zona Romántica’s eclectic art galleries, boutique cafes and the iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Artistic Marvels at the Malecón

A stroll along the Malecón, Puerto Vallarta’s oceanfront promenade, reveals a treasure trove of sculptures and open-air art installations. From the whimsical Seahorse sculpture to the thought-provoking Millennium sculpture series, each artwork tells a story of Mexico’s artistic spirit. Jewish travelers can engage with local artists and appreciate the vibrant cultural tapestry that defines Puerto Vallarta.

Culinary Delights

Savoring Kosher-Friendly Cuisine

While kosher options are limited in Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta, some restaurants and resorts offer kosher-friendly menus upon request. The culinary scene in both cities blends traditional Mexican flavors with international influences, ensuring there is something to satisfy every palate. Jewish travelers can indulge in fresh seafood ceviche, traditional tacos al pastor and refreshing aguas frescas while soaking in the coastal ambiance.

Community Engagement

Connecting with Local Jewish Communities

For Jewish travelers interested in community engagement, both Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta host small Jewish communities. Synagogues and Jewish community centers welcome visitors seeking spiritual connection and cultural exchange. Engaging with local Jewish communities provides a deeper understanding of Mexican-Jewish heritage and fosters meaningful connections across cultures.

Final Note

Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta offer Jewish travelers a blend of relaxation, cultural exploration and natural beauty. Whether basking in the sun on pristine beaches, exploring historic neighborhoods or savoring culinary delights, these cities provide a rich tapestry of experiences. With accommodations like the Barceló Puerto Vallarta offering comfort and convenience, travelers can immerse themselves in Mexico’s Pacific coast while appreciating its hidden gems from a unique perspective.

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Gambling Statistics Shine Light on Canadian Gambling Culture

Explore pivotal statistics that highlight Canada’s gambling culture. Get a concise overview of the trends shaping the nation’s betting landscape.

Canada’s gambling culture is as diverse as its landscape, and recent statistics shed light on this thriving sector. From coast to coast, Canadians engage in various forms of betting, each with its own set of trends and numbers. This article delves into the data, uncovering the patterns and preferences defining gambling nationwide.

Canadian Gambling Statistics

User penetration refers to the percentage of consumers engaging with a product or service beyond the expected audience. Despite a 47% decline in 2023, the online gambling industry is projected to expand.

By 2027, it’s forecasted that the gambling market will cater to 20.38 million individuals. This trend suggests an increasing preference among Canadians for online gambling over traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.

The industry boasted a 97% return on investment in 2022, outperforming land-based casinos, which only saw a 61% return. With the rising interest in online betting, Canada’s online casino industry is experiencing the highest user penetration rate.

What Is the Average Expenditure on Gambling by Canadians?

Many enjoy the thrill of the occasional game of chance. The fact that you can retain all of your earnings, as there are no taxes on gambling profits in Canada, adds to the allure of gambling. In Canada, winnings are subject to taxation only for professional gamblers with a sustained winning streak.

In recent years, the trend toward online casinos has changed. The pandemic-induced closures of land-based casinos accelerated this change. It’s a profitable industry, as 60% of Canadians say they spend money gambling each month.

Canadian gambling statistics:

  • Six out of ten Canadians have gambled.
  • The monthly average expenditure for gaming and gambling in Canada is $6.75.
  • A month’s worth of gaming expenses is reported by 63% of males and 57% of women.
  • According to 73% of Canadians, gambling-related issues have gotten worse in their region.

The Increasing Attraction to Online Casino Gambling in Canada

An increasing number of Canadians are using online casinos, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. They offer various benefits regular casinos do not and are more convenient. Over time, land-based casinos’ revenue has decreased due to the growing popularity of online gambling sites.

The pandemic shutdowns accelerated the drop. For instance, the land-based casinos in Alberta no longer make as much money as they once did. Consequently, the Albertan government opened an online casino, and other governments quickly adopted similar strategies.

Casino Games at Online Casinos in Canada

Online casinos in Canada offer various games that cater to different preferences. Some of the most popular casino games at Canadian online casinos include:

  • Slots: These are the most common and varied, with themes ranging from classic fruit machines to the latest online slot games with advanced graphics and features.
  • Table Games: Classics like blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat are available in multiple variations.
  • Live Dealer Games: These provide an immersive experience, allowing players to interact with real dealers and other players in real time.
  • Video Poker: A favourite for many, combining elements of slots and poker in a unique format.
  • Progressive Jackpots: Games that offer the chance to win life-changing sums of money with a single spin.
  • Canadian Legalities for Online Gambling Sites
  • Casinos are legal in Canada, but each province and territory has the authority to establish its gaming regulations and issue online gambling website licences. Saskatchewan is the only province that does not host multiple online gaming sites.
  • Authorities in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba issue licences without a specific requirement, but these online casinos must operate exclusively within their respective provincial borders. Online gaming sites seeking to operate beyond these borders need a special agreement.
  • In Canada, only land-based casinos face penalties; foreign operators can only function by obtaining local licenses. Although offshore casinos cannot legally target Canadian players, they can accept them.
  • Statistics on Gambling Addiction in Canada
  • While the majority of gamblers do so without experiencing issues, there are hazards and health issues associated with it for some people. Because of this, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) carries out studies and creates resources aimed at assisting Canadians in making wise decisions regarding their gambling, both generally and, in particular, high-risk scenarios, like when they’re using alcohol or other drugs.
  • Here are some key statistics on gambling addiction in Canada for the year 2024:
  • 64.5% of Canadians aged 15 or older actively participated in gambling activities within the past year.
  • 1.6% of Canadian gamblers, representing approximately 304,400 individuals, face moderate-to-severe gambling addiction risks.
  • Canadian males reported higher gambling participation and addiction risks compared to females.
  • Indigenous Canadians showed a higher tendency to gamble (72.4%) and experienced greater susceptibility to gambling problems (4.5%) than non-Indigenous people.
  • In Canada, responsible gambling is promoted through various programs and initiatives, ensuring that individuals engage in betting activities within their means and maintain control. The emphasis is on providing resources and support to prevent gambling addiction and encourage safe, enjoyable gaming experiences.
  • Reflecting on Canada’s Responsible Gambling Journey
  • The statistics we’ve explored offer a revealing glimpse into Canada’s gambling culture, highlighting both the widespread appeal and the responsible practices of Canadian bettors. As the industry evolves, it reflects the country’s commitment to balancing entertainment with economic benefit and social responsibility. The future of gambling in Canada seems poised to be driven by informed choices and a clear understanding of the risks and rewards involved.
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Caesars Windsor Reduces Operating Hours for Sports Betting Counter

Sports betting has rapidly evolved into a major attraction, drawing a diverse audience ranging from casual participants to dedicated enthusiasts, and its popularity is only increasing with the proliferation of online platforms. In particular, Canada has seen a notable rise in sports betting activities since the legalization of single-event sports betting in August 2021, which opened doors to a multitude of betting avenues, both in physical locations and online. 

The shift towards online sportsbooks has been especially significant, marking a notable change in the landscape of sports betting. Given the expansive range of online sportsbooks available to Canadians, experts like Neil Roarty provide critical reviews and comparisons that guide bettors through the complex array of online options. These sites delve into the nuances of each platform, evaluating everything from user interface and betting options to the perks and security features they offer (source:  

Despite the rising trend in online betting, traditional sportsbooks like those in casinos are adjusting to the new landscape. Caesars Windsor, for instance, has recently made significant changes to its sports betting services. Initially projected to increase job opportunities and enhance visitor footfall, thereby boosting various service-related positions within the casino, the reality has somewhat shifted. 

The casino’s CEO, Kevin Laforet, had expressed optimism at the sportsbook’s inauguration in January 2023, citing anticipated growth in employment opportunities due to expected higher traffic. This optimism was rooted in the broader economic benefits typically associated with casino expansions, such as increased employment for local and migrant communities including roles like dealers, bartenders, and security staff.

However, recent developments have seen Caesars Windsor recalibrating its approach to sports betting. According to a spokesperson from the casino, after a detailed review of betting trends at their facility, adjustments were necessary to align the sportsbook’s operations with actual guest preferences and patterns. 

As a result, the sportsbook has scaled back its operating hours to 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. each day, which has led to minor staffing changes. Importantly, all affected staff members have been retained, and the sportsbook continues to operate during peak times, especially during significant sporting events, with kiosk betting available 24/7.

Jessica Welman, editor of the Canadian Gaming Business, remarks on the overwhelming preference for online sports gambling over traditional brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. The convenience of placing bets via a smartphone or computer is a significant draw for many, enhancing the accessibility and appeal of online betting. 

Welman further noted that the market for online betting in Ontario has expanded consistently each quarter since its legalization, highlighting a robust growth trajectory that underscores the market’s potential.

However, the relationship between online gambling and its impact on physical casino revenues is complex and not well-documented. Sports betting reporter Greg Warren pointed out that most casinos do not specifically track how much of their revenue comes from sports betting as opposed to other gambling activities, which muddles the ability to analyze precise trends. 

Yet, experiences from the United States suggest that both in-person and online sportsbooks can experience growth simultaneously, indicating a synergistic relationship rather than a competitive one. According to Warren, the distinct experiences offered by online platforms and physical sportsbooks mean they can coexist and cater to different preferences.

Welman supports this view, suggesting that despite the convenience of online options, there is an enduring appeal for the physical experience of in-person betting. She argues that brick-and-mortar casinos provide a unique atmosphere that can’t be replicated online, serving as a draw for those who prefer the tangible excitement of a live betting environment. 

In line with its diverse offerings, Caesars Entertainment also maintains an online gaming app, which complements its physical sportsbook operations. This app is designed to offer users a seamless integration between the convenience of digital betting and the engaging atmosphere of in-person wagering. 

While specific details on the app’s impact on the casino’s overall business were not disclosed, it represents an integral part of Caesars’ strategy to bridge the gap between traditional and digital gambling experiences. This dual approach not only caters to a broader range of consumer preferences but also positions Caesars to capitalize on the growing trend of mobile and online betting.

As the landscape of sports betting continues to evolve, the interaction between online and in-person gambling platforms will undoubtedly remain a key area of focus for industry observers and participants alike. By maintaining a strong presence in both arenas, Caesars is well-equipped to adapt to changing consumer habits and technological advancements that have seen real money online casinos cornering many gambling markets worldwide, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of the gambling industry. 

This strategic integration highlights the potential for more synchronized growth and innovation within the gambling sector, shaping the future of how sports betting is experienced across different platforms.

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