Big names getting together

Newsmakers 2012: From Hollywood marriages to business dealings

by Brian D. Johnson

Mike Cassese/Reuters

Green Lantern’s Silver Lining

Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and Gossip Girl star Blake Lively, who co-starred in the 2011 movie Green Lantern, tied the knot, proving a box office disaster can have an upside. Reynolds, 35, was engaged to Canadian singer Alanis Morissette, then married for two years to actress Scarlett Johansson. People’s former sexiest man alive has previously been linked to Oscar winner Charlize Theron. Lively, 25, has dated Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley, Titanic heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio—and another Canadian actor who shares her hubby’s first name, Ryan Gosling.

Towering Ambition

Toronto stage impresario David Mirvish offered to demolish his most opulent venue, the Princess of Wales Theatre, to build a trio of monumental skycrapers on King Street designed by hometown architect Frank Gehry. Mirvish, a major art collector, teamed up with Gehry to propose 85-storey condo towers that would house public galleries and extend the OCAD University campus. Don’t call these towers condos, said Mirvish—“I’m building three sculptures that people can live in.” If the project is approved, congestion may turn traffic into a sculpture people can live in.

Dion, Deli Diva

Her heart will go on, and so will Schwartz’s Deli. Quebec superstar Céline Dion and manager-husband, René Angélil, bought the iconic 84-year-old Montreal restaurant with local restaurateur Paul Nakis. Dion and Angélil, who already own Quebec’s Nickels Restaurant and Bar chain, allayed fears they would turn the smoked-meat shrine into a franchise operation. “I have so many great memories of being there with the guys, and with Céline and our families,” said Angélil. Even before the deal, Dion’s photo was on the wall.

Used Ladas Now Going Cheap

After negotiations that dragged on for 19 years, Russia became the last major economy to join the World Trade Organization. As tariffs are relaxed, the country’s gross domestic product may get a boost to three per cent, or $49 billion a year. With China’s economy booming, the original Communist superpower has a lot of catching up to do. The U.S. has yet to lift the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment, a Cold War sanction that could disadvantage U.S. companies selling to Russia.

It’s The Way We Play

Canada’s two rival communications giants, Rogers Communications Inc. and BCE Inc., joined forces to buy a majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The companies agreed to split a 79.53 per cent stake in MLSE, which owns the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, the Air Canada Centre, the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies and Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC. Rogers chief Nadir Mohamed called the deal “a wonderful way of bringing media and content under the same umbrella.”

A Nickelback Diamond Rock

Bridging generations and musical tastes, Canadian rock stars Avril Lavigne and Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger shocked fans with a surprise engagement. Kroeger, 37, became involved with Lavigne while working on her fifth studio album. He popped the question, armed with a 14-carat diamond ring (estimated value: $1 million). Lavigne, 27, is divorced from Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley; Kroeger has never married but ended a common-law relationship with a B.C. horse trainer in 2009. Lavigne, whose hits include Sk8er Boi and Complicated, has greater rock cachet. But the critically reviled Nickelback has sold more than 50 million albums with its grunge rock anthems. Perhaps she can make him cool while he can make her the chug toast of tailgate parties.




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