Jack Layton, a career politician, was the charismatic leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Canada's new opposition party. With his boundless energy and folksy yet feisty no-nonsense approach, he had battled cancer and a hip replacement to lead his left-of-centre party to an historic victory in last May's federal election. He had brought hope and optimism to federal politics and was arguably at the height of his political career.
It's a good job the Duchess of Cambridge has been brushing up on her French. William and Catherine have been told to expect vocal protests from republicans and French-speaking separatists when their first overseas royal tour reaches Quebec this weekend.
At less than seven hours from the UK, the province of Québec is closer than you think! With great shopping, fabulous cuisine and passion for life, Montréal and Québec City are gateways to Québec's Great Outdoors.
Jacques Hétu died just too soon to enjoy the first performance of his Fifth Symphony, on 3 March, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under its chief conductor Peter Oundjian. But he did not want for public hearings: although his music is unfamiliar in Britain, he was one of the most frequently performed of all contemporary Canadian composers.
Kaki King's unorthodox approach to the guitar has already secured her a guest spot on the last Foo Fighters album, and a Golden Globe nomination for her soundtrack to Into the Wild.