She invested in Pür chewing gum and Love Child Organics baby food.

One of her favourites is OMG Inc., which makes chocolately graham clusters mixed with toffee bits and almonds.

She rents an office building and owns a condo in Toronto and a 19th-century farmhouse on 25 acres north of the city. CBC Television made her famous, and some of the companies in which she invested as a dragon have proven quite successful.

“The top ones, like Heather Reisman, had already told us to f— off.

I called Venture and said, ‘This phone call might change your life.’ She was the first person we called who’d ever heard of . We just sat quiet across the boardroom table and we said, ‘This might be the one.’ She had done her hair out all straight.”Dickinson recalls her ambivalence about the TV gig.“I wasn’t sure.

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“Like pouring water on the seed.”It’s a heck of a time to return to Alberta — the oil price plunge has sparked mass layoffs, and the province just elected its first New Democrat government.

Her fellow ex-dragon, Kevin O’Leary, last week called the NDP victory in Alberta “a horror movie unfolding.

Dickinson plans to keep this office open, but sublet some of the space, as she sets sail on new adventures, aided by the profile she earned via the CBC.“It opened doors for me that in my wildest dreams I didn’t think I would have opened,” she says.

(Harper Collins, 2011), she flunked math several times, and has no formal education beyond high school.

In July, the inaugural tenants will move into District Ventures Accelerator, a space for startups in the health care and food sectors that she will open in a building she co-owns in Calgary’s Kensington neighbourhood.“Think about it as a space in a community where you get early-stage companies together and help them through mentoring and leadership, plus investment.

It’s a combination of giving people investment and programming and sharing space,” says Dickinson.

The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.