Not 100% sure, but the server still seems to exist and responds to tracert request. The server name resolves to Highwinds Media Corp which is the same news service that MTS (and maybe Telus ?? ) use I believe.
Yes. A year or two ago, Shaw contracted "rudimentary" usenet services with Highwinds. You are limited to 5 connections and total BW of around (I think) 5mbps. Further, you are permitted a retention of about one month.
It's not great, but it suffices for most purposes. If you need more, there are plenty of good commercial nntp servers, as I'm sure you already know.
The address you used for tracing is the one I use in my client(s). Works fine.