12 Jul 2011

Housing starts increase in Canada, led by Ontario

In the latest indication that Toronto is a countrywide leader, the GTA led the way in the number of housing starts last month.According to the latest numbers released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in the country at large was 197,400 units, 3,000 more than the units started in May.Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC's market analysis center, said the increase can be chalked up to the robust rate of building in Ontario."Housing starts increased in June due to an increase in single and multiple starts in Ontario," said Dugan. "The revised numbers show that housing starts have been above their trend line since March. However, we expect housing starts to move back towards levels consistent with demographic fundamentals in the near term."A significant percentage of the housing starts may have been in Toronto, as the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts in Ontario increased by more than 24 percent.Of…

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12 Jul 2011

In the latest indication that Toronto is a countrywide leader, the GTA led the way in the number of housing starts last month.According to the latest numbers released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in the country at large was 197,400 units, 3,000 more than the units started in May.Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC's market analysis center, said the increase can be chalked up to the robust rate of building in Ontario."Housing starts increased in June due to an increase in single and multiple starts in Ontario," said Dugan. "The revised numbers show that housing starts have been above their trend line since March. However, we expect housing starts to…

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12 Jul 2011

In the latest indication that Toronto is a countrywide leader, the GTA led the way in the number of housing starts last month.According to the latest numbers released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in the country at large was 197,400 units, 3,000 more than the units started in May.Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC's market analysis center, said the increase can be chalked up to the robust rate of building in Ontario."Housing starts increased in June due to an increase in single and multiple starts in Ontario," said Dugan. "The revised numbers show that housing starts have been above their trend line since March. However, we expect housing starts to…

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12 Jul 2011

Honda Canada and the Ontario Honda Dealers Association recently joined forces and raised thousands of dollars, which will go toward fulfilling the wishes of children with life-threatening conditions.According to Make-A-Wish Canada, the charitable organization that received the funds, Honda and racing fans helped raise $75,000 after conducting a fundraiser that featured pit-stop challenges, racing simulators and tire-change competitions at the Honda Indy in Toronto. Honda Indy Toronto race winner Paul Tracy was also on hand."We are so thankful to have corporations like Honda support our commitment to give hope to children with life-threatening medical conditions through the granting of magical wishes," said Jennifer Ritter, chief executive officer for the charity. "Events like the Honda Indy, and people like Paul Tracy…

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12 Jul 2011

Honda Canada and the Ontario Honda Dealers Association recently joined forces and raised thousands of dollars, which will go toward fulfilling the wishes of children with life-threatening conditions.According to Make-A-Wish Canada, the charitable organization that received the funds, Honda and racing fans helped raise $75,000 after conducting a fundraiser that featured pit-stop challenges, racing simulators and tire-change competitions at the Honda Indy in Toronto. Honda Indy Toronto race winner Paul Tracy was also on hand."We are so thankful to have corporations like Honda support our commitment to give hope to children with life-threatening medical conditions through the granting of magical wishes," said Jennifer Ritter, chief executive officer for the charity. "Events like the Honda Indy, and people like Paul Tracy…

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12 Jul 2011

Honda Canada and the Ontario Honda Dealers Association recently joined forces and raised thousands of dollars, which will go toward fulfilling the wishes of children with life-threatening conditions.According to Make-A-Wish Canada, the charitable organization that received the funds, Honda and racing fans helped raise $75,000 after conducting a fundraiser that featured pit-stop challenges, racing simulators and tire-change competitions at the Honda Indy in Toronto. Honda Indy Toronto race winner Paul Tracy was also on hand."We are so thankful to have corporations like Honda support our commitment to give hope to children with life-threatening medical conditions through the granting of magical wishes," said Jennifer Ritter, chief executive officer for the charity. "Events like the Honda Indy, and people like Paul Tracy…

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11 Jul 2011

With gas prices near record levels, it's becoming easier for Torontonians to leave their cars at home and walk to work or take the bus. But if locals need a stronger incentive, what it costs to park in the GTA may do the trick.According to an annual survey conducted by Colliers International, a commercial real estate company, Toronto has some of the highest business district parking rates in the country. The study found that the median parking rate in Toronto is $342 per month and $23 per day, making Toronto the second most expensive city to park in in all of Canada. Outpricing Toronto is Calgary, as Colliers says the median parking rate there is $486 monthly and nearly $26…

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8 Jul 2011

Canada enjoys going out to eat, as a recent study makes clear.According to Technomic, a research and consulting firm for the food industry, the top 200 Canadian restaurant chains raked in $741 million in total sales last year, a 3 percent increase when compared to 2009."The industry is continuing to grow," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic. "The key for operators is to understand where that growth is occurring and implement lessons learned throughout the industry into their own business models."While earnings were higher, the number of new restaurants in Canada did not grow at the same rate it did in 2009. The report states just 73 new eateries were built in 2010, down from the 290 units…

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8 Jul 2011

Canada's most populous city got a bit more crowded in the month of June, as the Toronto Real Estate Board recently reported an increase in the number of homes that were purchased.The TREB report states more than 10,200 properties were sold in the GTA last month – an increase of 21 percent when compared to June of last year."The strong June result capped off an interesting first half of 2011," said Richard Silver, president of the TREB. "The pace of sales was a bit sluggish at the beginning of the year, but rebounded in May and June."Something else that surged in June was the cost of the average Toronto home, as the report indicates the typical transaction price was $476,371,…

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7 Jul 2011

For most Canadians, buying a home will be the biggest purchase they'll ever make in their lives, and according to a new survey, many of them will be making that significant decision this year.According to a survey sponsored by Genworth Financial Canada, the number of people planning on buying their first home this year rose to 11 percent, a sharp increase compared to the 6 percent who said the same thing in 2010."Canadians recognize that one of the best steps towards financial security is owning a home," said Debbie McPherson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Genworth Financial Canada, a private mortgage insurer.The survey also detailed what groups of first-time homebuyers were most likely to buy, finding that…

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6 Jul 2011

Since 2006, Toronto has hosted a city-wide event called the Luminato, an annual celebration of the arts. As in previous years, the 2011 version went off without a hitch. In fact, it was so well done, the Chicago Tribune printed a story about why Chicago should try and be more like Toronto. For instance, as the Tribune states, the Luminato brings tourists and visitors from throughout the world to the GTA who want to appreciate some of the arts' most talented performers. In so doing, Toronto is outpacing Chicago by 250 percent when it comes to attracting international tourists, according to the source. Speaking to the Tribune, Janice Price, executive director for Luminato, said it took a great deal of…

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6 Jul 2011

Torontonians have a new place to conduct some of their bank business, as TD Canada Trust recently opened a new branch to serve the GTA's residents."We're very thrilled to celebrate the opening of our new concept branch and be part of such a wonderful and vibrant community," said Jarod Phillips, branch manager for TD Canada Trust. "The many innovative features here allow us the opportunity to serve our customers in a completely new way – regardless of what they need, our customers have access to solutions and great advice in a welcoming atmosphere."Included among the features at the new branch are web kiosks that allow customers to access their accounts easily, and a customer lounge with a coffee station, giving…

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5 Jul 2011

A new report is indicating that the strength of the Canadian Loonie is adversely affecting Toronto businesses that export to the states and worldwide."The strong Canadian dollar is certainly having an effect on the bottom lines of many small businesses who export their products and services internationally," said Alec Morley, senior vice president of TD Canada Trust, which performed the analysis.Yet in spite of lower sales figures, TD Canada Trust reports that these same businessowners are generally happy. In fact, the survey found 68 percent of small businessowners in Toronto reported being 'very happy.'Other findings from the study point to some of the reasons Toronto businessowners may be so cheerful, as 94 percent said owning their own business gave them…

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5 Jul 2011

Rare is the report indicating a drop in the cost of living in Canada, and continuing that theme is the finding that auto insurance rates have risen for the average Toronto motorist.According to the online insurance quote comparison service Kanetix, auto insurance premiums increased 6.4 percent in Ontario in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same three-month period last year.George Small, co-founder of Kanetix, said that many Canadians could have saved themselves some money by better informing themselves about the discounts many insurers offer."Although rates are higher compared to last year, consumers can still find ways to lower their auto insurance premiums if they ensure they are taking advantage of available discounts and take the time to understand…

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27 Jun 2011

A Greater Toronto area woman has 22 million reasons to smile today.According to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Association, Vivian Leung of Richmond Hill struck it rich after winning the $22.6 million Lotto Max jackpot June 17.Leung, who rarely plays the lottery, said she just happened to have a free ticket and decided to play it on a whim."I really didn't notice the big jackpot amount," said Leung. "I just knew I had a free ticket to play and I finally found some time last week to cash it in. I just chose a Quick Pick as usual, and this is the ticket that won!"Leung said it wasn't until the cashier told her how much she'd won that she realized…

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24 Jun 2011

With Moving Day approaching, some Torontonians may feel inspired to pack up some of their belongings if they are moving to a new location or want to make their places a bit more tidy. And if GTA residents happen to be in Montreal in the next few days, they may want to stop at an IKEA retailer.That's because between June 25 and June 30, the furniture-selling giant will be handing out 15,000 moving boxes to anyone who needs some."We are always looking for ways to create a better every day life for our customers," said Hilary Lloyd, deputy marketing manager for IKEA Canada. "We were gathering insights into Moving Day and found that more than anything it is the basic…

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23 Jun 2011

Large purchases should never be rushed into, and a new study is finding that Canadians take that maxim seriously when it comes to purchasing a home.According to an online survey conducted by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation of 3,500 mortgage customers, the average Canadian homeowner takes approximately 11 months to plan out all the details that come with homeownership before putting money down."Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions most Canadians will make in their lifetimes," said Pierre Serre, vice president of Insurance Product and Business Development for the CMHC. "CMHC is committed to supporting homebuyers throughout their decision making process."The study also found Canadians take advantage of the internet when planning out their purchase. Among…

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22 Jun 2011

A Toronto woman recently reached an extraordinary milestone – playing an organ uninterrupted for the longest amount of time.Reports indicate Jacqueline Sadler, an organist and music director at Eastminister United Church, started tickling the ivories on June 20 at 8 a.m. and didn't stop until just after the stroke of midnight June 22.The 40 hour, 35 minute marathon puts Sadler in the Guinness Book of World Records, eclipsing the previous recorder holder by more than a half-hour."At that time she decided she played long enough and having broken a world record, she decided to go home," said Kerry Bowser, a minister at the church, in an interview with the Toronto Star. "It was truly a marathon for her."Sadler was allowed…

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22 Jun 2011

Virtually every Canadian knows that July 1st is Canada Day, but some may not know that it's also Moving Day in Quebec.For many years, Quebecers have used the day to clean up some of their clutter or, as the name indicates, pack up their belongings and move.And a recent survey from Kijiji Canada appears to indicate that a lot of Quebecers will take advantage of the day because so many are overwhelmed by clutter.According to the survey, more than half of respondents – 52 percent – said they had some form of clutter in their house.Some may be tempted to throw it all away, but Linda Sauve of Kijiji says to do so would be a mistake."There's no reason to…

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