6 Jun 2011

Toronto home sales increase 6 percent

While May car sales in Canada slumped to their lowest levels since 1997, May home sales in Toronto surged to record levels.According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, 10,046 homes were bought last month – a 6 percent increase compared to May 2010, the second best May on record.Bill Johnston, president of the TREB, said that several factors played a role in the increased buying activity."Positive economic news and low borrowing costs led to strong sales through the first five months of the year, including the increase in May," said Johnston. "At the same time, the market has become much tighter compared to last year, due to a substantial dip in new listings."Jason Mercer, senior manager of market analysis for TREB, said he hopes the data will encourage sellers to put their home on the market if they've been concerned that it won't sell.Though there may be a shortage of homes on the market, there are plenty of Toronto storage…

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3 Jun 2011

After a recent report from Statistics Canada showed that the country's economy is growing – its gross domestic product increased 4 percent last quarter – a new study is showing that Canadian businesses have also been expanding. Furthermore, many of them are based in Toronto. According to Profit Magazine's 23rd annual Profit 200, which ranks Canada's fastest growing companies, three of the top five companies are Toronto-based. The most staggering rate of expansion comes from a firm called Mood Media, a messaging and signage company, as sales for the business have increased a whopping 72,384 percent over a five-year period. Other thriving Toronto-based establishments include the mortgage broker network Pacific Mortgage, and software development company Varicent Software. Overall, the survey…

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3 Jun 2011

Just in case Toronto didn't already have enough pizza joints, another one just recently opened.According to Boston Pizza International, the new restaurant on 250 Front Street West is the company's 109th pizza parlor in Ontario alone. However, the company says this one is different from all the others, as its the eatery's first location that has an 'urban concept.'"Boston Pizza Front & John is designed to capture the feeling and excitement of being in downtown Toronto through a celebration of our dynamic local sports scene," said Mark Pacinda, president and COO of the restaurant. "Guests will know they are at a Boston Pizza, but at the same time they'll feel like they're in a downtown, urban restaurant and bar."Among the…

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2 Jun 2011

Any suggestions that Toronto will not have a professional football team may have been a been premature, as Mayor Rob Ford continues to believe an NFL franchise coming to Toronto is a distinct possibility.Speaking to an assemblage of reporters at Toronto's 100th Grey Cup Festival, Ford tried to set the record straight."I can’t answer [when], but I'll tell you one thing, before our four-year term is up, hopefully we'll have an NFL team here," said Ford, according to the Globe and Mail. "We're pretty confident. How can the NFL keep ignoring the fourth-largest market in North America?"Some Torontonians may be skeptical of Ford's assertions, as earlier this year, Ford's brother, Etobicoke North city councilor Doug Ford, said in a radio…

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1 Jun 2011

Full May home sales data hasn't been released yet, but housing officials in Toronto hope it finished stronger than it started, as the Toronto Real Estate Board reported mid-month that home sales dipped.Issued on May 18, the TREB report indicated there were 4,774 sales through the first two weeks of May, representing a 2 percent decline in home sales when compared to May 2010.Bill Johnston, president of the TREB, was generally pleased with the report, but said that the slowing sales rate may have been impacted by the jump in the average cost of a GTA home – rising 8 percent compared to the same first two weeks of May in 2010.Jason Mercer, TREB's senior manager of market analysis, said…

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28 May 2011

Storage unit companies are in the business of providing homeowners with the space they need for their belongings. But what would a company be if it didn’t also give renters tips on how to maximize their own living space? Fortunately, a U.S.-based media source recently published some ways people can find more room to house their belongings in the bedroom. You'll need less self storage if you organize your storage stuff For instance, the Seattle Times recommends using the space that’s beneath the bed, as a standard king-size mattress takes up 42 square-feet of living space. Thin portable storage containers would fit nicely. The paper says homeowners should also look to make the area that’s made…

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27 May 2011

Comparatively speaking, Canada has fared pretty well amidst the worldwide recession, as many small and large businesses throughout the world have struggled to keep their offices afloat. But as ExtraSpace Storage recently documented, small businesses owners have been turning to storage units as their last line of defense.For instance, in the United Kingdom, a popular self-storage operator talked about how so many of his customers have been small business owners."A lot of our customers recently have been small businesses who find self storage a very simple and effective solution following the recession," said Keith Grant, owner of UK-based self storage company in a press release. "They gain peace of mind with our top quality and secure units."ExtraSpace Storage cited several…

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26 May 2011

Canadians who have had children or who are planning on raising a family may have asked themselves the question: "How much do children cost?" MoneySense magazine believes it has the answer.According to the personal finance and lifestyle magazine, the average cost Canadian moms and dads spend on their children is a whopping $243,660. And that's excluding expenses for college or university tuition fees.MoneySense based its analysis on parents of two children and their spending for things such as food, clothing, health insurance, school, transportation, and recreational activities. The estimated number of years of expenditure was 18, as that's generally the amount of time parents are financially responsible for their children.The study also detailed what stages of life kids were the…

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25 May 2011

Torontonians have long known that Canada is one of the best places to live. Now, the whole world knows it, too.According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canadians have some of the best living conditions on earth. Only Australians were deemed to have it better, the group found.The OECD, a world-renowned economic organization, came to its conclusions based on a variety of statistics that measured 34 countries' quality of living. The categories taken into consideration included education, life satisfaction, safety, jobs, health and safety."Overall, I think Canada seems to be a pretty good place to be," said Matthias Rumpf, spokesperson for OECD in an interview with the Globe and Mail.The analysis found Canada thrived in housing, education and…

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24 May 2011

Toronto storage units may soon be brimming with a wide array of furniture and clothing, as a new mall is coming to the Toronto area.Simon Property Group and Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust recently announced that a Premium Outlet Center will soon be built in Halton Hills, a 15-minute drive for residents of the GTA."We are excited to bring the Premium Outlets branded concept of upscale outlet shopping to Canada," said John Klein, president of Simon's Premium Outlets. "This location will enable us to serve over six million area residents within a one-hour drive."Simon and Calloway say that the proposed site will be at Highway 401 and Trafalagar Road. The organizations are still working on getting all the requirements and…

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23 May 2011

Some people purchase big ticket items that they later regret, but according to a new poll, recreational properties aren't one of them.According to a new poll conducted by Royal LePage Real Estate Services, an overwhelming number of Canadians are pleased with their vacation home purchase. Overall, the survey found that 89 percent of people who currently own a vacation property said it was a good long-term investment. Broken down by province, 87 percent of Ontarians indicated as such."Canadians' confidence in recreational property values is mirroring what we have been seeing in Canada's urban centres," said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage. "Canada's traditionally buoyant recreational property market appears to have found its groove once more."The survey also analyzed…

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20 May 2011

People may not want to hear it, but it looks as though hurricane season has the potential to be a very active one this year. As a result, Environment Canada's Canadian Hurricane Centre is urging homeowners to prepare for the worst."Several international hurricane authorities are predicting that this year will be an active hurricane season in the North Atlantic Ocean," said Chris Fogarty, program supervisor for the Canadian Hurricane Center. Fogarty went on to say that the country is usually hit with one to two hurricanes directly every year, with two or three more threatening but never making landfall. However, Fogarty said that hurricane totals are meaningless if homeowners don't know how to prepare for one.For information on how people…

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20 May 2011

With Victoria Day fast approaching, many Canadians may be wondering what they're going to be doing with their day off. Canadian Tire was especially interested and recently reported what 1,012 Canadian adults are planning.While long weekends are often viewed as an extra day for play, the survey found that many people are going to be using the extra 24 hours for work and chore-related tasks. For example, 36 percent said they planned on gardening and 22 percent said they were going to tend to some home improvement tasks.Duncan Reith, senior vice president for Canadian Tire, said it looks as though people are tending to their 'to do' tasks this year."It's clear that many Canadians want to get around to the…

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19 May 2011

Toronto hoops fans were on pins and needles earlier this week when the NBA held their annual draft lottery, hoping to net the number one overall pick. It wasn't to be, however, as the Toronto Raptors will pick from the five-hole this June.The Raptors sent the general manager Bryan Colangelo to represent the organization, the first time he's been there since 2006, when Toronto selected Andrew Bargnani with the top pick.The 7'0" center turned out to be solid pick for the franchise, as over the four years Bargnani's played at the Air Canada Centre he's averaged 15 points, four rebounds and 30 minutes played.But it was the Cleveland Cavaliers' night, as the team not only earned the number one overall…

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19 May 2011

While some reports have indicated the Toronto economy is slowing, the rate of luxury homes purchased in the GTA suggests things are just fine.According to RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic and RE/MAX of Western Canada, sales of high-priced homes have jumped nearly 66 percent across the country in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same three months of 2010.Elton Ash, regional Executive vice president of the Western Canada arm of the real estate organization, said the numbers are staggering."The strength of the upper-end segment continues to defy expectations, said Ash. "That demand remains largely domestic speaks to the solid underpinnings of the market."The average luxury home goes for approximately $1.5 million in Toronto, according to RE/MAX, and the 435 sold represents…

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18 May 2011

Ontario may be a country-wide leader in an array of measures, but one place where it may be falling behind is in the health category.A recent report released by the Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance finds that Ontario is trailing British Columbia and Quebec both in health statistics and in funds used in well-being advancement."BC invests three times more than Ontario in health promotion policies and programs and their residents smoke less, are more physically active, and have healthier body weights," said Dr. Norman Giesbrecht, co-chair of the OCDPA. "This clearly is leading to higher life expectancy rates than the rest of Canada."Other sobering findings from the study reveal one in three Ontarians are afflicted with a chronic disease and…

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18 May 2011

Ontarians may know a lot of things, but one thing they're unclear about is tipping. At least, that's what a recent survey is suggesting.According to TD Canada Trust and its First Class Travel International Etiquette Poll, 77 percent of Ontarians plan on travelling this summer, but more than half of them aren't sure about tipping etiquette.The poll found that 58 percent said they weren't clear on what qualified as a good tip. Some respondents admitted that it's proven to be so much of a conundrum, it's left them feeling confused and stressed at times.The survey also found that 29 percent of respondents planned on travelling outside of the country this year. For those that have traveled outside of Canada in…

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18 May 2011

Typically, when one's desk or office space is constantly piled with paperwork, the user just considers themselves a less-than-tidy person. But a new study indicates it may reveal much more about someone's personality.According to TechNewsDaily, Hunch.com – an internet company that provides its users with an array of website recommendations – conducted a poll of 700,000 of its members and found people with messy desks tended to be educated, career-minded and skilled at math.In an interview with the source, Amanda Green, lead author of the report, said people tend to mess their desks for one of two reasons."Someone may be messy because they use the computer for various endeavors, which could explain why CEOs are more likely to have messy…

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17 May 2011

A man and woman who recently ran the Toronto Marathon decide to commemorate the feat in a somewhat unusual way: by getting married.According to the Toronto Star, while thousands of their fellow marathoners were cooling down and refueling with lots of liquids upon finishing the race, Jessica McGann and Rodney Merchant were showering up and heading for the wedding chapel.The paper reports that the couple arrived at the wedding right on time, as the ceremony was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.The Star reports that the newlyweds did not receive traditional wedding gifts from those in attendance. Instead, Merchant requested that people donate to the Canadian Cancer Society in lieu of gifts in honor of his mother, Yvonne, who died…

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