17 May 2011

‘The Firm’ comes to Toronto

Torontonians hoping to be seen on television as an extra may have the opportunity to do so this summer, as NBC plans on shooting one of its new series in the GTA.According to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC will begin shooting for the television drama "The Firm" in Toronto this summer. Because the show is slated to run for 22 episodes, according to the source, television crews will likely be in the area for a while.Based on the John Grisham novel, "The Firm" will be produced by Lukas Reiter but Grisham will be a part of the show's production as well, according to the source. Writers for the series include Alyson Feltes, Peter Noah, David Feige and Jonathan Shapiro.The entertainment news website says casting is about to begin.When television studios shoot in cities, there are almost always extras, people who aren't officially part of the cast but nonetheless are featured in the show. As a result, Torontonians may want to raid…

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16 May 2011

The Toronto Zoo is bidding goodbye to some of its largest tenants.By a vote of 5-2, the Toronto Zoo Board of Management voted to move its three elephants to a wildlife park with a habitat that's more amenable to pachyderm life.Though the Toronto Zoo has housed elephants for the past 36 years, animal rights groups such as Zoocheck Canada have been urging Toronto officials to move the elephants to a warmer climate for months. Former "The Price is Right" host Bob Barker is one of the more noted individuals lobbying for the move.There's no indication the board bowed to the pressure, however, as board member Josh Colle told CTV Toronto that it would cost the zoo more than $17 million."The…

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13 May 2011

A new magazine is hitting news stands in the GTA, and best of all, it's free.According to the Star Media Group, the publishing company is launching The Grid magazine, a periodical that's devoted to the all the city's happenings and written with twenty and thirtysomethings in mind."The Grid is a mash-up – visually and editorially – of a newspaper a magazine and a coffee-table book," said Laas Turnbull publisher and editor-in-chief.The publishing company said every issue will feature regular contributors, all of whom will focus on their own individual beat, such as politics, social issues, beer, restaurants, style, fashion, parenting, visual arts, real estate and music.Food connoisseurs may be especially inclined to purchase the inaugural issue, as the source said…

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12 May 2011

Toronto thrill seekers may soon be taking a walk on the wild side – literally.According to Canada's National Tower, Toronto's iconic structure will soon be furnished with an EdgeWalk, allowing people who want to see the city from 1168 feet in the air the opportunity to do so."We think it’s fitting that Toronto’s newest attraction in 18 years should be at the city’s most defining landmark," said Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the owner of the CN Tower, Canada Lands Company. "EdgeWalk is both thrilling and unique and will push visitors to their limits – literally and figuratively. This will be among Toronto’s, if not the world’s, greatest attractions."Laroche and other officials for the CN Tower project say that…

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11 May 2011

A new report on the health of the self-storage market in Canada mimics that of the nation's economy: the industry is strong, stable and looks to improve in 2011.According to Foy and Co. Investment Real Estate Services and its National Self Storage Review, many markets in 2010 reported improvements in occupancy, with several companies expanding their services in order to meet demand.Toronto was no exception. The firm found that while occupancy declined somewhat in July 2010, several GTA companies are making up for what was lost, as companies say business has picked up and occupancy rates have grown.While the storage business in Toronto in 2010 was solid overall, Foy and Company said the city with the highest achievement was Vancouver.…

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11 May 2011

Toronto residents driving to work may have swerved a bit when they saw the price for a litre of gas.According to Torontogasprices.com, the cost for a litre of gas has never been higher in the GTA, as in a 24-hour period, the price jumped 6.5 cents. The gas price tracking website says the average cost per litre in Toronto now stands at $1.39.Another gas information website, GasBuddy.com, confirms that the Toronto area received a sudden increase in overnight prices, only they say the jump was slightly less significant at 6.3 cents more.If the cost of gas in Toronto alone wasn't maddening enough, TomorrowsGasPriceToday.com reports that compared to the rest of the world, Canadians pay 4 cents more per litre than…

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11 May 2011

A report on how Toronto's high school students are doing is in, and by the looks of it, teenagers' grades are on the way up.According to the Fraser Institute's annual report card on Ontario's secondary schools, high schoolers are performing better on standardized testing than they have been, with 26.9 percent scoring below average, a marked improvement from the 30 percent underperforming in the 2005-2006 school year.Michael Thomas, associate director for the Fraser Institute, projected confidence for the future of Ontario's students."This is a promising trend for Ontario schools," said Thomas. "But with more than a quarter of exams still falling below the provincial standard, there is room for academic improvement across the province."The study looked at test scores from…

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10 May 2011

A new poll is indicating that instead of going out and spending money with their tax returns, most Canadians will be using it to pay down their debt or save it for a rainy day.According to a CIBC Harris poll, 42 percent plan to use the money to pay down debt on things they already own and 30 percent plan on investing it. Just 8 percent plan to spend their new found earnings."The fact that the majority of Canadians plan to pay down debts or shore up their bank accounts with their tax refund is a clear sign that Canadians are indeed focused on getting their financial house in order," said Jame Golombeck, CIBC's head of tax and estate planning.Golombeck…

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9 May 2011

People who viewed the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William have the memory of a moment that they likely won't soon forget. But for people who want a keepsake of the historic event, a Canadian periodical is making one available.Hello! Canada, the country's most widely-read celebrity magazine, is publishing a commemorative issue of the matrimony of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The magazine says the special edition features 132 pages of photography from noted photojournalist Hugo Burnand and all of the moments that captured the world's attention, such as the the procession to Buckingham Palace, the "I do's," a panoramic view of Middleton's gown and the couple's first kiss as husband and wife on the palace balcony.The magazine says…

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9 May 2011

Even though square footage for office space isn't being purchased in Toronto at a prodigious rate, a new report is indicating why businesses still flock to the GTA.According to a just-released report from consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, only New York beats Toronto as the world's capital of finance.The firm based its analysis of the best cities for business opportunities on several factors that measured economic vibrancy and overall quality of life, such as intellectual capital, innovation, health, safety and security. New York edged out Toronto for first place. San Francisco, Stockholm, and Sydney rounded out the top five financial cities of the 26 considered."These findings confirm our view that Toronto's real strength lies in its quality of life which serves as…

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6 May 2011

As a storage unit business, few things would be better than bringing an NFL football franchise to the GTA, as nothing attracts visitors and residents to a city like America's that sport does. But rumors about the New Orleans Saints relocating to Toronto, apparently, simply aren't true.According to the Saints' team spokesman Greg Bensel, there's no truth to the suggestion that the New Orleans franchise is relocating."Reports about the Saints as a potential team moving to Toronto are completely false," Bensel said. "The New Orleans Saints are committed to the city of New Orleans."The rumor got legs when Mayor Rob Ford's brother, Doug, told the Toronto-based media company The Score that the NFL was considering moving the Saints to Toronto.Mayor…

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6 May 2011

The state of Toronto's economy has received a steady stream of good news over the past several months, but it may be in the midst of a spring swoon.According to a recent report released by the Toronto Real Estate Board, there were approximately 9,041 existing home sales in the month of April. That's a near 20 percent drop in sales compared to the same month last year.Despite the decline, Bill Johnston, TREB's president, said it should not serve as a sign of what's to come."Expect the pace of sales to remain robust through the spring, as the economy expands and home buyers continue to benefit from affordable home ownership opportunities," said Johnston.But a report from the Conference Board of Canada…

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5 May 2011

Though office space in the Toronto area has been taken up at brisk pace this quarter, the commercial real estate market in the GTA suffered a bit of a setback in the month of April.According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, 842,406 square feet of space was leased by commercial property hunters. That's a significant amount of space no longer available for rent, but it's down 27 percent compared to the same month last year, when 1,155,944 square feet of space was leased.Despite the downturn, Larry Purchase, chairman for the TREB's commercial division, said high demand will keep the market operating in the black."As the Canadian economy continues to expand in 2011, demand for commercial real estate is expected to…

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5 May 2011

The city of Toronto is filled with some of the brightest, most innovative minds in the world, and as such, several of them will soon be presented with honorary degrees.Later this month, soon after approximately 12,500 students graduate from the University of Toronto, their alma mater will recognize several people for contributions they've made to the city."The University of Toronto students, faculty, staff and alumni are committed to building stronger communities in Canada and throughout the world," said U of T president David Naylor. "These honorary degrees reflect and celebrate that commitment."The list of those receiving honorary degrees from the university includes Paul Martin, Sonia and Arthur Labatt, Koh Yong Guan and John Daniels. All of the award winners are…

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4 May 2011

Canada motorists sure do love their cars, as two recent sales reports from Kia and Subaru attest.According to Kia Canada, April was the best month ever for car sales in the country, as more than 6,000 vehicles were sold for the first time in the 11 years it's been serving the region."It is quite evident that Canadians continue to embrace our world-class design, technology and safety while appreciating the benefit of our fuel efficient vehicle lineup," said Maria Soklis, vice president and chief operating officer for Kia Canada.Not to be outdone was fellow Asian car manufacturer Subaru. The Japanese auto company performed well in Canada last month, as units sold surpassed 2,900 – a near 10 percent increase compared to…

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3 May 2011

Many Torontonians are fortunate enough to have their own bicycles, and because the cost of gasoline has been rising almost daily, more people are taking bikes out of storage units and using them as an alternative source of transportation.And thanks to a new program that just recently kicked off, bike owners won't be the only ones taking advantage of two-wheeled travel.The bike sharing program, BIXI Toronto, is now officially available to any and all residents of the GTA, as 1,000 bicycles are located at 80 stations throughout the downtown area. The cost is $40 for a month or $95 per year for regular users.Gian-Carlo Crivello, director of business development for the Public Bike System Company, recently described the perks of…

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3 May 2011

For people who have been keeping their broken down cars in storage units for any number of reasons, now may be the ideal time to get it fixed.That's because according to Warren Industries, an automotive supplier based in Concord, Ontario, it plans on hiring 66 more people, bringing their total employment to 200 and making parts more available.Sandra Pupatello, minister of economic development and trade, said the move will serve Ontarians, and the province's economy, well."This investment transfers work to Ontario from overseas and will provide good jobs and tremendous benefits for our province's automotive supply chain," said Pupatello.While Ontario's economy was adversely impacted by the global recession, it fared well compared to other provinces. According to the MEDT, Ontario…

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2 May 2011

Homebuilders in the Greater Toronto area received some well-deserved kudos this past weekend at an award ceremony held by the Building Industry and Development Association.The award ceremony is an annual event and is held to recognize homebuilders whose work has been extraordinary.The most prestigious award – the Home Builder of the Year – went to Mattamy Homes, marking the fourth straight year it received the coveted trophy. The company has been getting so many of them, it may need to put a few in a storage unit to make room for their new hardware.Another trophy went to Jeanhy Shim of Streetcar Developments for outstanding achievement in residential sales."As I look around the room and see so many of the industry's…

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29 Apr 2011

In the early morning hours on April 29, millions of people in Canada set their alarms to witness the marriage of Prince Edward and Kate Middleton. And in Toronto, many female viewers celebrated the occasion by heading to their storage units or closets, getting their favorite gowns and hats, and watching the rare event from a "royal" hotel."We're here to witness a moment in history," Jenny Andison said in an interview with Postmedia News. Andison was one of nearly 200 people who decked out the King Edward Hotel in the downtown section of the city to watch a wedding that could very well be the most widely-viewed nuptials in history.According to the news service, the 170 people in attendance plunked…

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