26 Sep 2011

Art Toronto returns October 28

As artistic Canadians help their kids work on their costumes for Halloween, they may want to give their creative juices a rest and visit one of the most prestigious art gallery exhibits in the world.Between October 28 and October 31, the 12th annual Art Toronto exhibit will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. The four-day event will feature elaborate showcases and exhibits from more than 100 leading international galleries from 13 countries. Some of the more well recognized artists whose work will be on display includes Andy Warhol, Kent Monkman, Edward Burtynsky and Chuck Close.If locals want to get a sneak peek of what will be on display, there will be an opening night preview held on October 27.General ticket admission price is $18, but senior citizens, groups and students can get in for a discounted rate.The event may give Torontonians an idea for what type of artistic work they would like to have adorning one of their…

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23 Sep 2011

A group of Ontario farmers are trying to set a world record and help feed the hungry at the same time.At the end of the month, local farmers will try to harvest 160 acres of soybean crop with more than 100 combines in less than 10 minutes.Hundreds of supporters have donated money to the farmers' goal, all of which will go toward Harvest for Hunger, a charity that local growers established, which aims to help end starvation."All the funds raised from the harvest will help the Canadian Foodgrains Bank provide critical food aid to drought ridden areas such as Ethiopia and Kenya," said Richard Van Donkersgoed, fundraising coordinator for the charity.Overall, the harvest is expected to yield approximately 8,000 bushels…

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22 Sep 2011

Some changes are coming to Toronto that suggests the city is growing at a prodigious rate: new area codes.Starting March 25, 2013, the Greater Toronto Area will have two new area codes – 437 and 365. The former number will service those who are in the the 416/546 area, while the latter will be for GTA residents in the 905/289 area codes.The new numbers result from a decision made by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, as demand for Toronto telephone numbers is quickly exceeding the supply.Glenn Pilley, director of the Canadian Numbering Association, said current GTA residents shouldn't be affected."The introduction of a new area code in a region enables millions of additional telephone numbers to be provided without…

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21 Sep 2011

While the Toronto economy is producing jobs at a prodigious rate, there may not be enough room in the city to accommodate them, a new report reveals.According to a report from the Canadian Urban Institute and Real Estate Search Corporation, approximately 15,000 new jobs are expected to be produced for the financial services sector between now and 2015. However, based on building projections and vacancy rates, there aren't enough developments to house these jobs, particularly in downtown Toronto.Jeff Orlans, chairman of the Toronto Office Coaltion, the organization the report was prepared for, said the ramifications could be significant."What this means is that those jobs will go to car-dependent locations outside the 416 region, adding to existing high levels of congestion,"…

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21 Sep 2011

While some Canadians may be having trouble selling their property, a new poll indicates they might have better luck if they had a better knowledge of the sales process.According to a new survey funded by ComFree, Canada's largest private real estate network, a considerable percentage of Canadians are unfamiliar with a variety of home-selling basics.For instance, 45 percent said they weren't aware of whether or not they were required to pay Realtor fees and what some of those services include."It's clear that there is a real need to educate Canadians on the basic components of real estate purchases, as well as the options available in terms of private sales versus selling with a realtor," said Patrick Sullivan, general manager and…

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20 Sep 2011

Technology enthusiasts throughout Canada will soon convene upon the GTA, as the Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show will soon convene.Believed to be the first consumer electronics show ever to be hosted in Ontario, it was designed to help Canadian consumers – both amateur and professional – better discern the quality of audio and video technology products."Consumers invest a lot of hard earned money into televisions, speaker systems, and other audio video devices," said Suave Kajko, president of TAVES. "[We] want to help consumers make better decisions about what the best options are for them."Representatives from TAVES say that more than 15 audio and video brand names will be on display, all housed in the Le Meridien King Edward Hotel, one…

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20 Sep 2011

While residential property purchases are increasing in the GTA, demand for office space is also on the rise, a new report indicates.According to commercial real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield, vacancy rates fell from 10.5 percent in the second quarter to 10 percent in the third quarter in Toronto.Paul Morse, senior managing director of office leasing for the commercial real estate organization, said office space in downtown Toronto is particularly hard to come by."The overall strength and vitality of the downtown core remains solid and we expect this trend to continue as financial institutions' demand for office space moves toward a more normal market and head office activities from other sectors choose to consolidate and expand in the core…

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19 Sep 2011

With the month of September more than half over, the Toronto Real Estate Board released housing figures through the first two weeks of summer's swan song.According to the TREB, there were approximately 3,150 home transactions through the first 14 days of September. That represents a 25 percent increase when compared to the same two-week period in September 2010.Despite a steady stream of poor economic news, Richard Silver, president of the TREB, said the results indicate Ontarians are weathering the storm."Purchasing and paying for a home over the long term represents the single largest financial commitment most households will make over a lifetime," said Silver. "To make this commitment, households must be confident in their economic prospects."He continued by saying that…

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16 Sep 2011

Rankings on the quality of some of the world's finest institutes of higher learning are out and the University of Toronto is among them.According to Newsweek's College Rankings Report 2011 edition, the University of Toronto is one of the top three schools in the world outside of the United States. The University of Cambridge and University of Oxford were the only institutions with a higher ranking.The U of T wasn't the only Canadian university to be credited with a prestigious distinction. The University of British Columbia, McGill University and McMaster University were also mentioned in what Newsweek called "the best halls of higher learning outside America's borders."However, the U of T was rated higher than fellow Canadian schools in other…

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15 Sep 2011

While the real estate picture in Toronto has been stellar for several months now, the high rate of sales isn't being offset by an increase in supply, a new report details.According to the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association and the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada Ontario Region, 93,000 people are on affordable housing waiting lists in the Greater Toronto Area alone. What's more, vacancy rates are in record-low territory at 2.7 percent in Durham, 2.2 percent in Toronto and 1.8 percent in both Peel and York.Harvey Cooper, manager of government relations for CHF Canada, said the problem is particularly acute for families with low annual income levels."This year's findings clearly demonstrate that the gap between homeowners and tenants' incomes is growing…

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15 Sep 2011

Despite economic uncertainty pervading much of the country and the world at large, home sales in Canada held steady in the month of August, a new report indicates.The Canadian Real Estate Association says national resale housing activity remained stable in August, the second-straight month sales have been balanced.On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, sales activity increased 16 percent compared to August 2010. In year-to-date sales, more than 324,000 homes have changed hands, the first time this year home buying activity has pulled ahead of 2010's pace.Gregory Klump, chief economist for CREA, said Canadians are capitalizing on inexpensive mortgage offers."Once again, economic and financial market headwinds outside Canada are keeping interest rates lower for longer," said Klump. "Those headwinds will likely persist…

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14 Sep 2011

In recent weeks, several economic indicators have suggested that Canada's economic prowess is regressing. A new report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is providing officials with a potential explanation for why this is happening. According to FCM's report, inefficient public transportation, limited community services and a lack of affordable housing are preventing the Canadian economy from growing. These insufficiencies are profoundly affecting Canada's new immigrants, according to Claude Dauphin, FCM vice president, a problem which can be rectified by local and federal government officials. "Municipalities are the front-line, first-responders for many immigrants' needs, yet we collect just eight cents of every tax-dollar paid in Canada and have been given no formal role in developing federal immigration policies and programs,"…

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14 Sep 2011

Toronto parents now have a better understanding of how well their kids are performing in their studies, as five of the 15 Canadian schools profiled by the Education Quality and Accountability Office are located in the Greater Toronto Area. The schools chosen include David Lewis Public, Kenollie Public, Neil McNeil Catholic High, St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High and Riverdale Collegiate Institute. "Our learners do well at many different things," said Karen Peach, principal of David Lewis Public School. "We give students a lot of opportunities to demonstrate what they can do. Our programming is rich, and we work within our hub and our cluster successfully to prepare our students for secondary school." EQAO said these schools were chosen based…

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13 Sep 2011

Torontonians who enjoy shopping are encouraged to mark their calendars, as for the third year in a row, LouLou's annual Shop 'Til You Drop extravaganza will be coming to the GTA.According to LouLou, a leading Canadian periodical for shopping and celebrity news, the event will take place on Bloor Street between Avenue Road and Yonge Street on September 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. In addition to a variety of discounts offered, there will also be fashion presentations from the likes of Julia Cyboran, LouLou's content director, and Claude Laframboise, the magazine's market editor.The event will also make stops in Montreal on September 22 and in Vancouver on October 6."We know our readers across the country absolutely love to shop,…

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13 Sep 2011

In what's being described as an ambitious undertaking, Habitat for Humanity Toronto is looking to build a couple of barrier-free homes for two low-income families with disabilities in a week and a day.According to the nonprofit charitable housing organization, the eight-day effort – which has been dubbed the 9-1-1 Build – will bring together a variety of Toronto public service organizations including Toronto Police, Fire and Emergency Medical. Those involved will attempt to build the homes from start to finish in eight days.Habitat for Humanity released a tentative agenda for the effort. For instance, on September 17, building will begin and several political representatives will be on hand to officially launch the effort. By Saturday, September 24, it's anticipated that…

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12 Sep 2011

Though Ontario's economic function has been high throughout much of 2011, economists believe it will sputter somewhat for the remainder of the year.According to the Royal Bank of Canada's Economic Provincial Outlook, supply-chain disruptions in the automotive sector and below average U.S. growth will impact Ontario's gross domestic product. GDP is a measurement of all the goods and services a country produces."Ontario's auto sector was severely disrupted by Japan's earthquake and tsunami in March, causing a number of assembly plants to halt or curtail operations for several weeks," said Craig Wright, senior vice president and chief economist at RBC. "As a result of this catastrophe, car and truck output in the province plummeted by 14 per cent in the second…

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12 Sep 2011

While there are a variety of considerations to weigh when deciding which storage company to choose to house one's belongings, a significant factor should be the security system it uses. All too often, burglaries take place at facilities that could have been prevented had the owners used a more sophisticated lockdown procedure.One such incident happened last week in the U.S. According to a local Arkansas newspaper, The Log Cabin Democrat, a storage unit facility manager arrived to work and found that seven of the units had been burglarized.As one might suspect, expensive items were stolen from the units, including a 32-inch Emerson flat-screen television and a stereo system furnished with a turntable and mixer, the paper reported.Had the owners used…

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9 Sep 2011

A motley crew of major Hollywood directors, producers and actors will be at this year's Toronto Film Festival, which officially kicked off September 8.The annual festival, which will last for 11 days, allows Ontarians and the Canadian public in general to interact with some of the movie industry's finest talent. At this year's TIFF, filmmaker and Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim will be in attendance, as well as Jonathan Demme, Cameron Crowe and Albert Maysles.Guggenheim is noted for his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," for which he won an Oscar. Crowe earned an Academy Award as well for Best Original Screenplay for the film "Almost Famous."Demme is best known for the 1990s thriller "The Slience of the Lambs," while Maysles' signature…

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8 Sep 2011

While home sales in Canada have been strong and employed individuals are confident in their job security, a new poll found that consumer sentiment fell considerably in the third quarter.According to a national telephone survey conducted by the polling company teleVox, consumer confidence dropped from 83.7 in the second quarter to 77.5 in the third.Doug Anderson, senior vice president for the business firm Investors Group, said the results of the poll are troubling."For the second quarter in a row, Canadian consumer confidence has declined," said Anderson. "When U.S. consumer confidence has declined, Canadian confidence has typically declined as well, although usually to a lesser degree and sometimes on a delayed basis.Last month, the U.S.-based Conference Board reported that consumer confidence…

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