27 Jul 2011

Canadians’ satisfaction with banks jumps sharply, survey...

Canadians are pleased with their financial institutions, as a new poll conducted by J.D. Power and Associates reveals satisfaction Canadians have with their banks has increased.Measured on a 1,000-point scale, satisfaction rates averaged around 756, which is a jump of 26 points when compared to 2010. What's more, contentment rose among the Big Five Banks – TD Canada Trust, RBC, BMO, Scotia Bank and CIBC – as well as midsize financial institutions.Lubo Li, senior director of financial services for J.D. Power and Associates, said most banks have tried to improve the ease with which Canadians perform their financial obligations."During the past year, all major banks in Canada have invested heavily in upgrading customer-facing systems and processes," said Li. "[This] has resulted in higher satisfaction with account information and activities, product offerings and bank facilities."Jiffy Self Storage knows something about what it takes to satisfy customer relations, as the company has received the Consumers' Choice Award for 15 straight years. Thanks…

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26 Jul 2011

The newest members were recently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Toronto received special distinction in the process. Along side former pitcher Bert Blyleven and longtime MLB executive Pat Gillick, former Toronto Blue Jays' second baseman Roberto Alomar was enshrined into the hallowed Hall in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24. Even though he played for seven different teams over the course of his 17-year career, Alomar highlighted Toronto as his favorite franchise he laced up the leather for. "My time in Toronto was the best of my career," said Alomar, which reportedly led to cheers of "Robbie, Robbie," from Blue Jays fans in attendance. "I am so proud to represent you as the first Toronto Blue Jay…

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26 Jul 2011

Some of the world's best legal minds will soon be coming to Toronto, as the American Bar Association recently announced it will hold its annual meeting in the GTA.According to the ABA, approximately 8,000 legal professionals from 100 different firms will be in attendance, as the 134th gathering will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in August.The ABA is the U.S. equivalent of the Canadian Bar Association, as it provides accreditation to students who've graduated from law school and provides news and information about the legal system as a whole."Our location in the beautiful and vibrant city of Toronto honors the ABA's longstanding special ties to the [CBA], said Stephen Zack, president of the ABA. "This meeting offers…

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25 Jul 2011

The Royal Bank of Canada is out with its latest forecast, this one detailing the state of home prices over the remainder of 2011 and into next year.According to the RBC, home values are expected to rise by an average of 4.4 percent through December, but by the time January rolls around, prices are expected to moderate.Robert Hogue, senior economist for RBC, said the anticipated rise in prices is tied to the jump in interest rates economists are projecting."The main policy shift will be one toward progressively higher interest rates, which will cool demand but not deep-freeze it," said Hogue.Among the provinces, the RBC projects Alberta will have the most prosperous housing market throughout 2011 and 2012, while homebuying activity…

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25 Jul 2011

Canadians with a sweet tooth may want to get their ice cream makers out of their storage units, as Cold Stone Creamery is offering them a chance to have the tasty treat free for one year.On July 22, the ice cream chain launched its Signature Creation Contest on Facebook, challenging Canadians to create their own flavor. The winner will be the one that's deemed most original, but it must be pleasant to eat as well."We keep hearing from guests how they'd like to be the ones behind the Cold Stone counter," said Andrea Hughes, ice cream expert for Cold Stone Creamery Canada. "Now they can with the Signature Creation Contest. There are millions of possible combinations out there and we…

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22 Jul 2011

GTA commuters have a new way to get around town, as the City of Toronto, the Government of Ontario and the Toronto Transit Commission jointly announced the launch of the Toronto Rocket – the city's latest subway service. "With the service launch of the Toronto Rocket subway train, our government is improving transportation in the Greater Toronto Area," said Joe Oliver, minister of Natural Resources. "The Toronto Rocket will provide families and businesses with greater transit options, reduce traffic congestion and support better air quality across the region." Construction for the project began in 2006, when the TTC awarded a grant to Bombardier Inc. to build the new subway system. In the next two years, older trains will gradually be…

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21 Jul 2011

While Canada as a whole has been able to weather the global financial crisis effectively, the cost of living may be taking its toll, particularly in Ontario.In a new survey released by the Royal Bank of Canada, to cut costs approximately 60 percent of Ontarians are comparison shopping, 50 percent are following a budget more closely and 30 percent are driving less frequently. One in five are cutting back on expenses by using their credit card less often."Ontario residents have been hit hard by the rising cost of food and fuel and are making changes to deal with this new financial reality," said Vince Isber, regional vice-president for RBC.Isber went on to say that Ontarians can budget their money by…

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21 Jul 2011

Toronto is in the midst of a heatwave, and as a result, officials are calling on the city's residents to conserve their energy use.According to Toronto Hydro, demand for electricity is expected to be elevated over the next several days, primarily resulting from increased air conditioner use. The company is asking residents to keep cooling units set at 25 degrees Celsius – or 77 degrees Farenheit – between peak electricity use periods. Those time intervals are 7 a.m to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the source states.While this will put less strain on Toronto's energy grid, it will also put less of a burden on Torontonians' wallets. But Toronto Hydro says GTA residents can employ other cost-saving…

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20 Jul 2011

While planning and packaging can go a long way in making sure the moving process goes as seamlessly as possible, mental preparation may be more important.According to a recent poll of immigrants who have lived in Canada for 10 years or less, 60 percent of respondents said preparing one's self emotionally and mentally was the most crucial aspect for what it takes to adjust to Canadian life."Moving to a new country is a life-changing decision and being mentally prepared for the challenges of a different culture can really help ensure a successful move," said Camon Mak, director of multicultural market for Royal Bank of Canada, which conducted the poll. Mak went on to say that becoming involved in a town…

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20 Jul 2011

A new study is revealing that Canadians may have no problem putting their television sets in storage.Commissioned by the telecommunciations firm Primus Canada, a new survey reveals nearly half of all Canadians would have no problem giving up their TVs if they were forced to choose between it and the internet.Rob Warden, vice president of residential services for the firm, said internet access is something Canadians are placing a greater dependence on than ever before."This survey proves that Canadians have reached a comfort level and reliance on the Internet that is at least on par with that of TV and phones," said Warden.Other findings from the poll show just how much homeowners rely on cyberspace, as one in five Canadians…

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19 Jul 2011

A recent survey conducted by a commercial real estate company indicates it's gotten harder for entrepreneurs to find an office space in the Greater Toronto area.The report, issued by Avison Young, says leasing and tenant activity has only increased since the first quarter, making it more difficult to find a space April through June.However, Bill Argeropoulos, vice president and director of research for Avison Young, said this has been the trend for the past year."Over the last 12 months, the GTA office leasing market has performed exceptionally well, supported by a continued steady flow of lease transactions, eroding the supply of available space options along the way and altering the landlord-tenant relationship," said Argeropoulos.The report indicates in the city overall,…

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19 Jul 2011

A new poll is showing why Toronto is often looked to as a shining example of success.According to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and its Metropolitan Economic Activity Index, Toronto has the highest rate of financial success compared to other cities in Canada."Simply put, the multi-channel nature of Toronto's economic engine is the secret not only behind its current top ranking, but also behind its ability to maintain a relatively high ranking position over the past two years," said Benjamin Tal, CIBC deputy chief economist.Tal went on to say the clearest example of this can be seen with Toronto's labor market, as overall employment outpaced the number of jobs added to the market at a national level by a…

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18 Jul 2011

Perhaps inspired by Toronto's success on the home sales front, Canadians as a whole purchased more houses last month.According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, home buying activity increased just less than 3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis when compared to May. But when compared to last June, actual sales increased significantly – nearly 11 percent.Gary Morse, CREA's president, attributes the increase to a variety of positive economic developments."Canadian housing demand remains resilient, thanks to low interest rates, job growth, and home buyer confidence in the economy," said Morse.Gregory Klump, chief economist at CREA, seconded Morse's assertions, saying the real estate market in the latter half of 2011 could be as prosperous as the first.In addition to home sales…

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15 Jul 2011

One of the world's premiere cities for businesses to operate in is Toronto, and thanks to a recent approval of the Toronto City Council, more companies will be able to come to the GTA.The Toronto City Council approved the request of real estate development company Build Toronto to bring a new office building to 4050 Yonge Street.According to the real estate firm, the structure will be seven stories tall and will comprise approximately 480,800 square feet of space, most of which will be devoted to offices. However, a portion of the construction project will be built to furnish restaurants and retails stores.J. Lorne, Braithwaite, president and CEO of Build Toronto, said he's eager to get the project going."We are excited…

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14 Jul 2011

What's the secret to happiness for Canadians? According to a recent survey, the answer is vacation time and family togetherness.A new poll by Coca-Cola indicates that nothing makes Canadians more joyful than spending weekend vacations with their loved ones and friends, with 87 percent saying as much.In celebration of its 125th anniversary, the cola conglomerate surveyed 5,000 Canadians about what made them the most cheerful. Nicola Kettlitz, president of Coca-Cola, said they received a wide variety of responses but vacation and family were the most common ones."The study told us that Canadians have a lot to say on the topic of happiness and as a nation, we share many common points of view," said Kettlitz. "Our stunning landscape and natural…

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13 Jul 2011

When the weather warms in Ontario, the spending ramps up as well – at least that's what a recent poll suggests.According to a survey conducted by TD Canada Trust, 67 percent of Ontarians say they spend more in the summer months, largely as a result of feeling happier.Other findings from the survey found that nearly three out of every four of the province's residents aren't as regimented with their savings and spending goals in the summertime, with 51 percent saying they often have outstanding bills when the temperatures rise and 38 percent indicating they save less."Summer is a great time to relax and have fun with friends, but it doesn't mean you should take a vacation from your financial responsibilities,"…

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13 Jul 2011

Due to all the stress that comes with moving, the last thing people want to think about is if their belongings will be safe in the moving process. But that's exactly what concerned a Toronto resident recently, whose belongings were stolen.In a recent interview with the Globe and Mail, Jeffrey Schwartz, the executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, described his moving experience, wherein someone broke into a moving van and stole many costly items of his."Everything was turned upside down," said Schwartz in an interview with the paper. "Some stuff was stolen, but mostly they just created a lot of damage."Apparently, there was more opportunity for his belongings to be stolen. Schwartz told the paper there was a three-day…

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13 Jul 2011

Canadians everywhere are making assessments about how they've fared with their New Year's resolutions now that we're more than halfway through 2011. And if a recent survey is any guide, they aren't liking what they're seeing.This appears to be the case among middle-aged Canadians who resolved in January to save more money, as according to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, nearly 30 percent of all Canadians said they were doing a poor job saving, with nearly 20 percent saying their attempts qualified as "very poor."However, Ontarians appear to be having more success compared to other regions, as 57 percent of Ontario residents said they were storing money away regularly – more than any other province.Ontario was also among the…

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13 Jul 2011

Toronto area consumers who like to shop 'til they drop may be excited by a recent announcement.Joe Fresh, one of Canada's largest clothing and jewelry retailers for men and women in the country, recently announced it will open four new stand-alone stores in Quebec and Ontario, three of which will be in Toronto.The retailer says the first will open at the Golden Mile later this month, another will be at The Gardens and the third will be located at Queen and Portland. The latter two of the three stores are scheduled to be ready by October or November."We have had a fabulous response to the Joe Fresh stores opened so far and continue to look for additional locations across the…

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