14 Jul 2011

What makes Canadians the happiest?

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 scenery, outdoor recreation and family and friends are all contributors to our collective happiness."When families and friends are away on vacation, peace of mind may also contribute to their contentedness. Renting out a storage unit to house personal belongings that…

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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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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

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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