8 Jun 2011

Thousands of Toronto area residents without power after...

People who were up in the early morning hours on June 7 had a sight to behold, as much of the Greater Toronto Area was hit with thunder and lightning that left 20,000 residents in the dark.According to the National Post, Environment Canada issued a severe storm watch around 1 a.m., but soon thereafter it became a warning, as much of the storm activity took place between 4:30 and 6 a.m. The paper reports the warning was lifted around 7 a.m.CBC News meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe told the news service that the weather front quickly moved to the south of the city.While there were no reports of injuries, fire officials say there were at least three fires in the GTA.Forecasters say it could be an active year for storms, particularly hurricanes. Before residents take furniture and patio items out of their storage units for the summer, they may want to check the weather forecast, as these items are vulnerable to storm…

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8 Jun 2011

Residents moving or relocating to some of the waterfront communities in Toronto will soon have access to one of the most advanced internet technology systems in the world.According to Waterfront Toronto, a community development organization created by the governments of Canada and the city of Toronto in 2001, it has enlisted the services of the technology giant Beanfield Metroconnect to give locals even faster access and utilization of the world wide web.John Campbell, president and CEO of Waterfront Toronto, said internet access has become a crucial part of GTA residents' home and work life."Broadband has become essential public infrastructure for 21st century communities, and the need for faster connections delivered over more robust networks has been intensifying since the dawn…

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7 Jun 2011

Toronto may not be playing host to more Americans, but it is getting more tourists from distant lands.According to a Tourism Toronto report, the GTA was frequented by international travellers last year from every major European or Asian country, including Germany, Japan and South Korea, adding more than $180 million to the city's coffers. Tourists from the United Kingdom were particularly prevalent last year, as over 200,000 visitors were from the U.K. China was another common country of origin for sightseers.The study also detailed where Toronto fared in tourism compared to other North American cities. With hotel occupancy increasing nearly 10 percent from 2009, Toronto is the sixth most frequented North American city, jumping four spots. New York City was…

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7 Jun 2011

While Toronto Mayor Rob Ford continues to believe the city will host its first NFL team in the coming years, Toronto's Economic Development Committee says the GTA should have a second NHL team.By a vote of 3 to 1, the TEDC determined it will send a letter to the mayor asking that he express "great interest" to the NHL that Toronto wants a second team.In an interview with CTV, one of the primary backers of the proposal, city councilor Josh Colle, said Toronto has more than enough fan support."There are five million people in the region already," said Colle. "There are going to be a million new people in the region in the next 10 years or so as the…

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6 Jun 2011

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…

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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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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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