19 May 2011

Toronto Raptors land fifth overall draft pick

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 pick, but the fourth one as well. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Colangelo said the Raptors are sitting pretty with the fifth pick, saying it's not too different from the fourth or third.There may be something to…

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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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18 May 2011

Ontarians may know a lot of things, but one thing they're unclear about is tipping. At least, that's what a recent survey is suggesting.According to TD Canada Trust and its First Class Travel International Etiquette Poll, 77 percent of Ontarians plan on travelling this summer, but more than half of them aren't sure about tipping etiquette.The poll found that 58 percent said they weren't clear on what qualified as a good tip. Some respondents admitted that it's proven to be so much of a conundrum, it's left them feeling confused and stressed at times.The survey also found that 29 percent of respondents planned on travelling outside of the country this year. For those that have traveled outside of Canada in…

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18 May 2011

Typically, when one's desk or office space is constantly piled with paperwork, the user just considers themselves a less-than-tidy person. But a new study indicates it may reveal much more about someone's personality.According to TechNewsDaily, Hunch.com – an internet company that provides its users with an array of website recommendations – conducted a poll of 700,000 of its members and found people with messy desks tended to be educated, career-minded and skilled at math.In an interview with the source, Amanda Green, lead author of the report, said people tend to mess their desks for one of two reasons."Someone may be messy because they use the computer for various endeavors, which could explain why CEOs are more likely to have messy…

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17 May 2011

A man and woman who recently ran the Toronto Marathon decide to commemorate the feat in a somewhat unusual way: by getting married.According to the Toronto Star, while thousands of their fellow marathoners were cooling down and refueling with lots of liquids upon finishing the race, Jessica McGann and Rodney Merchant were showering up and heading for the wedding chapel.The paper reports that the couple arrived at the wedding right on time, as the ceremony was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.The Star reports that the newlyweds did not receive traditional wedding gifts from those in attendance. Instead, Merchant requested that people donate to the Canadian Cancer Society in lieu of gifts in honor of his mother, Yvonne, who died…

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17 May 2011

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…

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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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