23 Mar 2011

Bakesale for Japan comes to Toronto

People who know their way around an oven are being urged to dust off their extra bakeware if they've been put away in storage units as Torontonians are being called upon to assist thousands of families in need.The program is called "Bakesale for Japan," which was originally organized by a San Francisco-area baker. According to its website, the bake sale got its start after California-area bakers were able to raise $23,000 for survivors of the earthquake in Haiti.Several bakeries across California are participating in the Bakesale for Japan, which will be held April 2, but bakeries across the country are also participating in locations like Portland, Boston and Philadelphia.But the sale is also coming to the Greater Toronto area and the Toronto Star reports that several bakeries will participate on April 2 and April 10.''My heart broke a little each time I saw the images of death and destruction, of kids being scanned for signs of radiation, of rescue workers…

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22 Mar 2011

The latest indication more people are snapping up storage units in the Toronto area? Condominium sales soared in February.According to the Building Industry and Land Development Association, 2,202 new condos were sold in the GTA last month. That marks the first time more than 2,000 condo units were sold in February, which is usually a slow-moving month.Stephen Dupuis, the president and CEO of BILD, attributed the rise in condo purchases to, among other things, struggling sales in the low-rise home market."The relative un-affordability of low-rise product has caused a huge market shift towards high-rise condominiums, which is fine to a point, but only if steps are being taken to create a more balanced market over the mid- to long-term," Dupuis…

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21 Mar 2011

The vacancy rate of local storage units will likely decline within the next few years, as Toronto shoppers will be filling them with some of their threadbare belongings. But they'll likely be replacing what's old for what's new, as a massive mall is scheduled to be built in Halton Hills.RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers have announced that they are embarking on a joint venture which will bring the first Tanger Outlet Center to the Greater Toronto area. Construction is expected to start this year, and the mall should open sometime in 2013."Halton Hills is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and the GTA, allowing our retailer partners access to the fifth largest retail…

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18 Mar 2011

With busy work schedules, Toronto physicians rarely have time to play video games, with consoles often winding up in storage units to use later. But Toronto surgeons may want to dust them off and brush up their skills, as it may prove beneficial to their performance in the operating room.Doctors at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto are using the Xbox to help them virtually manipulate medical images during surgery.They do it by using the Xbox Kinect – Microsoft's answer to other entertainment systems which allows users to interact through movement rather than controllers. By manipulating images through hand gestures, doctors don't have to leave the operating table, saving valuable time.The improved efficiency in the operating room could lead to more operating…

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17 Mar 2011

Three Ontario bakers will likely be throwing their old cookware into Toronto storage units and buying top-of-the-line cooking products after hitting the jackpot.A triumvirate of bakers are sharing $50 million after being awarded the prize from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Association on Wednesday.One of the winners, Eugeniusz Borek, expected to win after having several dreams involving money."Two days before the draw, I had a dream that I was pushing a wheelbarrow full of money with two other guys," he said. "The next day, I had a dream that I was opening up a car wash and a gas station and a couple of other small businesses. When I woke up, I thought, 'The money is coming, I am sure.'"Borek…

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16 Mar 2011

As the winter draws to a close and spring approaches, many Toronto residents may be thinking about raiding their storage units and grabbing their bicycle to ride to work, school or get in some exercise. But a new bike-sharing program the city is introducing may lead to riders putting fewer miles on them.The city of Toronto and the Public Bike System Company are joining forces in launching the BIXI Toronto program. The bike-sharing program will kick off on May 3 and will include 1,000 bikes, 80 BIXI stations and 1,500 docking points in the Greater Toronto area."The BIXI Toronto program is an exciting new cycling initiative that will encourage more bicycle trips in the downtown core," said Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair…

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15 Mar 2011

People who thought ahead and grabbed a Toronto storage unit, anticipating further growth in the housing market, were wise to do so, as a new report indicates housing activity has been steady.According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, sales activity was just under 6 percent lower than what was reported in February 2010, but it's the smallest year-over-year decline in nine months and the fourth consecutive month of maintaining the five year-average sales rate. Nationally, new listings in February increased 1.5 percent."Most local housing markets in Canada are well balanced, but there are still a number of buyers' and sellers' markets," said Georges Pahud, president of the CREA. "Housing market trends often evolve and diverge from national trends due to…

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14 Mar 2011

It was easy being green in Toronto this past weekend as residents raided their storage units for their favorite leprechaun garb and attended the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade.One Toronto local, formerly of Ireland, told the Toronto Star he's been to the parade every year since arriving in the city in 2003."It's excellent," Paul Reynolds told the paper. "I like the way everyone embraces it. The Irish are in pockets all over the city. It's nice to be able to see everyone together."Other attendants originally from Ireland said that while they're becoming more familiar with the Greater Toronto area, the celebration made them happy but at the same time homesick.Through Thursday, restaurants and bars across the city will offer…

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11 Mar 2011

A world renowned chef and restaurateur may be renting out a Toronto storage unit some time soon to store his pots and pans as he plans to bring his business to the Greater Toronto area.According to the Toronto Star, David Chang is planning on bringing his Momofuku restaurant, which has thrived in Manhattan, to the Queen City by 2012."I'm not trying to bring New York to Toronto," Chang told the paper. "I want to understand Toronto better."According to the paper, many destinations around the world want him to bring his Momofuku restaurant – Japanese for "lucky peach" – to their area, but Chang says he fell in love with the Greater Toronto area after visiting last year. The Star reports…

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10 Mar 2011

At the 2011 Toronto inaugural breakfast of the Consumer Choice Award, Jiffy Self Storage was congratulated for being chosen again by Toronto consumers for its excellence in business.  The event was held on Tuesday, March  11, 2011 at the Westin Prince Hotel, North York, and many of the recipients of the award in various categories were represented there. Unprecedented feat in Toronto Self Storage Consumer Choice Award Toronto breakfast was a big success. Allan Barkin, President of Jiffy Self Storage, a 15 year veteran of the award, made his remarks about the award and the effect it had on Toronto consumers that decided to store at Jiffy Storage Toronto facilities. Principals of the Consumer Choice Award…

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10 Mar 2011

As some of the more confident people in the country about Canada's real estate market, Torontonians likely won't be moving or clearing out their storage units any time soon. If anything, they'll be renting out Toronto storage units.According to a survey conducted by the Royal Bank of Canada, Ontario leads the country in the number of people who view the current housing market as being balanced, with a whopping 80 percent of those looking to buy – four out of five people – saying they plan on purchasing a home with in the next one or two years. That's the highest rate in the country, which is saying something because a majority of Canadians – 90 percent – are confident…

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9 Mar 2011

While the Canada weathered the global recession better than most countries, Canadian business owners aren't ready to purchase new facilities and unpack their Toronto storage units packed with office supplies just yet.According to the American Express Small Business Monitor, a survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, just 16 percent of small business owners are willing to take a "significant" or "above average" risk this year. That's down 9 percent from the 25 percent willing to fully unleash their entrepreneurial spirit last year."Small business owners have been patiently waiting for business to pick up," said Eric Nielsen vice president of Small Business Services Canada, American Express Canada. "The reports of recovery and anticipation of a market upswing have yet to…

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8 Mar 2011

It's becoming somewhat redundant, but there's more good news to report in the Ontario housing market. On the heels of a prosperous January for housing starts in the Toronto area, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports that total housing starts increased by 49 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 38,000 in February."The condominium segment is shaping up to be the engine of growth for the construction industry in Toronto this year," said Shaun Hildebrand, CMHC's senior market analyst for the Greater Toronto area. "The rising number of condo starts and completions reflects a growing preference for this housing type among first-time buyers, downsizers and renters."Because the CMHC says condo sales are also high among those who are downsizing,…

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7 Mar 2011

With more storage units and homes being built in the Greater Toronto area to accommodate the city's growing population, the building boom is particularly strong in condominiums.According to Urbanation, an organization that tracks Toronto's condo market, sales for condominiums skyrocketed in the fourth quarter of 2010, going from 3,805 in the third quarter to 6,280 between October and December."There was a huge jump in sales and that was directly relatable to the fact that we had 29 new projects and 6,500 units that launched in the fourth quarter," says Ben Myers, executive vice-president and editor of Urbanation, in an interview with the National Post. "A lot of those were large-scale projects and a lot of them did fairly well."The report…

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4 Mar 2011

While many people rent out Toronto storage units to house their vehicles, limited space often prevents large cars from being stored. But if the electric car movement comes to Ontario as it's expected to, small cars will be the "in" thing.Better Place, an electric-vehicle service provider, opened up an electric car demonstration and education center recently with the funding help of the Ontario government."The general public will be able to access and see, touch and feel what it would be like to have an electric vehicle," said Sandra Pupatello, the province's economic development and trade minister.The opening of the education center will bring two additional electric-vehicle charging sites to the Greater Toronto area.If U.S. sales are any indication of how…

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3 Mar 2011

There are plenty of storage units that can be rented in the Greater Toronto area, but there's a growing trend among many Canadians to build storage units of their own.According to the Vancouver Sun, there's been an increase in purchases of wine cellars, as people are plunking down as much as $60,000 to house their collections.Peter Durst, sales consultant for the Toronto-based Rosehill Wine Cellars, told the paper, "The wine cellar construction boom has continued to grow, especially in Canada. The idea of a wine cellar appeals to many people and has many benefits. It can be a showcase or pure personal storage."The paper says $60,000 is not the typical price to build such a cellar, as they usually run…

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2 Mar 2011

After 12 years of pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays, Roy Halladay packed up his belongings and emptied out his storage unit last year after being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. And while Halladay likely won't be renting out more storage any time soon, he'll at the very least be packing a bag as he comes back to the Toronto area for the first time since being traded.In July, the Blue Jays will host the Philadelphia Phillies for a three-game series. Halladay talked about the mid-summer meeting with Mike Wilner on Toronto radio station 590 The Fan recently.Asked if he was looking forward to the game, Halladay said, "Yeah, it'll be fun. You know I think it was disappointing last…

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2 Mar 2011

Toronto homeowners can be confident they won't have to relocate their belongings from area storage units this year, as a recent report from Scotiabank reveals real estate sales will hover around the 10-year average."Market conditions are expected to remain fairly balanced, favoring sellers to some degree in the spring and buyers by the fall," said Adrienne Warren, Scotiabank's senior economist at a recent forum held in Toronto. "This, in turn, suggests relatively steady prices, but with more downside risk later in the year."Another executive who is bullish about Canada's real estate market is Phil Soper, president and CEO of Brookfield Real Estate Services, pointing to the economy's resilience despite the worldwide recession."Few advanced countries weathered the global economic crisis as…

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1 Mar 2011

For residents of the Greater Toronto area that question whether or not they really need to rent out a storage unit, perhaps the installation of one in space will serve as a good example.Today, astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery will put the finishing touches on the International Space Station by adding a storage module.The storage unit, or as astronauts call it, the permanent multipurpose module, will hold warehouse equipment and spare components for the space station.The space is large enough to house a school bus, as it's 21 feet long and 15 feet wide."We're bringing the assembly of the station to a close," astronaut Mike Barratt told Space.com in an in-flight news briefing held Sunday. "We're bringing the last…

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