14 Sep 2011

Five Toronto schools recognized for high achievement

Toronto parents now have a better understanding of how well their kids are performing in their studies, as five of the 15 Canadian schools profiled by the Education Quality and Accountability Office are located in the Greater Toronto Area. The schools chosen include David Lewis Public, Kenollie Public, Neil McNeil Catholic High, St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High and Riverdale Collegiate Institute. "Our learners do well at many different things," said Karen Peach, principal of David Lewis Public School. "We give students a lot of opportunities to demonstrate what they can do. Our programming is rich, and we work within our hub and our cluster successfully to prepare our students for secondary school." EQAO said these schools were chosen based not only on assessment scores but also "data-driven strategies and whole-school approaches to helping every child succeed." In addition to hard work and quality teaching methods, student overachievers may do well in school due to practicing good organizational habits. Portable…

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13 Sep 2011

Torontonians who enjoy shopping are encouraged to mark their calendars, as for the third year in a row, LouLou's annual Shop 'Til You Drop extravaganza will be coming to the GTA.According to LouLou, a leading Canadian periodical for shopping and celebrity news, the event will take place on Bloor Street between Avenue Road and Yonge Street on September 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. In addition to a variety of discounts offered, there will also be fashion presentations from the likes of Julia Cyboran, LouLou's content director, and Claude Laframboise, the magazine's market editor.The event will also make stops in Montreal on September 22 and in Vancouver on October 6."We know our readers across the country absolutely love to shop,…

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13 Sep 2011

In what's being described as an ambitious undertaking, Habitat for Humanity Toronto is looking to build a couple of barrier-free homes for two low-income families with disabilities in a week and a day.According to the nonprofit charitable housing organization, the eight-day effort – which has been dubbed the 9-1-1 Build – will bring together a variety of Toronto public service organizations including Toronto Police, Fire and Emergency Medical. Those involved will attempt to build the homes from start to finish in eight days.Habitat for Humanity released a tentative agenda for the effort. For instance, on September 17, building will begin and several political representatives will be on hand to officially launch the effort. By Saturday, September 24, it's anticipated that…

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12 Sep 2011

Though Ontario's economic function has been high throughout much of 2011, economists believe it will sputter somewhat for the remainder of the year.According to the Royal Bank of Canada's Economic Provincial Outlook, supply-chain disruptions in the automotive sector and below average U.S. growth will impact Ontario's gross domestic product. GDP is a measurement of all the goods and services a country produces."Ontario's auto sector was severely disrupted by Japan's earthquake and tsunami in March, causing a number of assembly plants to halt or curtail operations for several weeks," said Craig Wright, senior vice president and chief economist at RBC. "As a result of this catastrophe, car and truck output in the province plummeted by 14 per cent in the second…

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12 Sep 2011

While there are a variety of considerations to weigh when deciding which storage company to choose to house one's belongings, a significant factor should be the security system it uses. All too often, burglaries take place at facilities that could have been prevented had the owners used a more sophisticated lockdown procedure.One such incident happened last week in the U.S. According to a local Arkansas newspaper, The Log Cabin Democrat, a storage unit facility manager arrived to work and found that seven of the units had been burglarized.As one might suspect, expensive items were stolen from the units, including a 32-inch Emerson flat-screen television and a stereo system furnished with a turntable and mixer, the paper reported.Had the owners used…

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9 Sep 2011

A motley crew of major Hollywood directors, producers and actors will be at this year's Toronto Film Festival, which officially kicked off September 8.The annual festival, which will last for 11 days, allows Ontarians and the Canadian public in general to interact with some of the movie industry's finest talent. At this year's TIFF, filmmaker and Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim will be in attendance, as well as Jonathan Demme, Cameron Crowe and Albert Maysles.Guggenheim is noted for his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," for which he won an Oscar. Crowe earned an Academy Award as well for Best Original Screenplay for the film "Almost Famous."Demme is best known for the 1990s thriller "The Slience of the Lambs," while Maysles' signature…

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8 Sep 2011

While home sales in Canada have been strong and employed individuals are confident in their job security, a new poll found that consumer sentiment fell considerably in the third quarter.According to a national telephone survey conducted by the polling company teleVox, consumer confidence dropped from 83.7 in the second quarter to 77.5 in the third.Doug Anderson, senior vice president for the business firm Investors Group, said the results of the poll are troubling."For the second quarter in a row, Canadian consumer confidence has declined," said Anderson. "When U.S. consumer confidence has declined, Canadian confidence has typically declined as well, although usually to a lesser degree and sometimes on a delayed basis.Last month, the U.S.-based Conference Board reported that consumer confidence…

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8 Sep 2011

Canada suffered a bit of a setback recently, as a new report from the Conference Board of Canada indicates the country fell two spots to 12th overall in global competitiveness rankings.The rankings are based upon the responses from 14,000 business leaders in 142 countries and their assessment of how business friendly the variety of economies were.While Canada's competitiveness score this year mirrored previous years', other nations showed marked improvement, particularly developing nations."Canada should not be satisfied with its 12th place ranking," said Michael Bloom, vice president of organizational effectiveness and learning at the Conference Board. "Businesses continue to underperform in using our peoples' skills and knowledge to generate new or improved products, processes or services."Canada's areas of strength included its…

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7 Sep 2011

People continue to flock to Toronto, as the latest housing report from the Toronto Real Estate Board indicates home sales were swift last month.According to the TREB, in August, more than 7,500 properties were sold in the GTA, a rise of 24 percent in year-over-year sales. Last year during the same 31-day period, just under 6,100 homes were purchased.While sales increased, the ability to afford a home in the GTA did not, as the report indicated the average home sold for $451,663 – a price hike of 10 percent when compared to August 2010.Richard Silver, president of the TREB, said home affordability could be aided, however, with the removal of the land transfer tax, which officials are not expected to…

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6 Sep 2011

While global economic uncertainty grips much of the world, a majority of Canadians don't think they'll lose their jobs as a result, according to a new survey.Fifty-one percent of Canadians said they are confident they will have their job for at least the remainder of the year, a Bank of Montreal Labor Day poll recently reported.Michael Gregory, senior economist for BMO Capital Markets, said that the country's economy has the weathered the world's financial crisis well."The Canadian labour market has performed admirably, recovering all the jobs lost during the recessing by January," said Gregory. "The unemployment rate is currently 7.2 per cent compared to a recession-high of 8.7 per cent."Also commenting on the study was BMO's president of commercial banking,…

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2 Sep 2011

With the arrival of Labor Day, Ontarians everywhere will be having one last hurrah this weekend as the summer of 2011 draws to a close. With many parties taking place on the province's variety of lakes, Ontario Power Generation and the Ontario Provincial Police urge locals to celebrate responsibly and safely."Ontario's waterways are a great place to enjoy the holiday weekend if you are prepared," said Larry Beechey, who heads the OPP's traffic safety and operational support division. "Wear your personal floatation device, particularly in smaller boats, and don't mix your boating with alcohol."To make sure Ontarians practice safe boating and driving habits, the OPP said it will maintain a high presence of heavily trafficked highways, lakes and rivers.John Murphy,…

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1 Sep 2011

A new poll indicates that employees are generally unimpressed with companies, both large and small, and state they need to do more for their workers.The survey, conducted by Harris/Decima, found that of 1,000 Canadian twenty-somethings and baby boomers polled the two age groups had a great deal in common. For instance, among both generations, more than one in three agree that younger workers are not utilized to their fullest potential. In addition, one in three baby boomers and twenty-somethings also believe small and large businesses lack vision and could be more productive.Peter Gilfillan, senior vice president of international sales for the company that funded the study, Monster Canada, said businesses need to do more if they want to grow."We know…

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26 Aug 2011

As much of the year 2011 has shown – in North America and many other continents as well – environmental disasters can occur anywhere and at anytime. Thus, it's important to know what items to keep in storage should there be an emergency. To help, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has put together a list of things property owners may want to move to their storage unit so they don't cause serious damage when a storm approaches. For instance, in windy conditions that can result from tornadoes and hurricanes, the source says homeowners should be sure to bring all outdoor furniture, decorations and lawn equipment into a safely sheltered area, as they may become projectiles. In addition to moving things…

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25 Aug 2011

A new survey reveals where some of Canadians' longest commutes are located. And according to the poll, Toronto tops the list.Statistics Canada reports that among full-time workers in Canada, Toronto-area drivers tend to get stuck in traffic jams most often at 29 percent, followed by Montreal and Vancouver at 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively.The report also detailed the average commute time for Canadians. At 33 minutes, Toronto travellers had the longest average.Despite the long travel times, the survey also found that workers were generally unconcerned with their length. For instance, 85 percent of commuters said they were satisfied with the commute period, with 15 percent being dissatisfied.In addition, the survey detailed the modes in which Canadians travelled. At 82…

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24 Aug 2011

Despite being 500 miles away from the epicenter of the earthquake that recently hit Virginia, Toronto felt the 5.8 magnitude temblor, according to reports.The quake reportedly hit Mineral, Virginia, around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, August 23, and a number of major cities reported feeling the after effects shortly thereafter."It was a shallow earthquake, literally almost right at the surface," said CityNews meteorologist Adam Stiles. "That means the energy is a little more focused. Instead of travelling up and out, the path of the quake just radiates outwards."A resident of Niagara Falls told the news source the tremors from the quake lasted roughly two minutes. Many buildings across the city and in others along the East Coast of the U.S. were…

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23 Aug 2011

Told the Toronto Blue Jays plan to overhaul its uniforms for the 2012 season, three clothing designers from the city were asked by the Toronto Sun recently to come up with a new style for the team.Designers Shawn Hewson, Christopher Bates and Michael Budman each took a whack at creating a new look for the team by providing the newspaper with sketches for the entire outfit – pants, jersey, socks, cleats and hat."My concept was to have the maple leaf be fairly prominent but also done in a tasteful, fashion kind of way," Bates told the paper. Budman stated his drawing revealed a more classic, old-school look, while Hewson said his sketch was a throwback to the team's original uniforms.One…

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22 Aug 2011

While graffiti on building walls is nothing new to the world of public art, spray-painting abandoned bicycles scattered throughout Toronto has become the latest trend in chic city art, reports say.The Good Bike Project began after one Toronto woman spotted a months-long abandoned bike and decided to turn the trashed item into art by giving it a neon pink coat of spray paint. Since that one bike was painted, numerous other forsaken bikes have become the focus of beautification by locals.While some citizens don't like the bright, refurbished bicycle – and others like it around the city – many are enthused by the initiative."Ninety-nine per cent of the reaction has been really, really positive," Vanessa Nicholas, who helped form the…

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19 Aug 2011

Fans of sea life in Toronto will get to see a variety of creatures in person, as construction of a new aquarium recently commenced.According to reports, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, located in front of the CN Tower, began construction this month. The $130 million project is expected to create roughly 600 jobs and $50 million in revenues, CityNews reports.Also, more than 13,000 fresh and salt water creatures will reside at the aquarium, which will have roughly 5.7-million litres of water."There are two things that are good" about the aquarium, Jim Pattison, President of Ripley's Entertainment, told the source. "It's a good tourist opportunity, certainly. But I think even more importantly it's a really nice asset for the families of the…

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18 Aug 2011

Balloon artists, clowns, dances and other festivities recently took place at the fifth annual BuskerFest Children's Picnic in Toronto, at which more than 500 children from area camps spent the day, the Toronto Sun reports.Additionally, the kids, their parents and other guests were treated to free food from St. Lawrenece Market, according to the newspaper."This is a fun assignment because you get to meet all the kids and I love this neighbourhood," auxilary officer Terry Birkett, who patrolled the event, told the paper. "It is so interesting and dynamic."The picnic is a precursor to the 12th Annual BunkerFest – the largest North American festival, according to event entertainment director Mackenzie Muldoon – which runs in the city from August 25…

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