6 Jul 2011

U.S.-based newspaper says Chicago could learn from Toronto

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 effort to get Toronto on the world stage. "We needed to improve our brand," said Price. "People thought of Toronto as a bunch of white guys wearing parkas, but 50 percent of the population of Toronto was not born here."…

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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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27 Jun 2011

A Greater Toronto area woman has 22 million reasons to smile today.According to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Association, Vivian Leung of Richmond Hill struck it rich after winning the $22.6 million Lotto Max jackpot June 17.Leung, who rarely plays the lottery, said she just happened to have a free ticket and decided to play it on a whim."I really didn't notice the big jackpot amount," said Leung. "I just knew I had a free ticket to play and I finally found some time last week to cash it in. I just chose a Quick Pick as usual, and this is the ticket that won!"Leung said it wasn't until the cashier told her how much she'd won that she realized…

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24 Jun 2011

With Moving Day approaching, some Torontonians may feel inspired to pack up some of their belongings if they are moving to a new location or want to make their places a bit more tidy. And if GTA residents happen to be in Montreal in the next few days, they may want to stop at an IKEA retailer.That's because between June 25 and June 30, the furniture-selling giant will be handing out 15,000 moving boxes to anyone who needs some."We are always looking for ways to create a better every day life for our customers," said Hilary Lloyd, deputy marketing manager for IKEA Canada. "We were gathering insights into Moving Day and found that more than anything it is the basic…

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23 Jun 2011

Large purchases should never be rushed into, and a new study is finding that Canadians take that maxim seriously when it comes to purchasing a home.According to an online survey conducted by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation of 3,500 mortgage customers, the average Canadian homeowner takes approximately 11 months to plan out all the details that come with homeownership before putting money down."Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions most Canadians will make in their lifetimes," said Pierre Serre, vice president of Insurance Product and Business Development for the CMHC. "CMHC is committed to supporting homebuyers throughout their decision making process."The study also found Canadians take advantage of the internet when planning out their purchase. Among…

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22 Jun 2011

A Toronto woman recently reached an extraordinary milestone – playing an organ uninterrupted for the longest amount of time.Reports indicate Jacqueline Sadler, an organist and music director at Eastminister United Church, started tickling the ivories on June 20 at 8 a.m. and didn't stop until just after the stroke of midnight June 22.The 40 hour, 35 minute marathon puts Sadler in the Guinness Book of World Records, eclipsing the previous recorder holder by more than a half-hour."At that time she decided she played long enough and having broken a world record, she decided to go home," said Kerry Bowser, a minister at the church, in an interview with the Toronto Star. "It was truly a marathon for her."Sadler was allowed…

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22 Jun 2011

Virtually every Canadian knows that July 1st is Canada Day, but some may not know that it's also Moving Day in Quebec.For many years, Quebecers have used the day to clean up some of their clutter or, as the name indicates, pack up their belongings and move.And a recent survey from Kijiji Canada appears to indicate that a lot of Quebecers will take advantage of the day because so many are overwhelmed by clutter.According to the survey, more than half of respondents – 52 percent – said they had some form of clutter in their house.Some may be tempted to throw it all away, but Linda Sauve of Kijiji says to do so would be a mistake."There's no reason to…

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21 Jun 2011

Toys are common tenants of storage units, as parents often like to hang on to them after their kids have grown should another child come in to their life.Due to safety, however, some toys may be accidents waiting to happen and not worth saving. But the implementation of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act should help determine trash from treasure."The toy industry welcomes the CCPSA," said Jeff Hurst, chairman of the Canadian Toy Association. "This act introduces a number of important provisions, including mandatory recall powers. These provisions complement the rigorous testing and product compliance systems currently in place for toy manufacturers."Hurst went on to say that the CCPSA should enhance the shared responsibility toy companies and government officials have…

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20 Jun 2011

Despite numerous studies and economists projecting a housing slowdown is in the offing for Toronto, the numbers continue to defy the oddsmakers.According to statistics recently released by the Canadian Real Estate Association, national resale housing activity was stable in the month of May for Canada overall, but home sales skyrocketed in Edmonton and Toronto.According to the report, in Toronto, home sales reached their second highest level on record in the month of May.That wasn't the case in all of Canada, however, as several metropolitan regions reported declines, specifically Vancouver and Ottawa."Toronto stood out as an exception," said Gregory Kump chief economist for CREA. "Sales activity there [grew] faster than new supply."Several reports have been released in recent weeks suggesting the…

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20 Jun 2011

After a long, hard winter, Torontonians will be rewarded with the arrival of summer June 21. But nine families will be welcoming the summer season in style – within the confines of a brand new home.According to Habitat for Humanity Toronto, nine families will be rewarded with their very own homes Tuesday, June 21. All of the houses were built on Weston Road by volunteers from the charitable organization. What's more, the homes were built with green technology, which will help reduce utility bill costs for the homeowners."We want a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live," said Neil Hetherington, Toronto's Habitat for Humanity CEO. "To help achieve this mission, we need to build more energy…

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17 Jun 2011

With temperatures warming throughout the GTA, something else is heating up – the rate of burglaries and thefts.According to the insurance company Aviva Canada, burglaries tend to spike in the summer months, and as the summer wears on, the more prevalent they become. For instance, the frequency increases 13 percent in June, 20 percent in July and 31 percent in August."The key factor is more opportunity," said Wayne Ross, president of national property claims at Aviva. "As residents are out of their homes more frequently and for longer periods of time in the summer months, there is more opportunity for burglaries to occur."The study also detailed in what provinces summer burglaries were most frequent, finding that the incidence of burglaries…

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16 Jun 2011

Though the summer days in Toronto may not be 'scorchers,' few things are more cooling and satisfying than a good old-fashioned frozen yogurt. And as luck would have it, Torontonians will soon be able to satisfy their cravings at four new stores.According to the company's president Michael Shneer, four Menchie's Frozen Yogurt outlets will come to the area, as papers were recently signed sealing the deal."Our development in and around the GTA continues with the signing of these four additional stores," said Shneer, who heads the Yogurtworld Franchising Corporation. "The areas to be opened from these agreements include the Beaches, Woodbridge, Dundas/Yonge, and Queen St West."Menchie's, famous for giving customers the ability to make their own creations and then pay…

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15 Jun 2011

After 413 shots, 386 saves, 337 penalty minutes and 27 goals, the Stanley Cup Finals boils down to one number: seven.Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins is tonight and nearly 19,000 attendants are expected to pack the Rogers Arena, hoping to see team captain Henrik Sedin raise the trophy that Vancouver has never seen and the country hasn't hosted in more than a decade."I've got 18,000 on my side and an entire city and country," said forward Ryan Kesler in an interview with the Associated Press. "As a team, as a family, we want this really bad."In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Mark Recchi summed up what the trophy means to…

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14 Jun 2011

On June 13, 15,000 employees for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers declared they were going on strike, affecting thousands of residents and businesses in the GTA.As a result of the strike, homeowners and businesses will receive their mail on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.Reports indicate the issue that's led to the strike has to do with several things, such as the number of hours postal employees are working, the number of sick days they get and a two-tiered wage system that Canada Post has recently implemented, which the CUPW is opposed to.Megan Whitfield, shop steward of the CUPW, told the Toronto Sun they would stop the strike if the Canada Post would re-instate the collective bargaining agreement that was in…

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13 Jun 2011

More people may be purchasing a storage unit this summer, as a recent report indicates many Canadians will be buying a recreational property.According to the real estate firm RE/MAX and its recreational property report, demand for waterfront properties and cottages is up significantly from coast to coast, with more vacationers seeking to buy a property in nearly 80 percent of the 46 markets surveyed."With overall economic performance improving daily and consumer confidence rising, the resurgence of Canadian recreational property markets is a natural progression," said Sylvain Dansereau, executive vice president of RE/MAX Quebec. "An upswing in discretionary spending is once again drawing purchasers to what is, without question, an innate Canadian pastime."In virtually every region of Ontario, average prices for…

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10 Jun 2011

Home run league leader Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays hope to make up ground in the American League East this weekend as the Boston Red Sox come to town.The Blue Jays are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals Thursday, which caused them to split the four-game series.While Bautista has performed well at the dish this year – reaching base safely 52 times in 55 games and leading the league in both home runs and RBIs – the Associated Press reports he's struggled against the Red Sox, sporting a batting average of .185 in the past seven meetings.Toronto will send Jo-Jo Reyes to the mound, who will try to win his third-straight start. Boston will…

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10 Jun 2011

As the school year comes to an end for high school and university students across Toronto, they may be wondering if they'll be able to find a summer job. But the government of Canada is implementing a program that should help make the search easier.Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development, recently announced that 36,000 jobs had been created under the Canada Summer Jobs program."Our government has received a strong mandate from Canadians to continue creating jobs and economic growth, said Finley. "That's why, starting in 2011, we have permanently increased the budget for Canada Summer Jobs by $10 million."Finley went on to say that the program benefits students as it gives them some spending money for the…

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