5 Aug 2011

Bicycle use in Toronto ramps up amidst high gas prices

With gas prices at record levels and few indications they will come down any time soon, bicycle use has taken off, according to the Canadian Press. Toronto resident Robert Lendvai is one such bicycle rider, who told the paper he has taken one of his family's cars off the road, opting to take his bike to work instead. Other residents told the paper they are taking advantage of the city's bike sharing program, Bixi, which was launched in May. Susan Shaheen, who heads the Innovative Mobility Program at the University of California, told the source Toronto's trending away from car ownership and toward alternative sources of travel are a growing theme throughout North America. "I definitely sense some sort of cultural shift away from ownership," said Shaheen. According to Bixi, individuals interested in taking part in the bike-sharing program pay an annual fee of $99, or $5 if they're renting a bicycle for a day. The cost is $12 for…

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5 Aug 2011

A new study is indicating Canadian parents may not be as vigilant as they should be when giving their kids toys to play with.According to a recent survey conducted by retailing giant Toys "R" Us, more than half – 52 percent – of Canadian parents with children do not check to see if a toy has been subject to any manufacturers' recalls before handing it over to their kids.The survey was conducted to promote the toy retailer's "Great Trade-In" event, which will be held through August 21st. Toronto parents who bring in toys, strollers, cribs, car seats or other products that may be defective or hazardous to children may be eligible to receive 20 percent off a child-centered product from…

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5 Aug 2011

Movie subscription service Netflix has been in Canada for less than a year, and already, more than 1 million members have signed up.To celebrate the occasion, Netflix awarded the country's one-millionth member, Amanda James, with a lifetime membership."I'm excited to be the millionth Canadian member," said James, who's originally from Manitoba. "Netflix is something I enjoy with my family and I look forward to continue watching our favorite movies and TV shows via Netflix in the future."Reed Hastings, CEO and co-founder of the company, said he couldn't be happier that his subscription-based movie service has taken off the way it has."We're thrilled that Canadians have embraced Netflix so rapidly," said Hastings. "Our focus remains on building up the breadth and…

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4 Aug 2011

Toronto's real estate market is showing no signs of slowing down, as a recent report from the Toronto Real Estate Board makes plain.According to the TREB, there were more than 7,920 transactions last month, an increase of nearly 25 percent when compared to the same 30-day period last year. The average selling price for a Toronto home was $459,112 – up 10 percent year-over-year.Based on July's results, the real estate organization projects 90,000 homes will be sold in 2011."Strong home sales continued in July, with a substantial rebound over last summer’s slow-down brought about by higher mortgage rates [and] new lending guidelines," said Richard Silver, TREB president. "If the current pace of sales holds up, we could see the second…

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2 Aug 2011

After months of anticipation, Toronto's most extreme attraction for tourists and locals alike opened to the public August 1. It's called the EdgeWalk, and it's situated atop the iconic CN Tower. For a fee, thrill seekers can walk on the boundary of the towering precipice, which stands 116 storeys, or 1168 feet."We're extremely excited this day is finally here," said Mark Laroche, president and CEO of Canada Lands Company, which owns the CN Tower. "The public has shown that they are ready and eager to push their limits by taking part in Toronto's most exciting attraction in decades."Those participating in the EdgeWalk will be taken to the top of the tower in groups of six, where they can then take…

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2 Aug 2011

As back-to-school shopping season gets underway, a new poll is indicating Canadian parents have higher stress levels during this time period.According to MasterCard Canada's survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents find facing the crowds of people shopping for their kids to be anxiety-inducing.But Cathie Mostowyk, founder of the Shoestring Shopping Guide, said this shouldn't be the case."Back-to-school shopping doesn't have to be so stressful," said Mostowyk. "Simple things like making a list in advance, shopping for some of the basics on your own without the kids and choosing the right time of day to venture out can help you pass the back-to-school shopping stress test with flying colors."Mostowyk offers additional shopping tips. For instance, she says parents should budget their money…

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1 Aug 2011

Frank Sinatra once crooned that he wanted to wake up New York, New York, as it was a city that never slept. But were Ol' Blue Eyes alive today, he may be crooning about Cairo, Egypt. According to a new study conducted by Badoo, a leading social network website, Cairo is the world's "most 24-hour" city. The study based its assessment on the online activity of each country's users, which totaled 122 million and spanned 180 countries. Other "sleepless" cities included Montevideo, Uruguay; Beirut, Lebanon; Malaga, Spain and Zaragoza, also in Spain. In fact, of the leading "24-hour" cities, six of the top 10 were located in that country. How did Toronto fare? The website says it shared 18th place…

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29 Jul 2011

While certain customs and traditions between American and Canadian kids differ, both seem to have one particular trait in common: hating to clean.To help parents get their kids to do their chores, cleaning product manufacturer Jelmar recently interviewed child psychologist Michele Borba who offered some tips.For instance, one suggestion Borba recommends is turning cleaning into a competition."Assign a room, hand out cleaning supplies, set a buzzer for five minutes and then dash to your designated area to clean things 'spick and span' before the time goes," said Borba. "Kids love to try and 'beat the clock' and you'll have the house back in order in minutes."Borba also says children should be taught at a young age that cleaning up after…

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28 Jul 2011

A new study finds that a significant percentage of Canadians would prefer if more retail stores in the province were allowed to sell beer and wine.The poll, commissioned by the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, found that approximately six out of every 10 Ontarians over the age of 19 believe smaller retailers and shops should be allowed to sell alcohol. However, this rate was even higher among certain segments of the province, as 71 percent living in the East said availability should be increased, with just 27 percent opposing the idea.Dave Bryans, president of the OCSA, said this becoming a reality may be decided at the ballet box."Ontario voters are simply asking for more convenience – like being able to pick-up…

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27 Jul 2011

Canadians are pleased with their financial institutions, as a new poll conducted by J.D. Power and Associates reveals satisfaction Canadians have with their banks has increased.Measured on a 1,000-point scale, satisfaction rates averaged around 756, which is a jump of 26 points when compared to 2010. What's more, contentment rose among the Big Five Banks – TD Canada Trust, RBC, BMO, Scotia Bank and CIBC – as well as midsize financial institutions.Lubo Li, senior director of financial services for J.D. Power and Associates, said most banks have tried to improve the ease with which Canadians perform their financial obligations."During the past year, all major banks in Canada have invested heavily in upgrading customer-facing systems and processes," said Li. "[This] has…

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26 Jul 2011

The newest members were recently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Toronto received special distinction in the process. Along side former pitcher Bert Blyleven and longtime MLB executive Pat Gillick, former Toronto Blue Jays' second baseman Roberto Alomar was enshrined into the hallowed Hall in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24. Even though he played for seven different teams over the course of his 17-year career, Alomar highlighted Toronto as his favorite franchise he laced up the leather for. "My time in Toronto was the best of my career," said Alomar, which reportedly led to cheers of "Robbie, Robbie," from Blue Jays fans in attendance. "I am so proud to represent you as the first Toronto Blue Jay…

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26 Jul 2011

Some of the world's best legal minds will soon be coming to Toronto, as the American Bar Association recently announced it will hold its annual meeting in the GTA.According to the ABA, approximately 8,000 legal professionals from 100 different firms will be in attendance, as the 134th gathering will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in August.The ABA is the U.S. equivalent of the Canadian Bar Association, as it provides accreditation to students who've graduated from law school and provides news and information about the legal system as a whole."Our location in the beautiful and vibrant city of Toronto honors the ABA's longstanding special ties to the [CBA], said Stephen Zack, president of the ABA. "This meeting offers…

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25 Jul 2011

The Royal Bank of Canada is out with its latest forecast, this one detailing the state of home prices over the remainder of 2011 and into next year.According to the RBC, home values are expected to rise by an average of 4.4 percent through December, but by the time January rolls around, prices are expected to moderate.Robert Hogue, senior economist for RBC, said the anticipated rise in prices is tied to the jump in interest rates economists are projecting."The main policy shift will be one toward progressively higher interest rates, which will cool demand but not deep-freeze it," said Hogue.Among the provinces, the RBC projects Alberta will have the most prosperous housing market throughout 2011 and 2012, while homebuying activity…

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25 Jul 2011

Canadians with a sweet tooth may want to get their ice cream makers out of their storage units, as Cold Stone Creamery is offering them a chance to have the tasty treat free for one year.On July 22, the ice cream chain launched its Signature Creation Contest on Facebook, challenging Canadians to create their own flavor. The winner will be the one that's deemed most original, but it must be pleasant to eat as well."We keep hearing from guests how they'd like to be the ones behind the Cold Stone counter," said Andrea Hughes, ice cream expert for Cold Stone Creamery Canada. "Now they can with the Signature Creation Contest. There are millions of possible combinations out there and we…

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22 Jul 2011

GTA commuters have a new way to get around town, as the City of Toronto, the Government of Ontario and the Toronto Transit Commission jointly announced the launch of the Toronto Rocket – the city's latest subway service. "With the service launch of the Toronto Rocket subway train, our government is improving transportation in the Greater Toronto Area," said Joe Oliver, minister of Natural Resources. "The Toronto Rocket will provide families and businesses with greater transit options, reduce traffic congestion and support better air quality across the region." Construction for the project began in 2006, when the TTC awarded a grant to Bombardier Inc. to build the new subway system. In the next two years, older trains will gradually be…

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21 Jul 2011

While Canada as a whole has been able to weather the global financial crisis effectively, the cost of living may be taking its toll, particularly in Ontario.In a new survey released by the Royal Bank of Canada, to cut costs approximately 60 percent of Ontarians are comparison shopping, 50 percent are following a budget more closely and 30 percent are driving less frequently. One in five are cutting back on expenses by using their credit card less often."Ontario residents have been hit hard by the rising cost of food and fuel and are making changes to deal with this new financial reality," said Vince Isber, regional vice-president for RBC.Isber went on to say that Ontarians can budget their money by…

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21 Jul 2011

Toronto is in the midst of a heatwave, and as a result, officials are calling on the city's residents to conserve their energy use.According to Toronto Hydro, demand for electricity is expected to be elevated over the next several days, primarily resulting from increased air conditioner use. The company is asking residents to keep cooling units set at 25 degrees Celsius – or 77 degrees Farenheit – between peak electricity use periods. Those time intervals are 7 a.m to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the source states.While this will put less strain on Toronto's energy grid, it will also put less of a burden on Torontonians' wallets. But Toronto Hydro says GTA residents can employ other cost-saving…

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20 Jul 2011

While planning and packaging can go a long way in making sure the moving process goes as seamlessly as possible, mental preparation may be more important.According to a recent poll of immigrants who have lived in Canada for 10 years or less, 60 percent of respondents said preparing one's self emotionally and mentally was the most crucial aspect for what it takes to adjust to Canadian life."Moving to a new country is a life-changing decision and being mentally prepared for the challenges of a different culture can really help ensure a successful move," said Camon Mak, director of multicultural market for Royal Bank of Canada, which conducted the poll. Mak went on to say that becoming involved in a town…

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20 Jul 2011

A new study is revealing that Canadians may have no problem putting their television sets in storage.Commissioned by the telecommunciations firm Primus Canada, a new survey reveals nearly half of all Canadians would have no problem giving up their TVs if they were forced to choose between it and the internet.Rob Warden, vice president of residential services for the firm, said internet access is something Canadians are placing a greater dependence on than ever before."This survey proves that Canadians have reached a comfort level and reliance on the Internet that is at least on par with that of TV and phones," said Warden.Other findings from the poll show just how much homeowners rely on cyberspace, as one in five Canadians…

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