1 Jun 2011

Home sales declined in Toronto the first two weeks of May

Full May home sales data hasn't been released yet, but housing officials in Toronto hope it finished stronger than it started, as the Toronto Real Estate Board reported mid-month that home sales dipped.Issued on May 18, the TREB report indicated there were 4,774 sales through the first two weeks of May, representing a 2 percent decline in home sales when compared to May 2010.Bill Johnston, president of the TREB, was generally pleased with the report, but said that the slowing sales rate may have been impacted by the jump in the average cost of a GTA home – rising 8 percent compared to the same first two weeks of May in 2010.Jason Mercer, TREB's senior manager of market analysis, said the rise in prices is due to "increased competition between buyers for available listings."TREB says the average Toronto home sells for $486,223.One thing that hasn't increased is the cost of Toronto storage. Jiffy Self Storage has many available units in…

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26 May 2011

Canadians who have had children or who are planning on raising a family may have asked themselves the question: "How much do children cost?" MoneySense magazine believes it has the answer.According to the personal finance and lifestyle magazine, the average cost Canadian moms and dads spend on their children is a whopping $243,660. And that's excluding expenses for college or university tuition fees.MoneySense based its analysis on parents of two children and their spending for things such as food, clothing, health insurance, school, transportation, and recreational activities. The estimated number of years of expenditure was 18, as that's generally the amount of time parents are financially responsible for their children.The study also detailed what stages of life kids were the…

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25 May 2011

Torontonians have long known that Canada is one of the best places to live. Now, the whole world knows it, too.According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canadians have some of the best living conditions on earth. Only Australians were deemed to have it better, the group found.The OECD, a world-renowned economic organization, came to its conclusions based on a variety of statistics that measured 34 countries' quality of living. The categories taken into consideration included education, life satisfaction, safety, jobs, health and safety."Overall, I think Canada seems to be a pretty good place to be," said Matthias Rumpf, spokesperson for OECD in an interview with the Globe and Mail.The analysis found Canada thrived in housing, education and…

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24 May 2011

Toronto storage units may soon be brimming with a wide array of furniture and clothing, as a new mall is coming to the Toronto area.Simon Property Group and Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust recently announced that a Premium Outlet Center will soon be built in Halton Hills, a 15-minute drive for residents of the GTA."We are excited to bring the Premium Outlets branded concept of upscale outlet shopping to Canada," said John Klein, president of Simon's Premium Outlets. "This location will enable us to serve over six million area residents within a one-hour drive."Simon and Calloway say that the proposed site will be at Highway 401 and Trafalagar Road. The organizations are still working on getting all the requirements and…

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23 May 2011

Some people purchase big ticket items that they later regret, but according to a new poll, recreational properties aren't one of them.According to a new poll conducted by Royal LePage Real Estate Services, an overwhelming number of Canadians are pleased with their vacation home purchase. Overall, the survey found that 89 percent of people who currently own a vacation property said it was a good long-term investment. Broken down by province, 87 percent of Ontarians indicated as such."Canadians' confidence in recreational property values is mirroring what we have been seeing in Canada's urban centres," said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage. "Canada's traditionally buoyant recreational property market appears to have found its groove once more."The survey also analyzed…

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20 May 2011

People may not want to hear it, but it looks as though hurricane season has the potential to be a very active one this year. As a result, Environment Canada's Canadian Hurricane Centre is urging homeowners to prepare for the worst."Several international hurricane authorities are predicting that this year will be an active hurricane season in the North Atlantic Ocean," said Chris Fogarty, program supervisor for the Canadian Hurricane Center. Fogarty went on to say that the country is usually hit with one to two hurricanes directly every year, with two or three more threatening but never making landfall. However, Fogarty said that hurricane totals are meaningless if homeowners don't know how to prepare for one.For information on how people…

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20 May 2011

With Victoria Day fast approaching, many Canadians may be wondering what they're going to be doing with their day off. Canadian Tire was especially interested and recently reported what 1,012 Canadian adults are planning.While long weekends are often viewed as an extra day for play, the survey found that many people are going to be using the extra 24 hours for work and chore-related tasks. For example, 36 percent said they planned on gardening and 22 percent said they were going to tend to some home improvement tasks.Duncan Reith, senior vice president for Canadian Tire, said it looks as though people are tending to their 'to do' tasks this year."It's clear that many Canadians want to get around to the…

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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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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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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

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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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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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

The city of Toronto is filled with some of the brightest, most innovative minds in the world, and as such, several of them will soon be presented with honorary degrees.Later this month, soon after approximately 12,500 students graduate from the University of Toronto, their alma mater will recognize several people for contributions they've made to the city."The University of Toronto students, faculty, staff and alumni are committed to building stronger communities in Canada and throughout the world," said U of T president David Naylor. "These honorary degrees reflect and celebrate that commitment."The list of those receiving honorary degrees from the university includes Paul Martin, Sonia and Arthur Labatt, Koh Yong Guan and John Daniels. All of the award winners are…

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