contact November 21st, 2013
“Canada cannot remain immune to the skyrocketing food prices that already affect much of the world and it may be only a matter of months before the impact here has a major impact on the economy, says a new report from Bank of Nova Scotia.
Except for baked goods, Canada been mostly spared the price spikes in basic foods that has roiled the developing world and even caused two major food retailers in the United States to ration some types of rice as a “precaution” against hoarding.
Because most agricultural commodities like grain, fuel and fertilizer are priced in U.S. dollars, the stronger loonie has cushioned Canadians from many of these shocks. Consumers have also benefited from stiff competition among grocery chains.
“But I don’t think Canada can escape the sort of food pass-through that has been going on in the global economy indefinitely,” says Derek Holt, vice-president at Scotia Capital Economics, who wrote the report.
“This is the year it starts to catch up to Canada. We’ve already started to see in some key categories and that will intensify in the summer months.”
Scotiabank’s warning is the latest in several issued recently by Canadian businesses and international agencies.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization reports that global food prices have increased 57 per cent from last year, while the price of rice has doubled.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has forecast the higher prices are likely to last at least two years before moderating slightly.
Holt said that Canadian spending habits could change profoundly once food prices begin rising, along with higher gasoline and heating prices that have already hit Canada.
“It’s a very material risk that people will start seeing themselves having to spend dozens or hundreds of dollars a month more on basic groceries, home heating and gasoline costs,” Holt says.
“You’ve got to do something, so you start to rein in spending on everything else and you postpone plans buy that HD television, or build a backyard deck.”
Several analysts have also forecast that Canada’s holiday from food price shock will not last forever.
But where Holt’s analysis differs from others is that he believes the likely impact will not be higher inflation, but lower prices for everything except food and energy.
Holt argues that sky-high energy and food prices could actually be disinflationary for Canada because consumers will have less to spend on everything else.
“That becomes a very dangerous scenario where you can have some sectors doing very well, food and energy, but other sectors see their pricing power totally evaporate,” Holt said.
While low inflation is generally regarded as a good thing, disinflation could trigger an economic slump because it may result in consumers and businesses holding back on purchases and investments in expectations of lower prices down the road.
“I think rationing in food is a possibility,” he said. “But an even bigger danger is that we go back to the days when we thought price and wage controls were a smart thing, this time applied to a particular sectors.”
One encouraging development is that farmers have begun to switch to cash crops to take advantage of the higher prices, but Holt said it will likely take three to four years before the higher production is felt in the market.”
contact November 19th, 2013
No, I’m not really the King, but you’ll find a bunch of Elvis impersonators May 1 at the Gladstone Hotel‘s Melody Bar. Don’t miss tomorrow’s fun event; there will be 5 Elvis Tribute Artists performing live, the youngest of them is only 12 years old!
I Am Elvis
Gladstone Hotel, Toronto
Thursday, May 1, 2008
contact November 18th, 2013
From the torontosun:
“It’s time to get over any hang ups with clotheslines.
Ontario will outlaw clothesline bans by this summer to encourage citizens to use the environmentally friendly option when doing laundry.
“We want you to feel comfortable, wherever you happen to live in the province of Ontario, to put up a clothesline and to let mother nature, let the wind and the sun, dry your clothing,” Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday.
Homeowners would no longer be subject to municipal bylaws or homebuilder agreements that ban the lines.
Electric clothes dryers account for about 6% of a home’s energy consumption, and cutting use by 25% would save consumers about $30 per year.
Toronto Hydro’s Take A Load Off program is offering citizens a free retractable clothesline and cold water washing detergent.
At the official launch of the program yesterday, Energy Minister Gerry Phillips was wearing a shirt that had been hung out to dry.
“I think it’s safe to say that outdoor clothes-hanging season’s now with us,” Phillips said.”
contact November 17th, 2013
“Toronto’s resale housing market may be cooling off, but at least one enterprising owner has found a way to get his home noticed.
He put it on the market for $1.
The Canadian Real Estate Association says existing homes sales across the country tumbled 13 per cent for the first three months of the year compared with last year.
The group says much of the slide was tied to lower activity in Toronto during February and March. The city accounts for about a quarter of the country’s sales in major markets.
Toronto saw its residential unit sales drop 13.4 per cent, though new listings were also down by seven per cent.
The $1 listing comes from Omar Ibrahim, who put his two-storey house on the market for less than the cost of a litre of gas.
He told CBC News the listing is “basically to see whether or not we can get an offer and something reasonable, letting the market determine … what the value of this house is.”
The house at 93 Badgerow Ave., a semi in the city’s Riverdale neighbourhood, shows well. It has three bedrooms, new flooring, appliances, fresh paint and a finished basement.
Ibrahim is not trying to give the house away and won’t let it go for the asking price. It’s a marketing strategy.
Tony Bassels, the real estate broker, remembers another house in Willowdale that was listed for $1 in 2004.
“It sold in 16 days for about $960,000 and that was listed for a dollar. And again multiple interest drove the price up to there,” he said.
Ibrahim buys homes, renovates and sells them. He bought 93 Badgerow Ave. in January 2008 for $342,000. He’ll find out Monday night when he opens the offers if his strategy will pay off.”
contact November 15th, 2013
From the star:
A year ago, Michael Chrisman placed a pinhole camera in Toronto’s Port Lands and aimed it — as best one can aim such a camera — at the city skyline.
For 365 straight days and nights, light has crept through the pinhole, slowly building an exposure on a piece of photosensitive paper.
Continue reading and see the photo here
contact November 14th, 2013
“After losing its 32-year status as the tallest freestanding structure on the planet, Toronto’s iconic CN Tower has something new to brag about: the world’s highest glass-floor elevator that offers visitors a thrilling perspective of the city.
Shooting upwards at 22 kilometres per hour, visitors can now watch the ground below them fall away as the elevator soars 346 metres in just 58 seconds.
For those who dare to stand atop one of the elevator’s two narrow glass floor panels – each a little more than five centimetres thick – the trip is perhaps even more harrowing on the way down.
Plunging down the concrete elevator shaft with a view of some of the…”
contact November 13th, 2013
From the star:
“Every time he bought a 6/49 lottery ticket, Jose Lima prayed he’d win the big prize and promised God to share his boa sorte, good fortune.
He’s doing just that.
Canada’s newest millionaire – the 52-year-old father of two who won $14.5 million in the 6/49 draw – is giving each of his 50 employees at O Nosso Talho butcher shop $5,000.
On April 3, the fifth anniversary of his father Joao’s death, his generosity will spread even further when he gives away 22,680 kilograms of chicken legs to thank his customers and help Toronto’s needy.
Gilberto Andre, a 10-year veteran behind the meat counter, was with Lima, who manages the busy shop, when he checked his numbers.
“When I told him he’d won, he hugged me,” said Andre who described Lima as a very caring, kind man.
“For me, he’s a great person who never says no. We’re all very happy for him. And it’s such a good thing that he’s doing, sharing his good luck with us. I don’t know if anyone else would do that.”
Lima admitted he’s still in a state of shock and it’s too early to decide what to do with the money.
“The first thing I will do is to keep my promise to my employees and the people. I’ll decide what to do with the rest of the money later.”
Also at the top of his list is his…”
contact November 12th, 2013
From the star:
“It was bound to happen eventually: Air Canada now wants you to pay extra for better customer service.
In an era of continued cost-cutting, the country’s largest airline yesterday rolled out a new service called “On My Way” that, for a fee, promises to help passengers cope with delays and cancellations beyond the airline’s control, including bad weather or airport traffic.
“This is something that many airlines used to do in-house,” said Rick Erickson, a Calgary-based airline consultant. “But since the advent of the low-cost carrier, everybody wants cheap fares.”
Air Canada said passengers who opt to pay an additional $25 one-way on short-haul flights and an extra $35 one-way on long-haul routes within North America will receive “speedy” access to “specially-trained” customer service agents who will help rebook flights on Air Canada or other airlines, as well as pay for hotel stays and meals, if necessary.
Air Canada said the program, which applies to any flight cancelled within 48 hours of the scheduled departure, goes beyond the industry practice of assisting customers affected by schedule changes deemed to be the airline’s fault, such as mechanical problems with aircraft, scheduling glitches or crew members failing to show up for flights.
But while Air Canada is touting the program as an industry-first, at least one observer said it was once common for big North American carriers to go out of their way to help inconvenienced or stranded customers – free…”
contact November 11th, 2013
Despite the Laughing Cow logo on the restaurant, this gem in Toronto will make you say “Cheese.” Ok, that didn’t work. I meant that Pho Hung will make you smile. You’ll find simply delicious Vietnamese food.
This is my personal favorite for their “pho,” which will quite possibly be your next preferred comfort food. But it’ll be GOOD for you kind of comfort food. Pho is heavenly bowls filled with fragrant soup broth (anis seed or fresh cilantro or lemongrass) and packed with yummy meats, veggies, bean sprouts and noodles. Garnish with herbs and hot sauce (if desired). Gobble down a bowl and you’re good for the whole day; not only that, you’ll feel good in general, PLUS, you’ll be happy you’ve eaten a healthy meal.
200 Bloor Street West
Another location: 350 Spadina Avenue in Chinatown
contact November 9th, 2013
It’s so weird that I suspect this eyeball tattoo is a hoax but it’s still fascinating; the things people invent! Real or imagined.
Apparently, a guy from Toronto is the first person EVER to get an eyeball tatoo. I get weak knees thinking about it.
The photos are a bit scary so I’m not going to post them here. Check them out at the inventorspot.
contact November 8th, 2013
Make sure to head over to concierge where they’ve featured our favorite Canadian city of Toronto. Here’s what they say about Toronto in a nutshell:
“* It’s a chowhound’s paradise, with everything from Nigerian to Laotian, Moroccan to Azerbaijani food
* An architectural renaissance is transforming the skyline with additions by Daniel Libeskind and native son Frank Gehry
* Toronto has become one of the most ethnically diverse cities on the continent, with lively neighborhoods, festivals, and restaurants to match
* The Eaton Centre. It’s a big suburban-style mall with all the wrong kinds of shopping
* When to go to Toronto: May, June, September, October”
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