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Save money on back-to-school shopping

Gail Vaz-Oxlade, Special to MoneySense | posted Tuesday, Aug 18th, 2015

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Shop the sales

Make your dollar go a lot further by gathering up the flyers and doing a little prep work. Involve the kids by giving them a budget for their school supplies and having them figure out how they’ll spend their money for pens, paper and all the other stuff they’ll need.

Do an inventory 
Make a list of what your child has and what he needs before you head out to the stores. If last year’s jacket still fits that’s one less expense.

Stick to your guns about what you can afford to spend
Even if she HAS to have those jeans, you can say “No.” She won’t break. You could, of course, allow her to upgrade using her own money to make up the difference between what you’re prepared to spend and the brand she absolutely has to have.

Budget for extra-curricular expenses
The extras such as sports equipment, music books and the like often get left off the list. You’ll likely have to come up with extra money during those first few weeks of school to cover all sorts of activities so don’t spend it all when you’re shopping.

Show your children your budget 
You want them to have realistic expectations before you head to the stores. Many parents hate to talk about money with their kids. And they’re dead set against disclosing the realities of their financial circumstances. Then they get ticked when their children don’t show sufficient appreciation for how hard they have had to work to provide those no-name jeans.

Well, if you don’t tell ‘em, how are they supposed to know? Being smart about money isn’t intuitive. It’s learned. And you are your children’s most influential teachers … of both good habits and bad.

Canadian company gets patent for 20-kilometre-high space elevator

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Aug 18th, 2015

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PEMBROKE, Ont. – Blasting off into space may never look the same if one Canadian company has its way.

Thoth Technology of Pembroke, Ont., is developing a 20-kilometre-high free-standing space elevator that would allow astronauts to launch into space from a platform high above the Earth.

In July, Thoth was granted a U.S. patent for the technology.

“From the top of the structure you would be able to launch using a single stage space plane directly into low Earth orbit, and the return to the top of the structure and you wouldn’t need any expendable rockets that would come off during the flight,” inventor Dr. Brendan Quine said from the Algonquin Radio Observatory in Pembroke, Ont.

“The whole thing would be like a passenger jet.”

Quine says the structure would be pneumatically pressurized and guided over its base to allow it to stand freely.

“The centre of the patent is how to control such a huge and slender structure,” Quine said. “We basically null out the external forces on the tower using pneumatic pressure and actually lean the tower, actively guide the centre of gravity towards things like hurricanes so that the tower won’t fall down.”

He said the company intends to use pneumatic cells composed of materials like polyethylene and kevlar and leverage the power of gas pressure to create a strong, rigid structure capable of holding up the immense mass.

The advantages of launching into space from the elevator are numerous, according to Quine. But most significantly, launching into space vertically would not be necessary, saving more than 30 per cent of the fuel of a conventional rocket.

“You don’t have to go through the vertical ascent phase. Most rockets fly vertically upwards for 15 kilometres and then they bank in order to gain the kinetic energy of low-Earth orbit,” Quine said. “But the ascent phase is extremely energy intensive and very inefficient.”

Quine says the next step is to build a demonstration tower approximately 1.5 kilometres tall to test the concept. He says the company wants to license the technology “to a wide range of interested companies” in order to make the space elevator a reality as soon as possible.

In addition to space flight, the company says the space elevator could be used for wind-energy generation, communications and tourism.

Quine says the project will cost between US$5 billion and US10 billion and could take three to five years to complete the demonstration tower, and another three years to finish the full version.

About a dozen people have been working on the concept since February 2007, Quine said.

— By Matt Ingram in Toronto @Mattingram984

Goodbye Pan Am HOV lanes, hello Gardiner construction

Patricia D'Cunha | posted Tuesday, Aug 18th, 2015

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It’s the last morning commute of watching buses and taxis zoom by in the temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

The HOV lanes, which have been in place since July 29, will come to an end at 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

But many drivers are asking why the enforcement is continuing until Tuesday night, considering the Parapan Am Games ended on Saturday.

Toronto police Const. Craig Brister said the lanes were still in place to get the athletes to the airport on time.

The lanes accomplished “what we need to do in getting the athletes from the Athletes Village up to the airport on time so they can get their outgoing flights,” Brister said on Monday.

The HOV lanes were added to highways 401, 404, and 427, as well as the Don Valley Parkway, Gardiner Expressway, and Queen Elizabeth Way.

During the Pan Am Games, the 235-kilometre stretch of HOV lanes were open to vehicles with three or more people, public transit, taxis, emergency vehicles, and accredited games vehicles. For the Parapan Am Games, the HOV lanes were open to vehicles travelling with two or more people.

Ministry of Transportation officials say while the enforcement ends at 11 p.m., it will take days to remove the lane markings and signs. The work will be done during low traffic times so that it has a minimum affect on traffic.

“We will be doing it during off-peak hours, which means overnight lane reductions,” Astrid Poei, spokesperson with the ministry, said on Monday.

However, the HOV lanes could return to torment drivers in the form of toll lanes. Last month, Premier Kathleen Wynne said toll lanes will eventually be a reality and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

The premier said when and where the toll lanes will be placed has yet to be decided, but that her government wants to apply the lessons learned from the HOV lanes to create them.

And while the 235-kilometre stretch of HOV lanes will soon be gone, work on the Gardiner Expressway is set to resume on Wednesday, just in time for the Canadian National Exhibition.

The expressway will be reduced to two lanes in each direction from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street to replace the deck on the elevated portion of the Gardiner. The work, which was halted to ease traffic congestion during the Games, is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2016.

Canada ranks sixth on freedom index, says Fraser Institute study

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Aug 18th, 2015

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TORONTO – A new study suggests Canada ranks sixth out of 152 countries when it comes to human freedom while its southern neighbour is 20th.

The index, compiled by the Fraser Institute and public-policy think-tanks in Germany and the United States, uses 76 indicators of personal, civil and economic freedoms.

Hong Kong tops the rankings followed by Switzerland, Finland, Denmark and New Zealand rounding out the top five. Other notable countries are Australia in seventh place, the United Kingdom in the ninth position and Germany in 12th place.

The least free country in the index is Iran. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Yemen round out the bottom five.

According to the data, Canada scores well on security and safety, the rule of law and economic freedom which is based on personal choice, trade openness, freedom to compete, security of private property and judicial independence.

Study editor Fred McMahon says the goal of the index is to measure the degree to which people are free to enjoy classic civil liberties — freedom of speech, religion, individual economic choice, and association and assembly.

“We also look at the rule of law, which is essential for freedoms, as well as indicators of crime and violence, freedom of movement, limits on freedom due to sexual orientation, and women’s freedoms,” McMahon said.

As for the United States coming in at No. 20, McMahon says the data points to a “significant weakening of the rule of law” and an erosion of property rights and “an expansion of quasi-judicial regulations” over time.

Week of August 17, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Saturday, Aug 15th, 2015

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Coming up on Breakfast Television this week:

Be sure to tune in Tuesday as fashion icon Jay Manuel stops by.

On Thursday, Icona Pop catches up with us.

And to end off the week Friday, we will be live at the CNE for the subway auditions.

Be sure to watch BT weekdays 5:30 to 9 a.m. on City, right here at BTtoronto.ca, or on our Breakfast Television mobile app for iOS and Android!

Best of BT Weekend: August 14, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Saturday, Aug 15th, 2015

Jose Bautista chats about The Bautista Family Education Fund and Jays Care

Jose Bautista will be swinging a golf club in support of The Bautista Family Education Fund.

Ladies from The man from U.N.C.L.E.

The leading ladies of the film chat about the movie.

Inside scoop with everything Blue Jays with Buck Martinez

Buck Martinez talks about the Blue Jays and their winning streak.

Road closures part and parcel of fun Toronto weekend events

CityNews | posted Friday, Aug 14th, 2015

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As Toronto bids farewell to the Parapan Am Games on Saturday, there’s one last reminder of the games: road closures will be in place for the closing ceremony as well as for numerous festivals and events around town.

TTC riders will also face a late opening on a portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) on Sunday, and a streetcar diversion on the 510 Spadina line all weekend long.

Road closures

Parapan Am closing ceremony
The closing ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square, which starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, features musical performances and a hand-off to the 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

The following roads will be closed:

  • Bay Street from Queen to Dundas streets from 4 p.m. to midnight
  • Wellington Street from Church Street to University Avenue from 5 p.m. until midnight
  • Front Street from Church to Parliament streets from 5 p.m. until midnight
  • James and Albert streets from 4 p.m. to midnight
  • University Avenue northbound will be reduced to two lanes from Queen to Armoury streets from 8 a.m. to midnight

Those who live in the Pan Am Athletes Village area, near Cherry and Front streets, may encounter some traffic delays from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Wheels on the Danforth and Fun in the Park

Parts of Danforth Avenue and Danforth Road will be closed in both directions from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday:

  • Danforth Avenue from Byng to Leyton avenues
  • Danforth Avenue from Leyton to Warden avenues
  • Danforth Road from Landry to Danforth avenues

International Street Festival
The York-Eglinton event takes place on Saturday and Sunday.

Eglinton Avenue will be closed from Dufferin Street to Marlee Avenue from 2 a.m. on Saturday to 2 a.m. on Monday.

Festival of South Asia
The Indian bazaar will be held on Gerrard Street between Greenwood and Coxwell avenues on Saturday and Sunday.

Gerrard from Glenside to Coxwell avenues will be closed from 10 a.m. on Saturday to 2 a.m. on Monday.

Fusion of Taste

The festival, which features South Asian, Chinese, Thai and West Indian food, dance, art, tapestry and jewelry, takes place on Sunday at Albion Road and Islington Avenue in Etobicoke.

Islington from Albion Road to Wardlaw Crescent will be closed from 6 a.m. on Sunday to 1 a.m. on Monday.

Open Streets Toronto
A portion of Bloor and Yonge streets will become “paved parks” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, open to people who want to walk, dance, practice their sun salutations, skip, hula hoop, bike, and other fun activities.

Bloor Street from Spadina Avenue/Road to Parliament Street, and Yonge Street from Bloor to Queen streets will be closed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Motorists will be able to cross Bloor at Spadina, Avenue, Bay, Ted Rogers Way, and Church, Sherbourne and Parliament streets. Vehicles will be able to cross Yonge at College Street/Carlton Street, and Gerrard, Dundas, Shuter and Queen streets.

TTC closures

Line 1 late opening on Sunday

Subways won’t be running for most of Sunday on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) between St. Clair West and Lawrence West stations due to emergency repairs by Toronto Hydro.

The work is expected to take between 10-12 hours, and service won’t be up and running until around 4 p.m. Shuttle buses will be running.

Streetcar diversion

The 510 Spadina streetcars will be on diversion via College and Bathurst streets from 5 a.m. on Saturday to 5 a.m. on Monday for emergency streetcar track repairs in the tunnel leading to Spadina Station.

The streetcar platform will also be closed. Riders can board replacement buses inside the bus bay at street level.

5 things to do this weekend: Hot rods, samosas and Casa Loma escape game

CityNews | posted Friday, Aug 14th, 2015

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As our regular series continues, we look at events happening in Toronto for a variety of ages and interests.

August 14-16, 2015

Escape from the Tower: Travel back in time to the year 1941 and become an undercover anti-submarine detective. Your mission: to find the coordinates of the enemies and escape from the Casa Loma tower in 60 minutes. The thrill of escape games is sweeping Toronto and this one is a mystery for a group of 12 people to solve. The event runs Wednesday to Sunday at 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. escapecasaloma.com

Festival of South Asia:  Chicken tikka or aloo gobi? Samosas or pakoras? Why choose? Sample delicious dishes from more than 20 restaurants at the Festival of South Asia, and sip on a mango lassi while taking in culture, art and music. The festival runs Saturday and Sunday on Gerrard Street East between Greenwood and Coxwell avenues. 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. festivalofsouthasia.com

Parapan Am Games closing ceremony: It’s officially time to say goodbye to the Games and pass on the torch. The closing ceremony will take place in Nathan Philips Square on Saturday and the free party starts at 8 p.m. And there’s good news for selfie fans: The Toronto sign is sticking around. toronto2015.org

Open Streets Toronto: Imagine a Toronto without vehicles. Well, this Sunday a stretch of Bloor and Yonge streets will be closed off to cars and instead will be open to people who choose to walk, bike, jog, roller blade and even dance through the streets. The event is meant to encourage physical activity and healthy recreation, and it’s free! Open Streets Toronto runs along Bloor Street from the Annex to St. Jamestown and on Yonge Street between Bloor Street and Queen Street. Sunday. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. openstreetsto.org

Wheels on the Danforth: If you prefer your Toronto with vehicles, this east-end event is for you. This Friday and Saturday classic vehicles, hot rods and motorcycles will all convene at the crossroad of Danforth Avenue and Danforth Road from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. And an exotic car display is being added to the schedule this year. wheelsonthedanforth.ca

If you have a suggestion, email us at torontoweb@citynews.ca or submit it online at CityNews.ca,680News.com and via our iPhone and iPad apps.

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