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Your weekend is marvellous: Tango to the boat show or film fest

Patricia D'Cunha and Amber LeBlanc | posted Friday, Jan 8th, 2016

Here we go – it’s a brand new year and new opportunities are at your doorstep.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to be more active and explore what the GTA has to offer, we have a few suggestions.

Events

Toronto Tango Marathon

“The music goes in my ears, is filtered through my heart, and comes out through my feet.”
-El Flaco Dany Garcia, dancer and teacher

If swaying to the dance of love was one of your New Year’s resolutions, then this tango festival is just what your heart desires.

Whether you are a novice or experienced dancer, or just want to move to the rhythm of Argentinian tango and have fun learning the steps, the Toronto Tango Marathon has something for everyone. There will also be DJs from Buenos Aires, the U.S. and Canada. Dance to your heart’s content for three days and three nights at the Lithuanian Hall on Bloor Street.

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival
Canadians are a modest bunch, but one festival is celebrating the diverse and engaging cinema we have to offer the world.

#SeetheNorth at the annual film festival that features the best films from the past year. Over the 10-day event, running from Friday until Jan. 17 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, movie-goers can watch 10 films for only $10 a ticket.

The poster for 'The Forbidden Room,' directed by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson. KINO LORBER INC.
The poster for ‘The Forbidden Room,’ directed by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson. KINO LORBER INC.

Some of the films include “The Forbidden Room” by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, which won the top Toronto film critics prize this month. Runners-up films such as “My Internship In Canada” and “Sleeping Giant” will also be screened.

Canada’s Bridal Show
Here comes a one-stop shop if you’re planning a wedding. Canada’s Bridal Show runs from Friday to Sunday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and will showcase all the latest industry trends and helpful experts. Stick around for the fashion shows and giveaways.

Gowns being modelled at Canada's Bridal Show. Photo via canadasbridalshow.com.
Gowns being modelled at Canada’s Bridal Show. Photo via canadasbridalshow.com.

Motorcycle Supershow
Dreaming of cruising along the open road? Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts will converge on the International Centre this weekend for the biggest such retail show in North America.

Bikes on display at the North American International Motorcycle Supershow. Photo via motorcyclesupershow.ca.
Bikes on display at the North American International Motorcycle Supershow. Photo via motorcyclesupershow.ca.

There will more over 1,000 motorcycles on display at the North American International Motorcycle Supershow, along with the latest in apparel, helmets, trailers and places to visit. There will also be fashion shows, live music and plenty of special guests. The show runs from Friday to Sunday.

Toronto International Boat Show
Tired of the cold weather already? Well, you will be happy to know that spring is around 10 weeks away. Get into the summer spirit while checking out various boats from kayaks to houseboats atNorth America’s largest indoor boat show.

The event, which is being held at Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, features over 500 exhibitors. Attendees can also practice their boating skills in the indoor lake or watch the wakeboarding show.

People enjoying the summer boating season. TORONTO BOAT SHOW.
People enjoying the summer boating season. TORONTO BOAT SHOW.

The Franchise Expo
Ever dream of being your own boss? You can find out how you could be running one of 140 different franchises at The Franchise Expo.

Taking place at the Convention Centre on Saturday and Sunday, there are plenty of opportunities to talk with other franchisees and to find the business that’s right for you. There will also be seminars about things like government assistance programs, real estate opportunities and legal advice.

New airline vows rock-bottom fares, but prepare to pay for luggage, drinks

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jan 7th, 2016

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MONTREAL – A new airline in Canada is hoping to shake up travel next month by offering rock-bottom fares — but be prepared to pay for everything from carry-on luggage, on-board drinks and printed boarding passes.

NewLeaf Travel, which announced Wednesday it will fly between seven cities in the country starting Feb. 12, is unabashedly courting the budget traveller market. On its website, it says, “Your fare gets you the two essentials: a seat and a seatbelt. The rest is up to you.”

The company will initially fly two 156-seat Boeing 737 aircraft leased from Kelowna’s Flair Airlines. It aims to have a fleet of 15 planes including larger models of the popular aircraft in three years if its plans to expand across Canada and into the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean are successful.

NewLeaf chief commercial officer Dean Dacko says Canadians have been forced to pay too much for air travel because of a lack of competition.

“There’s a huge hole in the market today of Canadians that are just looking for a more cost-effective travel value for their travel dollar and we believe that we can fill that void,” he said in an interview.

Initial interest in the airline caused its online booking system to crash — an unfortunate but potentially positive omen, said Dacko.

“It’s amazing that we’ve had that much interest that fast.”

The company is promoting one-way fares for as low as $89 including taxes. But passengers will face additional charges ranging from $25 to $150 for a variety of services, including checked-in and carry-on bags, seat selection and printed boarding passes.

The carrier will fly into Halifax, Hamilton, Regina, Saskatoon, the B.C. cities of Abbotsford and Kelowna, and Winnipeg, where the carrier is based.

About one-third of capacity will be available at the lowest fares with the cheapest fares available for flights between the B.C. and Saskatchewan cities, NewLeaf said.

Fares will be slightly higher for longer distances. The longest flights between Hamilton and Kelowna will start at $149. WestJet and Air Canada flights from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to Kelowna cost at least $340.

Airlines around the world, including large carriers like WestJet and Air Canada, have been moving to a similar so-called unbundled model.

Dacko said NewLeaf is going to be disruptive to Canada’s two largest airlines, but has deliberately avoided going head-to-head by using secondary airports where costs are at least half of those at larger facilities. It also won’t offer daily service.

WestJet, which said it has been Canada’s low-fare leader since it got off the ground with three planes in 1996, said it will “vigorously defend this position in the market.”

“While a new entrant may selectively offer low fares in certain markets, we have the network, schedule and airline partners to provide our guests with so much more,” said spokeswoman Lauren Stewart.

Air Canada said it welcomes competition, adding it offers competitive pricing in all markets.

Robert Kokonis, president of airline consulting firm AirTrav Inc., said NewLeaf’s launch is good news for passengers who avoid flying because of high costs.

“(NewLeaf) is pulling people really out of the cars, off the bus and stimulating travel from people who don’t travel that often, so it’s really good news, at least in the short run,” he said.

38 years later, overdue library book returned

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jan 7th, 2016

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Talk about a long read.

The library in St. Albert, Alta., says over the holidays, somebody returned a late book — make that a few decades late.

The book was Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne’s House of Dreams,” and the last due date stamped on it was for Nov. 25, 1977.

Apparently, a family found the book while clearing out their mother’s house.

Library spokesman Peter Bailey says at the current overdue rate of 15 cents per day the book is overdue, the late fees would add up to about $20,000.

But he says the library gave the family a break, and only charged them the maximum late fee of $5.

Trending: Walter Gretzky surprises Brantford man after memorabilia stolen

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jan 6th, 2016

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A Brantford man who had his treasured Wayne Gretzky memorabilia stolen after a break-in at his car wash and detailing business got a surprise visit from the world’s most famous hockey dad on Tuesday.

On Monday, Mike Agriesti posted a message on Facebook describing the devastating theft at his store, Mike’s Auto Spa on West Street in Brantford.

“Last night my shop was broken into and the thieves stole my entire Wayne Gretzky memorabilia collection and other various tools and items from my shop and office! They smashed the front door, and ransacked the entire place! I can always replace tools, but my Gretzky collection is now gone!”

Agriesti posted the followed photos, showing his office before and after the break-in.

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Among the stolen items is a framed and signed Rangers jersey, another signed picture of Gretzky, and numerous hockey cards, among other items.

“It could have been worse,” he wrote. “However this is still a major blow to myself! Trying to stay positive! Please, if anyone hears of anything related to this post please feel free to message me!”

The next day, Agriesti was flooded with emotion when the man who famously flooded his Brantford backyard to help produce one of Canada’s greatest talents stopped by his shop.

Walter Gretzky arrived with some memorabilia to help soften the blow.

“Wow, so overwhelmed with emotion!” Agriesti posted. “Walter Gretzky heard from his neighbour what happened and he surprised me with a visit and brought me this signed picture of Wayne, exactly like the one that was stolen from me! Truly lost for words!! I’m in tears!! Happy tears!”

(Photos Mike Agriesti/Facebook)

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Judge to charge jury at Toronto suitcase murder trial

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 6th, 2016

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A Toronto judge is to instruct the jury Wednesday at the trial of a man accused of killing his 17-year-old daughter and leaving her body in a burning suitcase two decades ago.

In closing arguments Tuesday, defence lawyer Jennifer Penman urged jurors to acquit the teen’s father of deliberately killing Melonie Biddersingh, saying the evidence instead points to his wife as the culprit.

Everton Biddersingh, 60, has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of his daughter. His wife, Elaine Biddersingh, faces her own trial this spring.

Penman portrayed Elaine Biddersingh as an evil, demon-obsessed religious fanatic and the likely killer of her horrifically abused and starved teenaged stepdaughter.

The Crown alleges Biddersingh killed his daughter by starving or drowning her, then crammed her into a suitcase and drove her to a remote area north of Toronto and set her on fire.

The Biddersinghs were arrested in March 2012 after a tip that finally allowed them to identify the victim’s remains and lay charges.

Toronto Zoo confirms polar bear cub is still cute in new video

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jan 5th, 2016

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Keep reading if you’re into cuteness.

The Toronto Zoo has posted a new photo of its polar bear cub as well as a video showing her being bottle fed by zoo staff.

The unnamed cub now almost two months old, weighs 2.8 kilograms and now feeds six times a day.

Her fuzzy white coat is also becoming thicker.

The zoo says she’s still in the wildlife health centre and not viewable to the public.

Don’t make these 5 New Year’s health resolutions

Chatelaine | posted Tuesday, Jan 5th, 2016

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Next year, say no to detoxes and yes to weight training

It’s that time again: You’ve gorged yourself on the wings and legs of every festive bird in sight and are now more than ready to engage in the ritualistic fitness and nutrition snapback prompted by a change in the calendar. While there’s nothing wrong with committing yourself to a more balanced, less bonbon-heavy lifestyle — and there’s certainly something seductive in a “new year, new you” mentality — there are just some health resolutions we should resolve ourselves not to try.

“This year, I promise to finally give that teatox a try.”

No, no, no! Jan. 1 is the day we are easily the most vulnerable to fad diets and detoxes, but stay strong. We’re talking about alkaline diets, juicing, and other deprivation schemes disguised as “cleanses.” In particular, “teatoxes,” which supplement a low-calorie diet with large amounts of herbal tea, can have a devastating effect, not only on your sanity, but on your bowels (sorry). Most teatox packs include senna, which can cause diarrhea, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and even heart irregularities. Anyway, isn’t tea supposed to be relaxing?

“This year, I promise to adopt an intense, all-cardio fitness regimen.”

Go ahead, get your blood pumping. But remember to make time for lower impact exercises, like walking. Not only is going for a stroll a potent calorie burner, but it also fights depression and can actually increase the size of your brain. Same goes for weight training, which is especially important in aging women to guard against osteoporosis.

“This year, I promise to finally cut out cheese [or bread or any other life-affirming food].”

For some (most) people, the idea of eliminating dairy or sweet, sweet sugar is a punishment tantamount to death. Dramatic? Maybe. But if you’re looking to give your diet a cheese-less makeover, most experts recommend avoiding the deprivation mindset entirely. Instead, resolve to add more water, whole grains and leafy greens to your diet. A simple yet effective mental switcheroo that gives your new nutritional outlook some staying power.

“This year, I promise to move my entire exercise regime into the comfort of my own home.”

We get why you’d want to avoid the frustrated and sweaty January gym masses. And, being Canadians, we are also plenty aware of the frigid hellscape that is winter. Still, outdoor exercise is a game-changer; it can boost your happiness and even contribute to a better night’s sleep. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, take advantage of our country’s very attractive landscape and try snowshoeing.

“This year, I promise to avoid the frozen food aisle.”

Surprise! The quick convenience of the frozen-food section makes it seem like it would be a vitamin deadzone, but broccoli, chickpeas and blueberries on ice are actually quite high in antioxidants, protein and, yes, vitamin . C. Looks like you learn something new every year.

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