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Toronto Zoo reaches tentative deal with union

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Jun 9th, 2017

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About 400 Toronto Zoo employees walked off the job during a contract dispute. Two employees are seen blocking the entrance to the zoo on May 11, 2017. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A tentative deal has been reached between the Toronto Zoo and the union representing its 400 workers, bringing a possible end to the almost month-long strike.

CUPE Local 1600 said the deal was reached early Thursday morning, following a 24-hour bargaining session and with the help of a provincial mediator.

“We believe this tentative agreement is fair, reasonable and acknowledges the unique work that is done at the zoo,” the Toronto Zoo said in a statement.

A membership meeting and ratification vote is expected to be held this weekend. Details of the deal won’t be announced until it is ratified.

Workers walked off the job on May 11 after the union and zoo officials failed to come to terms on the key issue of job security.

The 400 workers include zookeepers, maintenance, administration, ride operators, public relations staff and concession workers.

During the strike, the animals at the zoo were taken care by management staff, many of whom were former keepers.

The zoo has been closed during this time but it is not yet known when it will reopen.

“We will now be assessing over the next 24-48 hours how quickly we can re-open the Zoo if the tentative agreement is ratified,” Zoo officials said.

More than 1.3 million people visited the zoo last year – that’s an increase of about 170,000 visitors compared to 2015.


Related stories:

Striking Toronto Zoo workers rally at City Hall

Toronto Zoo staff walk off the job in contract dispute

Toronto Zoo attendance up due to baby animal boom, good weather

Hudson’s Bay to cut 2,000 jobs as part of corporate restructuring

LINDA NGUYEN AND DAVID HODGES,THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 9th, 2017

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Hudson’s Bay Co. said Thursday it is cutting 2,000 jobs across North America to help it compete in an increasingly tough retail environment made more challenging with the rise in online shopping.

Canada’s oldest retailer said the layoffs will save the company $350 million annually once the plan is fully implemented by end of fiscal 2018.

The majority of the job losses will be based in the United States from the head office to the department store floor. They will also be across all banners, representing about four per cent of its workforce in Canada and the U.S.

“We are convinced (the layoffs) won’t affect the customer in any measurable way,” CEO Jerry Storch said in an interview.

“If anything, service will be better in the stores. Many of the cuts are designed to make the company more agile, to reduce layers in the organization and to enable us to act faster in this changing retail environment and to focus more heavily on the all-channel model uniting the Internet with the stores.”

Storch said the company remains committed to investing in online shopping and expanding its footprint in Europe with Hudson’s Bay banner stores and Saks Off 5th stores.

“The world is clearly changing and it will transform how we do business,” he said.

Storch said that HBC still “believes in the department store,” especially in the Canadian market, though the U.S. market may be “oversaturated” with retailers.

The company also announced that it was appointing retail veteran Alison Coville as the new president of Hudson’s Bay and Home Outfitters in Canada. A second team will manage its Lord & Taylor stores in the U.S.

The announcements came as HBC released its first-quarter earnings after markets closed.

It said it had a net loss of $221 million or $1.21 a share, more than double the $97 million loss or 53 cents a share it had in the same period last year.

Retail sales were about $3.2 billion, a decrease of $100 million or three per cent.

Founded in 1670, Hudson’s Bay is the oldest company in North America. It employs more than 66,000 people and operates more than 480 stores under banners such as the Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Gilt, and Saks Off 5th.

Charity bike ride, Ramadan celebration among weekend events in Toronto

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND SAMANTHA KNIGHT | posted Friday, Jun 9th, 2017

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Cyclists riding on a street. GETTY IMAGES/Hero Images
This weekend is shaping up to be a nice one with sunshine and highs in the mid-to-high 20s, so it is essential that you spend time outside. With all this rain the GTA has been getting lately, having an entire weekend of sun is rare.

There are several events taking place this weekend, including one on Friday night. Showers are in store for the evening, so make sure to carry an umbrella. Also, a reminder that a portion of Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) is closed this weekend due to TTC work.


Events

Ride to Conquer Cancer
It’s unlike any other cycling challenge – the Ride to Conquer Cancer is hitting the streets this weekend. The two-day and three-route event spans over 200 kilometres. Opening ceremonies kick off at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Exhibition Place in Toronto, and 7200 Niagara Parkway in Niagara Falls. All riders will travel to Hamilton during the first day of the ride, camping out at the Athletic Fields at McMaster University overnight, and then head back out on the road by 8 a.m. on Sunday. Money raised from the bike ride goes to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Registration is now closed but you can still donate here.

Fast in the 6
As the holy month of Ramadan reaches the halfway point at the end of this week, a massive celebration is planned for Nathan Phillips Square on Friday. The inaugural event runs from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and features fireworks, stand-up comedy, music, and food. Mayor John Tory will also be addressing the crowd. Everyone is invited to take part in the celebration that promotes diversity, unity and prosperity. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and admission is free.

Toronto Challenge

Walking or running is a good way to stay in shape, and on Sunday, those activities will help raise money to improve the quality of life for seniors in the community. The 5K run and walk and the 1K walk start at University Avenue and Armoury Street at 9:30 a.m. and end at Nathan Phillips Square. Participants will receive a free T-shirt and a chance to win prizes.

Grilled Cheese Challenge
Everyone has their own special way to make a grilled cheese sandwich. You can taste the many offerings at the challenge, which is being held at Lake Shore Boulevard West and Islington Avenue on Saturday. Vendors will present their creations to judges, with $1,000 awarded for first place. The public will also be able to vote on which grilled cheese is the best, with awards handed out for best testing, most innovative and best gourmet.

A grilled cheese sandwich. GETTY IMAGES

 

Craft Beer Festival
Kick off Ontario Craft Beer Week at the eighth annual Craft Beer Festival at Yonge-Dundas Square. The event features over 100 different beers, plus food vendors and live music. Guests can also vote for their favourite beer through ‘Collaboration Nation,’ where craft breweries team up with celebrities to make unique creations. The 19+ event takes place rain or shine Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Foodalicious
Toronto’s first annual Foodalicious food festival is taking over Downsview Park this weekend. Guests can enjoy great food, live music, carnival games, inflatables, midway rides and stage shows. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. All ages are welcome.

Paddlefest Toronto
Learn to kayak, canoe and paddleboard at Paddlefest Toronto this weekend. The event takes place at Sunnyside Beach, offering beginner, intermediate and advanced clinics. The sessions run 1.5 hours, 3.5 hours and 8 hours. Participants can also browse exhibitor booths throughout the day.

Paper Fair
Smartphones may be all around us, but there the paper tradition still lives on in the city. And it makes perfect sense that the paper fair is taking place at Toronto’s oldest surviving post office, located at Adelaide and George streets in the city’s St. Lawrence neighbourhood. Not only is the post office a museum but also a full-service postal outlet. Saturday’s fair, which is from noon to 7 p.m., showcases “Made in Toronto” paper goods such as stationery, greetings cards, art prints, postcards, and more. Admission is free.

A tweet from Toronto's First Post Office about the paper fair. TWITTER/@TOs1stPO

 

TTC and road closures

Partial Line 2 shutdown
TTC crews continue their work on the subway system this weekend, with Line 2 shut down between St. George and Broadview stations. Crews will be doing work on the Prince Edward Viaduct and other TTC maintenance. Shuttle buses will be running and Wheel-Trans buses will be available upon request.

Road closures

SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women: Queen’s Park Crescent, from College to Bloor streets, will be closed from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Ride to Conquer Cancer: Lane closures will be in effect from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, in the area bounded by Burnhamthorpe Road, The West Mall, Kipling Avenue, and Lake Shore Boulevard in the south.

Portugal Day: Lansdowne Avenue, from Bloor to College streets, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Annex Family Festival: Bloor Street, from Bathurst Street to Spadina Avenue, will be closed from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Toronto Challenge Run: The northbound lanes of University Avenue, from Queen to Armoury streets, will be closed from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on Sunday.

iögo yogurt products recalled due to risk of containing plastic pieces

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 9th, 2017

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The recalled products include the iögo Smoothie Mango Yogurt Based Drink and the iögo nanö Banana Drinkable Yogurt. CFIA
Ultima Foods is recalling seven iögo yogurt products because they may contain pieces of plastic.

The company says the affected items have been sold in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

The recalled products include six 93-millilitre iögo Nano packs of strawberry, raspberry, vanilla and banana drinkable yogurt.

They also include one-litre iögo smoothie protein packs with mango, strawberry-raspberry and strawberry flavours.

Click here for a list of the recalled products.

Ultima triggered the recall and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is now investigating.

The CFIA says the investigation may result in more recalls.

The agency says there have been no reported injuries associated with the consumption of the yogurt.

Theresa May’s UK election gamble backfires as Tories lose majority

JILL LAWLESS AND DANICA KIRKA, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 9th, 2017

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May listens as the declaration at her constituency is made for in the general election in Maidenhead, England, Friday, June 9, 2017. British Prime Minister Theresa May's gamble in calling an early election appeared Friday to have backfired spectacularly, after an exit poll suggested her Conservative Party could lose its majority in Parliament. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May listens as the declaration at her constituency is made for in the general election in Maidenhead, England, on June 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s gamble in calling an early election backfired spectacularly as her Conservative Party lost its majority in Parliament, throwing British politics into chaos.

UK media, citing sources they did not identify, reported early Friday that May has no intention of resigning despite calls for her to step down.

The shock result could send Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union – due to start June 19 – into disarray. The pound lost more than two cents against the dollar.

With 636 of 650 seats in the House of Commons declared, the Conservatives had 310 to the Labour Party’s 258. Even if the Conservatives won all the remaining seats, the party would fall short of the 326 needed for an outright majority. Before the election the Conservatives had 330 seats and Labour 229.

May plans to seek the permission of Queen Elizabeth II to form a government even though her Conservative Party lost its majority. Downing Street said she plans to meet the queen at 12:30 p.m. local time.

May called the snap election in the hope of increasing her majority and strengthening Britain’s hand in exit talks with the European Union with a “strong and stable government.” Instead, the result means the Conservatives will need to rely on support from smaller parties to govern, with more instability and the chance of yet another early election.

“This is a very bad moment for the Conservative Party, and we need to take stock,” Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry said. “And our leader needs to take stock as well.”

Left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was among those calling on May to resign, said Friday morning that people have had enough of austerity politics and cuts in public spending. He ruled out the potential for deals or pacts with other progressive parties in Parliament.

“The arguments the Conservative Party put forward in this election have lost, and we need to change.”

The results confounded those who said Corbyn was electorally toxic. Written off by many pollsters, Labour surged in the final weeks of the campaign. It drew strong support from young people, who appeared to have turned out to vote in bigger-than-expected numbers.

As she was resoundingly re-elected to her Maidenhead seat in southern England, May looked tense and did not spell out what she planned to do.

“The country needs a period of stability, and whatever the results are the Conservative Party will ensure we fulfil our duty in ensuring that stability,” she said.

Many predicted she would soon be gone.

“Clearly if she’s got a worse result than two years ago and is almost unable to form a government, then she, I doubt, will survive in the long term as Conservative Party leader,” former Conservative Treasury chief George Osborne said on ITV.

British media later reported Friday that May had no intention to resign.

The result was bad news for the Scottish National Party, which lost about 20 of its 54 seats. Among the casualties was Alex Salmond, a former first minister of Scotland and one of the party’s highest-profile lawmakers.

The losses complicate the SNP’s plans to push for a new referendum on Scottish independence as Britain prepares to leave the EU. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the idea of a new independence referendum “is dead. That’s what we have seen tonight.”

May had hoped the election would focus on Brexit, but that never happened, as both the Conservatives and Labour said they would respect voters’ wishes and go through with the divorce.

Despite the surprise election result, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said he doesn’t believe voters have changed their minds about leaving.

But speaking Friday on Europe 1 radio, he said “the tone” of negotiations may be affected.

“These are discussions that will be long and that will be complex. So let’s not kid ourselves,” he said. “I’m not sure that we should read, from the results of this vote, that Britons’ sovereign decision on Brexit has been cast into doubt in any way.”

EU budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger said the EU is prepared to stick to the timetable that calls for negotiations to start in mid-June, but said it would take a few hours at least to see how the results of the election play out in forming a government.

“Without a government, there’s no negotiation,” he said Friday morning by phone on Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio.

May, who went into the election with a reputation for quiet competence, was criticized for a lacklustre campaigning style and for a plan to force elderly people to pay more for their care, a proposal her opponents dubbed the “dementia tax.” As the polls suggested a tightening race, pollsters spoke less often of a landslide and raised the possibility that May’s majority would be eroded.

Then, attacks that killed 30 people in Manchester and London twice brought the campaign to a halt, sent a wave of anxiety through Britain and forced May to defend the government’s record on fighting terrorism. Corbyn accused the Conservatives of undermining Britain’s security by cutting the number of police on the streets.

Eight people were killed near London Bridge on Saturday when three men drove a van into pedestrians and then stabbed revelers in an area filled with bars and restaurants. Two weeks earlier, a suicide bomber killed 22 people as they were leaving an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Voters were left flustered by the fast-moving events.

“It’s a bit of a mess,” Peter Morgan, 35, said in London. “I was kind of hoping it would just go the way that the polls suggested it would and we could have a quiet life in Westminster but now it’s going to be a bit of a mess.”

Steven Fielding, a professor of politics at the University of Nottingham, said Britain had seen an election “in which the personal authority of a party leader has disappeared in an unprecedented way.”

“If she had got the majority she wanted, she would have been a supreme political colossus,” he said. “She did not get that and she’s a hugely diminished figure. She’s a zombie prime minister.”

The Associated Press’ Gregory Katz, Sophie Berman and Niko Price contributed to the story.

RECALL: Diono Canada recalls Diono Dreamliner travel bassinet

Today's Parent | posted Thursday, Jun 8th, 2017

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PHOTO: HEALTHYCANADIANS.GC.CA

Diono Canada has recalled their Diono Dreamliner travel bassinet after Health Canada determined that these bassinets do not meet the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations in Canada.

The affected bassinets come in grey (model 71001) or teal (model 71002). They have a steel frame, a mattress, and fabric sides with large mesh panels for ventilation, as well as an adjustable hood with integrated insect net.

Approximately 1,853 units of the affected bassinets were sold in Canada between April 2016 and May 2017. The company has not received any reports of incidents or injuries in Canada.

What should you do?

If you have an affected bassinet, stop using it immediately and return it to Diono for a full refund, which will include the bassinet price, tax, and shipping cost. You can complete the return process through the Diono website or contact the company toll-free at 1-866-954-9786.

Read more:
RECALL: Graco recalls more than 26,000 car seats
RECALL: The Honest Company baby wipes recalled due to mould

Rising rents driving out small, independent restaurants

PAM SEATLE | posted Thursday, Jun 8th, 2017

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The rising housing costs plaguing Toronto renters are now hitting the city’s restaurants. In neighbourhoods across the city, from the Beach to Bloordale, restaurateurs are facing exponential increases, forcing some to close. And with rent so high, who will move in?

In Queen West, it’s fast food giants. At Queen and Palmerston, a brand new A&W sits next to an independent coffee shop. Matt Basile, who owns Lisa Marie, says his rent has risen more than 50 per cent in the four years since his restaurant opened.

“We came in and the rent was around $7,000 – $7,500,” says Basile, who also operates a food truck and catering business. “Four years later it’s over $11,000 now.”

“If we were just a restaurant, we would not be able to afford to stay here. That’s the truth, with the growing costs, it’s just not feasible.”

John Lorinc, a gentrification expert, says giant restaurant chains moving in is one of the inevitable next steps in the evolution of a neighbourhood.

“The thing about gentrification is that there are waves. The first wave is younger people and artists, and then they get priced out, they go somewhere else,” says Lorinc, who adds Toronto is a victim of its own success.

“There’s this cycle that happens. Toronto has gotten to the point where everything in the downtown core is very expensive. That has implications for retail businesses. A lot of people like these retail strips and want to be near them.”

Downtown councillor Kristen Wong-Tam says there are things the city can do to keep local restaurants in business. She is in favour of eliminating the tax break for landlords with empty store fronts.

“That is one thing that the city is trying to eliminate, I think that’s a very good idea. We’ve heard from property owners that they would like to retain that rebate, of course that would be their objective. The small retail operators would like to see that eliminated so that the building owners holding on to those vacant properties hoping to cash in on that rebate would be more motivated to rent out to the small operators.

The prospect of exorbitant rent costs down the line isn’t stopping Connor Joerin from jumping into the market. In Bloordale Village, a neighbourhood in the early stages of gentrification, Joerin and his partner are getting set to open a little restaurant called Sugo. They say they aren’t fazed by the prospect of rapid rent cost increases. They’re happy to be part of an up and coming neighbourhood.

“Once rents start going up and leases come up for renewal, what it does is it pushes out the people who created that culture, that created that community, that created that neighbourhood.”

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