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9 tips for making ‘back to school’ lunches fun and easy

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Aug 8th, 2016

The start of a new school year for kids means preparing lunches five times a week. With every parent wants to provide variety as well as maintain a healthy and nutritious lunch box for their child, this can be a daunting task.

Have no fear! Registered dietician Sue Mah gives us some lunchbox inspiration for the upcoming school year. Below are nine lunchbox tips will please everyone from picky eaters to vegetarians. Lunchboxes and lunch accessories can be found on Fenigo.

  1. Make a plan. Make sure you have everything you need in the fridge and pantry for the week ahead. Go to the grocery store during the weekends to verify you have everything you need to create a balanced lunch. For a homemade twist, do some home-baking over the weekend. The goodies can be stored in an airtight container for a few days or frozen, so that you will never be short of something to pop in the lunchbox.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.12.03 AM
  2. Pre-pack lunch boxes. If mornings are hectic, pre-pack lunches the night before then store them in the fridge. This helps parents keep their morning on track, and gets the kids out of the door on-time for the school bell.
  3. Create a balanced meal. For a balanced lunchbox, include a variety of food types: fresh fruit, vegetables, starchy food, protein, and dairy. For example, a ham and salad sandwich on wholegrain bread, with carrot sticks, a piece of fruit and a yoghurt. If vegetarian, ensure food options meed a child’s dietary needs. Include protein rich foods include roasted chickpeas, nuts, and cheese.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.12.13 AM
  4. Switch out sugary drinks for water. Water is the best for a drink in a child’s lunchbox. Use a refillable, easy to open, leak-proof bottle. For a fun summer-time twist, freeze up the water bottle so it will still be cool by lunchtime.
  5. Make sure your lunchbox is both tasty and safe. During hot weather use an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack to keep food cool. Wash, rinse and dry lunch boxes thoroughly after each use.
  6. Make it interesting. Try not to pack the same things every day. Spice up your child’s lunchbox with fun and interesting foods. Cutting sandwiches into different shapes can help keep younger children happy. Find cookie cutters to cut sandwiches into creative shapes. Cookie cutters such as butterfly and puzzle piece cutouts can be found on Fenigo.
  7. Ensure the food is accessible. Many food items might not be accessible to younger children. Loosen lids on yoghurt pouches if necessary. Peel and cut fruit if your child struggles with eating a whole fruit. Avoid using plastic wrap that can be tough to get off.
  8. Get your child involved in packing their own lunch box. After all, they are the one who is going to be eating it! Offer two or three options of fruit, sandwich fillings, veggie snacks and a small treat. Explore what your child will enjoy for lunch. For the kid who doesn’t like sandwiches, there are a variety of different lunch options that will please a picky eater. Examples of such are chicken pasta salad, sushi, cereal and milk, mini pizzas.Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 9.12.45 AM
  9. Find something new. Ask other moms what they offer their kids for lunch. Many moms are getting creative, packing leftover homemade chicken fingers with plum sauce in a bento box, cucumber sushi with seaweed snacks, or even fruit and cheese skewers such as apple cheese sailboats pictured above.

How to save money on kindergarten costs

MoneySense & Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Aug 8th, 2016

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When Kerry K. Taylor wrote the last $900 monthly cheque for her daughter’s daycare recently, she did a happy dance — albeit a temporary one.

No sooner had the Toronto personal finance writer exhaled a sigh of relief that 4 1/2-year-old Chloe would be starting kindergarten in the fall than she realized entirely new expenses would soon be cropping up.

“There’s going to be a myriad of other costs,” says Taylor — not the least of which is the roughly $400 a month she’ll have to shell out to keep Chloe in before and after school care while she’s at work.

While sending a child to kindergarten can feel like a welcome relief from staggering daycare fees, parents need to be aware that costs associated with starting school can add up to hundreds of dollars before their little ones even step foot in the classroom.

Parents will spend 4.5 per cent more on back-to-school spending this year than in 2015, according to a recent report from advisory services firm EY.

Still, some expenses may be altogether avoidable, meaning parents can save a tidy sum with the right type of planning.

Education experts say superhero backpacks, pencil cases filled with scented crayons and other knick-knacks aren’t necessary, and many parents may be surprised to learn just how little stuff soon-to-be scholars need.

Back-to-school advertisements, in particular, encourage parents to spend money on brand new designer wardrobes. But those duds are neither needed nor practical, said Liz Ugolini, the early years instructional co-ordinator at Peel District School Board west of Toronto.

“Children will be involved with playdough and paint and sand and outdoor play,” she said. “So it really is not for families to have children in their best clothes, but in the clothes that are best for play.”

Comfortable shoes, weather-appropriate attire and an extra outfit in case of accidents are all recommended.

For school supplies, it’s best for parents to stick to the basics, said Ugolini, like a properly sized backpack and a lunch bag with reusable food storage containers. She purchased her niece’s lunchtime kit for $11.

Moms and dads should also be aware that new students don’t need to bring crayons, pencils, markers, pencil cases or paper, Ugolini adds. Schools generally provide all those things, along with books, for its youngest pupils.

“Public education should never really be a financial hardship for families,” said Sue Pasian, the early years consultant for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board in Hamilton.

All these “embellishments,” as Pasian calls them, will be provided for students in their kindergarten classes.

Even field trip costs are generally kept to a minimum at that age, she said, with most excursions running families less than $10 a child. Many school boards can also help subsidize these costs for families struggling financially or connect them with charitable organizations that can, for example, assist them with some basic school supplies.

For Taylor, back-to-school items like the “Frozen” lunch box her daughter recently picked out, are inconsequential after years of daycare costs.

Less trivial, she says, are fees some parents may not know they’ll face. Some school boards charge fees for bus transportation, she said, while other parents may have to take on the costs of driving their child to school.

Taylor also suggests parents take a close look at their kid’s school calendar and pre-arrange care for professional development days, spring break and other holidays that leave kids at home but don’t necessarily mean time off for parents. Last-minute arrangements can be difficult and expensive, she said.

Aside from child care and transportation, it’s a good idea to budget some cash for pizza days, not to mention clothes for rapidly growing children, she added.

“There’s a whole bunch of little things that can pop up,” said Taylor. “Kids are expensive. It’s crazy how expensive kids are, you know?”


Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Fall 2016

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Aug 4th, 2016


Passionate about breaking news, lifestyle content, social media, and producing creative and engaging stories for television and online?

Breakfast Television is a three-and-a-half hour LIVE television news and lifestyle production and is looking for a full-time digital intern for its Fall 2016 term (September through December). The successful applicant must be studying a relevant program, and the internship must be part of their school curriculum.

We’re looking for an individual who’s bright, creative, and energetic, with a passion for news- and lifestyle-themed content, plus the ability to hunt down the latest trends before they go viral! Knowledge of video production and editing would be considered a strong asset.

The position is a full-time, five-day-a-week program, running from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in our downtown Toronto studios.

Should you fulfill the requirements and wish to apply for the position, please forward your resume and cover letter, along with your placement officer’s name and contact info, to:

Please include ‘Internship‘ in the subject line.

Alternately, send a hard copy to:

City – Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Breakfast Television Internship Program
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1B8

If we are interested in following up with you, we will be in touch to set up an interview.

Mayor Tory takes tough stand against TTC management

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Aug 4th, 2016

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Toronto Mayor John Tory is asking TTC management to trim its budget, otherwise he will bring in a task force to do it.

The Toronto Sun reports his comments comes after CEO Andy byford sent a memo to the city, in response to the mayor’s demand of a 2.6 per cent budget reduction in all city departments.

According to the Sun, Byford told the city’s chief financial officer that even though the TTC has cut $82 million from its budget, it still faces a $149-million shortfall.

However, Tory told Breakfast Television on Thursday he has asked the TTC to go back to the drawing board.

“We have said to them nothing different than what we [have] said to every other organization … [they have] to go through an exercise where they review their budget,” Tory said.

“When they wrote me a letter that said […] we found a bit of stuff but we can’t do the rest, I just said ‘no, I’m sorry,’ you’ve got to do the same exercise.”

“In a $1.7-billion organization, you’d have trouble convincing me given my business experience, that there aren’t more things to find. I said please go back – they’ve got a great management team – [and] find more, and if you need some help, let me know.”

Tory said he would consider bringing in help to sort it all out, but that he would much rather have “Byford and his team, who are capable people, do it.”

Which ‘plant water’ should you choose?

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jul 29th, 2016

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The summer months can require some extra hydration, which makes it a perfect time to have a refreshing glass of water. But did you know there are many varieties of water to choose from that go beyond your tap?

As many Canadians are moving away from sweet and sugary drinks, Canadians want more water but want a variety of waters to choose from. Thankfully, there are many healthy choices on the market. Holistic nutritionist Trionne Moore from The Healthy Road is here to give us a ‘101’ on plant waters and what you should be looking out for.

Coconut water

Most people have heard of coconut water, or are already drinking it. Dubbed “Mother Nature’s sports drink,” coconut water is high in electrolytes and contains four times the potassium than a banana. Coconut water is a great alternative to sports drinks, containing less than half the sugar one would find in a standard sized bottle.

However, not all coconut waters are healthy. When searching for coconut water, avoid “from concentrate” brands. Many coconut waters are concentrated, and many waters add flavours to compensate. Avoid any added ingredients… the only ingredient should be pure coconut water to get the most benefits.

Maple water

Maple water is slowly becoming a popular choice for water drinkers, as it is believes it contains many healthy antioxidant compounds. Maple water is the actual sap from the tree, filtered naturally by the tree. This process that maple water is produced makes maple water naturally organic, clean, refreshing, and subtly sweet.

However, there is little research on the health benefits of maple water. Despite maple water containing many vitamins and nutrients, there is no proven claims that maple water contains healthy antioxidant compounds.

Birch water

Birch water might be the new craze of 2016. Birch water is another sap water, much like maple water, and is local to Canada. It is high in nutrients, and only contains half the sugar as maple water. Birch water contains xylitol, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, which makes birch water a good way to cleanse the body and boost your health.

Which ever water you choose to drink this summer, drink lots and stay hydrated!

All of the listed waters can be found at The Healthy Road on 518 King Street East.


August long weekend need to know: Caribbean Carnival parade, what’s open/closed

SAMANTHA KNIGHT AND PATRICIA D'CUNHA | posted Friday, Jul 29th, 2016

A parader checks on her jewels during the Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on Saturday, August 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu

There will be plenty of dancing in the street, lively music and masqueraders in colourful costumes as the Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade winds it way along a stretch of Lake Shore Boulevard on Saturday.

The parade takes place during the August long weekend, and includes road closures. There are also road closures in place for TTC and road work.

Monday is a civic holiday – known as Simcoe Day in Toronto – but not everything is closed. Businesses are not required to close, so they may open at the discretion of the municipality. Below is a list of what’s open and closed.

Enjoy one of the last long weekends of the summer, because before you know it, winter will be around the corner.


Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade
Grab your masks, feathers and most extravagant costumes for the Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade. The event gets underway at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The event attracts local, national and international attention, as it has been deemed the highlight of the three-week festival.

Paraders march down Lakeshore Boulevard at the Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on August 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu.
Paraders march down Lakeshore Boulevard at the Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on August 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu.


Masqueraders in colourful and striking costumes will wind their way from the assembly area at Exhibition Place along Lakeshore Boulevard. Click here for the route map.

Not only do ‘mas bands’ take part in the parade, it also features guest bands, cultural bands and steel bands. Click here to purchase tickets.

After the parade, masquerade bands will end up in Exhibition Place where they can party until 8 p.m.

TD Irie Music Festival
Come out and celebrate the best in reggae, soca and music from the African Diaspora at this year’s TD Irie Music Festival.

The multi-day music festival includes dance, food, arts, crafts and culture. It takes place in the heart of the city at Nathan Phillips Square, from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

This year’s headliners include internationally acclaimed artists KI, Bushman and Steele. Dance Immersion will return to the IRIE Music Festival to present their summer dance showcase on the second day of the event.

OVO Fest
Drizzy is back in the Six this long weekend for his annual OVO Fest, and he’s bringing an all-star line up with him. This year’s event includes a performance by Snoop Dogg and Whizz Khalifa on Friday night at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, and Machel Montano will take the stage with special guests on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Echo Beach.

The ‘Hotline Bling’ rapper himself, along with Future, will take over the Air Canada Centre for a two-night concert as part of their Summer Sixteen North American tour. The shows get underway at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.

Drake performs at OVO Fest 2012 at Molson Amphitheatre on Aug. 5, 2012 in Toronto. WIREIMAGE/Sarjoun Faour Photography
Drake performs at OVO Fest 2012 at Molson Amphitheatre on Aug. 5, 2012 in Toronto. WIREIMAGE/Sarjoun Faour Photography


Drake’s most recent album is ‘Views,’ which was released in April of this year. In 2015, the 29-year-old became the first rapper to ever crack the top 100 artists on the Billboard charts, with the release of his surprise mixtape, ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.’

Sailor Moon Pop-Up
If you were a Sailor Moon fan in the ’90s, or if you’re still one to this day, then this pop-up shop is for you. Hirut Café is hosting a Sailor Moon Pop-Up Café this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

For $15, fans of the popular Japanese anime series can enjoy special service from in-character Sailor Moon staff. A Sailor Moon themed menu will be served, along with parfaits and Senshi drinks.

There will also be artwork to be purchased and Sailor Moon karaoke.

Toronto Food Truck Festival
If you’re looking for some indulgence this weekend, you can head on over to Woodbine Park and immerse yourself in aplethora of food trucks.

People hanging out at the Toronto Food Truck Festival. Photo via torontofoodtruckfestival.com.
People hanging out at the Toronto Food Truck Festival. Photo via torontofoodtruckfestival.com.


Toronto’s Food Truck Festival runs for three days straight, starting on Friday, and features over 30 food trucks. Some of the trucks include Bacon Nation, Chimney Stax Baking Co., Fidel Gastro’s, The Vegan Extremist, and of course, Beaver Tails.

The festival, which is in its third year here in Toronto, offers guests a chance to find a new truck to stalk, or an old favourite to visit.

Dusk Dances
Withrow Park in Riverdale will once again be home to a week-long outdoor dance festival that showcases traditional and contemporary dance.

Each night at sunset, the audience will be treated to dance pieces performed in different areas of the park. Each of the choreographed works are 10 minutes long and draw inspiration from the park’s natural habitat.

Admission is pay what you can. The festival starts on Civic Day and runs until Aug. 7.

What’s open and closed Monday

A closed on a storefront. GETTY IMAGES/huePhotography
A closed on a storefront. GETTY IMAGES/huePhotography



  • TTC will run on holiday service
  • GO will run on a Saturday schedule
  • Tourist attractions: Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada’s Wonderland, Casa Loma, CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo
  • Major malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Dufferin Mall (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Fairview Mall (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Pacific Mall (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Toronto Premium Outlets (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.), Square One (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.), The Promenade (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Upper Canada Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills Mall (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Hillcrest Mall (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Scarborough Town Centre (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Sherway Gardens (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Yorkdale Shopping Centre (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and select stores at Yorkville Village (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Select Beer Store locations, click here for a list
  • Some LCBO stores will be open, click here to search your store
  • Select grocery stores, call ahead for your local store hours
  • City-run facilities like pools, splash pads, golf courses, historic museums, High Park Zoo, Toronto Island ferries
  • Garbage collection: Green and blue bin waste will be collected



  • Government offices, municipal buildings, and banks
  • All Toronto Public Library branches are closed on Sunday and Monday
  • No mail delivery in several provinces including Ontario

Road closures

Road closures for events
Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade: Lake Shore Boulevard will be closed between Colborne Lodge Drive and Strachan Avenue from 1 a.m. on Saturday to 6 a.m. The TTC is adding extra service this weekend so that people can attend the parade.

Road work

The intersection of College Street and Lansdowne Avenue is closed in all directions until Aug. 8 for streetcar track replacement, sidewalk repairs and road work. Click here for traffic detours. TTC vehicles will also be on diversion, click here for details.

Ongoing work

Gerrard Street, from University Avenue to Elizabeth Street, is reduced to one lane until Oct. 15 for watermain and other road work.

Richmond Street West is reduced to one lane of traffic between Church and York streets until Nov. 30 for TTC track work, watermain replacement, and road and sidewalk repairs.

One lane of Queen Street West between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street is closed in both directions for watermain replacement and reconstruction work until around Oct. 8.

Gerrard Street, from Yonge to Church streets, is closed until the end of July for watermain replacement, road resurfacing and bike lane and sidewalk upgrades.

Clinton reaches out to Republicans mortified by Trump in convention speech

ALEXANDER PANETTA, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jul 29th, 2016

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

PHILADELPHIA – Hillary Clinton used the biggest speech of her career to reach across the political aisle to voters mortified by their own party’s choice, casting the stakes of the election as far higher than a typical campaign battle of left versus right.

She rolled through the challenges of this era: stagnant wages, terrorist attacks, climate change, student debt, laying out promises for tackling them as a roomful of supporters waved U.S. flags, chanted her name, and drowned out periodic heckling from left-wing protesters.

Then Clinton raised the stakes.

She described this election as a moment of reckoning for a country that risks electing a uniquely dangerous man — whom she characterized as an ill-informed, thin-skinned, hate-mongering bully too reckless to hold the great levers of power.

“Imagine him in the Oval Office,” she said, after accepting the Democratic nomination as the first female presidential candidate for a major U.S. party.

“A man we can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

She referred to him calling women pigs, mocking a judge of Mexican heritage, miming a disabled reporter, and insulting former Republican nominee John McCain for being captured in Vietnam: “Here’s the sad truth,” Clinton said. “There is no other Donald Trump. This is it.”

She called him unworthy of a country whose Latin motto is, “Out of many, one.” Likening him to a childhood tormentor, Clinton shared a story about her mother refusing to allow her in the house as she tried fleeing a bully: “She literally locked the door. ‘Go back out there,’ she said… She was right. You have to stand up to bullies.”

It’s a recurring theme of the Democratic convention.

While the party has a variety of progressive planks in its platform it does not intend to fight this election on a left-right axis — but on other fronts. Unity versus division. Ideas versus a cult of personality. Her versus Trump. Or, as Protestant minister William Barber summed it up in a speech before she took the stage: “Some issues are not left versus right. They are right versus wrong.”

The convention saw speakers and scoreboard videos name-check Republicans including McCain, Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney, George W. Bush. Barbara Bush and Marco Rubio in an effort to make the case that this candidate should be uniquely unpalatable to self-respecting Republicans.

The message was underscored by speakers like President Barack Obama. He extolled the conservative values of his grandparents’ Kansas and described the Republican candidate as a demagogue unworthy of being associated with them.

Current and former Republicans filed to the podium like Michael Bloomberg, the ex-New York mayor. On Wednesday, a former official in the Reagan administration said he would vote Democrat for the first time, because his loyalty to country exceeded that to party. Doug Elmets compared him unfavourably to his own party’s hero: “Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan,” he said. “Reagan saw nuance.”

In a campaign where Trump proposed a blanket ban on Muslim travel to the U.S., before rewording the proposal to apply to immigration from an unspecified list of countries, American Muslims were given a sequence of speaking roles.

Basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabaar spoke. Then came Khizr Khan whose son, a Muslim immigrant, was killed while serving the U.S. Army in Iraq: “The best of America,” he said of his son, Humayun. “If it were up to Donald Trump, he would never have been in America.”

He urged all immigrants to take this election seriously, and for all voters to teach Trump a lesson on Nov. 8.

The challenge of reaching out to moderates was underscored repeatedly Thursday.

The left-most tip of the party’s left wing was conspicuous in its annoyance all week. Dozens of the hardest-core supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders repeatedly heckled military speakers, including retired Gen. John Allen and veteran Florent Groberg, who lost his leg in a suicide attack.

Protesters repeatedly chanted: “No more wars,” and, “Peace, not war.” They got annoyed stares and demands to keep quiet from the rest of the crowd. They were drowned out by chants of, “U-S-A!” and were made to disappear behind the waving of large American flags distributed to delegates around them.

Many on the left were already convinced the party was biased against them, unconvinced that Clinton had defeated Sanders fairly — even though she got one-quarter more primary votes and won many more states.

They were annoyed when Sanders endorsed her. And fuel was poured over their still-smouldering anger in form of internal party emails, which the U.S. government suspects were stolen by Russian hackers and provided to the site Wikileaks.

Some held up a banner that read, “WIKILEAKS,” in all-caps.

Clinton was introduced by her daughter Chelsea. A Clinton aide said the nominee had still been working on the speech Wednesday. She had been working on it for weeks, with her staff and her husband Bill.

“(Bill) knows her voice extremely well, having spent years by her side,” said aide Kristina Schake. “So he’s helping her craft the message that she wants to give tonight to the American people.”

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