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Shopping tips and resources for Canadian Black Friday

Winston Sih | posted Thursday, Nov 28th, 2013

Crushing crowds, stampedes at the door, even pepper spray and bullets — these are the just some of the scenes Americans are willing to endure on Black Friday as shoppers trample over each other to get the best prices on TVs, video games and designer handbags. Well, Canada, now it’s our turn.

City digital media correspondent Winston Sih shared some of his tips for preparing for one of Canada’s biggest shopping days.

Last year Canadian retailers began offering their own Black Friday deals in an effort to keep shoppers here north of the border. This year, the tradition looks set to really take off with major malls jumping into action — 21 Cadillac Fairview malls are set to open early on November 29th — encouraging even more stores to offer deep discounts and hopes that Canadians will bound through doors en masse.

For Canadians who aren’t quite used to dealing with Black Friday madness, we offer up a few tips for surviving the mad dash for discounts.

1. Do your homework

Before you head out into the mayhem, know where to start. Find out what’s on sale and where the best price is and plan your day accordingly. Keep an eye out for store fliers or check out sites like RedFlagDeals.com.

2. Make a list (and stick to it)

Hitting the chaos of Black Friday without a list can lead to bags full of useless things and big credit card bills. Figure out what you need to buy before you go out. And make your list realistic — you may not be able to buy everything on your holiday list.

3. Ask for a better discount

This is where we polite Canadians can take a lesson from our friends in the U.S.! You don’t need to be rude, but asking if a retailer if he or she is able give you a better price isn’t going to hurt anyone’s feelings — and you might even get away with paying less.

4. Know what to avoid

Black Friday doesn’t mean everything is on sale. Items like toys and winter clothes will be way cheaper right before or after Christmas. Ditto for brand name TVs and other electronics, which usually go on sale in January and February as retailers make room for new models.

5. Leave your credit card at home

Black Friday is a dangerous time for anyone with a tendency to impulse shop. The best way to avoid overdoing it or going over-budget is to avoid plastic and take cash, that way you’ll avoid any scary surprises when your credit card bill comes.

6. Read the fine print

Before you buy anything, make sure the store isn’t changing its return policy for Black Friday. For example, a sale item might be eligible for an exchange not a refund.

7. Wait for Cyber Monday

If the crowds and mall mayhem isn’t your thing, you can shop from the comfort of your couch on Cyber Monday. Lots of online retailers offer great discounts on the Monday after Black Friday. Even better, we can take advantage of deals on both sides of the border!

Online resources:

With files from Chatelaine and Caroline Cakebread

Rogers and NHL sign 12-year broadcast agreement

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Nov 26th, 2013

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The National Hockey League says it has reached a 12-year, $5.2-billion agreement with Rogers Communications for the league’s broadcast and multimedia rights.

As part of the deal, Rogers says the CBC will continue to air its iconic Hockey Night in Canada broadcast and that the TVA network in Quebec has all of the Canadian French-language multi-media rights.

The league says the deal gives Rogers national rights to all NHL games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, on all of its platforms in all languages.

In addition, the NHL says the agreement guarantees that there will be no further regionalization of games or local blackouts. Rogers has three exclusive windows to broadcast any game involving a Canadian team — Wednesday nights, Saturday nights (including CBC) and Sunday nights.

The NHL’s news release early Tuesday made no mention of TSN, which currently airs a package of regular season and playoff games, prompting at least one report that the network was shut out of the bidding.

Longtime NHL analyst Bob McKenzie said in a tweet early Tuesday that ”TSN’s national rights package for NHL games expires at end of this season and isn’t being renewed.”

He added that TSN would, in spite of losing national rights, maintain and intensify efforts to “continue as a prime source for hockey news and information.”

The NHL says the partnership with Rogers and TVA, which is subject to approve by the NHL Board of Governors, will begin with the 2014-15 season and run through the 2025-26 season. The Board of Governors will next meet Dec. 9-10 in Pebble Beach, Calif.

The league said in a statement that the agreement is the largest media rights deal in its history and one of the largest media rights deals ever in Canada, including the largest-ever sports-media rights agreement.

Executives from the NHL and Rogers will be hold a news conference today at 11 a.m. in Toronto to formally announce the deal.

“The NHL is extremely excited about the power and potential of this groundbreaking partnership,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement.

“Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey, and that is precisely what Rogers has promised to deliver over the next 12 years,” Bettman added.

Rogers will provide game coverage with expanded pre- and post-game coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. Rogers also has exclusive rights to special events such as future NHL All-Star Games and NHL Drafts.

In addition, Rogers said it will use its digital technology to stream games on the Internet, wireless and mobile devices, and satellite radio. Rogers will operate NHL Center Ice and NHL GameCenter Live in Canada.

“Sports content is a key strategic asset and we’ve been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians,” said Rogers CEO and president Nadir Mohamed in a statement issued through the NHL.

“Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice.”

Rogers Communications is the parent company of City, Breakfast Television, and BreakfastTelevision.ca.

How will this change how you watch hockey? Will it?

With files from The Canadian Press

Meet the guests of #BTgivesback

Winston Sih | posted Monday, Nov 25th, 2013

Dina and Kevin revealing the big giveaway show!

Breakfast Television hosted guests who have made a difference in their communities in a #BTgivesback special. Give their stories a read below.

Randy Silver Mellon

Randy supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Princess Margaret Hospital.

Her nominee wrote: Randy has done the Weekend to End Women’s cancer and over the past 11 years has raised over $250,000.00 for Princess Margaret Hospital.  This past February, she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer and rather than let it bring her down, she continued fundraising, encouraging all of us to fight on and this summer, while still going through treatment walked with her daughters at the Weekend to End Women’s Cancer.  She is inspiring, strong and a shining example of what one person can do in the face of a huge challenge.

Randy is a proud supporter of Team In Training. The runners fund-raise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while training for an endurance event.  Randy was a mentor who had already done a number of races with TNT.

Laura Daly

Laura is the founder of Get Rec’d, an organization that supports young adults with cancer.

To date, they have raised over $200,000 and every penny has gone directly to patients in need in the form of gas cards, groceries, daycare, etc.  They host recreational events to get people active while raising funds to directly support cancer patients.  There are 10 dedicated individuals who help make this group successful and not one of them take a penny–they all have busy careers and family.

Laura and her brother started Get Rec’d to get people together to get active and raise money for kids with cancer. Ironically, in her fifth year, her brother got diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 27 and sadly passed away five years ago.

After witnessing the costs involved in fighting cancer as a young adult, she has decided to continue Get Rec’d and directly support young adults battling cancer.

Hayden Downes-Mills

Hayden conceptualized the organization, Hayden’s Re-Bicycling.

In October 2010, Hayden’s BMX bike was stolen from his family’s front yard.  It was his first real bike he had received earlier that spring for his 10th birthday. Sadly, it was later found, beyond repair, in a dumpster. His community reached out to Hayden offering new and used bikes and gift cards.

He came up with the idea to help other kids who needed bikes, and Hayden’s Re-Bicycling was born.

In the last three years, Hayden, his parents, and a countless volunteers have come together to collect, repair, and give away hundreds of bikes to those Georgetown/Halton Hills and the surrounding areas.  To date, over 600 bikes have been donated.

Hayden has been recognized by the Town of Halton Hills as well as TVO Kids Super Citizen Awards.

Kayla Johnston and Courtney Johnston

Kayla and Courtney started Be Bold, Go Gold.

Courtney wrote: My sister started getting sick last November. She never gave up, while everybody works hard trying to find her diagnoses. She finished grade 11, and received all three of her credits from second semester, while in pain and dealing with all her medical issues. She has had pancreatitis and a blood infection and still deals with everyday pain because of her slow motility.

“My parents always taught us, that someone is always worse then us. So we give back. My sister however, inspires me, cause she lives in pain everyday, and she works so hard every night for others. She is a person, we should all aspire to live up to you.”

She started a fundraiser for child hood cancer, called Be Bold, Go Gold she was able to raise almost $4,000 for the childhood foundation of Canada.  She now runs a campaign called “Making Parents Smile.” She is trying to make 200 to 300 gift bags for the parents to get on Christmas morning.

Brianna Newton

Brianna started Socks for Souls and donates clothes and products to the homeless all year round.

Her mother wrote: On her 21st birthday, she informed her father and I that she wanted nothing for herself but rather help starting a charity for the homeless people of Toronto.  She hit up her Facebook friends to get started and asked for socks and clothing for the homeless. The response was overwhelming and with a few friend’s help, Brianna spent her 21st birthday on the streets of Toronto handing out clothing and hygiene products to the homeless.

“I have been told that there are times she gets home from work and there are people waiting on her step that have heard she will help.  It brings tears to my eyes sharing this with you because I know she sometimes does without herself to do this! She no longer uses a cell phone because of cost. A 21-year-old without a cell phone activated….imagine!  I could not be more proud of the beautiful adult she has grown up to be.  We are 3000 km apart and haven’t seen each other for 2 years (neither of us can afford to fly) so what better way to say how much we love her and how proud we are of her!”

Her parents Michelle and Paul Newton live in Spaniards Bay, Newfoundland.

John Teljeur

John supports the Food Bank Crusade, and tons of other local charities.

John transformed his backyard into a food bank garden, where he grows thousands of pounds of fresh veggies for those in need.  In the fall he brings in and cuts wood for “Fuel for Warmth,” and delivers it to families who don’t have enough money to heat their homes.  He tirelessly works for the Food Bank program and breakfast programs in local schools.  In one year, he grew over 850 pounds of produce!

Anna Lopes

Anna is the founder and director of Million Dollar Smiles.

Over seven years ago, Anna started Million Dollar Smiles with the simple goal of wanting to bring smiles to children facing life threatening illnesses. It began with a small group of volunteers and together they helped change the life of 10 families in their first year through their Travelling Teddy Bear campaign.  Their very successful Summer Playground Build program entails teams of 20+ volunteers building playgrounds over a weekend in the backyard of their special children.

They also get a huge turnout for their Holiday Bear Drive.  Last Christmas over 200 volunteers took time out during the busy holiday season to help them deliver four-foot Teddy Bears (each with $100 Toys R Us gift certificates) to children around Toronto.  Each year, they continue to surpass our goals of delivering smiles and hugs to their special children during the important holiday season.

Deborah Goldberg and Melanie Seigel

Deborah and Melanie support the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada.

In 2008, Melanie lost her dad to a brain tumour.  In 2012, Melanie and Deb bought houses on the same street, just a few doors away from each other–a street that housed many of their close friends.

Together, they organized a Halloween street party complete with trick or treating and a DJ. The community came together and we raised money for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.  The next year, they expanded and extended invitations to the surrounding streets. With the addition of many more people, and community businesses, they doubled their profit to over $1,200.

They started an online donation page with the foundation.  Even with the windy, rainy weather, they had over 800 people and 45 raffle prizes courtesy of neighbourhood businesses and their good-hearted friends.  They raised $3,000.

“It is now an event that shuts down our street, where people come from near and far just to be involved and support an amazing cause, one that is so close to our hearts. We look forward to growing bigger every year!”

Mandy and Aaron Mareksy

Mandy is the co-founder of Aaron’s Apple and is Aaron’s Mom.  Aaron, 12 years old, is the founder of Aaron’s Apple.

At seven-years-old, Aaron was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.  The medication he needed cost more than $50,000/year, but luckily insurance covered it.  He started Aaron’s Apple to help families that could not afford expensive medications and treatments.  To date, he has raised close to half-a-million dollars.

He has been at Sick Kids for the last 2 weeks where he lives his life in a significant amount of pain, but the pain that doesn’t stop him from helping others.

Mike Jowett

Mike supports the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Mike has become such an advocate in support and education of Diabetes that he has become a mentor to many of his friends who also suffer from the disease.  A sold-out concert last spring featured The Johnny Cash Show–Johnny also died from complications of diabetes–where over $6,400 was raised towards diabetes research and provided Mike the opportunity to travel to Iceland to participate in the 14-kilometre hike through the glaciers.

He continues to talk about his weight loss of over 100 lbs, as well as his daily exercise routines and diet that has proven that diabetes can be controlled without the aid of medication; however this is only possible with discipline, education, diet and exercise.

He has recently been invited through his company to talk at an upcoming convention about his success with the challenge of living with diabetes.

Photo gallery

Take a look at our behind-the-scenes photo gallery featuring some of the best moments from our special!

IN PHOTOS: Santa in town for annual parade

Winston Sih | posted Sunday, Nov 17th, 2013

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The 109th edition of the Santa Claus parade was held on Sunday.

The parade — which got underway at 12:30 p.m. — featured more than 30 floats and 25 bands.

In photos

Take a look at some of our favourite viewer photos sent in to us through Twitter using hashtag #BTsanta!

 

Parade route

  • Starts at Bloor St. W. and Christie St.
  • Eastbound to Bloor St. W.
  • Southbound to Queen’s Park Crescent E.
  • Southbound to University Ave.
  • Eastbound to Wellington St. W.
  • Eastbound to Front St. E.
  • Ends at Front St. E. and Jarvis St.

Road closures

  • 8 a.m.: Bloor St. W., from Ossington Ave. to Christie St.
  • 10 a.m.: Bloor St. W., from Christie to Bathurst streets
  • 10:45 a.m.: Bloor St. W., from Bathurst to Bay streets
  • 10:45 a.m.: Avenue Rd./Queen’s Park, from Davenport Rd. to College St.
  • 11 a.m.: University Ave., from College to Dundas streets
  • 11:15 p.m.: University Ave., from Dundas to Front streets
  • 11:30 p.m.: Wellington St., from University Ave. to Jarvis St.
  • 11:45 p.m.: Front St., from Bay to Jarvis streets

Weather

Sunday’s forecast calls for windy and cloudy conditions with showers for the morning and steadier rain developing around 12 p.m. It is expected to be milder with a high near 13 C.

Related links

With files from 680News.com

Remembrance Day events in the GTA

Winston Sih | posted Sunday, Nov 10th, 2013

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Every year on Nov. 11, Canadians pay tribute to those who served the country during times of war and peace. Below is a list of Remembrance Day ceremonies in the GTA.

Breakfast Television will have extensive coverage of events happening during the morning, including a live stream of the sunrise service at  Prospect Cemetery from 7 to 9 a.m.  Follow along with us using the hashtag #BTremembers.

TORONTO

Scarborough Civic Centre
Address: 150 Borough Drive, McCowan and Ellesmere
Time: 2:00 p.m to 3:30 p.m.

Fort York
Address: 250 Fort York Boulevard
Time: 10:45 a.m.

Swansea Town Hall Community Centre
Address: 95 Lavinia Avenue, Windermere and Bloor
Time: 10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Address: 375 Mount Pleasant Road, Yonge Street and Mount Pleasant Road
Time: 10:00 a.m to 11:00 a.m.

East York Civic Centre
Address: 850 Coxwell Avenue, Coxwell and Mortimer
Time: 10:45 a.m to 11:45 a.m.

North York – Toronto Centre for the Arts
Address: 5040 Yonge Street, Yonge and North York Blvd.
Time: 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Old City Hall
Address: 60 Queen Street West, Bay and Queen
Time: 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

York Civic Centre – York Memorial Collegiate Auditorium
Address: 2690 Eglinton Avenue, Eglinton Ave. W and Keele St.
Time: 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

MISSISSAUGA

City of Mississauga Remembrance Day Ceremony
Address: 300 City Centre Drive, Confederation Parkway and Burnhamthorpe Road West
Time: 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

BRAMPTON

Memorial Square Cenotaph, City Hall
Address: 2 Wellington St. W.
Time: 10: 45 a.m.

DMG Chinguacousy Park
Address: Queen St. E. and Central Park Dr.
Time: 10:45 a.m.

VAUGHAN

Woodbridge Cenotaph
Address: on Wallace Street, south of Woodbridge Avenue
Time: 10:15 a.m.

BURLINGTON

Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph, City Hall
Address: 426 Brant St., Brant St. and James St.
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

OAKVILLE

Oakville Legion
Address: 136 Church St. at Navy
Time: 9:00 a.m.

With files from 680News.com

IN PHOTOS: Behind the scenes on the Halloween special

Winston Sih | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2013

Bt Halloween Mon 2013

Halloween is one of our favourite times of the year, and we threw one of Toronto’s biggest Halloween parties with our Star Wars-themed special Thursday morning.

Once again, you made our hashtag #BTboo trend online, and thousands of you were interacting with us at home through Twitter and Facebook.

Watch some of our best moments from this year’s Halloween show here, and check out some of the fun behind-the-scenes moments in the photo gallery below!

Thank you for making our Star Wars Halloween show a success!

Why are there so many giraffes on my Facebook feed?

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Oct 29th, 2013

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Facebook users have noticed that giraffes are quickly taking over the profile of friends and family.

The latest trend to take over social media is called ‘The Great Giraffe Challenge,’ and was created by an Australian travel blogger Andrew Strugnell, who often challenges his YouTube subscribes with these tasks.

The premise is simple: Find it posted on a friend’s Facebook feed, and if you get it wrong, repost the riddle on your own wall and update your profile photo to that of a giraffe.

The original post was published on Oct. 26, and has since taken off with thousands of Facebook users worldwide.

Now it’s your turn–take the challenge, and let us know if you figure it out in the comments below. And remember, if you get it wrong, change your profile photo and repost the riddle!

For a detailed description of how the game works, watch the video below.

The Great Giraffe Challenge (Repost to your Facebook wall):

I’ve changed my profile to a giraffe. I tried to answer a riddle and got it wrong. Try the great giraffe challenge!

The deal is I give you a riddle. You get it right you get to keep your profile pic. You get it wrong and you change your profile pic to a Giraffe for the next 3 days. MESSAGE ME ONLY SO YOU DONT GIVE OUT THE ANSWER.

Here is the riddle: 3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors, It’s your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?

Remember… message me only. If you get it right I’ll post your name here. If you get it wrong change your profile pic.

Breakfast Television unveils its new mobile app

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Oct 22nd, 2013

For years, you’ve called Breakfast Television Canada’s number-one morning show, and now we have a brand new way for you to wake up with us.

The new Breakfast Television app for iPhone is free and available to all iOS and Android devices through the App Store and Google Play, and boasts a stunning, easy-to-use interface with the features you need to get your day started.

Among the features include video on demand, a live stream of the broadcast, a full seven-day weather forecast, and a social stream so you can stay connected to us while on the go.

The app’s built-in alarm clock will let you wake up with the voices of your favourite BT personalities, as well as easily watch a high-quality, full-screen video stream of Breakfast Television.

Download the app below, and watch the above video as Breakfast Television digital media correspondent Winston Sih gives you an in-depth tour!

UPDATE: For alarm clocks to ring through audibly, ensure that silent mode on your iOS device is turned off.

UPDATE 2: The Breakfast Television app is now available for both iOS and Android devices.

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