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Walk Off the Earth singer Sarah Blackwood booted from plane due to fussy toddler

Victorial Ahearn, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 28th, 2015

TORONTO – Walk Off the Earth singer Sarah Blackwood says she wants compensation and an apology after being kicked off a United Airlines flight because her young child was being fussy.

The Burlington, Ont.-based musician, who is seven months pregnant, said it happened while she and her nearly two-year-old son were on a United plane operated by regional carrier SkyWest Airlines on Wednesday.

They were on the tarmac to fly from San Francisco to Vancouver. Her son is still considered an infant by the airline’s standards and therefore was able to sit in her lap free of charge.

Before leaving the gate, her son was tired and was “crying really loud and squirming,” said Blackwood.

That’s when a flight attendant told her: “You have to control your child.”

“The only thing I can do to stop him from moving around is hold him with my arms, which was what I was doing,” Blackwood said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

“I said, ‘OK, yeah, absolutely.’ … I would never refuse to do anything on an airplane,” she added, noting she’s on tour with the band and frequently flies to perform.

“I don’t want to cause a scene, ever, it just makes my life harder.”

Blackwood said she was in a window seat and apologized to the man sitting beside her.

“The flight attendant came back up to me again and told me that if I couldn’t control my child, they would ask me to leave the plane,” she said.

“I didn’t really know what she meant by ‘control my child.’ I mean, he’s not an animal, you can’t sedate children.

“I had him in my lap and he was screaming, he was loud, but I had him in my lap and I was holding on to him.”

Blackwood said her son cried for about seven minutes and fell asleep as they were taxiing on the runway. But before takeoff, the plane returned to the gate.

Blackwood said the pilot claimed they needed to get more fuel but when they got to the gate, an airline representative asked her to leave the flight.

“At this point I was in tears but I just said, ‘OK,’” she said.

“I woke up my son up and as I was leaving there were a few passengers that stood up and said, ‘This is ridiculous, I can’t believe you’re doing this to her.’

“I actually had one lady on the flight gather some emails for me of the other passengers, and while she was doing that they also threatened to kick her off the plane.”

SkyWest said the airline made the decision to remove Blackwood and her child from the flight “based solely on safety concerns.”

“Despite numerous requests, the child was not seated, as required by federal regulation to ensure passenger safety, and was repeatedly in the aisle of the aircraft before departure and during taxi,” SkyWest said in a statement.

“While our crews work to make travelling safe and comfortable for all travellers, particularly families, the crew made the appropriate decision to return to the gate in the interest of safety.”

But Blackwood said her son was not in the aisles and was “fully asleep” by the time they had returned to the gate.

“I had a window seat, there was a gentleman beside me, there’s no way he could’ve been running around in an aisle, because it was impossible,” she said.

Blackwood said a United representative arranged for her and her son to get on a later flight, but she would “love compensation of some kind.”

“It turned out to be a 12-and-a-half, 13-hour travel day that should’ve been a five-hour travel day and it was totally unnecessary and ridiculous.”

How to clean the house in 10 minutes or less

Today's Parent | posted Thursday, May 28th, 2015


The phone rings and guests are dropping by in 10 minutes. Now what? Lynn Fraser, an Edmonton life and executive coach and owner of Balance Your World, reassures us that the goal is not a perfectly clean house — just a warm welcome for your friends.

After all, “your guests are coming to see you and the kids, and it doesn’t matter if your home isn’t perfect. A place that’s homey and comfortable is much more welcoming than a show home.”

Still, with a plan and some expert know-how, you can make a house presentable in almost no time (and keep your heart rate within normal range). Here’s how>

Tidy timeline

Linda Chu, the owner of Out of Chaos Professional Organizing Solutions in Vancouver, recommends focusing on the living or family room, kitchen and washroom. Don’t worry about bedrooms — your guests aren’t coming for a sleepover.

Pop the little kids’ favourite DVD into the player, suggests Chu, and give them a small no-mess snack so they’re occupied — this way, they won’t undo your work as you go (much). Meanwhile, you, your partner and big kids can zip around the house.

Give yourself three minutes for a sweep through the rooms. Grab a bin or basket or two and pick up everything that doesn’t belong: dirty laundry, excess shoes, toys, models of the Eiffel Tower. In the family room, stash books and mags into an ottoman or a drawer in your coffee table, if you have one. In the kitchen, the big kids can clear the counter and load the dishwasher. Don’t worry about sorting things nicely — that’s for another time.

Finish picking up in the bathroom and, while you’re there, take three minutes: Flush the toilet, close lid, close the shower curtain, wipe counters and replace towels. The key to a quick bathroom turnaround is a little prep, stresses Chu: Pack a set of clean coordinated towels and washcloths in a zippered bag (the kind comforters come in). Include kitchen and dining room linens, if you like. When company drops by, you won’t have to scrounge in the linen closet. After they leave, do the laundry and pack the set back up, ready for the next visitors.

On to the kitchen! You and your helpers have three minutes to wipe the table and counters, put out the garbage, clean under the table with something like a Swiffer WetJet (especially if your children are small and floors are sticky).

A minute left! Enough time, suggests Chu, to comb your hair. And take a big breath.

Read on for the more great last-minute cleaning tips>

Desperate measures

What if you don’t have 10 minutes? What if friends just pop in? Try these quick tips:

• Grab a garbage bag and do a fast runaround, picking up what you can. Stash and sort later.

• Consider an alternative use of appliances, suggests Margaret Weeks, a home economist at the University of Prince Edward Island. Pop clothes and towels from the floor into the washer or dryer; your dishwasher will hide (er, hold) lots of dishes and pots.

• Put a fresh bar of soap in the bathroom — the room will smell nice even if you don’t have time to scrub.

• Focus on a welcoming atmosphere, says Fraser: Put on some music, turn on the kettle for coffee, clean off the table, put out a snack, clear a path to wherever you’re going to entertain your guests, and remove the clutter from the front entryway.

• Remind yourself that if people are dropping by on the spur of the moment, they must be very good friends who’ve seen you through thick and thin, says Weeks. Smile, open the door and welcome them in for a cup of coffee.

Panic prevention

Streamline your tidying technique:

• Contain it To control clutter, you need storage — baskets, pretty boxes, plastic bins. Weeks also likes big tote bags and hampers for quick storage of toys, shoes and laundry. When not in use, stack and tuck them away.

• Give it a home If everything has a place, you can tidy in a hurry because you know where it goes.

• Hang it Install hooks or pegs at your entryway, suggests Chu. Guests can hang their coats on the hooks (rather than in closets you don’t want them to see).

• Multi-task with cleaning supplies Fraser mixes one-third vinegar to two-thirds water in a spray bottle for mirrors, counters, glass and fixtures.

• Teach your kids Keep clutter under control by picking up 10 things every day, says Weeks. Encourage your kids to learn the same habit (if you start right now, this will take approximately 24 years).

Looking for ways to get your kids to help you with chores? Check out this video:

Travel deals for all seasons

MoneySense | posted Tuesday, May 26th, 2015


Fancy half-price hotels and attractions far from the maddening crowd? Savvy vacationers save a packet by taking advantage of shoulder season travel—that wee sweet spot between top-price high season and bone-chilling low season. But playing the shoulder game means finding destinations that combine lower airfares and accommodations plus pleasant weather and things to do. Choose wisely and you’ll wonder why it took so long to discover the easiest route to discount travel. Here’s our guide to the world’s greatest shoulder destinations.


Europe’s summer is a sweltering mess of jam-packed cities where air-con is a foreign concept. But golden days from late-September through October can be a breath of fresh air. Enjoy the balmy coastlines of Italy, Greece or Spain, or explore some capitals before the autumnal dark days arrive. Europe-bound flights drop to half their summer peak, and if you like driving tours in France or beyond, you’ll find the roads far less thronged.

Late-September is also a smart time for springtime South Africa’s safaris and winery regions. Or consider going tropical in Costa Rica. Around late November, the rainy season recedes and you can ogle the toucans just before the tour groups arrive.

Hot spots include…

Sardinia: Explore sandy coves and foodie-loving villages off Italy’s western coastline. Why now? The Autunno in Barbagia artisanal festival starts in September.

London: Crawl blockbuster museums on a self-guided culture tour. Why now? The Victoria and Albert Museum’s sumptuous Fabric of India exhibition starts October 3.

Cape Town: Weave the delightful Cape Winelands. Why now? Late-September’s Cape Town Fringe Festival.

» Top 10 cheapest U.S. cities to visit


Our southern neighbour is stuffed with tan-tastic winter destinations. But while Florida and Arizona welcome snowbirds, it’s shoulder time in Texas. California-wise, wait for February if you’re craving better-value hotel rates and airfares for San Diego or San Francisco. Both are mild until later. Also consider Hong Kong or Thailand just before the end of March—the start of the rainy season.

Hot spots include…

Austin: Feast on America’s tastiest food trucks. Why now? January’s Free Week Austin music festival.

San Diego: Explore museum-packed Balboa Park. Why now? February’s Winter Brew Fest.

Hong Kong: Dine in a world-class foodie city. Why now? Hong Kong Arts Festival starts late February.

» How much to tip around the world


This is Europe’s other—rainier—shoulder. Airfares rise dramatically after a few weeks, so book in April. Fancy a side-trip? Reykjavik isn’t too cold in May as it readies for summer’s visitor peak. It’s similar in Canada. May-to-mid-June is a chance to visit popular destinations like Victoria, the Rockies and Quebec City before the masses arrive: hotels are discounted and the weather is balmy.

Further afield, the post-cherry-blossom-pre-rainy season May window in Japan means Tokyo hotels are keen to bargain. You’ll find similar pre-rain deals in Malaysia and South Korea, and you can also cash in on summer’s end in Australia and New Zealand, with flight deals and sleepover discounts beginning to emerge.

Hot spots include…

Victoria: One of Canada’s earliest springs starts here. Why now? Whale-watching begins.

Napier: Time travel in New Zealand’s finest art deco city. Why now? Tour Hawke’s Bay wineries sans crowds.

Melbourne: Dive into Australia’s artsiest city. Why now? May’s Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

» The best luggage you’ll ever buy


Summer offers key ways to avoid credit-card immolation. Labour Day to late September is great for Canada trips. The islands of Aruba and Bonaire are outside the hurricane belt—yet their summer room rates are still the year’s lowest. Or, shimmy south. February’s carnival season is a crowd-puller, but coastal Brazil in July is a quiet zone. Check hotels vying for business in Rio—and expect warm weather with rain.

Hot spots include…

Jasper: September’s sun lights up the mountains. Why now? The VIA train from here to Prince Rupert is a late-summer gem.

Aruba: August is hot. Why now? Restaurant Week in late August.

Rio: Hit the beaches without the crowds. Why now? Late July’s giant Anima Mundi animation festival.

» The best time to book a flight

Week of May 25, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Friday, May 22nd, 2015


Coming up on Breakfast Television this week:

All this week, tune into BT as Barenaked Ladies appear every day to celebrate their new album, Silverball!

Foodland Ontario will be giving us the 101 on organic foods Wednesday.

And to end off the week Friday, Cityline’s interior design expert Shai DeLuca-Tamasi will be sharing his tips ton how to revamp your home.

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!

Man parachutes from CN Tower for Pan Am Games

CityNews | posted Tuesday, May 26th, 2015


A shocking sight Tuesday morning as a man parachuted off the CN Tower.

Pan Am Games spokesperson Teddy Katz told 680 NEWS the spectacle was related to this summer’s Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

“We were doing some filming for some promotional videos for the upcoming Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games,” he explained.

Katz wouldn’t go into further detail on the stunt but said “you have to stay tuned.”

Those who saw the incident took to Twitter to express their shock.

Some 6,600 athletes from 41 countries will compete in 36 Pan Am sports plus 15 Parapan Am sports.

The Pan Am Games run from July 10 to 26, with the Parapan Am Games to follow Aug. 7-15.

Best of BT Weekend: May 22, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Matthew MacCaull on his role in the film ‘Tomorrowland’

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We share tips and stories on how to prevent lyme disease.

Maestro Fresh Wes previews his new EP

We catch up with Toronto's Maestro Fresh Wes. Compositions: Vol 1is available on Tuesday.

5 places to visit at 2015 Doors Open Toronto

Kristen Gomes | posted Friday, May 22nd, 2015


The long weekend has ended but the fun never ends. 2015 Doors Open Toronto is celebrating their 16th year of opening their doors to the public. This weekend tourists and residents will have access to more than 155 buildings, free walking tours, architectures and more.  

Here are 5 places to visit:

Rogers Studios — City and OMNI Television
33 Dundas Street East | Saturday: 10:00 a.m.  —  5:00 p.m.
Rogers Studios is the home of City and OMNI Television in the heart of downtown Toronto. Visitors will get a special behind-the-scenes look into the broadcast facility’s newsrooms, control rooms, studio spaces, and the CityNews weather and traffic centre.

Toronto Police Marine
259 Queens Quay West | Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.
Take a look at the Toronto Police Marine Unit’s history and their responsibility for Lake Ontario. Tours will be held throughout the day where they will showcase the variety of Police Vessels and vehicles.

Design Exchange
234 Bay Street | 
Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.
Design Exchange is the home of excellence and preservation of design heritage. DX is known for their exhibitions, competitions and educational programs that happen throughout the year.

Bata Shoe Museum
327 Bloor Street West | 
Saturday and Sunday 12:00 p.m. — 5:00 p.m.
Bata Shoe Museum celebrates 20 years of showcasing the style and function of footwear. with over 4,500 years of history and collection.

Toronto Track and Field Centre
231 Ian MacDonald Boulevard | Saturday: 10:00 a.m.  —  5:00 p.m.
Take a peek where athletes break a sweat at Toronto Track and Field Centre.  This facility its the go-to place that provides training from grassroots to Olympic level Athletes. This summer Toronto Track and Field Centre will be the training facility for athletes during the 2015 Toronto Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

Click here for more places to visit

5 things to do this weekend: Dance, Doors Open and art in the park

Marcia Chen | posted Friday, May 22nd, 2015


May 22-24, 2015

Doors Open Toronto: More than 155 buildings — including museums, breweries and the City television studios at Yonge-Dundas Square — are open for a peek inside. Various venues. Saturday-Sunday. Free.toronto.ca

Salon 21: Ahead of their concert at Koerner Hall, Toronto’s Alejandro Céspedes, Jamie Drake and Sarah Thawer explore the role of the Cajon and other percussion instruments in Latin American music. Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen’s Park. Friday, 7 p.m. Free. soundstreams.ca

Painting in the Park: Paint, sketch, play music or just join the al fresco art party at Saint Andrew’s Playground. Canvasses and acrylic paint for sale and easels for rent — or bring your own supplies. Artless Hub, 477 Richmond St. W., unit 709. Saturday, 2 p.m. Free. artlesshub.com

Sharing Dance Day: Free ballet, street and Bollywood dance classes, as well as performances by Samba Squad, Gadfly and students from Canada’s National Ballet School. Sunday. 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Yonge-Dundas Square. Free. sharingdance.ca

Junction Farmers Market: The market kicks off its 2015 season with food that supports local food growers and producers. Junction Train Platform, 2960 Dundas St. W. Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.junctionmarket.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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