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5 things to do this weekend: City of Craft, The Nutcracker, and some un-Christmas joy

CityNews | posted Saturday, Dec 13th, 2014

Dec. 12-14, 2014

City of Craft: More than 50 vendors will be offering hand-made trinkets and unique treasures just in time for gift-giving season, from crocheted cacti to botanical hangover remedies. The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. W. Friday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. $2, children 12 and under are free. facebook.com

The art of Dr. Seuss: For the 13th year in a row, the Liss Gallery has mounted an exhibition celebrating the art of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. The exhibit includes original paintings, drawings, and sculpture from Seuss’ time as an author as well as his other walks of life, from military propagandist to influential artist. Liss Gallery, 140 Yorkville Ave. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free. liss-gallery.com

The 12 trees of Christmas: See what your neighbourhood looks like in Christmas tree form at the Gardiner Museum’s 12 Trees of Christmas display. It’s the last weekend to see the 12 designer trees put together by local noted locals from TV hosts Steven Sabados & Chris Hyndman and Kimberley Newport-Mimran. The Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen’s Park. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adults, $15; Seniors, $11; Students, $9; Children 12 and under are free. gardinermuseum.ca

The Nutcracker: The holiday season is officially underway as the National Ballet of Canada’s production of The Nutcracker begins Saturday. The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W. Dec. 13-Jan. 3. $25-$409. national.ballet.ca

Stanley Kubrick Exhibition: As an antidote to all the Christmas cheer and consumerism, take in the photographs, letters, props and costumes from famed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s home and work. Known for 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, the exhibition includes special screenings of the director’s award-winning films. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. Oct. 31-Jan. 25, 2015. Adults, $12.50; Students and seniors, $10; Members, free. tiff.net

If you have a suggestion, email us at torontoweb@citynews.ca or submit it online at CityNews.ca or via our mobile apps.

Thousands say goodbye to Beliveau at Montreal funeral

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Dec 10th, 2014

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A who’s who of the hockey and political worlds paid an emotional farewell on Wednesday to Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau, whose death last week unleashed a national outpouring of grief.

Dickie Moore remembered his longtime teammate as a “great man.”

“It is a tremendous honour to stand here for my teammate and friend Jean Beliveau,” said Moore, the first person to deliver an eulogy at the emotional funeral. “Everyone has said so many wonderful words about him, words like strength, dedication, devotion and elegance.

“I was lucky to have been with Jean for many glorious years with the Canadiens, lucky to share amazing moments together, lucky to have him as a friend.

“Would you rather be good or lucky? I was lucky. He was good,” he said to chuckles from the congregation.

Moore was followed to the podium at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral by Yvan Cournoyer, one of six pallbearers at the sombre event.

Cournoyer spoke about Beliveau, 83, in revered tones as his “captain” and described what he called almost a father-son relationship with the late icon.

“Oh captain, my captain, bon voyage,” Cournoyer said, his voice choking.

Other teammates who delivered eulogies were Serge Savard and Ken Dryden, who recalled being Beliveau’s roommate toward the end of the 1970-71 season as the goaltender was breaking into the league.

“He treated everyone with respect,” Dryden told the service. “He said the right things and in the right way, in French and in English, because that’s what he believed and that’s what he was.

“He made every occasion better. He made everyone who was there feel that their town, their organization, their province, their country, their event mattered. That they mattered.”

Canadiens owner Geoff Molson also addressed the service and spoke of Beliveau as an athlete, a friend, a champion and an example to follow.

“He was a special man, a Jean Beliveau like no other,” he said.

Beliveau’s casket was draped with the flag of the Canadiens, the team with which he won 10 Stanley Cups as a player and another seven as a team executive.

The other designated pallbearers were Savard and former Canadiens players Phil Goyette, Guy Lafleur, Robert Rousseau and Jean-Guy Talbot.

Those attending the funeral included Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Gov. Gen. David Johnston, former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Brian Mulroney, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and ex-Quebec premiers Jean Charest and Bernard Landry.

Former NHLers included Mario Lemieux and Luc Robitaille.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also travelled to Montreal.

“He was just great to be around,” Bettman told reporters before the service. “And he’s going to be terribly missed.”

He was asked about suggestions that the Conn Smythe Trophy could eventually be named after Beliveau.

“We’ve been focused more on his passing and that loss and celebrating his life and I know at the appropriate time we’ll focus on what is a remembrance fitting for someone like Jean Beliveau,” Bettman said.

Harper described Beliveau as someone who transcended his sport.

“We’ve obviously lost a great citizen, somebody who was admired and respected by everybody everywhere in the country,” he said on his way into the service. “I certainly have admired Mr. Beliveau since I was a young boy.

“He was an individual who was great in his sport but ultimately even greater than his sport. He’s already part of the Hockey Hall of Fame and now he’s become part of the history of our country.”

A few hundred seats were reserved for fans on a first come, first served basis. Those who couldn’t get inside were able to watch the ceremony on giant screens nearby.

Montreal police, who have been wearing camouflage pants and red ballcaps in recent months to protest pension plan reforms, wore their regulation uniforms out of respect for Beliveau.

Beliveau entered the Hockey Hall of Fame the year after his retirement in 1971.

Thousands of people filed into the Bell Centre on Sunday and Monday to pay tribute to Beliveau and shake hands with his wife, Elise.

On Tuesday night, the Canadiens honoured him before their game against the Vancouver Canucks.

‘Significant snowfall’ expected for GTA on Wednesday evening & Thursday

Jaime Pulfer and Patricia D'Cunha | posted Wednesday, Dec 10th, 2014

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Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for cottage country, including Barrie and Owen Sound, calling for 15 to 20 centimetres of snow, while parts of southern Ontario including the GTA remain under a special weather statement.

A wall of snow in northern New England is approaching from eastern Ontario, and is expected to slowly spread westward across the regions on Wednesday evening, the agency warned.

“Driving conditions will quickly deteriorate as the snow arrives tonight,” Environment Canada said. “Motorists should allow extra time to reach their destination due to low visibility in areas of heavier snow and blowing snow.”

The agency said the snow storm is expected to have a significant impact on the morning commute on Thursday.

“Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions.”

Earlier, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for parts of southern Ontario, including Toronto and the GTA, calling for “significant snowfall” for the region on Wednesday night and Thursday. The statement also extends to Barrie, Orillia, Waterloo, Hamilton and Niagara.

According to the weather agency, general snowfall totals are expected to be around 10 centimetres, but that depends on location. The eastern parts of the GTA could be hit with up to 15 centimetres of snow by the time the storm ends.

680News meteorologist Jill Taylor says the forecast calls for mainly cloudy and windy conditions to start on Wednesday, followed by snow around 9 p.m.

She said there will be some flurries before 9 p.m., which means the drive home could be tricky, and then back to work and school on Thursday morning.

Taylor said the bulk of the snow is expected overnight and early Thursday morning. Between 3-7 centimetres of snow could fall overnight in parts of the GTA, with another 3-7 centimetres on Thursday.

“It’s the east end of the GTA that could end up with 10-plus centimetres of snow,” Taylor said.

“Just expect a very slow commute early tomorrow morning — really, no matter where you are.”

There are questions about preparedness after the last snowfall in November and the problems with the contractors on the Queen Elizabeth Way.

It could be the most snow the GTA has seen this season so far, with 6.3 centimetres recording at Pearson International Airport on Nov. 17 and four centimetres on Nov. 19.

The snow is expected to end later on Thursday for central and southwestern Ontario.

For Wednesday, a high of 1 C has already been reached, but it will be near -1 C for the rest of the day with a wind chill near -8. The low will be -5 C with a wind chill near -12 in the evening.

Air Canada has issued a travel advisory for Toronto, saying flights might be impacted by the forecasted snow.

Many airlines have issued alerts about weather in other areas like Quebec, Ottawa, the East Coast and the U.S. Northeast.

How to budget for the holidays

Bruce Sellery | posted Tuesday, Dec 9th, 2014

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Dear Bruce

I overspend at Christmas every single year. How much should I budget for the holidays?
— Julia Graham, Burnaby, B.C.

Dear Julia,

Every family’s holiday budget is different. What you want to spend over the holidays, and what you have in terms of disposable income and pre-existing debt, are unique to you. I’ve found that the amount of your holiday budget matters less than just sticking to it — simply being conscious of your spending makes an enormous difference. That said, create a budget that’s as inclusive as possible: gifts, of course, plus food and liquor if you’re entertaining, gas if you’ll be driving to visit far-flung family members, donations to charity, tickets to holiday shows and maybe even some money to pay for a new outfit if you absolutely need one for the big holiday party. Total it, then decide what you could add or subtract to get to a number you’re comfortable with. Plan ahead to ensure you’ll have that amount in your bank account when the bills arrive in the new year. If you know you’ll be carrying debt, figure out how you’re going to pay it off well before the next holiday season rolls around. And, unless you put yourself on your gift-giving list, watch out for the “one for you, one for me” pitfall, no matter how tempting the sale is.

Dear Bruce

I backed our van into a lamp post a few months back and had to put $8,000 on my credit card for repairs. What is the best plan to pay off the debt quickly and avoid high-cost interest charges?
— Vivienne West, Calgary

Dear Vivienne,

Sorry about your van — but good for you for getting on top of this after a few months, instead of a few years. I would start with a reality check: Create a chart that lists each lender, outstanding amount, interest rate, due date and minimum payment for all your debts, then total it (see chart below). Next, choose a payment approach. Mathematically, your best option is to pay off the highest-rate card first, and pay just the minimum on the others. But some people choose the “debt snowball” method, which is to pay off the card with the lowest balance first to give them a feeling of accomplishment. Next, you need to devise a plan for how you will cut spending and/or increase income to eliminate the debt. Be specific: Are you going to transfer the balance to a lower-rate line of credit, cut eating out for three months or work extra shifts on weekends? Will those things do the trick by the deadline you set? Write the plan down on paper, then share it with at least one other person to give yourself some accountability. Best of luck.

Calculate your total debt

 

Dear Bruce

I want to switch my current no-frills credit card to one that rewards me with each purchase, especially since the holiday-spending season is here. I plan to pay off my purchases entirely each month. Which rewards card offers the best value?

— Anna Fraser, Halifax

Dear Anna,

My five-year-old, Abby, loves the bunny stamp she gets at gymnastics — a nice little reward for a great class. If you pay off your credit card in full every month, you deserve a reward too. MoneySense magazine has a simple online credit-card selector tool to help you find the one that’s best for you. First, the tool will ask you a few questions, like whether you would rather have cash back on your purchases, retail rewards at a particular chain or travel points. Then it’ll ask how much you spend every month on things like groceries, restaurants, clothing and gas. Finally, from your answers, it will generate a list of cards for you to choose from (based on an exhaustive analysis of each rewards program). Before you make a selection, do a gut check. For example, if you don’t fly the airline or shop at the store associated with the card, take it off the list. You will then be left with a curated list of cards best suited to your lifestyle. But remember, rewards credit cards, like gymnastics, can be dangerous, so take the proper precautions to reduce your risk of getting hurt.

All-door boarding to be allowed on the King Streetcar

Winston Sih | posted Monday, Dec 8th, 2014

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Relief could be on the way for Toronto’s busiest surface route, the King streetcar.

Mayor John Tory is expected to announce a new policy allowing all-door boarding on the route, the Globe and Mail reports.

Tory will be joined by newly appointed TTC Chair Josh Colle and TTC CEO Andy Byford for the announcement.

The move could cut about six minutes off a trip of the length of the route, according to a TTC staff report published in the summer.

All-door boarding, or proof-of-payment, is already allowed on the Queen and Spadina streetcars — the second and third busiest lines.

The TTC staff report released in August recommended the policy be rolled out on streetcar routes across the network.

Tory was skeptical of the plan at the time, saying the financial implications of the nine-point plan needed to be addressed.

The King streetcar handles 57,000 passengers a day, more than the Sheppard subway.

The development of condos along the line, including Liberty Village, has led to a surge in ridership along the line.

Transit users along the crowded line took to crowd-funding a pilot project for a private bus to run during rush hour.

The new policy is expected to come with new enforcement.

As when the Spadina line started accepting proof-of-payment, the new policy would be accompanied by more fare enforcement officers.

With files from Sarah-Joyce Battersby, CityNews.ca

WATCH: ‘Calgary’s Worst Driver’ caught on camera

BT Toronto | posted Sunday, Dec 7th, 2014

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Police in Calgary are searching for the star of a new viral video, but for all the wrong reasons.

After seeing this surveillance video posted to YouTube — which as of Sunday morning had more than 861,000 views — officers have started a hit-and-run investigation, and are looking for the driver of a silver BMW involved in the following painful parking job:

So what do you think: Is this the worst driving you’ve ever seen? Share your worst driver stories or videos for your city in the comments below!

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