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8 life jacket tips that can save your child’s life

Today's Parent | posted Thursday, Jul 2nd, 2015

Your kids can’t wait to start splashing. They’ve got sunscreen, water toys and goggles—but what about a proper life jacket? Not just reserved for boating, life jackets are crucial around pools and open water, especially for your littlest fish. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that all infants and toddlers weighing at least nine kilograms should wear a life jacket (or personal floatation device, PFD) when playing in or around water. (There are no life jackets or PFDs approved for use in Canada for infants less than nine kilograms; they should be held by an adult). Kids can drown in as little as one inch of water, and children between one and four years old are considered most at risk. In fact, drowning is the second most common cause of death for children under five years old.

To keep your little ones safe, it’s important that life jackets or PFDs fit properly and include the right features. Keep these tips in mind when choosing a life jacket:

1. Make sure it meets safety standards

The life jacket or PFD you use should meet Canadian safety regulations (check for a label from Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, or Fisheries and Oceans Canada). Life jackets and PFDs are similar in that they both strap around the torso; however, life jackets are designed to flip a person from face-down to face-up in the water, while PFDs do not have this feature. Remember that pool and swim toys (noodles, inflatable rings, water wings or bathing suits with floats in them) are not considered standard water safety gear and should not replace a life jacket.

2. Choose the size based on your kid’s current weight

Kids’ life jackets are sized by weight, starting at nine kilograms or more—in Canada, there are no safety approved life jackets or PFDs for infants who weigh less than nine kilograms. Do not purchase a bigger life jacket for your child to “grow into”—make sure your child is the correct weight for the life jacket you buy. It should be snug, but not so tight that you can’t do up the zipper and buckles. You should not be able to lift the life jacket up to your child’s ears or over their head.

3. Go bright

The brighter, the better. Vivid colours like orange and yellow ensure that your child is clearly visible in and around the water.

4. Get all the right features

The Canadian Red Cross recommends the following features in kids’ life jackets and PFDs:

  • A large collar to support your child’s head
  • A looped grab strap on the collar for easy grabbing
  • Durable, functioning, rust-proof (plastic) buckles and zippers, waist-ties with snug-fitting drawstrings or elastic in front and back, and a safety strap that fastens between your child’s legs to keep the jacket in place.
  • Add reflective tape to increase visibility and a plastic whistle for emergencies. (And teach him how to blow it—your kid likely won’t mind practicing).

5. Put life jackets on, not just near your child

Life jackets and PFDs are meant to be worn, not just near a child or in a boat with a child.

6. Don’t let life jackets replace adult supervision

Toddlers should always be supervised and within arms reach when in or near water, and infants less than 9 kilograms should be held by an adult (as there are no safety-approved infant life jackets). Transport Canada recommends that infants and toddlers should be at least nine kilograms and able to wear a life jacket before boarding a boat.

7. Don’t use life jackets as cushions or toys

Sitting on a life jacket or using it for another purpose can squish the inner material, making it less effective and no longer up to safety standards. Store life jackets in a dry area to ensure they stay in good working condition.

8. Test it out

Every time you zip your kid into it, check the life jacket over for wear and tear, such as broken fasteners, buckles, straps or zippers, and make sure all are in good condition. Replace the life jacket if you find rips. Every summer, ensure your child’s life jacket fits properly and that he can freely move his arms and easily breathe, move, bend over and sit in it. Also make sure he can walk and see the ground without tripping.

In the water, test the life jacket by wading in with your child until he’s at chest level. Assist him as he brings his knees up and floats on his back. Make sure the life jacket keeps your child’s head safely above water and that he can breathe. While beside your child, have him practice swimming in the life jacket on his back and tummy.

Fore more on Life jacket tips click here

Maclean’s: What it feels like to be Canadian

Maclean's | posted Tuesday, Jun 30th, 2015


To celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday, Maclean’s has produced 148 short videos that showcase the vibrancy and breadth of Canadian experiences from coast-to-coast. “What it feels like to be Canadian” bring audiences closer to the action.

From joining the Sourtoe Cocktail Club in Dawson City and climbing an ice-covered Niagara Falls to an intimate concert with the Barenaked Ladies, the diversity of content reflects the lives of Canadians from across our nation.

Categories include sports, outdoors, heritage, experience, adventure, and arts.

Click here to watch the series of 148 videos.

Canada Day in Toronto: Fireworks, what’s open/closed

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jun 30th, 2015


The maple leaf is forever, and so is Canadian pride as the country marks its 148th birthday on Wednesday.

There are plenty of events taking place in Toronto to show off and celebrate your patriotism, with fireworks being the main highlight. Below is a list of fireworks displays in Toronto.

But, since Canada Day is also a statutory holiday, there will be closures in effect, which are posted below.

And, with all these events come road closures across the city, so pack your patience and the nice character Canadians are known for around the world. Click here for a list.

Fireworks in the Toronto area

Please note, the fireworks are dependent on the weather. The city is also reminding residents setting off their own fireworks in public parks is illegal.

Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay W., Toronto

As part of the its Canada Day Extravaganza, which runs now until July 1, the Canada Eve Fireworks on Tuesday will light up the sky along the waterfront in a 20-minute, two-barge free show choreographed to music from 10:40 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Mel Lastman Square
5100 Yonge St., Toronto

Celebrate Canada Day with live music, including Juno-award-nominated reggae artist Jay Douglas and the Allstars, dance, aerial acrobats, family fun, and of course, fireworks set to music. The free event runs from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., with the light show at 10:15 p.m.

Downsview Park
35 Carl Hall Rd., Toronto

The free fireworks show, which has the best views from The Meadow or the Festival Terrace, takes place around 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Ashbridges Bay Park
1675 Lake Shore Blvd E., Toronto

The annual fireworks display in the Beach starts at 10 p.m., and can also be viewed along the boardwalk from Coxwell to Victoria Park avenues.

With around 30,000 people expected to attend, drivers can expect traffic congestion in the area. Police will also be issuing tickets to drivers who illegally park their vehicles, and warn they will be towed away.

Scarborough celebrations
Partake in a free pancake breakfast, revel in buskers, enjoy a craft sale and more in Thomson Memorial Park (1005 Brimley Rd.), being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

From 4 p.m. to around 5:30 p.m., a Canada Day parade will make its way from Brimley Road, west of the Scarborough Civic Centre, and end at Lawrence Avenue East.

The day will cap off with a free fireworks show at Milliken Park (4325 McCowan Rd.) at dusk.

Centennial Park
256 Centennial Park Rd., Etobicoke

What better way to spend Canada Day than by devouring barbecue ribs while listening to live music, and then relaxing with a fireworks display at 10 p.m.

East York celebrations
A Canada Day parade with marching bands will make its way at 10 a.m. from Dieppe Park (455 Cosburn Ave.) to Stan Wadlow Park (373 Cedarvale Ave.), where revellers can check out live entertainment and other activities from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. A fireworks show will top off the night at 10:15 p.m.

Weston Lions Park
2125 Lawrence Ave. W., North York

The Canada Day party featuring live entertainment, food and family fun, runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and ends with fireworks.

Amesbury Park
1507 Lawrence Ave. W., North York

Barbecue goodies, live entertainment, a marketplace and a strongman competition await funmeisters at the annual event, plus a fireworks show at 10 p.m.

Canada’s Wonderland
9580 Jane St., Vaughan

Spend the day enjoying the thrilling rides and then catch the music-filled fireworks show over Wonder Mountain at 10 p.m. New this year, fire divers will create a starry sky as they jump off the mountain and into the Royal Fountain.

What’s open and closed in Toronto

Closed on Canada Day

    • LCBO locations but some agency stores will be open on July 1
    • Beer stores
    • Libraries
    • Government offices
    • No mail delivery

Most grocery stores are closed, but some are open. Please call the store nearest you.

  • Banks

Open on Canada Day

  • TTC will run on a holiday schedule
  • GO Transit will run on a Saturday schedule
  • Garbage collection
  • Most malls, including Eaton Centre (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills (10 a.m. – 7 p.m.), Square One Shopping Centre (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.) and Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.), but Yorkdale mall is closed
  • Tourist sites and attractions, including historic sites
  • Toronto-run golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, wading pools and splash pads

Canada Day in Toronto: Road closures for events

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jun 30th, 2015


Celebrating our nation’s most patriotic holiday comes at a price — road closures.

From parades to lavish fireworks displays, several special events are happening across Toronto on July 1. And, below is a list of events and the road closures that go with them:

Canada Day celebration at Queen’s Park
Queen’s Park/Queen’s Park Circle from College Street to Bloor Street will be closed on Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Canada Day celebration at Mel Lastman Square
The southbound lanes of Yonge Street between North York Boulevard and Park Home Avenue will be closed on Wednesday from noon to 11 p.m. The full closure of Yonge Street in that block will be in effect from 7 to 11 p.m.

East York’s Canada Day

The following road closures will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday:

  • Cosburn Avenue from Cedarvale Avenue to Oak Park Road
  • Virginia Avenue from Cedarvale Avenue to Cosburn Avenue
  • Gledhill Avenue from Holborne Avenue to Cosburn Avenue

Canada Day parade in Scarborough

Brimley Road will be closed from Progress Avenue to Ellesmere Road from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and from Ellesmere Road to Lawrence Avenue from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Ellesmere Road will be closed from Midland Avenue to McCowan Road from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.


In addition to road closures related to special events, a significant amount of road work is taking place in the city. Officials are encouraging people to take public transit if they’re heading out on Canada Day.

A more complete list of events and road work is available attoronto.ca/torontostreets and more information about the City’s planned capital construction work is available at toronto.ca/inview.

10 Canadian movies to watch this Canada Day

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Jun 30th, 2015


Ok, we’re not suggesting you sit and watch 10 movies back-to-back this Canada Day — particularly if it’s sunny outside! But once you’re home from that Canada Day party and ready to kick back for a few, toss on one of these Canadian flicks for a little entertainment.

We’ve selected some older movies, some newer, and a few from our favourite Canadian directors. We think it’s a good mix of light-hearted, and more dramatic fare. Hope you agree!

Goon (2011): We admit, we weren’t the biggest Seann William Scott fans until we saw him in this surprisingly sweet comedy about a bar bouncer with a heart of gold who’s hired to be the resident goon on his town’s minor-league hockey team, despite the fact that he can’t skate. Doug Glatt (Scott) soon finds himself at odds with both his team’s star player (Marc-Andre Grondin) and the league’s top goon (Liev Schreiber). Will this unlikely hero lead his team to victory? You’ll certainly be rooting for him to!

Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006): When the body of a hockey league executive is discovered on the Ontario-Quebec border, the police forces from both provinces are forced to work together on the case. Enter strait-laced Martin Ward (the always excellent Colm Feore) representing the Ontario Provincial Police, and wildcard David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) of the Surete de Quebec, and you have the makings of a classic buddy cop film.

Canadian Bacon (1995): *Family-friendly!* Michael Moore directed this satirical John Candy vehicle about a low-in-the-polls U.S. President (Alan Alda) who tries to up his approval rating by starting a cold war against Canada. While this hilarious film is rife with talented comedy actors, among them Alda, Rhea Perlman, Kevin Pollak and Wallace Shawn, this film belongs to the late Candy, playing a sheriff who takes the U.S.’s new stance very seriously.

Les triplettes de Belleville/The Triplets of Belleville (2003): *Family-friendly!*Nominated for two Oscars, this animated film is as beautiful to watch as it is to listen to. The story revolves around Madame Souza and her dog Bruno, who team up with the Belleville Sisters to find her missing grandson Champion, who disappears during the Tour de France.

One Week (2008): Michael McGowan’s film about a young man (Joshua Jackson) who takes a motorcycle trip from Toronto to Tofino following a devastating medical diagnosis is a true love letter to Canada and all its beauty and eccentricity. Given its at-times heartbreaking subject matter, this is a wonderfully uplifting and funny film. We also adore Campbell Scott’s narration.

Goin’ Down The Road (1970): Doug McGrath and Paul Bradley star as two friends who move from Nova Scotia to the big city, Toronto, in the hopes of finding jobs and a better life. This classic Canadian film was subsequently parodied on SCTV. It’s interesting to see how much Yonge St. has changed since the film was made.

Juno (2007): Starring Canadians Ellen Page and Michael Cera, and directed by Canadian Jason Reitman, we’re claiming this film as one of our own! Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, 16-year-old Juno MacGuff (Page) makes the controversial decision to carry her child to term so that she can place it with an adoptive couple. Diablo Cody won an Oscar for her smart script.

Away From Her (2006): Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie turn in wonderful performances as an aging couple dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Sarah Polley proves she’s as talented behind the director’s chair as she is in front of the camera in this heart-rending film.

Eastern Promises (2007): David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen follow up the excellent A History of Violence with this equally powerful and disturbing film about a midwife (Naomi Watts) who becomes entangled with the Russian mafia while investigating the death of a pregnant teenager. Mortensen is fantastic as mafia driver Nikolai, but it’s Armin Mueller-Stahl who steals the show as the outwardly warm, but secretly brutal and cold-hearted, restaurant owner/mob boss Semyon. Not for the faint at heart, this film has scenes of brutal violence.

Barney’s Version (2010): Based on the acclaimed Mordecai Richler novel, Paul Giamatti is perfectly cast as the irascible Barney Panofsky, who falls in love with a woman (Rosamund Pike) at his second wedding. This touching drama also stars Dustin Hoffman as Izzy, Barney’s father, and Minnie Driver as Barney’s second wife. A film that proves how important good writing is to good moviemaking.

Happy Canada Day! Share your favourite Canadian films (or films directed by Canadians) in the comments below!

Week of June 29, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Sunday, Jun 28th, 2015


Coming up on Breakfast Television this week:

Tune into BT Monday as Autumn Hill will perform on BT Stage.

On Thursday, Frankie Flowers will be joining us.

And to end off the week Friday, Mairilyn Smith teaches us how to get invited back to the cottage.

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!

What you need to know about your carbon monoxide detector

Today's Parent | posted Thursday, Jun 25th, 2015


Monsters under the bed aside, things you can see and feel are usually scarier than things you can’t. Fire? Obviously scary. Carbon monoxide? Many of us aren’t even really sure what it is, and since we can’t see it (or smell or taste it, for that matter), it’s easy to not worry about it.

But ignoring the dangers of carbon monoxide could put your family at risk. And beginning today, in Ontario it could also land you in trouble with the law.

Last October, the province passed a law making carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in most homes. Today, the law becomes enforceable. Don’t comply, and you could be fined up to $50,000. But the fine is nothing compared to the risks associated with carbon monoxide poisoning.

Here’s what you need to know about carbon monoxide detectors.

What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that can circulate through your home if something goes wrong with one of your fuel-burning appliances, such as your furnace, fireplace, stove or hot-water heater. It can also enter your home from your attached garage if you accidentally leave your car running.

How dangerous is it?
Carbon monoxide is poisonous. Exposure can cause flu-like symptoms—headaches, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and confusion—but with no fever. In severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause brain damage and death. There were 380 accidental carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in Canada from 2000 to 2009, according to Statistics Canada. Kids are at additional risk, says Carol Heller of Kidde Canada, Canada’s largest manufacturer of carbon monoxide detectors. “Smaller people are more susceptible a lot quicker,” she says. That means even if you feel fine, your child could be experiencing the beginnings of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Where should you install a carbon monoxide detector?
Most people think a detector ought to be installed just outside the furnace room or attached garage. While it’s a good idea to have one there, it’s vital that carbon monoxide detectors be installed near bedrooms, or any rooms where people sleep, “to ensure they wake you up,” says Heller. There are various types of detectors—hard-wired, plug-in, with or without batteries—and at various price points starting at around $35. For families, Heller’s strongest recommendation is to choose a detector with a digital display. “The CSA requirement is they go off when carbon monoxide levels reach 70 parts per million. But kids can already be quite ill by then,” says Heller. Put a digital displaydetector near a bedroom and get in the habit of glancing at it when you walk by. “You’ll notice if it’s not at zero,” says Heller. Another installation tip: ignore the oft-repeated advice that detectors should be placed low to the ground. “That’s a myth,” says Heller. “Carbon monoxide mixes with air, so you can place the detector anywhere.”

Do they need to be replaced?
Nothing lasts forever—and that includes carbon monoxide detectors. They should be replaced every five to 10 years, depending on the brand, even if they seem to be working fine. Every approved carbon monoxide detector should have its manufacture date printed on it. “Check your detector today,” says Heller. “If it was made before 2008, replace it.”

For more information, visit safeathome.ca, a site developed by Kidde Canada to help inform Canadians about fire and carbon monoxide dangers, as well as endthesilence.ca, the website of the non-profit organization Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education.

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