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Actor Paul Walker killed in car crash

CityNews | posted Saturday, Nov 30th, 2013

Fast and Furious star Paul Walker has died in a car accident in California.

He was 40.

His death was first reported by online gossip website TMZ and then confirmed on the actor’s verified Twitter account Saturday evening.

A statement posted on the actor’s Facebook page said Walker was attending a charity event and was a passenger in a friend’s car at the time of the crash.

“We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time,” the statement read.

TMZ reported that the vehicle burst into flames after the collision.

Walker also appeared in such films as Varsity BluesShe’s All That and Pleasantville.

He was currently shooting Fast & Furious 7 at the time of his death.

With files from Christine Chubb, CityNews.ca

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

Donations bleak for Toronto Police toy drive

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 27th, 2013

Toronto Police are hoping that the holiday spirit will encourage donations to their annual Auxiliary toy drive.

Since the drive began on Monday, police say donations have been “nonexistent.”

Five locations are accepting new unwrapped toys to help approximately 3,000 children and youth in need from the Scarborough area.

Police say that while all toy donations are welcome they are desperately in need for toys for both girls and boys age 10 to 14.

Donations can be dropped off at the following locations:

  • 41 Division: 2222 Eglinton Avenue East
  • 42 Division: 242 Milner Avenue
  • 43 Division: 4331 Lawrence Avenue East
  • 33 Division: 50 Upjohn Road
  • TD Canada Trust Bank: 2561 Victoria Park Avenue

Toys will be distributed on Dec. 8.

With files from Christine Chubb, CityNews.ca

Bring a toy to the Breakfast Television Tree Sale and hang out with your favourite on- and off-air personalities!

Rogers and NHL sign 12-year broadcast agreement

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Nov 26th, 2013

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

Snow expected in Toronto on Tuesday

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Nov 26th, 2013

Some snow is expected in Toronto on Tuesday but the biggest dump will be east of the city and into New York State.

CityNews meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai is calling for anywhere from 2 cm to 5 cm of snow at Pearson airport and downtown, there could be 2-4 cm, due to the melting and mixing of rain.

That number jumps east of Toronto, with more than 15 cm in the forecast east of Oshawa and 15-30 cm in the Cobourg and Peterborough area.

St. Catharines and the Niagara region could see 10-20 cm of snow, Ramsahai said.

A low pressure system just southeast of New Orleans is beginning to track northeast and is expected to intensify into a winter storm as it moves up along the eastern seaboard of the United States on Tuesday night, Environment Canada said.

The storm will move into New England on Wednesday.

Travel into eastern Ontario and New York State is not recommended, as there will be more snow there, Environment Canada said.

What’s it like where you are? Let us know in the comments and send us your photos @BTtoronto.

With files from Erin Criger, CityNews.ca

Meet the guests of #BTgivesback

Winston Sih | posted Monday, Nov 25th, 2013

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!

Week of Nov. 25, 2013

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Nov 22nd, 2013

It’s a jam-packed lineup on next week’s Breakfast Television!

We get truly inspired by those who have given back, and you’ll meet some amazing people on Monday’s show.

On Thursday, Jenn will be live at Great Wolf Lodge with 10 lucky families!

Plus, we end the week by keeping you in the loop on all the door-crashing Black Friday deals.

Be sure to watch BT weekdays 5:30 to 9 a.m. on City, right here at BTtoronto.ca/live, or on our Breakfast Television mobile app!


Kevin Frankish leads the way for #BTMovember

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Nov 22nd, 2013

Kevin Frankish is proud to lead the Breakfast Television team with our Movember initiative.  A special thanks to Gillette Canada for kicking off our challenge with a whopping $25,000 donation!

Here’s how you can be involved:

Check out Kevin’s progress here:

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