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5 family-friendly water parks in Toronto and the GTA

Today's Parent | posted Tuesday, Jul 28th, 2015

1. Splash Works – Canada’s Wonderland

Located in one of the country’s best-known amusement parks, Splash Works will have you feeling as awestruck as Alice in (Canada’s) Wonderland. The thrills and rides are enough to keep families busy all day, but the water park is a great place to cool off in the afternoon. New in 2015 is the Typhoon, where sliders will get twirled and swirled until they drop through the gaping 18-foot funnel. The younger kids can float down the Lazy River with mom or dad. Or get a two-person tube and go for a gentle slide on the Splash Island Waterways. Tiny tots can splash around under the mushroom waterfall, located in the shallow kiddie pool. Or for some real splish-splashing fun, there’s the Splash Island Sprayground and the Pump House—complete with waterfalls, water jets and a gigantic bucket ready to drench swimmers. For the thrill seekers, check out the Black Hole (prepare for complete darkness) or pair up on the Barracuda Blaster. Super Soaker is great for daring groups wanting to get wet—you go through a dark, winding tunnel before getting soaked. If you just want to ride the waves, head over to White Water Bay, one of Canada’s largest wave pools. Splash Works has it all, including cabana rentals, great food and shopping.

Dive in:
9580 Jane Street, Vaughan

Waterpark22. Kidstown

This hidden gem in Scarborough is the perfect place to take the kiddies on a scorching-hot summer day. There are no crazy water slides here, but it’s still a barrel of fun for younger kids. Get ready to yell “Timber” as your little ones stand under the tipping bucket, waiting for it to fill with cool, refreshing water before tipping over. Kids can clamber up the jungle gym, which is full of spray shooters waiting to get them wet. Around the park you’ll also find a splash pad, squirting animals, a wading pool and spray rings. There’s also a water slide for your tots to swoosh down into shallow water. If you don’t want to join in on the wet fun, there are lots of benches around the park that serve as a good perch from which to watch your kids. When it’s time for lunch, lay out a blanket in the grassy picnic area and enjoy a nice sandwich and juice box. You can even host a birthday party at Kidstown. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

Dive in:
3159 Birchmount Rd., Toronto

Waterpark33. Great Wolf Lodge

Who hasn’t heard of this amazing indoor/outdoor water park in Niagara Falls? About an hour-and-a-half drive from Toronto, this lodge is definitely worth the drive because your kids will be all tuckered out (and quiet!) on the way home. Now, where to begin in this fun zone? Start at Fort MacKenzie, a multi-level treehouse, where your little monkey can climb over the suspension bridges while trying not to get wet. At the end, kids can whoosh down the Beaver and Squirrel Falls slides, where a big bucket of water drops on them at the bottom. Toddlers will love Chipmunk Cove, a forest full of mini water slides. Your preschooler can practice balancing on the Frog Pond—an agility course where your little frog has to jump from lily pad to lily pad. But don’t worry—if she falls off, you’ll be right beside her in the water. This gigantic amusement centre is also home to the Canada Vortex, a slide with a huge drop, where you and a family member get shot into a cannon bowl and either drop forwards or backwards—it’s a surprise! Niagara Rapids Run is a water rollercoaster that features a 52-foot drop and will scare the screams right out of anyone. And if you’re looking for a raft ride, check out the Woolly Mammoth or the Grizzly Falls, Eagle Falls and Bobcat Falls. If the temperature drops, you can take a dip in the heated outdoor pool, Loon Lagoon. Great Wolf Lodge has your family covered for a splashing good time, no matter the weather.

Dive in:
3950 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls
1-800-605-9653 (reservations) OR direct line 905-354-4888

More on family-friendly parks here.

What do you know about renters’ rights? Take our quiz

Erin Criger | posted Tuesday, Jul 28th, 2015

In Ontario, renters are protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act, but many tenants are unsure of their rights.

For example, a landlord can’t dramatically increase the rent at the end of a year-long lease. The cost of the unit can only go up by a small percent, typically about 3%, without written permission from the Landlord and Tenant Board. (However, landlords can charge new tenants whatever they want.)

Take our quiz to find out what you do and what you don’t know about renting in Ontario.

Here are a few more tidbits:

1) Landlords cannot discriminate on marital or family status, and must follow the Ontario Human Rights Code. However, landlords can choose the number of people that can live in a unit. For example, landlords can rent to one tenant instead of two, or two tenants instead of four.

2) You do not have to renew your lease when it expires. You automatically become a month-to-month tenant, and the terms of your original lease still apply.

3) The only money a landlord can demand up front is first and last months’ rent. They cannot demand a damage deposit. They can charge a key replacement fee, but it must be the cost of replacing a key.

4) The landlord can only raise the rent once per year and the amount is a percentage of the total rent (currently 1.6% in Ontario.) However, if the apartment is vacant for three months, the landlord can set a new rate.

Click here for more on 2015 rent increases.

5) Landlords must give tenants 24 hours written notice before entering a unit to fix a problem. You do not have to be home. However, if there is an emergency, like a fire or a flood, a landlord can enter your apartment without permission.

Week of July 27, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jul 24th, 2015

Coming up on Breakfast Television this week:

Be sure to tune in Tuesday as Lennox Lewis returns to the BT studios.

On Wednesday, Jenn will be live at Fenelon Falls, Ont.

And to end off the week Friday, we’re debunking the myths: juicing or smoothies – which is better?

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!

Best of BT Weekend: July 24, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jul 24th, 2015

Meatless BBQ

Vegan Chef Doug McNish shares meatless must-haves and tips. 


How to avoid eating unhealthy snacks at work

Holistic Nutritionist Andrea Donsky shows us healthy snacks to reach for when you’re at work.


Live at Camp Ooch

Jenn was live at Camp Ooch in Muskoka.


Hot dog! Toronto chooses perfect street meat toppings

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Jul 23rd, 2015

From the onions and chili of a Coney Island hot dog to the poppy-seed buns of Chicago, our neighbours to the south are the clear ‘wieners’ when it comes to choosing iconic frankfurter toppings.

But why should America have all the fun? As Toronto chows down on National Hot Dog Day, we asked you what condiments would put our city on the street meat map.

The suggestions ranged from the funny (skinny jeans and a beard), to the cheesy (Kraft Dinner), to the intriguing (crushed potato chips). Check out our list and send us your suggestions on Twitter.

Fun facts:

  • Hot dogs trace their origin as far back as the 15th century to various parts of Germany and Austria.
  • Established by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council in the United States, National Hot Dog Day is now celebrated around the world, including Canada.
  • The average hot dog is consumed in 6.1 bites.
  • Mustard is the most popular hot dog topping – 88 per cent of hot dog eaters use mustard.
  • Mickey Mouse’s first on screen words were “Hot Dog!” marking his transition from the silent screen.
  • The name “hot dog” is often attributed to a cartoonist who observed the carts selling “red hot dachshund dogs” on the New York Polo grounds and was unable to spell dachshund, so he printed “hot dogs” instead.
  • Sausages were previously consumed while wearing gloves. As the legend goes, a sausage seller at an exposition during the turn of the 20th century ran out of gloves and had to improvise by serving the sausages on rolls.

Source: Maple Leaf Foods

How to diagnose and treat summertime rashes

Cityline | posted Thursday, Jul 23rd, 2015

Heat rash:

  • Heat rash usually results in small dots on the skin and feels sandpaper-like. It can be found under the breasts or in skin folds.
  • Why does heat rash happen? If you’re wearing tight clothing or have skin folds, your blocked sweat glands can lead to heat rash during the sweaty summer months.
  • To treat heat rash, use an over-the-counter cortisone cream or powder.

Athlete’s foot:

  • Athlete’s foot is detected by a scaly, flaky foot, possibly between the toes.
  • You can contract athlete’s foot by walking barefoot at places like the gym, by sharing socks, or getting a pedicure with tools that have come in contact with athlete’s foot.
  • To treat athlete’s foot, use an anti-fungal cream and be sure to wear shoes at the gym.

Poison ivy:

  • Poison ivy is usually in clusters of 3 leaves, and the leaves can be either serrated or clear-edged.
  • The plant is typically found in low-lying areas, such as along borders of roads or stony patches.
  • Treat poison ivy with cool water and soap. Be sure not to burn poison ivy to get rid of it as it can get in your lungs.

For more tips from Dr. Marjorie Dixon, watch the video below:

8 common sunscreen mistakes you’re probably making

Kate Gertner | posted Tuesday, Jul 21st, 2015

1. Using expired goods: Yes, sunscreen does expire! Over time the active ingredients that work to protect your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays deteriorate and become less effective.

2. Improper storage: Where you store your sunscreen is almost as important as how often you apply it. The glove compartment, windowsill and even your beach bag may seem like convenient places but exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures will hider the formula’s effectiveness.

3. Light-handed application: Repeat after us, you can never apply too much sunscreen. NEVER. Slather it on often (abide by bottle’s recommended re-apply times) and liberally from head-to-toe.

4. Lingo confusion: Many foundations, BB creams and tinted moisturizers list an SPF (sun protection factor), which is a measure only of the sunscreen’s effectiveness at blocking out sunburn-causing UVB rays (but not the potentially more dangerous UVA rays). For complete and effective broad-spectrum coverage (protection against both UVB and UVA rays) you need to look for products with the circle. This year, Health Canada has introduced guidelines on the amount of UVA protection required for effectiveness. Now, if a sunscreen meets these standards, the UVA symbol will be circled on the package.

5. Playing the numbers game: Don’t be fooled There is very little difference between SPF 50 and SPF 100. Soon, high SPF numbers will be a thing of the past: 50+ will be the highest sunscreen SPF on store shelves.

6. Using only on sunny days: You might be surprised to know that some of the worst sunburns occur on the cloudiest days. UV rays are invisible and can penetrate though clouds, haze and fog — they’ll get you when you least expect it.

7. Applying protection when you are already exposed to the sun: There is a reason you’re supposed to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Creams and sprays need time to absorb into the skin in order to be effective.

8. Missing the lips, ears and top of the feet: The little bits are just as sun sensitive as the rest of your face and bod. Be sure to spritz on the sun protection to keep these sensitive areas burn free too.

Hackers threaten cheating website Ashley Madison

Erin Criger | posted Monday, Jul 20th, 2015

Hackers are threatening to expose millions of Ashley Madison users in a massive data breach at the cheating website.

The company’s slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” The website explicitly promises discretion for ‘extramarital affairs.’

A person or group calling itself The Impact Team claims to have user databases, financial records and other proprietary information

In a manifesto, the group says they’re making the information public because of Ashley Madison’s own policies.

The Impact Team is taking issue with the profile-removal option, which is known as the ‘full delete’ and costs $19. They claim the profile is never fully removed, with names and addresses remaining on the site.

Avid Life Media, the Toronto company that owns Ashley Madison, confirmed the hack on Sunday night.

According to Krebs on Security, which broke the news, The Impact Team has hit two other dating sites belonging to Avid Life, Cougar Life and Established Men.

The hackers want the websites taken offline.

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