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Break out the credit cards: it’s Cyber Monday

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 30th, 2015

It’s a good day for shoppers who prefer being online to standing inline.

Cyber Monday is one of the busiest online shopping days of the year and Canadian retailers are offering up big bargains.

According to Moneris, Canadian shoppers spent $2 billion on Cyber Monday last year and that amount is expected to be higher this year as online shopping increases in popularity. Clothing and electronics continue to be the big sellers.

It’s also one of two Purolator’s busiest day of the year, with Dec. 16 being the other one.

The shipping company expects to deliver a million packages to Canadians on Monday, part of 23-million parcels to be shipped out this holiday season.

A survey, commissioned by FedEx Express Canada, found that Canadians plan to do almost half of their holiday shopping online this year.

Stores like Best Buy, Wal Mart, and Amazon are advertising huge online deals, which started at midnight.

Eskimos rally to 26-20 Grey Cup victory over Redblacks

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Nov 30th, 2015

Mike Reilly might have been named the game’s most valuable player, but it was a heads-up call by coach Chris Jones that allowed the Edmonton Eskimos to end a 10-year Grey Cup drought.

Jones kept the winning drive going with just his second successful challenge of the season, and Jordan Lynch’s one-yard TD run with 3:22 remaining rallied Edmonton to an exciting 26-20 Grey Cup win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Sunday night.

Lynch successfully converted the third-and-one situation to cap a five-play, 78-yard drive. Reilly’s three-yard pass to Akeem Shavers for the two-point convert erased a 20-18 advantage. But it was Jones successfully challenging an incompletion that was ultimately changed to pass interference against Ottawa’s Brandon Sermons that put Edmonton on the Redblacks’ 10-yard line.

“I thought I saw (pass interference) and I saw for sure illegal contact but I couldn’t get them to tell me for sure so then the clock starts up,” said Jones, who registered his first successful challenge in the West Division final. “I call time out and I said, ‘Look at this because it’s too big a situation and if it is, then we need to throw a flag.’ So that’s how it transpired.”

Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell said he wasn’t angered by the officials’ call.

“That’s just part of football,” he said. “We had opportunities there at the end to make plays both offensively and defensively and we weren’t able to do that.

“Give Edmonton credit because they made the plays and we didn’t.”

It was a dramatic finish for the Investors Group Field sellout of 36,634, the second-smallest Grey Cup attendance since 1975. It was the fourth time the CFL title game was played in Manitoba, and the first since 2006.

Edmonton secured its first Grey Cup title since ’05 and 14th overall in a record 25th appearance. Only Toronto (16) has won more.

Reilly finished 21-of-35 passing for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a team-high 66 yards on 10 carries in leading Edmonton to its 10th straight win, all of which came after Reilly returned as the club’s starter after suffering a knee injury in Edmonton’s season-opening loss to Toronto.

“He’s pretty good,” Jones said of his quarterback. “Once we got the lead he senses the game is in his control.

“He took over the game.”

Reilly earned a Grey Cup ring as a backup with B.C. in 2011. But in 2013 he endured a 4-14 season with Edmonton before the Eskimos hired Jones.

“I had been in the league for half a season before 2011 and when we got to the Grey Cup and win it you just kind of assume that’s just how it is, it’s not hard to get there,” Reilly said. “And then it’s been four years to finally get the opportunity to get back to it.

“It’s something that’s special and something I’ll never take for granted.”

It was a bitter ending to the season for Ottawa, appearing in its first Grey Cup since a 26-23 loss to Edmonton in 1981. The city’s last CFL championship came in 1976 with the former Rough Riders.

The contest was a defensive battle, especially in the second half as Edmonton outscored Ottawa just 9-4. But after falling behind 13-0 early in the first quarter, the Eskimos outscored the Redblacks 26-7.

Edmonton players receive $16,000 for the win while the Redblacks get $8,000 apiece. The game-time temperature was -5C but the 15-kilometre-an-hour wind created a windchill of -10C.

Jones compiled a 26-10 regular-season record over his two seasons as Edmonton’s head coach. Now the question remains how long he’ll remain with reports the Saskatchewan Roughriders will ask permission to speak with Jones about their vacant head coach and GM positions.

“Right now all I want to concentrate on is enjoying this win,” Jones told reporters, flanked by his daughters Austin and Jackson. “Then getting on the plane in the morning and having a parade Tuesday and enjoying it.

“All that stuff will handle itself.”

Having his daughters in Winnipeg made the win especially gratifying for Jones.

“These girls are home all year and I don’t get to see them a whole lot,” he said. “For them being able to see us win a championship and be involved in it.

“That’s what it means to me.”

This Grey Cup game was indeed a matchup of the best teams in the East and West Divisions. Ottawa (12-6) finished atop the Eastern conference after winning just two games in its inaugural 2014 season while Edmonton (14-4) finished tied with Calgary for the league’s best record but secured top spot in the standings based after winning the season series with the Stampeders.

The Redblacks’ Grey Cup appearance capped an amazing transformation for the franchise. On Thursday, Campbell (coach of the year), quarterback Henry Burris (outstanding player), receiver Brad Sinopoli (top Canadian) and SirVincent Rogers (lineman) were honoured at the league’s awards banquet.

But Ottawa finished 0-3 versus Edmonton this year, the first two losses coming in July with Reilly on injured list. Burris finished 22-of-29 passing with 220 yards and two TDs and an interception after registering a league-record 481 completions and CFL-high 5,703 yards.

“We had opportunities to turn the tide and we just didn’t make the plays, whether it was me missing a throw or making a play or something,” Burris said. “They found ways to make plays and to get us off the field … But we had ample opportunities to go down and put this game out of reach.

“Kudos to Edmonton. They made plays and we didn’t and that’s the reason why they won the game.”

Following a half-time performance by the band Fall Out Boy, Edmonton took the ball to start the second half after deferring to open the game. Despite having the ball for 10 minutes in the third quarter, Edmonton was outscored 3-1 as Ottawa took a 19-18 advantage into the fourth.

The Eskimos had a shot to take a two-point lead on the final play of the quarter but Sean Whyte’s 35-yard field goal hit the right upright

Patrick Lavoie and Earnest Jackson had Ottawa’s touchdowns. Chris Milo added a convert, single and two field goals.

Adarius Bowman and Shavers scored Edmonton’s touchdowns. Whyte booted a convert, single and field goal while Grant Shaw added another single.

Reilly’s two-yard TD strike to Shavers at 14:48 of the second gave Edmonton a 17-16 half-time lead. While a two-point convert was unsuccessful, the 10-play, 88-yard drive was huge as it erased a horrid start for the West Division champions, who fell behind 13-0 before the game was seven minutes old.

“We’re not going to panic,” Jones said. “If they scored again I might have but it was one of those deals we’ve been in that situation before.

“Yeah, I don’t think I woke up this morning doing my workout at about 5 a.m. thinking, ‘Man, I hope we’re down 13-0.’ That’s not how we planned it.”

Royals release adorable photos of Princess Charlotte

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 30th, 2015

New photographs were released on Sunday of six-month-old Princess Charlotte giggling with toys, taken by her parents Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

The photos were posted on Twitter and show the princess at her home.

Princess Charlotte was born on May 2  and is a sister to Prince George.

Christmas wonderland: Toronto lights up for the holiday season this weekend

Patricia D’Cunha and Patrick Luciani | posted Friday, Nov 27th, 2015

The spirit of the Christmas season is all around us, whether we want to believe it or not.

Aside from the aesthetics of lights and decorations, shoppers scurrying to get their gifts, planning the family feast and going to parties, people across the GTA are reaching out to those in need and spreading Christmas cheer wherever they go.

Torontonians will be bringing their holiday spirit to the annual Cavalcade of lights this weekend. You can expect plenty of merriment and positive vibes as the city celebrates the season.

There are also two Santa Claus parades, with one of them taking place under the stars.


Cavalcade of Lights
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! This Saturday it will begin to look a lot like Christmas as the city lights up its official tree at Nathan Phillips Square.

The 60-foot Christmas tree, which is decorated with 700 ornaments and 3,810 metres of LED lights, illuminates the city’s 49th annual Cavalcade of Lights celebration.

File photo of the Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto.
File photo of the Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto.

Surrounded by the glow of 525,000 lights, revellers can skate to their heart’s content while singing along to Let it Go, listen to and watch live music, and get dazzled by a fireworks show.

Some of the live musical performances include Juno Award-winning country artist Crystal Shawanda, Sloan, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and Sean Jones. The party starts at 6 p.m. with the tree lighting at 7:15 a.m. Click here for the schedule.

Santa Under the Stars Parade
Santa Claus will be back in the GTA on Saturday for a parade being held in his honour. This time, his sleigh will be guided by the bright stars in the sky.

The parade, which starts at 6 p.m. in Aurora, is the largest one in York Region with 30,000 people attending last year.

As with any event, there are road closures to contend with. Click here for a list.

Whole Life Expo
If you are looking to quell stress and boost your energy (who isn’t?), head over to the Whole Life Expo – Canada’s largest exhibition of natural health, alternative medicine, and green living.

More than 275 exhibitors will be on-hand to showcase their natural health products and services. Those who attend can also get expert advice on making the best health choices.

The event runs from Friday to Sunday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Ticket prices are $10-15.

Markham Santa
Don’t worry, Santa Claus has not forgotten about Markham. So mark your calendar: he’s on his way to your town on Saturday afternoon.

The 43rd annual Markham Santa Claus Parade starts at 11 a.m. at Highway 7 and Markham Road, where it will march north to the Markham Museum.

St. Nick at the Markham Santa Claus Parade. Photo via markhamsantaclausparade.com.
St. Nick at the Markham Santa Claus Parade. Photo via markhamsantaclausparade.com.

To make room for Santa’s sleigh and his entourage, there are road closures: Highway 7 will be closed from Markham Road to Wooten Way at 8 a.m. Markham Road will close from Highway 7 to Bur Oak Avenue starting at 9 a.m.

Spectacle of Lights
Toronto’s waterfront gets transformed into a Christmas wonderland on Saturday, with four illuminated installations lighting up the night sky.

The displays, which use 39,250 energy efficient bulbs, include a spiral tree at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, a fire truck and snowflake motif at the Fire Hall, animated music notes, harps and a canopy at the Toronto Music Garden, and a tall ship on the Amsterdam Bridge at Harbourfront Centre.

The Tall Ship on the Amsterdam Bridge at Harbourfront Centre decorated with lights. Photo via blog.waterfrontoronto.ca.
The Tall Ship on the Amsterdam Bridge at Harbourfront Centre decorated with lights. Photo via blog.waterfrontoronto.ca.

The displays will be up until Jan. 1, 2016.

The waterfront will also be taking part in the national “Shop the Neighbourhood” event. On Saturday, local businesses will be offering exclusive event deals to help raise awareness of the importance they play in communities.

One of a Kind Show
If you’re looking for a one of a kind Christmas gift for that special someone, then this event is a must-see.

Aimed at providing a unique shopping experience for the best in handmade gifts, the One of Kind Show features a collection of finds from photographer Caitlin Cornenberg, stylist Tiffany Pratt, chef Corey Vitiello and business owner Hana James. It also features DIY workshops, seminars, fashion shows and a wreath competition.

People shopping at the One of a Kind Christmas Show. Photo via facebook.com/oneofakindtoronto.
People shopping at the One of a Kind Christmas Show. Photo via facebook.com/oneofakindtoronto.

The show, which runs until Dec. 6 at Exhibition Place’s Enercare Centre, is open weekdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Black Friday frenzy spreads to Toronto

Diana Pereira | posted Friday, Nov 27th, 2015

Black Friday fever has spread north of the U.S. border to Toronto, with bargain hunters spending their waking hours lining up for deals.

At the Eaton Centre, shoppers lined up outside H&M not starting on Friday — starting but 9 p.m. on Thursday. Seriously.

Those waiting for doors to open told CityNews they were there for special giveaways up for grabs for the first people in line.

Early Friday morning about a dozen people were lined up outside the Footlocker near Eaton Centre on Yonge Street, south of Dundas Street, looking to get their hands on some new Air Jordans. (We didn’t know that was still a thing.)

Once a traditional American phenomenon, landing on the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving, Black Friday is now being embraced by retailers here in Canada.

The flyers are loaded with discounts on our side of the border.

Canadian Tire is promoting sales on everything from Christmas trees to pots and pans. The price of a robotic vacuum is slashed by more than $200. And there’s a treadmill that’s marked down by more than $700. If books are more your thing, Indigo has some for up to 70 per cent off and you can save $30 on a Kobo.

Go wild. And if you’re wondering, we’re bookish kind of people and are accepting gifts.

They’re still adorable: Toronto Zoo releases new video of baby pandas

Diana Pereira | posted Friday, Nov 27th, 2015

The Toronto Zoo has released adorable new videos of its growing panda cubs.

Click here for a mobile-friendly link to the video.

Officials say the fluffy babies have been moved to a larger incubator.

Their mother Er Shun continues to be a great mom and is spending one-on-one time with each cub.

However, officials say it’s still a critical time for the babies, and they’ll have to stay in the maternity den and not in public view.

How to simplify your holiday wrapping

Cityline | posted Thursday, Nov 26th, 2015

Love holiday shopping but dread the wrapping part? Chatelaine‘s design expert Samantha Pynn helps us make gift wrapping easy!

Before you get started, Samantha says you need to have 5 key things to make a simple yet elegant wrapped gift:

  1. Neutral wrapping paper
  2. Ribbon
  3. Tags
  4. Stamp
  5. Accessories

Got your essentials? Now watch Samantha’s video below for all of her wrapping tips!

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