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Loblaw resets passwords for all PC Plus accounts following security breach

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Feb 21st, 2017

Loblaw has reset passwords for all its PC Plus rewards collectors’ online accounts after points were stolen from some members’ accounts.

The company posted a warning on its website saying it requires all members to create new passwords — regardless of whether or not they changed them following the recent security breach.

Earlier this month, Loblaw urged members to create unique, secure passwords after some people noticed their points were missing.

The company said at the time that the breach stemmed from people using favourite or weak username and password combinations across multiple sites. Those were stolen from other sites and used to access PC Plus accounts.

The company said it’s reimbursing members whose points were stolen.

Man shot in downtown hotel lobby

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Feb 21st, 2017

A man in his 20s has been rushed to hospital after a shooting at a downtown hotel.

Shots rang out at the Chelsea Hotel, near Yonge and Gerrard streets, around 10 p.m. on Monday.

Witnesses told CityNews there was an altercation in the lobby, and police later confirmed that’s where the shooting happened.

However, it’s not known if the man who was shot was the intended target, or a bystander.

His injuries are considered serious but not life-threatening.

There has been no word on suspects.

Police are canvassing the area and appealing to witnesses to come forward with any information.

Several snakes, including poisonous breeds, stolen from Ontario home

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Feb 21st, 2017

Niagara Region police are hunting for a number of venomous snakes.

A home near Hansler Road and Highway 20 in Thorold was broken into on Saturday evening, and the reptiles were stolen, police said.

The stolen snakes include several juvenile cobra species, rattlesnakes, adders and vipers, and a pregnant albino boa.

The snakes range in size from 12 to 106 centimetres while the non-venomous pregnant boa is 200 centimetres long and weighs about seven kilograms.

Police caution that a cobra’s venom contains neurotoxins that can cause respiratory failure and, eventually, death, and that even baby cobras have full strength venom and can defend themselves just like their parents.

Police say the snakes were being bred in the home for e-commerce and believe the residence was targeted.

Bizarre items that have been offered for sale on eBay

CityNews | posted Friday, Feb 17th, 2017

Police are investigating the online sale of two decommissioned, pre-amalgamation Metropolitan Toronto Police badges on eBay. Here’s a list of some bizarre items that have been up for sale on the e-commerce site.


Rob Ford’s ‘crack’ tie sells for $1,445 at online auction

Bieber’s sneaker sale on eBay hits snafu: buyer forgot to ask mom if it’s OK


Star Trek Apartment Up For Sale On eBay

Woman Puts Her Virginity Up For Auction On The Internet

Outraged Woman Sells Pic Of Underwear From Cheating Husband’s ‘Tart’ On eBay

Justin Trudeau’s 2013 ‘Just watch me’ note fetches $12,000 on eBay

‘Broke’ Ashley MacIsaac Sells Half Of Future Music Earnings On eBay

Baby Boy Taken Away After Mom Offers Him For Sale On eBay

Man Selling Life On eBay Off To Amazing Start

You’ll have ‘fun, fun, fun’ this Family Day long weekend

Patricia D'Cunha and Samantha Knight | posted Friday, Feb 17th, 2017

Family Day is not just for families. It’s a well-deserved long weekend — the last break we had was over the Christmas holidays and the next long weekend is Easter.

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, there are plenty of things happening across the GTA to entertain just about everyone. The City of Toronto is also offering free outdoor and indoor activities. Click here for a full list.

What’s open and closed on Family Day


  • Most tourist attractions and museums: Art Gallery of Ontario (10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.), Royal Ontario Museum (10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.), CN Tower (9 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.), Casa Loma (9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.), the Toronto Zoo (9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.), and Hockey Hall of Fame (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
  • TTC runs on a holiday schedule and GO Transit operates on a Saturday schedule
  • Some malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Pacific Mall (11 a.m. – 8 p.m.), Promenade (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Square One (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills (10 a.m. – 7 p.m.), and Toronto Premium Outlets (9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
  • Some grocery stores, but call ahead for hours
  • Most city-run ice rinks and arenas
  • Federal government offices; mail will be delivered


  • LCBO and Beer Stores
  • Municipal buildings and banks
  • Schools and public libraries
  • Post offices located in closed retail outlets

Family Day events

Accessible fun in Whitby
Enjoy wheelchair basketball, sledge hockey and other fun activities at the Abilities Centre in Whitby – a 125,000-square-foot facility that allows people of all strengths to be themselves. Click here for a list of activities.

Art for kids
The Art Gallery of Ontario is not just home to some of the best art in the world. It is also a place where kids can let their imagination run wild.

Children dancing at the Art Gallery of Ontario. AGO













Children can make kites and paper sailboats, build cities and forts, take part in interactive skipping, or watch a short film written by two seven-year-olds. The fun takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free for children five and under.

Celebrate the world at ROM
The world awaits your family at the Royal Ontario Museum this Family Day long weekend.

Asafo flag artists will be on hand to show you how to make your own flag. Asafo are traditional warrior groups in Ghana’s Akan culture. You can also test your creative skills by adding hues to the flags on a giant colouring wall.

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, you can also share a video of what Canada means, as part of a contest.

A Canadian flag blows in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Oct. 24, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick














As part of the Lunar New Year, there will also be traditional Chinese arts and crafts, a traditional lion dance, Chinese calligraphy workshops, and fortune telling.

To top it all off, watch performances by Opera Atelier that include Renaissance and Baroque court dances, 19th-century character dances, Spanish Sevillanas, an early Romantic ballet and a French Baroque aria.

Family Paint Day
What could be more fun than painting with your family on Family Day? There may be some squabbles every now and then, but collaboration is all part of the process.

The Paint Lounge has three sessions to choose from, each at a cost of $50 (plus HST) per family for a 24″ x 30″ canvas. Registration is required.

Family Day Weekend at the Toronto Zoo
Celebrate families of all shapes and sizes at the Toronto Zoo this Family Day weekend.

The zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily and guests can meet Canada’s only giant panda cubs, Jia Yueyue and Jia Panpan. The zoo offers over 10 kilometres of walking trails and five indoor tropical pavilions, along with daily animal keeper talks.

One of the giant pandas at the Toronto Zoo balancing on a pumpkin. TWITTER/@TheTorontoZoo














Also on this weekend is “Connecting with Wildlife Conservation – Big and Small Wild Families,” where kids and adults can visit interpretive stations at the Tundra Trek (polar bear), African Rainforest and Indomalaya pavilions.

Beauty and the Beast Exhibit at Casa Loma
Casa Loma is bringing a whole new meaning to “be our guest” this Family Day weekend, with its unique Beauty and the Beast exhibit.

Visitors to the castle will have an exclusive opportunity to see nine costumes from the upcoming “Beauty and the Beast” film. The event also includes themed activities and special performances throughout the weekend.

Access to the exhibit is included with general admission. It runs from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday through Monday. The live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” hits theatres on March 17.

Other events

Canadian International AutoShow
Car buffs will be taking over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the Canadian International AutoShow’s 10-day stint.

Canadian International Autoshow Media Preview Day at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto on Feb. 16, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan
















The event is considered the biggest and best consumer show in Canada, with over 300,000 visitors each year in a 650,000-square-foot facility.

This year’s highlights include Auto Exotica, the new Hyundai Accent, the Aston Martin concept hypercar and a celebration of 50 years of Grand Prix in Canada.

The show is held in the north and south buildings of the convention centre. It wraps up on Feb. 26.

DJ Skate Nights: 1 Love T.O. 10th Anniversary Party
Lace up your skates for the final DJ Skate Night of 2017. This Saturday’s event celebrates the 10th anniversary of 1 Love T.O., a movement that aims to be a unifying voice within the city.

Guests will skate to funk, hip-hop, R&B and house. Mr. 1 Love T.O. – Tyrone “T-Rex” Edwards – will host. The party goes from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Toronto police launch investigation into badges for sale on eBay

Adrian Ghobrial | posted Friday, Feb 17th, 2017

Toronto police launched an investigation Thursday into two decommissioned, pre-amalgamation Metropolitan Toronto Police badges that had been up for sale on eBay.

EBay took the pages taken down later in the day, as police were investigating how they ended up online and who was trying to sell them.

The seller’s name is northernboy50, and the items were said to be in Sudbury.

When CityNews showed Chief Mark Saunders the items for sale on eBay, he was both surprised and concerned. And TPS spokesman Mark Pugash added personating a peace officer is a serious crime.

“What concerns us is if somebody tries to use a badge who is not an officer or no longer an officer, then you’re getting into significant criminal liability, and that’s the major concern,” he said.

Before the pages were taken down, a man said he was trying to buy the items so he could turn them in to Toronto police.

“I think it’s a dangerous item in the wrong people’s hands,” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous.

“Somebody earned that badge and I think it should be respected as that.”

When officers retire from the force, they are supposed to turn in their badge.

Pugash said he has seen items that are “much less credible” than the badges for sale eBay, but CityNews has not been able to confirm their authenticity.

One of the items is an auxiliary badge complete with badge number; the second is a deputy chief badge.

Metropolitan Toronto Police badges for sale on eBay. EBAY


A York Regional Police badge was also among the items offered by the same seller.

EBay has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Will you be going phone-free on Family Day?

Lisa Kadane | posted Thursday, Feb 16th, 2017

“Wah, wah, wah, wah…” I heard the words as if from a great distance, slightly distorted, like that teacher voice on the old Charlie Brown cartoons.

“You aren’t even listening, Mommy!” my daughter yelled, her voice suddenly loud and clear. I looked up from my iPhone guiltily.

“What’s that, sweetie?” I asked her, trying to downplay how distracted I’d been.

“Never mind,” said Avery, who is 11, in her most disgusted voice. “Whatever.”

So. Very. Busted.

Instead of chatting with my kids about their school day, I’d been sucked in to the social media news vortex yet again. I can’t even remember what new American political outrage I’d been engrossed in as I scrolled.

I’m not the only mom who struggles to find a balance between being present with my children and staying up to speed on world events (and, if we’re being honest, my friends’ lives) via Facebook and Instagram. Striking this harmony at home has become more difficult since news stories now break hourly, and our phones and alerts insist we know about them, like right now. We’ve basically turned into real-life versions of the humans from the movie WALL-E: tethered to technology, living life via the social media world inside our phones instead of IRL, and getting fatter and less mobile because of it.

It’s a trend that has parenting experts worried. Our obsession with smartphones was the impetus behind No Phone Family Day, a new campaign launched by Parenting Power, a parent coaching company based in Calgary. Co-owners Gail Bell and Julie Freedman Smith see first-hand the negative effects parental cellphone distraction has on kids, from an increase in misbehaviour (as kids act out to get attention) to problems communicating due to a decrease in face-to-face interactions. They’re urging caregivers across Canada, and their children, to dock their devices on Family Day—it’s Monday, Feb. 20 this year in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario—and do something together that doesn’t involve technology.

“We’re encouraging parents for just one day to experiment with not having the phone front and centre, so that they can see what it feels like and be aware of how often they go and reach for that phone, or how often they’re thinking about it,” says Freedman Smith.

The idea is to hang out together instead: play board games, build a snowman or even just cook a meal to share. Bell and Freedman Smith hope that spending one day unplugged will encourage families to become more selective about their daily technology habits going forward.

The irony in this experiment is that parents may have a harder time giving up their devices than their children do. Even though we’re always harping at our kids to get off Netflix, put away the iPad or do something other than Minecraft, parents are actually the serial device abusers. The average adult spends nine hours and 22 minutes a day engaged in screen media, with only 90 minutes of that time dedicated to actual work, says a study by Common Sense Media. Evidently, the average smartphone user checks their device every six-and-a-half minutes, which amounts to looking for new emails and notifications 150 times a day!

Constant phone-checking is such an epidemic that one daycare in Houston, Tex., recently took parents to task for being on their cellphones at pickup, posting a sign shaming them for the behaviour. The message—which was met with a lot of backlash from parents—was essentially: your kid is over the moon to see you, so please try and be completely present for the end-of-workday reunion.

“Kids are really feeling brushed aside by cellphones more than any other distraction,” says Bell. “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because you’re in the same room with your child—but you’re still on your device or using technology—that you’re being present for that child.”

In fact, a global study commissioned by AVG Technologies surveyed over 6,000 kids aged 8-13 from nine countries, including Canada, and found that 54 percent think their parents spend too much time on their phones, saying they had to “compete with technology” for their attention. What’s more, 32 percent said they feel “unimportant” when parents are distracted by their phones, especially during family times such as dinner, watching TV together or, worst of all, in the middle of a conversation.

Yikes. Those statistics, together with my daughter’s comments and this No Phone Family Day campaign, really got me thinking about my smartphone dependence. It’s unsettling how my mind immediately drifts to the phone if there’s a lull in the day or evening, as if it’s an electronic talisman that will bring me luck or elevate my mood. My phone accidentally fell into the toilet last spring, and during my 36 hours of forced abstinence while it dried out in a bag of rice, I felt its loss acutely (though it was also oddly freeing).

“It’s addictive,” says Freedman Smith. “There’s a physiological response to our technology. That’s why it’s so hard to put down.”

What, exactly, are we modelling for our kids? One mom I know has noticed that her two-year-old son voluntarily fetches her phone from wherever she’s set it down and dutifully brings it to her, without being asked—even if she’s in another room or, say, in the shower—as if Mommy has accidentally misplaced her brain/third arm/the nuclear codes. He sees it as an extension of her, because for his entire life, of course, she’s always had it nearby: on the kitchen counter, in the stroller caddy, at the playground and on the nightstand during bedtime stories.

For many moms and dads, there’s another well-intentioned, primary function of our phones: easily taking quick photos of our kids so we can document precious memories—and proudly share them with friends and relatives. This is especially true on fun family activity days like Feb. 20, when you might have something special planned.

Without my smartphone on Family Day, I won’t be capturing and sharing about our adventures on social media, but that’s OK. I’ll be skiing with my husband and two kids, talking about life and our dreams—not screens. For one day, anyway.

Stuart McLean, host of CBC Radio’s ‘Vinyl Cafe,’ has died

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Feb 16th, 2017

Stuart McLean, a bestselling author, journalist and humorist who entertained millions as host of the popular CBC Radio program “The Vinyl Cafe,” has died. He was 68.

His death was confirmed by the CBC.

“We were deeply saddened to learn that Stuart McLean passed away earlier today. Stuart was an exceptional storyteller who has left an indelible mark on CBC Radio and countless communities across Canada,” reads a statement from Susan Marjetti, executive director of radio and audio for CBC English Services.

In December, McLean announced he was suspending the long-running program to focus on treatment for melanoma, which he was diagnosed with in late 2015. He said his first round of immunotherapy treatment that winter was not completely successful and he needed to undergo another round this year.

The “Vinyl Cafe” radio show, which featured a mix of stories, essays and musical performances, was spun-off into bestselling books and became a touring production in 2008. The show’s stories centred on Dave, the owner of a second-hand record store, and also featured Dave’s wife, Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie, and various friends and neighbours.

“Every week for 22 years, Stuart connected with his listeners in a way that few before him have. His Dave and Morley stories were as entertaining as they were enlightening; they made us pause, reflect, but most of all laugh along together,” said Marjetti.

McLean had been upbeat about his cancer setback and told fans in an online message posted in December that he expected to return to work.

“I don’t want you to worry about me. A year ago I told you that I expected this to be just a bump in the road, not the end of the road. I still believe that to be true. I hope we will meet up again — on the radio or in theatres. We’ll make sure to tell you before that happens,” McLean wrote.

“In the meantime, look after yourselves and each other. And know that this isn’t goodbye. It’s just … so long for now.”

The CBC said a public tribute would be announced at a later date.

McLean was an officer of the Order of Canada and a professor emeritus at Ryerson University in Toronto.

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