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Soggy end to March for most of southern Ontario

CityNews | posted Thursday, Mar 30th, 2017

A special weather statement for Toronto and most of southern Ontario remains in effect, with a mix of rain and snow set to descend on the region.

Environment Canada issued the statement on Wednesday. Freezing rain is possible northwest of Toronto on Thursday night.

“Of course, it’s all temperature-dependent,” CityNews weather specialist Frank Ferragine said.

Colder regions will see freezing rain and possibly snow, while warmer areas will see rain.

“Here in Toronto, expect some of that mixing [weather] right around the evening commute,” Ferragine said.

A low pressure system over Kansas is set to bring snow mixed with rain to most of southern Ontario by mid-day Thursday. There is a risk of freezing rain, which could make travel hazardous, before the precipitation changes over to rain by night fall.

Periods of rain will continue throughout most of Friday with between 15 to 25 millimetres falling before it tapers off that night.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said there’s a high of 4 C in Toronto’s forecast, but most of the day the mercury will hover around 2 C. There’s a low overnight near -1 C.

25 cases of E. coli believed to be linked to Robin Hood flour recall

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Mar 30th, 2017

The Public Health Agency of Canada says there have been 25 cases of E. coli in four provinces believed to be linked to E. coli in a batch of Robin Hood all-purpose flour.

No deaths have been reported, and everyone who got sick has either recovered or is recovering.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is issuing a recall for the flour, which was sold in Western Canada.

In a statement Tuesday, the agency says Smucker Foods of Canada Corp. is recalling 10-kilogram bags of Robin Hood all-purpose flour with the best before date of April 17, 2018.

It says the flour was sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The agency says the recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where it was purchased.

The CFIA says food contaminated with E. coli may not look or smell spoiled, but can still make you sick.

Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea.

In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version carried an incorrect best before date.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is issuing a recall for the Robin Hood brand of all-purpose flour sold in Western Canada due to possible E. coli contamination. CANADIAN FOOD INSPECTION AGENCY

Via Rail website derails for youth trying to buy Canada 150 passes

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Mar 30th, 2017

Via Rail said early Thursday that all available $150 youth passes for unlimited travel across Canada in July had been sold out after the sales were derailed on Wednesday due to high demand on its website.

The Canada 150 Youth Pass – intended to coincide with celebrations marking the country’s sesquicentennial – went on sale Tuesday. The company said, however, that sales were temporarily suspended “due to high demand” and technical difficulties with its online booking engine.

But Via Rail pushed out a tweet at about 3:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning saying all available of the passes had been sold.

“Bon voyage! All the Canada 150 Youth Passes have been sold. 1,867 young travellers will discover Canada this summer,” read the tweet.

An earlier tweet said sales were being capped at 1,867 – which corresponds to Canada’s confederation – “otherwise there won’t be enough seats for all come July.”

The pass is for young people between the ages of 12 and 25. But students who are 26 and older with a valid International Student Identity Card (ISIC) could also purchase it.

In the promotion announced in February, pass holders can travel coast to coast in economy class but must book using the Escape fare category, which is subject to seat availability.

Girls returning from laser tag killed in Caledonia crash

The Canadian Press and News staff | posted Thursday, Mar 30th, 2017

The chief of a southern Ontario indigenous community says two girls killed in a head-on crash in Caledonia were returning from a youth group outing at the time of the accident.

Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First nation said the girls, aged 12 and 14, died while coming home from playing laser tag in Hamilton.

Ontario provincial police said the driver of a car was heading north on Highway 6 when he collided head-on with a southbound van shortly after 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

The girls were among seven youth of various ages in the van.

The 21-year-old driver of the car also died in the crash, while the other passengers of the van were sent to hospital with serious, possibly life-altering injuries.

Laforme says another vehicle carrying roughly eight other students was travelling alongside the van at the same time, but was not involved in the crash.

Laforme says the tragedy has hit the tight-knit community hard.

Police investigate a fatal crash in Caledonia on March 29, 2017. Photo courtesy of Andrew Collins.


Kara, a resident who lives nearby was in her home at the time. She said the impact of the crash sounded like a bomb went off.

“You could hear … the children screaming. It was really awful,” she said. Kara, along with a tow truck driver, were the first to run over and help the people in the vehicles.

Police said no names would be released until relatives were notified. They are still investigating the cause of the crash.

All of the victims are from First Nations communities in the region.

Classes at Lloyd S. King Elementary in Hagersville have been cancelled on Thursday. Victims’ services will be at the MNCFN Community Centre.

This is the #1 source of mom guilt

Jessica Spera | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

Our friends at Chatelaine just did a massive survey of 1,000 Canadian women between the ages of 35 and 45. They asked them a ton of questions, but the one we were most interested in was the top source of mom guilt. Can you guess what it is?

Not spending enough time with your kids?

Missing their school play because you had to work?

Not being a fun enough parent?

Nope, nope and nope! The top source of mom guilt is screen time.

Half of women feel guilty about the amount of screen time their kids are getting. Whether or not this is your top source of mom guilt, I’m sure you’ve worried about how much time your kid spends watching PAW Patrol or felt shamed for letting your kid play with your phone while at a restaurant. But with the evolving world of technology and digital gadgets, it’s nearly impossible not to let your kid have some screen time.

The good news is it’s time to stop feeling so guilty because in October 2016, The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new set of recommendations for family screen time that acknowledges how technology is inevitable in the home—so you don’t have to burn all your gadgets. The amount of screen time varies depending on the age of your child, but the AAP recommends that whatever your kids are doing on the phone or TV, you should be doing it right along with them. Why? Because parents can help their kids “understand what they’re seeing and how to integrate that into their real-world experience.” So you really don’t have to feel too bad about your kid’s screen time. But you do have to watch PAW Patrol with them. Sorry!

Screen time was only one of many things women felt mom guilt over. Twenty-five percent of moms are ashamed of their children’s fast food intake. The struggle is real when it comes to getting a homemade dinner on the table! We totally “cheat” sometimes and use these healthy packaged foods that make getting supper on the table a total breeze. The survey also says that a quarter of of moms think they let their kids eat too much sugar. Yep, we feel that one too. Have you read about this family who gave up sugar?

Check out the other top culprits of mom guilt.

Photo: Courtesy of Chatelaine

Photo: Courtesy of Chatelaine

What do you feel the most guilty about as a parent?

Top 10 Toronto real estate questions answered

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

Erica Smith and Lorena Magallanes from Condo Chicks Inc. share their tips for getting into the condo market–what should you be looking out for before making a purchase?

What are Condo reserve numbers?: The number determines the health of the building which is important for buyers to know. The financials will be detailed in the status certificate which should be reviewed by a lawyer to understand the financial health of the building.

Should you buy now? Choosing a time to buy is solely a personal decision.  At this point in time, demand is stronger than supply which is driving up pricing. Buyers have to understand that they will be paying a premium for any property right now and have to be okay with it.

When to buy? There is no specific time to buy. It’s up to the buyers. When the ideal property comes up, buyers need to jump and pay a premium for it in this market.

Condo fees – what are they and how to budget for them?:  Condo fees are typically a concern for buyers. The common question is if they will go up. All fees do go up, however there are some tips and tricks to predict how much they will go up.

Q: Market value vs what people are paying? 

A: There is no market value. The new market value is how much  a buyer is willing to pay for a property.

Q: Mortgage rules? 

A: Talk to your bank first to know what you can afford as the rules are always changing.

Q: Maintenance fees and taxes? 

A: Factor in your monthly carrying costs

Q: Utilities? 

A: Most of the time utilities are not part of your maintenance fees.

Q: Closing costs, which include land transfer taxes? 

A: Understand all your closing costs on top of your land transfer tax.

Q: Financials of the building (status certificate)? 

A:  Great document to give you an idea of the financial health of the building.

Q:  Upcoming developments in the area? 

A: Understand what is happening in the area. A new condo might affect your current view!

Q: Tax implications? 

A: They are different if you’re an end user or an investor

Q: Inclusions and Exclusions in the unit? 

A: Make sure you understand what is included. Is that chandelier you love staying or going?

Q: Condo rules including pet restrictions, outdoor space. 

A: Make sure you can bring your beloved pet and know your limitations on your balcony. BBQ’s are not always allowed.

Border Runners: The quiet NY street that leads a steady stream of asylum seekers to Canada

Avery Haines | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

A cab on Roxham Road only means one thing.

Car after car, unloading group after group, each surreptitiously approaching a sign that clearly reads, “Road Closed.”

“This is an international border,” hollers a man standing guard.  “You can’t cross. If you cross, you’ll be arrested.”

But it happens day after day at this juncture in Plattsburgh, New York, where the land changes from America’s to Canada’s in a patch not much larger than the average sidewalk.

On this Tuesday in March, two men get out of their cab and take their first few steps into Canada with their arms stretched up. One man drops to his knees.

“You can stand up,” an RCMP guard is heard telling him.

Ruby Lavalley, who lives in the last house along Roxham Road, sees these scenes play out ten or twenty times a day.

“People coming in, running over the border. They tell them to stop,” she says.  If they cross they’re going to get arrested. But they just proceed over.”

Lavalley’s sense is that the surge of asylum seekers can be credited to her new President, who has promised to crack down on illegal refugees.  They are escaping to Canada to claim refugee status. Illegally crossing is a fast track to getting processed.

Lavalley is astonished that her quiet street has turned into the final steps on the American side of what is now known as the Underground Refugee Railroad.

“[They’re] literally falling just to get on the other side,” she says.

What happens on the other side of this invisible line is also repeated every day. The two men who crossed this morning will be frisked, taken to the legal border crossing just down the way, and then they’ll make their claim for asylum in Canada.

According to the RCMP, in the first two months of 2017, 1,134 asylum seekers crossed the Canadian border illegally. Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann predicts the numbers will only spike in the coming months.

“We are going to see a steep increase in those numbers,” he says.  “What you are seeing right now, [is] only those people who want to be seen. There are other people who are going further down the fence who do not want to be detected and they’re coming across with the intention of avoiding the system.”

Back in Plattsburgh, yet another group of refugees has made it to the edge of Roxham Road, which ironically is accessed by a road with the title of “North Star.”

A young man and a distraught older couple repeat the words: “Canada, Canada.”

The Canadian police tell them they’re safe.

Matthews breaks franchise record as Leafs earn big win over Panthers

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

TORONTO — Wendel Clark knew his record might be in jeopardy 21 and a half minutes into Auston Matthews‘s first game with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Matthews became the first player in NHL history to score four goals in a debut that October night against Ottawa and on Tuesday finally broke Clark’s 31-year-old franchise rookie record with his 35th goal this season — the opening goal in a crucial 3-2 Leafs win.

“It’s good,” Clark said of Matthews shattering a record set during the 1985-86 season. “If we’re going to be any good we need these young guys breaking all (these records) and doing well.”

Matthews and Toronto’s high-flying crop of rookies have been shredding the record books more and more often in recent weeks as they march toward a hopeful playoff berth. Tuesday’s victory over the Florida Panthers kept the club one point up (87 points) on Boston (86) for third in the Atlantic division and now four up on the surging Tampa Bay Lightning (83).

A night that looked to be all about the Leafs uncertain crease ultimately belonged to the 19-year-old Matthews, who joined Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby as the only rookies since the 1995-96 season to score 35 goals.

Zach Hyman instigated the marker 12 minutes into the first frame, controlling the puck from behind the Florida goal before finding Matthews in front, his shot slipping between the pads of James Reimer to best Clark for the franchise mark.

“Just to be in the same sentence as a guy like Wendel Clark is obviously a big honour,” said Matthews, who became the first Leaf since Clark to be picked first overall last June.

Now a community representative of the Leafs, Clark compared the big American centre to former Toronto captain and franchise leading scorer, Mats Sundin. Just like Sundin, Clark said, Matthews could be dangerous all by himself, but also gifted in finding teammates for open looks.

He said Matthews had a “goal-scorer’s touch” and the “hands of a little guy” and aimed to score in areas of the highest percentages, such as low, between the legs or blocker-side.

Clark added of Matthews: “He’s already big and strong at 19 and two, three years from now he’s going to be bigger and stronger once he fills out.”

Matthews increased his NHL lead for game-opening goals, matching Dave Andreychuk’s team record (1993-94), according to the Elias Sports Bureau, with his 14th of the year. He pulled within four points of Peter Ihnacak’s franchise rookie mark for points (66), set during the 1982-83 season.

Rookies have been adding their names to the Leafs record book in increasing fashion.

Mitch Marner recently equalled Gus Bodnar’s franchise rookie mark for assists (40), William Nylander matching team rookie records for power-play goals (9) and power-play points (25) while also establishing a new rookie mark for the team with a point streak that was extended to 12 games on Tuesday night.

Goaltending was primary in the pre-game build-up with Curtis McElhinney starting in place of injured No. 1 Frederik Andersen, who was nursing an undisclosed injury after getting bumped in the head last weekend.

Oddly enough, it was Reimer, the former Leaf, who was forced to exit Tuesday’s game when he was bumped in similar fashion by Brian Boyle midway through the second, replaced by Reto Berra.

McElhinney held his own in Andersen’s place at the other end, yielding two goals on 26 shots while shining early in the third period as the Leafs protected a 2-1 lead. Hyman eventually increased Toronto’s lead to two shorthanded — Leo Komarov scoring the Leafs second goal — Jaromir Jagr stuffing one in late in regulation.

Hyman became the fifth Leaf rookie to score at least 10 goals this season.

An interesting night also saw Roman Polak called for high-sticking Jonathan Huberdeau and then pulled out of the box when replays showed it was a puck — and not the stick — that struck Huberdeau.

Polak said he’d never seen such a thing and thanked the referee for admitting his mistake.

The night was all about Matthews though. He took over top spot among all NHL rookies in goals and points, a favourite to become the first Leaf since Brit Selby in 1966 to win the Calder Trophy.

“It’s obviously good and nice for him, but he needs to remember he’s got many years in front of him so he just needs to keep going,” Komarov said.

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