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25 places every Canadian kid should see

JODY ROBBINS | posted Tuesday, Jun 27th, 2017


If ever there was a year to travel in Canada with your family, this is it. We’re blessed with jaw-dropping landscapes, thrilling outdoor adventures and a trove of diverse cultural experiences. I should know—I’ve spent the past year criss-crossing the country in search of the top destinations for families for my book 25 Places in Canada Every Family Should Visit. So grab your suitcase, indulge your sense of adventure and start crushing on Canada.

Family climb at Via Ferrata at Sea to Sky Gondola


Squamish, British Columbia
Conveniently situated between Whistler and Vancouver, the outdoor recreation capital of Canada is the perfect spot for active families. Get your bearings on the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, where misty views of the Howe Sound and Coast Mountains will set your Instagram feed on fire. Amp up your adventure with a float down the river and count how many bald eagles you see. And don’t forget to put the Britannia Mine Museum on your trip to-do list. Here you can pan for real gold, make a blasting box go KABOOM! and rumble underground on a mine train. At the end of the day, disconnect at Sunwolf Resort, a rustic hideaway with cosy riverside cabins (and no TV).

Dad and daughter ride down the Mountain Coaster at Revelstoke in BC


Revelstoke, British Columbia
Most people think of Revy as a serious ski destination along B.C.’s famed powder highway but, come summer, this mountain resort town morphs into one of Canada’s most invigorating family playgrounds. Fairytale figurines and B.C.’s tallest treehouse delight youngsters in the Enchanted Forest, while at SkyTrek Adventure Park a forest jungle gym lets children test their limits. And forget city rollercoasters! A new mountain coasterwhooshes down a steep slope, but at speeds you control. Nearby natural hot springs soothe sore muscles and are best visited right before afternoon nap time.

The Empress Hotel in Victoria BC


Victoria, British Columbia
You’d be hard pressed to find a city with more kid-pleasing attractions situated so closely together. The Inner Harbour is where it’s at with the Bug Zoo, Miniature World and the Royal B.C. Museum—all within walking distance. The Inner Harbour is also where complimentary Canada Day activities kick off June 21 through July 1. Mini marine biologists will relish hopping aboard a harbour ferry to spot wildlife such as orcas, sea lions and porpoises. Be sure to visit Oak Bay. At this seaside neighbourhood, you can wave at the friendly resident seals at the Marina (no feeding please!) before strolling over to a lovely independent book store and toy shop.

Father and daughter look out over Kalamaka Lake Provincial Park in Vernon BC


Vernon, British Columbia
Less busy than the Okanagan region, Vernon also boasts a staggering number of orchards and is surrounded by three lakes, giving water-loving families plenty of recreational options. Like Canada, the O’Keefe Ranch turns 150 this year, and it’s worth a visit to see the rare Jacob Sheep, which can have six horns. You’ll find equally exotic animals at nearby Kangaroo Creek Farm. Go from farm to table with a stop at Davison Orchards, where little ones love riding the Johnny Popper train to pick their own fruits and veggies in the field.

Family rides their bikes along the Legacy Trail in Canmore, AB


Canmore, Alberta
Just minutes from the gates to Banff National Park, this mountain resort town sports all the wildlife and unspoiled wilderness you dream of, but with fewer crowds. Grassi Lakes is an easy day-hike that won’t tire out the tots. More ambitious families can rent bikes and cycle along the paved Legacy Trail all the way into Banff. Cool off with the locals by plunging into Quarry Lake, or opt for a condo with an outdoor pool. Canada Day is celebrated with a pancake breakfast and a sweet parade, where candy is tossed off floats into eager hands.

Child walks through the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta


Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
Canada’s own Jurassic Park lies two hours outside of Calgary. Amidst the hoodoos of the Canadian Badlands, petite palaeontologists dig deep into the prehistoric past on fossil safari tours. You could haul the tent and trailer, or make it easier on yourself and bed down in the Park’s safari-like comfort camping suites. Make your visit truly memorable by saddling up to the salon at the Patricia Hotel, where families are welcome every Sunday. On Canada Day, everyone flocks to the nearby village of Rosemary for a small-town celebration like no other.

Kids help carry some wood at the Ukrainian Heritage Cultural Village near Edmonton, AB


Edmonton, Alberta
You’ll find much more than “the Mall” in Alberta’s capital city. (Athough Galaxyland is one of the world’s largest indoor amusement parks, so you may want to add West Edmonton Mall to your to-do list.) Outside the city, kids get an immersive glimpse into the past at Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. Warning: kids love helping role-playing pioneers with their chores—behaviour not guaranteed to be replicated at home. Camp at nearby Elk Island National Park in a site already set up for you, just beware of the likelihood of encountering a bison traffic jam.

RCMP Sunset Retreat Ceremony in Regina, SK


Regina, Saskatchewan
The Queen city is so quintessentially Canadian and crazy affordable, you’ll wonder why you didn’t visit sooner. Begin with a tour of the RCMP Heritage Centre to learn what it really takes to become a Mountie. After saluting the RCMP, go geocaching (catered by age group) in the Edwardian gardens at Government House. Then, take it indoors at the Saskatchewan Science Centre, a science museum loaded with awesome hands-on exhibits that costs a fraction of what they charge in larger cities. Got a sports fan in your brood? Introduce them to Rider Nation (and the fine art of watermelon hat carving) during a CFL game at Mosaic Stadium.

Family Camping in the Waskesiu Wilderness Region in SK


Waskesiu Wilderness Region, Saskatchewan
You don’t need a time machine to imagine what Canada was like 150 years ago. Simply step into the boreal woodlands of the Waskesiu Wilderness Region in Northern Saskatchewan. Travel by horse-drawn wagon à la Little House on the Prairie to view Canada’s only free-ranging bison herd on their historic range, before settling into your tipi for the night. Or how about bedding down in a yurt, surrounded by forests, warm swimming lakes, hiking trails and organic gardens? Whatever you decide, you’ll find yourself immersed in a wilderness experience that harkens back to a bygone era.

Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, MB


Winnipeg, Manitoba
An under-the-radar family fun zone, Winnipeg is a city on the rise, especially with the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Set on The Forks, this museum is no snoozer, with scavenger hunts and kid-appropriate exhibits that foster discussion. Also at The Forks, you’ll find Variety Heritage Adventure Park, home to a fantastic playground, children’s museum and thriving food market. Jet to the other side of town to play at the Streuber Children’s Garden, inspired by the board game Snakes and Ladders and nestled within Assiniboine Park. At Assiniboine Park Zoo, make a beeline for the Journey to Churchill exhibit, where the world’s most comprehensive northern species are on display.

A polar bear says hi to people in the Tundra Buggy in Churchill, MB


Churchill, Manitoba
What kid wouldn’t be on board with taking an arctic safari? This northern Manitoba town is the polar bear capital of the world, and one of the few human settlements where you can observe these bears in the wild. Take a Tundra Buggy out on the sub-Arctic terrain to view polar bears, arctic fox and other northern creatures during summer and fall. From June to August, over 3,000 beluga whales make their way from Hudson Bay to the warmer waters of the Churchill River. Families can kayak or snorkel with these naturally curious creatures and experience the rush of a lifetime.

View of Parliament Hill from the bike path along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, ON


Ottawa, Ontario
Forgot what you learned about Ottawa on your junior high field trip? There’s no better time for a refresher. Our nation’s capital is the epicentre of the Canada 150 celebrations, running all year long. Even if your kids say they hate museums, the ones in Ottawa will convince them otherwise. Best for youngsters are the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Canadian Children’s Museum, which resides inside the Canadian Museum of History. Rent bikes and pedal along the Rideau Canal, or get really wet at Calypso, the country’s largest themed waterpark. And on the big day itself, the festivities run into the night on Parliament Hill.

The White Water Walk in the Niagara Region of Ontario


Niagara Region, Ontario
You know about the falls and hotel waterslides, but did you know this lush pocket of Ontario is considered the daffodil capital of North America? Revive your senses with a visit to Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, where wee ones can burn off some energy in the 100-acre garden. Or, take a tranquil stroll in the rainforest environment of the Butterfly Conservatory. As spectacular as Niagara Falls is, the White Water Walk is better suited to families allergic to crowds. The 1,000-ft boardwalk that runs along the rapids is suitable for both toddlers and strollers, and is strewn with interesting factoids.

Camping Pods at Long Point Eco-Adventures in Norfolk County, ON


Long Point, Ontario
Craving the feeling of sand squishing beneath your toes? Instead of joining the hoards in cottage country to the north, head south to experience laid-back summer days punctuated by meandering bike rides and refreshing ice-cream breaks. Make your way to Long Point, a 40-kilometre sweep of golden sand anchoring the warm waters of Lake Erie. Rev up your holiday with a zip line or forest canopy tour. Best is staying overnight in one of Long Point Eco-Adventures‘s camping pods, which allow families to get comfortably close to nature without having to rough it.

Family encounters a deer at Parc Omega in Montebello, QC


Montebello, Quebec
Looking for a restful rural retreat without sacrificing big-city pleasures? You’ll find a good mix in Montebello, a charming village chock-a-block full of gourmet shops and glamping options. Troop pleasers include tackling an aerial ropes course and trekking underground in the largest cave in the Canadian Shield. Animal lovers will want to cruise through Parc Oméga on an outdoor wildlife safari. At the Parc, you can feed deer directly from your vehicle and sleep overnight in a yurt or treehouse. Artisanal chocolatier ChocoMotiveoccupies Montebello’s historic train station and crafts high-quality treats that are worth bringing home as a souvenir (if they last that long).

Family looks out at the view in Saguenay, QC


Saguenay, Quebec
Families looking for outdoor adventure should head straight to the dramatic Saguenay Fjord region. Village Vacances Petit-Saguenay is a Club Med-style family resort, where parents can participate in camp activities, too. Or perhaps you’d rather camp with caribou at Zoo Sauvage Saint Félicien? Kids over 14 can hang out with wolves at Aventuraid, while all ages can spend the night in a yurt next to the enclosure. Families won’t want to miss sea-kayaking along the fjord, where there’s a good chance you’ll come face-to-face with the resident beluga whales.

View of the Montreal skyline at sunset


Montreal, Quebec
This city of 1.7 million is also celebrating an important milestone—375 years to be exact. Montrealers love their entertainment, and families do well catching oodles of free shows (think tightrope walkers and aerialists) during July’s Cirque Festival. Kids enjoy the thrill of being grossed out by all the creepy crawlies inside the Montreal Insectarium, and the nearby Biodome replicates the four ecosystems found in the Americas. For a rip-roaring good time, hop on board Saute Mouton. You’ll get drenched on this jet boating experience that leapfrogs over whitecaps in the St. Lawrence, but the littles love it.

Beluga whale in the waters near Tadoussac, QC


Tadoussac, Quebec
We all know about the trade between the First Nations and European explorers, but few realize that this is where it all began. Considered one of the prettiest villages in Quebec, Tadoussac is the oldest European settlement in the province, established eight years before Quebec City. Check out Tadoussac Trading Post, one of oldest First Nations’ trading and archeological sites in Canada, before taking advantage of all the children’s programming at Hotel Tadoussac. The town is a prime spot for whale watching, so hop aboard a Zodiak to view some of the 13 species that call the St. Lawrence home.

Family takes pictures with the guards in Fredericton, NB


Fredericton, New Brunswick
With a good mix of city and country pleasures, Atlantic Canada’s riverfront capital is an affordable escape (especially for seafood lovers). Science East and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery are tops for city slickers, while the Mactaquac Beaver Ponds offer accessible hiking and nature viewing just outside the city. The bombastic beats belted out during summer’s daily Changing of the Guard Ceremony provide a historical touch without being boring. And you can keep the patriotism running high after Canada Day by watching the pageantry of the The RCMP Musical Ride.

Shop fronts along a street in St. Andrews, NB


St. Andrews, New Brunswick
Your quintessential seaside resort town, St. Andrews also sports one of the most fantastic outdoor playgrounds in the country. Engage the senses with a refreshing stroll through Kingsbrae Garden, a lush 27-acre paradise where children can plant their own flowers and play inside fancy playhouses. It’s worth the splurge to stay at The Algonquin Resort. Despite the external grandeur, it’s remarkably family-friendly, with a three-storey indoor water slide, 24-hour sundry shop and coin-operated washing machines. Experience a maritime kitchen party by heading into the Red Herring Pub, where children are welcome until 9 p.m.

Waterfront view of Lunenburg Nova Scotia in the fall


Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
A contender for the prettiest town in the maritimes, Lunenburg is perhaps best known for building and launching Bluenose, Nova Scotia’s famous racing schooner. You can climb aboard Bluenose II in the harbour, or view it from The South Shore Fish Shack, while sampling fish and chips and (for the more adventurous) cod tongues. At the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, families can chat up a real seafaring ship captain and learn how to shuck a scallop. Those not squeamish should plunge their hands into the touch tank to get a closer feel for creatures of the sea.

Families march through Avonlea Village


Cavendish, PEI
The ultimate family playground, not only is Cavendish the home of Anne of Green Gables, but also four world-class golf courses. Both Avonlea Village and Green Gables Heritage Place (where the Haunted Woods and Lover’s Lane really exist!) are worthy stops for Anne fans. Kids won’t mind being stuck with dinner duty when they’re in charge of digging for it. Learn the finer points of clamming with Tranquility Cove Adventures, and you’ll be rewarded with a beach boil-up afterwards. Affordable lobster suppers can be found at community centers and churches throughout the region, but you can guarantee yours at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers.

Petty Harbour in St. John's, NL


St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
With their unique time zone set 30 minutes ahead of Atlantic Daylight Time, your daybegins before the rest of North America. Setting time for centuries, the firing of the Noon Day Gun (a real cannon) at Signal Hill keeps busy families on schedule. Just outside the city, Cape Spear Lighthouse is a must-visit spot, as is the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium, one of the few catch-and-release aquariums in the country. In the capital, stroll along Jellybean Row, admiring the candy-coloured Victorian homes as you lick an ice cream from Moo Moo’s. Lovely green spaces with outdoor pools can be found at both Bowring and Bannerman Park.

External view of a replica Viking dwelling at L' anse aux Meadows, Norstead Village, in Newfoundland, Canada


Viking Trail, Newfoundland and Labrador
Way before John Cabot sailed in Canada, Vikings recorded landfalls in Western Newfoundland. Journey along the Viking Trail, where icebergs float off the coast and families step back in time, learning to live like these fierce Norse adventurers. You’ll want to spend significant time in Gros Morne National Park, especially hiking around the Tablelands Trail. The rust-coloured rocks make it seem as though you’re walking on Mars. The big draw is L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. At this Viking village, children gather round the fire listening to Viking sagas and play warrior inside reconstructed sod huts.

If your family likes wide-open spaces and deep forests populated by wildlife, the Land of the Midnight Sun is definitely for you. Long hours of daylight make summer stretch that much further. Take advantage of longer days by starting hikes such as the Spruce Beetle Trail mid to late afternoon. Got a Frozen fan on your hands? Over half the landscape in Kluane National Park and Reserve is permanently draped in snow and ice. Warm up with a dip in the thermal, mineral-rich waters of Takhini Hot Pools, an odourless hot spring with pristine camping spots nearby that offer spectacular views of the Northern Lights.

Read more:
Road trip Canada: Best routes for families
Why travelling with your kids is worth it
First-aid kit essentials for family travel

Ontario to ban ‘scalper bots’ in proposed ticket sale reforms

JESSICA CROSS SMITH, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 27th, 2017

Beyonce and Jay Z tickets are offered for sale through StubHub in Chicago, Ill., on July 23, 2014. GETTY IMAGES/Scott Olson
Ontario is promising to clamp down on online ticket scalping, a source of frustration and anger for fans who have often been unable to secure tickets to their favourite sport or music events.

The Liberal government said Monday it will introduce new legislation this fall that will make automated ticket-buying “bots” illegal. It would also cap markups on resold tickets at 50 per cent of their face value.

Under the proposed law, ticket resellers would have to disclose more information, including the face value of tickets and any surcharges.

The so-called “scalper bots” – software programs designed to purchase online a large number of tickets for a concert, show, or other event, enabling the person running the software to sell those tickets at a profit – made headlines last year when many Tragically Hip fans were unable to buy tickets to the band’s farewell tour.

“By the time any real fan is able to log on and search for tickets the best seats are gone,” said Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s attorney general, as he made the announcement.

“Many events sell out completely in minutes, even seconds, and many of these tickets end up on resale sites for huge mark ups, of course.”

Naqvi said the government would also make it illegal to sell tickets purchased with bots and to “facilitate” the resale of those tickets.

He has acknowledged; however, that enforcing a ban on scalper bots, which are not unique to Ontario, would be difficult.

Naqvi said major ticket sellers, including Ticketmaster, have told the government that they already employ technology to combat bots, which has been “fairly successful,” but they lack sufficient resources.

As a result, the government plans to give the industry and fans the right to sue those who use bots or facilitate the reselling of those tickets. Once it passed, the law would apply to tickets for events that take place in Ontario, regardless of where the ticket seller and buyer are based, Naqvi said.

The changes are based on public feedback gathered through a survey conducted earlier this year, he said.

“Between bots, lack of transparency and unfair prices on resale sites, there is a pervasive sentiment that the system is rigged.”

Related stories:

Ontario to announce ticket sale reforms; public wants ‘scalper bots’ banned

Ticketmaster Canada vows to fight bots so fans can snag hot tickets

Ontario wants public feedback on online ticket sales, ‘scalper bots’

Computer ‘scalper bots’ to be outlawed in Ontario

Ontario to call public inquiry into Elizabeth Wettlaufer nursing home murders

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 27th, 2017

Elizabeth Wettlaufer is escorted by police from the courthouse in Woodstock, Ont, Monday, June 26, 2017. Wettlaufer, a former Ontario nurse who murdered eight seniors in her care, was sentenced Monday to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley
The case of a nurse who murdered eight seniors in long-term care homes in Ontario will be examined in a public inquiry.

The Ontario government announced Monday it is moving to appoint a commissioner to lead a public inquiry into the circumstances of the deaths.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer pleaded guilty last month to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault. She was sentenced Monday to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins and Attorney General Yasir Naqvi offered condolences on behalf of the provincial government to Wettlaufer’s victims.

The ministers say they want to assure the public that, despite Wettlaufer’s crimes, the 78,000 residents of Ontario’s publicly funded long-term care homes are safe.

At the same time, they said the inquiry process is meant to answer questions so the government can ensure a similar tragedy does not happen again.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario applauded the government’s announcement Monday, saying it had been demanding an inquiry into the case since Wettlaufer pleaded guilty earlier this month.

“During this immensely difficult time, I commend the government for having the courage to put these events under the microscope,” said association CEO Doris Grinspun. “The inquiry will help us learn how this tragedy happened, and see if there were any cracks in the system we can address to prevent this from happening ever again.”

Advocacy groups CARP and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly said the Wettlaufer case has “severely shaken” people’s confidence in long-term care homes in Ontario.

“We eagerly await the terms of the inquiry to ensure that its scope is sufficient to address the actions, responsibilities and duties of the many institutions and individuals who failed to prevent or put a timely stop to Wettlaufer’s crimes …” the two groups said in a statement.

“This is a critical first step to restoring trust in our long-term health-care system.”

The government is finalizing the details of the inquiry and will make them available to the public once they have been approved by cabinet.

Canada hard to define but easy to celebrate, poll suggests

MICHELLE MCQUIGGE, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 26th, 2017

A supporter holds up a Canadian flag before a World Cup 2014 qualifying soccer game between Canada and Cuba in Havana on June 8, 2012. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Franklin Reyes
What defines Canada? A new survey suggests the answers are as diverse as the country itself.

The poll, commissioned by Historica Canada and conducted by Ipsos, asked a number of questions about various aspects of Canadiana ranging from inquiries about the preferred Canadian dinner companion to most effective single word to describe the country.

Almost across the board, the online poll found little consensus on any of the questions but instead elicited a wide variety of answers.

When asked what single word would describe Canada, the most popular answer was freedom or liberty, a choice made by just a quarter of respondents.

Participants were asked to choose which living or dead Canadian they’d most like to have dinner with, and the top choice – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – earned just eight per cent of votes.

The survey even found dissent on some of the country’s most stereotypical national symbols, with one third of respondents admitting to a hatred of hockey and 37 per cent disputing the tastiness of ketchup chips.

Canadians did display more loyalty to animals that have come to be seen as national symbols, with 85 per cent of respondents standing by the beaver and 82 per cent expressing fondness for the Canada Goose.

Canadian beer also earned the support of 72 per cent of participants, who proclaimed it among the best in the world.

Historica Canada President Anthony Wilson-Smith said the sheer diversity of survey responses speaks to the makeup of the country itself.

“I think it’s very reflective of Canada that there’s one or two core values that jump up … and then it’s kind of cool that there’s no great consensus on any other thing,” Wilson-Smith said in a telephone interview. “We’re a country where people come from everywhere, have different views, and I think increasingly what defines Canada is you don’t have to fit a national stereotype.”

Related stories:

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The survey results hinted at what some of those core values might be, Wilson-Smith said, pointing to the only two findings to garner any kind of widespread support.

A quarter of respondents used the words freedom or liberty to describe Canada, while 20 per cent identified the word home as their descriptor of choice.

Wilson-Smith speculated that those words are particularly appealing to a diverse population, many of whom have routes in countries where freedom could not be taken for granted.

The variety of other responses on words to describe Canada, which included best, opportunity, equality, multicultural, and inclusive, attest to a diversity of national priorities, he said.

Consensus was even harder to attain when discussing famous Canadians that might make for good company over dinner.

Trudeau’s eight per cent support from respondents was followed by Quebecois singer Celine Dion, who secured five per cent of respondents’ support. Former Prime Ministers Sir John A. MacDonald and Pierre Trudeau and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky rounded out the top five, the survey found,

The poll also explored Canadians’ favourite home-grown inventions, finding a greatest appreciation for the electric oven (44 per cent of respondents), IMAX films (32 per cent), and the snowmobile (25 per cent).

One thing Canadians do seem to agree on is a desire to celebrate the country’s upcoming 150th birthday.

About 80 per cent of the survey’s 1,003 respondents said they planned to acknowledge Saturday’s sesquicentennial in some way.

The Ipsos poll was completed using an online panel between June 7 and 8. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population

3 people dead in Mississauga crash, 3 in hospital

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, Jun 26th, 2017

Three people are dead and three others are in hospital after a crash on Winston Churchill Boulevard on June 25, 2017. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
Three people are dead, including two children, after a crash in Mississauga.

Three other people are in hospital.

The two-vehicle collision happened on Winston Churchill Boulevard, between the QEW and North Service Road, just before 11 p.m. on Sunday.

One adult, believed to be the only person in one of the two vehicles, was pronounced dead at the scene.

All of the other victims were in the other vehicle. A four-year-old and a 12-year-old died in hospital. Three other people remain in hospital.

Three people are dead and three others are in hospital after a crash on Winston Churchill Boulevard on June 25, 2017. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy

Winston Churchill will be closed between the QEW and North Sheridan Way until late Monday morning, Peel police said.

Tentative deal averts threatened strike by LCBO workers

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 26th, 2017

An LCBO store is pictured in Toronto on April 20, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Francis Vachon
A tentative contract agreement has been reached, averting a strike by LCBO workers that was set to begin at midnight.

The agreement was signed shortly after the strike deadline passed, and was announced in a release from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

Union president Warren “Smokey” Thomas said details of the accord would not be released before union members have a chance to examine it over the next few days.

A ratification vote has not yet been scheduled, but Thomas said the union’s bargaining team is unanimously recommending members accept the deal. From there, it would go to the LCBO board and the provincial government for ratification.

The agreement was negotiated with the help of a mediator who imposed a media blackout on the talks.

The 8,000 unionized LCBO workers have been without a contract since March 31, and voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike in April.

The LCBO had extended store hours for its outlets the past couple of days to allow customers more time to stock up in case there was a job action.

Sentencing hearing starts Monday for ex-nurse who killed 8 seniors

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 26th, 2017

Elizabeth Wettlaufer is escorted from the provincial courthouse in Woodstock, Ont., on June 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
A former Ontario nurse who murdered eight seniors in her care is expected to appear at a sentencing hearing in Woodstock, Ont., on Monday.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault in late May.

The 50-year-old admitted to using insulin in all 14 cases that stretched from 2007 to 2016, and has said she believed she was an instrument of God as she killed and hurt vulnerable patients.

The crimes, which occurred in three Ontario long-term care facilities and a private home, make Wettlaufer one of Canada’s worst serial killers.

Victim impact statements are expected to be filed in court Monday, and some family members of Wettlaufer’s victims are expected to read their statements to the court.

Crown prosecutors have said they are proposing a joint submission with the defence on sentencing.

They are suggesting all Wettlaufer’s sentences run concurrently, with a life sentence with no eligibility for parole for 25 years on the eight first-degree murder counts, 10 years for the four attempted murder counts and seven years for both aggravated assault counts.

Related stories:

Ex-nurse Wettlaufer felt ‘urge to kill’ seniors in her care, pleads guilty

Need to know: Services disrupted in case of city workers’ strike

If you ever do this again, we’ll turn you in, pastor told killer nurse

“Happy Pride!”: Trudeau attends Toronto parade absent of police floats

MAIJA KAPPLER, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 26th, 2017

Thousands cheered on Toronto’s annual Pride parade Sunday and waved rainbow flags, though continued debate over the exclusion of the city’s police force swirled amid the colourful procession that weaved its way through the downtown core.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne were among the dignitaries who were marching in the procession.

Trudeau was casually dressed in a blue blazer and pink shirt, with a temporary tattoo of a rainbow-coloured maple leaf on his left cheek. He waved at the thousands of people who lined both sides of the parade route down Yonge Street, frequently yelling out, “Happy Pride!”

“It’s all about how we celebrate the multiple layers of identities that make Canada extraordinary and strong,” Trudeau told reporters before the parade started.

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau waved a rainbow flag, one of the symbols of the LGBTQ community. Two of the Trudeaus’ children were marching along with their parents.

Multi-coloured streamers and Canadian flags hung from some balconies along the parade route, and many people watched from rooftops along Yonge Street as the parade went by below. The event started under cloudy skies and sporadic rain, but the sun came out toward the end of the event.

Police officers were still present as security guards, but there was continued talk Sunday over the decision by organizers to keep the Toronto police float and uniformed officers out of this year’s parade.

Toronto pastor and prominent gay activist Brent Hawkes touched on the issue when he opened Toronto Pride with his final service, emphasizing the importance of making everyone feel welcome.

“Inclusion is the core value in our community and as long as a group or a company supports LGBT equality, then in my opinion, welcome aboard,” he said.

Organizers should not be able to tell people what to wear at Pride, Hawkes added.

“Because I probably wear a uniform that represents the group that has done the most damage to the LGBT community — the Christian Church,” he said. “So I would say don’t ban what’s offensive to some, reform it to the benefit of everyone.”

In January, organizers agreed to a list of demands issued by the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter, which included the police ban.

The issue first came to widespread public attention during last year’s parade, when members of the anti-racism group staged a sit-in that halted the march until Pride organizers agreed to a list of conditions.

Black Lives Matter has argued that allowing uniformed officers at the parade could discourage marginalized communities from attending.

Barry Trenthan, who marched in this year’s Toronto Pride with Rainbow Railroad, a group that helps LGBT people living in countries with anti-gay laws, has attended Pride for the last 30 years. He said he has mixed feelings about the decision to bar the police.

“I remember when there was no way police would be a part of it publicly,” he said, adding that it felt like a “coup” to get their approval. But police support isn’t meaningful “if not all of us are supported,” he said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, who was also taking part in the parade, expressed hope a solution would be found well before next year’s event.

“Any time anybody is excluded it can’t be a good thing,” Tory told reporters. “We’ve got to get it resolved, we’ll resolve it in the Toronto way, which is by talking about it and I’m very optimistic that it will be resolved in time for next year.”

In response to the ban on police floats and uniformed officers, a group from Toronto police took part in the pride parade in New York City.

Last month, the Gay Officers Action League of New York extended the invitation for Toronto officers to join uniformed members of the New York Police Department in the pride events Sunday.

For many attendees, the parade itself was the central focus of the day. Lucky Vincent Bersales, who grew up in the Philippines, marched for the first time in this year’s parade, wearing a floor-length blue dress with diamond accents.

“I love Toronto,” said Bersales, who describes himself as a cross-dresser. “They accept me for who I am and what I am, and that’s what I’m proud of. This is the first time I love myself.”

Black Lives Matter didn’t hold up the Toronto parade this year, but did stage a protest down the parade route after Pride had wound down. Members of the group also held a similar demonstration in downtown Vancouver.

Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations also took part in this year’s event, making him the first National Chief to participate in a Pride event.

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