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2018 is around the corner: What’s open and closed

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 29th, 2017

While most of us would love to snuggle up with hot cocoa next to a fireplace as the last few days of the year tick by, not everyone will be granted leisure time during the holiday break. There are groceries to buy, Boxing week sales, places to take your family during the break, and getting ready to bring in the new year in style. And some of us actually have to work (hopefully it won’t be too busy).

So if you are heading out and about as 2017 winds down, below is a list of what’s open and closed. Happy holidays and a merry new year!

Transit | Malls | Grocery/drug stores | LCBO/Beer stores | Tourist attractions | Government offices and banks | City of Toronto services


Dec. 31: Sunday service, with free rides from 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 until 7 a.m. on Jan. 1
Jan. 1: Sunday service

Click here to refer to the service schedule.

GO Transit
Dec. 29: Early homebound service
Dec. 31: Sunday schedule, with late-night service and free rides after 7 p.m.
Jan. 1: Sunday schedule

Click here to refer to the service schedule.


Bramalea City Centre
Dec. 31: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dufferin Mall
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Eaton Centre
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Erin Mills Town Centre
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. to  5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Fairview Mall
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Scarborough Town Centre
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Sherway Gardens
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Shops at Don Mills
Dec. 31: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Square One
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Toronto Premium Outlets
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Vaughan Mills
Dec. 31: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Yorkdale Mall
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Grocery/drug stores

Loblaws and related stores
Stores are closed on New Year’s Day. Click here to locate your store’s hours.

Stores are closed on New Year’s Day. Click here to locate your store’s hours.

Stores are closed on New Year’s Day. Click here to locate your store’s hours.

LCBO/Beer Stores

Dec. 31: Most stores will have extended hours until 8 p.m., click here to locate your store’s hours
Jan. 1: Closed

The Beer Store
Dec. 31: Several stores will have extended hours, click here for details
Jan. 1: Closed

Tourist attractions

AGO: Open
Casa Loma: Open
CN Tower: Open
Ontario Science Centre: Open
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada: Open 365 days a year
Royal Ontario Museum: Open
Toronto Zoo: Open

Government offices and banks

Jan. 1: Closed (no mail delivery)

City of Toronto services

Garbage collection
Since garbage is not collected during the day on Monday, which happens to be New Year’s Day, daytime curbside collection will not be impacted.

Nighttime curbside collection will be cancelled on New Year’s Day, but will be picked up the following day. Click here for more information.

Toronto Public Library
Dec. 31: Closed
Jan. 1: Closed

Recreation centres and skating rinks
Recreation centres will be open until 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. They will be closed on New Year’s Day. Indoor arenas will also be closed on New Year’s Day.

Click here for list of activities to do in the city over the break.

Canada Post issues alert for mail delays due to extreme cold

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 29th, 2017

Canada Post has issued service alerts in Ontario, including Toronto and the GTA, warning about delayed mail delivery due to the extreme cold.

In a statement, Canada Post tells CityNews that while delivery agents are out and about, some customers may not receive their mail on Thursday. Once the weather improves, normal delivery will resume.

In the meantime, they’re asking you to be kind to those braving the brutal conditions by clearing and salting your driveways, walkways and stairs so that agents can reach doors and mailboxes safely.

For its part, Canada Post says it has cold weather protocol in place for days like these. Before they head out on their routes, mail carriers participate in safety talks and are issued winter parkas and hand warmers. They’re also given an allowance for proper winter footwear, provided with free slip-on foot grips and encouraged to take breaks and warm-up in public spaces when possible.

For those with a community mailbox, you can call customer service at 1- 800-267-1177 if you have an issue due to cold weather.

Family hires private investigators to probe Barry and Honey Sherman’s deaths

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 29th, 2017

The family of a billionaire philanthropist couple found dead earlier this month has hired a team of former homicide detectives to investigate the deaths deemed “suspicious” by police, a lawyer for the family said Thursday.

Brian Greenspan said the private investigators were hired “to provide a second lens and to ensure that no stone is left unturned.”

Barry Sherman, 75, and his wife, Honey, 70, were found dead in their Toronto mansion on Dec. 15.

Police have said both died of “ligature neck compression,” but have released few other details about the investigation, which is being led by homicide detectives.

Investigators are still poring over the couple’s home, but a police spokesman said there are no updates at this point.

Among the private investigators hired by the family is Tom Klatt, a former homicide investigator with the Toronto police, said Greenspan.

Klatt has worked on more than 70 murder investigations, according to the website of his firm, Klatt Investigations.

His services have been retained by “many of Canada’s wealthiest families who were in the process of dealing with life altering family issues,” says his website.

Some media reports have said police were initially leaning toward a murder-suicide theory, which the Sherman family has strongly rejected.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said Thursday the Sherman family has expressed concerns about the police communications with the media during the ongoing investigation.

Tory, a member of the Toronto Police Services Board that oversees the force, has shared those concerns with the police, said the mayor’s spokesman, Don Peat.

“He (Tory) conveyed those concerns dispassionately and did not make any requests of police, but simply relayed their concerns about communication of information, similar to what he would do when other families he contacts have concerns with police or anyone else,” said Peat.

Thousands of people, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, attended a memorial service for the couple last week.

Barry Sherman founded Toronto-based Apotex Inc. in 1974 with two employees and gradually turned it into a generic drug giant. Along the way he amassed a vast fortune, recently estimated by Canadian Business magazine at $4.77 billion, making him the 15th richest person in Canada.

Honey Sherman was a member of the board of the Baycrest Foundation and the York University Foundation. She also served on the boards of Mount Sinai’s Women’s Auxiliary, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the International American Joint Distribution Committee.

Together, the Shermans were among Canada’s most generous philanthropists and also organized funding of charitable causes through the Apotex Foundation. The couple made numerous multimillion-dollar donations to hospitals, schools and charities and had buildings named in their honour.

The couple’s four children have established a charitable foundation named after their parents to continue their philanthropic legacy.

Can electric vehicles handle Canadian winters?

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 29th, 2017

The grace period is over. Shoppers who drive their gas-powered vehicles to Vaughan Mills can no longer park in spots designated for electric powered vehicles, but some drivers are finding that out the hard way.

The outlet mall’s general manager told CityNews the spots became active this week and while an education period is still in effect, tickets are being written for drivers who parked their gas-guzzlers in locations specifically reserved for electric vehicles that also include a charging station.

Meanwhile, those with an electric car are also getting a shock this week — with the record-breaking cold temperatures wreaking havoc on their car’s battery life.

“What you’re going to see if it’s zero (degrees Celsius) or minus five, you’re not going to see a significant impact,” Cara Clairman, CEO of non-profit organization Plug’n Drive, explained.

“When you see the really significant impact is when you’ve got what we have today, like -20 C, then you will see a drop in your battery range as much as 30, 40 per cent.”

There are more than 16,000 electric vehicles on the road in Ontario, according to numbers obtained from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

Yet the province argues finding a charger is easier than ever.

“There are over 1,300 public chargers available in Ontario now,” according to a statement from the ministry.

“MTO does not currently designate parking spaces for electric vehicles, nor does it partner with or mandate municipalities to create parking spaces for electric vehicles.”

To test out an electric car, or speak with volunteers, drivers can visit the Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre in North York.

Freezing Toronto temps break 57-year record

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 29th, 2017

Temperatures dipped to -22 degrees without windchill being factored in. The previous record low was -18.9 set 57 years ago in 1960.

Environment Canada issued a slew of extreme cold weather alerts for the city and the rest of the GTA with the windchill making it feel closer to -30. The warning from the agency ended for Toronto and the GTA mid-day Thursday, but the city’s own cold weather alert remains in effect.

The length of this cold snap is not the norm for this time of year according to Environment Canada. The last time the city experienced similar conditions between Christmas and Jan. 1 was back in 1993.

Residents are warned that frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly at these frigid temperatures — so bundle up and cover up any exposed skin.

And it’s not just flesh and bones that feel the chill, vehicles and other machinery could also be affected — like the GO train doors that were jamming up earlier in the day.

“It’s so cold out that sometimes mechanical things can break down and like your car doors, they can jam and a train can’t move if a door isn’t working,” says Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins. “They try and fix it and see if there’s something jammed in it perhaps. We ask customers not to try and force it open — that can break it altogether.”

The city is also urging everyone to call or visit vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours – especially isolated seniors. Be sure to keep an eye on your pets as well — limit the length of walks outside and be sure to protect their paws from icy roads and salt.

The cold weather is being blamed for a water main break on Eglinton Avenue West between Trethewey Drive and Jane Street.


Water main break at Keelesdale South Park and Eglington Avenue West, Dec. 28, 2017. CITYNEWS/Robin Kuniski

Water main break at Keelesdale South Park and Eglington Avenue West, Dec. 28, 2017. CITYNEWS/Robin Kuniski

Fire officials are reminding residents to open their taps up and let them run a little so the pipes don’t freeze.

Environment Canada issues extreme cold warning for GTA

CityNews | posted Thursday, Dec 28th, 2017

Environment Canada issued an extreme cold weather warning on Wednesday for the GTA and beyond, including Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, York and Durham regions, Caledon and Barrie.

Toronto’s medical officer of health also issued an extreme cold weather alert on Monday and it remained in effect on Wednesday. Forecasters said the highs will be in the minus double digits.

Motorists are being warned to drive with caution as high winds and blowing snow have caused reduced visibility on highways.

Residents are being advised to cover up any exposed skin and wear wool or synthetic fabrics instead of cotton. The city is also urging people to check on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours.

Environment Canada sayid it’s unusual to have a wave of frigid air stay around this long.

Meteorologist Alexandre Parent said Wednesday the big chill is affecting the Prairies, Ontario and western Quebec and was to spread into the Maritimes.

He said northern Ontario was being hardest hit with the current cold snap, with temperatures expected to feel like -50 C with the wind chill in some places.

“The size of this cold wave in terms of geographical distribution is quite exceptional for this early in the winter season.

“What’s also exceptional is the duration of this episode,” he said, noting that the extreme cold weather could hang over Quebec for the next seven days.

The weather specialist said he had to go back to 1993 to find a similar cold spell between Christmas and Jan 1.

Temperatures were colder then, but the extreme cold didn’t stay around for long.

“The last few years we had one or two days of cold weather, but usually those were compensated by a few days near zero which is not the case this year,” Parent said.

“It’s the span of days with 10 to 15 degrees below normal which are exceptional.”

Ice chunk thrown from North York overpass shatters car’s windshield

CityNews | posted Thursday, Dec 28th, 2017

Late Tuesday night Millie Boella and her partner, Nicolas Piperno, were on Allen Road approaching Flemington Road when a huge piece of ice fell through the passenger side windshield and onto her lap.

The projectile shattered the front window and caused glass to spread around the interior of the car. Boella believes that someone deliberately tossed the ice onto their vehicle.

“We are both without any physical injuries, but I was very shaken up,” Boella wrote in a Facebook post.

According to the couple, when they reported the incident to police, they were told there wouldn’t be a criminal investigation because there were no witnesses.

No one was seriously injured.


Ontario’s minimum wage will go up to $14 on Jan. 1

CityNews | posted Thursday, Dec 28th, 2017

Minimum wage in Ontario will go up to $14 an hour on Jan. 1.

Labour Minister Kevin Flynn was at Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Wednesday morning to make the announcement.

He said as a result of the wage hike, the purchasing power of ordinary Ontarians will increase and an estimated 55 per cent of all retail workers in the province will be getting a raise.

“You’re seeing about 30 per cent of the population right now is making less than 1$5 an hour. Right now, they cant afford to get by — it’s that simple. Those people will all be seeing an increase to their pay up to the $14 mark,” he said.

For those who are worried about small businesses taking a hit, he added that the overriding opinion of the economists they consulted with is that the province is doing the right thing.

“The minimum wage should have a relationship to your ability to be able to just get the basics of life within whichever jurisdiction you’re in,” he said. “This money is going to go right back into main street, its going to go right back into the mom and pop businesses (that you’re talking about) that are concerned.”

Other changes coming into effect on the first day of 2018 include ensuring workers are entitled to at least three weeks of vacation after working with the same employer for five years and the introduction of a new domestic or sexual violence leave.

Under this leave workers are entitled to take up to 17 weeks off from work per calendar year without the fear of losing their jobs if they or their child has experienced or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence. 10 individual days can be taken, one day at a time, for things like medical appointments. Up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave can be taken intermittently for issues that might take more time like moving homes.

The changes are part of the provinces Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act, 2017.

Click here for a full list of changes taking effect in 2018.

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