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Ghomeshi back in court for second week of trial

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Feb 8th, 2016

The trial of Jian Ghomeshi, the disgraced former broadcaster accused of sexual assault, will continue Monday.

Ghomeshi is charged with four counts of sexual assault, and one count of overcome resistance by choking, which he has pleaded not guilty to.

Last week, the court heard from former actress Lucy DeCoutere, the only one of the three complainants in the case who can be publicly named.

Ghomeshi’s lawyer launched an intense cross-examination of DeCoutere over emails sent to the former CBC host.

One of them, sent a few hours after DeCoutere alleges Ghomeshi assaulted her, expressed a desire to have sex with him.

But DeCoutere said that doesn’t change the fact that she was assaulted.

The court has yet to hear from a third complainant who is slated to testify in the trial.

Ghomeshi acknowledged in 2014 that he engaged in rough sex acts, but said it was consensual.

Taxi protest planned for NBA All-Star weekend in Toronto

CityNews | posted Monday, Feb 8th, 2016

Hundreds of taxi drivers joined together on Sunday evening at the Woodbine Banquet Hall to announce, with screaming approval, that they will be protesting during NBA All-Star weekend.

“We are going for a heavy duty strike much bigger than December 9th,” said Paul Sekhon, head of the newly formed United Taxi Workers Association of the GTA.

Sekhon told CityNews that the strike will start on Friday.

Representatives from all of the region’s taxi associations sat down together for the first time on to plan the strike. The Workers Association, formed at Sunday night’s meeting, is an umbrella group, designed to protect all members of the taxi industry, from drivers all the way up to brokerages.

Organizers say that since city council voted to delay a possible injunction against UberX last week, cabbies are being forced to take matters into their own hands. The City of Toronto has also granted a taxi brokerage license to Uber, putting it on the same footing as regulated taxi companies Beck and Royal.

Taxi industry leaders are planning to release more details about their upcoming protest on Wednesday.

Mayor John Tory is expected to outline the city’s response on Monday morning, ahead of an NBA All-Star announcement.

Toronto, like many cities around the world, has been struggling to monitor ridesharing services like Uber since it first set up shop in 2012.

Earlier this month, insurance company Aviva Canada announced that it had plans to provide ride-sharing drivers with special coverage.

Celebrate with Beyoncé, JT, dragons and street food in Toronto this weekend

Amber LeBlanc and Diana Pereira | posted Friday, Feb 5th, 2016

Since it feels like spring (at the moment), you may as well make some weekend plans before your hibernating gene kicks in again when the weather gets cooler.

Weekend events

Dragon Ball
To mark the upcoming Lunar New Year, one of the region’s premiere galas is being held this weekend at Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This year’s black tie Dragon Ball opens Saturday with a grand reception, followed by a four-course dinner at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The event will raise money for the Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation, which helps seniors lead independent lives. Tickets are available here.

Clearance Actor Alan Cumming at home in New York. Photo via alancumming.com
Clearance Actor Alan Cumming at home in New York. Photo via alancumming.com

Alan Cumming Live
A four-time Emmy nominee and Tony-award winning star is in Toronto this weekend at Winter Garden Theatre. Alan Cumming, who currently stars in The Good Wife, will be performing “Sappy Songs” at the Winter Garden Theatre Saturday night. The New York Times has called his show an “emotional firestorm,” in which he performs songs by Billy Joel, Rufus Wainwaight and Miley Cyrus. Tickets are available here.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performing at Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Florida. Photo via facebook.com/torontosymphonyorchestra.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performing at Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Florida. Photo via facebook.com/torontosymphonyorchestra.

TSO teams up with Science Centre
A right brain-left brain meeting is happening Saturday at Roy Thomson Hall. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra teams up with the Ontario Science Centre for a concert which explores different sounds, technology, space and science experiments. Kids are encouraged to come out, especially budding scientists. The TSO says it’s suitable for children ages 5 to 12.

Midnight MRKT at 2nd Floor Events
Street food and cocktails will be served at this late-night shopping event on Friday where local retailers will sell their wares (cash only). Bring your dancing shoes because there will be a DJ spinning some tunes. $5 tickets will be on sale at the door.

Beyonce vs. JT Photo via FACEBOOK
Beyonce vs. JT Photo via FACEBOOK

Queen B vs JT: Battle of the Sexes Video Dance Party
You may want to wear a “Halo” or a “Suit and Tie” for this event. Beyoncé meets Justin Timberlake at this video dance party at the Gladstone Hotel. Tickets are $12.25 and are available here.

Valentine's popup shop at Fika Photo via FACEBOOK
Valentine’s popup shop at Fika Photo via FACEBOOK

Valentine’s pop-up shop in Kensington Market
While picking up your groceries at the market this weekend, you may want to pick up a few sweet things (for your beau, or better yet, for yourself!) ahead of Valentine’s Day, Or for no reason at all, if you don’t buy into the Hallmark holiday. Fika, an independent cafe, will be hosting a pop-up shop, showcasing five artists, makers and designers selling gifts such as cards, textiles and jewelry.

TTC closures

There are no scheduled TTC closures this weekend.

Drake, Reynolds and Mirren among celebs in Super Bowl commercials

Christine Chubb | posted Friday, Feb 5th, 2016

It’s cliche to say, but the commercials really are the best thing about the Super Bowl.

This year some of the biggest celebrities on the planet are headed to the small screen for these multi-million dollar ads.

Some have messages, some are funny and some … we’ll let you decide.

Helen Mirren – Budweiser

Oscar winning actress and all around bad-ass Helen Mirren uses 60 seconds of Budweiser’s time not just to promote the product but to offer up a no holds barred PSA against drinking and driving.

Titled ‘Simply Put’, Mirren unleashes a tongue lashing, calling those who still drink a drive, among other things, ‘a human form of pollution,’ while sitting at a low-lit leather booth in front of a cheeseburger.

Ryan Reynolds – Hyundai

Ryan Reynolds stars in every woman’s fantasy – a town filled with dozens of Ryan Reynolds. Complete with Salt-N-Pepa’s ‘What A Man,” this dream come true is courtesy of the 2017 Hyundai Elantra.

The Vancouver native, who is currently promoting the upcoming film ‘Deadpool’ described it on Twitter as “Of all the roles I’ve played, this was the most…. roles”

Welcome to ‘Ryanville.’

Drake – T-Mobile

Toronto rap superstar Drake pokes fun at corporate suits in a commercial for T-Mobile titled ‘Restricted Bling.’

The former ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’ star dusted off his acting chops while smiling politely at companies attempting to insert sales pitches into songs without considering artistic message.

And you thought 2016 was the year you were going to get ‘Hotline Bling’ out of your head.

And while the big names may get all the attention, the real winner of the Super Bowl 2016 commercial battle may just be Heinz Ketchup with its absolutely adorable ad ‘Wiener Stampede.’


The 5 Apple Watch Apps You Need to Try

Claudia Steven | posted Thursday, Feb 4th, 2016

Ultimate Photo Editor Lite
What it does: If you can take a selfie on your Apple Watch, you should be able to edit it right? Right. The Ultimate Photo Editor Lite isn’t exactly a replacement for Photoshop, but it definitely covers the essentials. Enhance your photo with basic editing tools and add filters, frames or light leaks. Save your finished work of art in high-resolution and share with your friends and social networks right from your watch.
Cost: Free

Supercat Momo

What it does: While we’re all obsessed with Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector, it sadly isn’t yet available for Apple Watch. So, feed your cat-hoarding addiction with Supercat Momo. In this Super Mario-style adventure game, you become a cat trying to protect your village from the threat of fiery dragons. Jump and run to collect coins and defeat your enemies. All in a day’s work, right?
Free + in-app purchases

What it does: 
Whether you run marathons or are working on your New Year’s resolutions, Runkeeper is the perfect app for motivating you to hit the pavement. Compare each run to track your progress and achieve fitness goals by saving your distance, time and heart rate. For beginners, try the run/walk training plans to help ease into your ambitious fitness routine. Bonus: You can sync your customized Spotify or iTunes playlists with this app.
Free + in-app purchases

What it does: 
 Similar to Tinder, BLINQ prompts you to swipe to say “Hi” or “Bye” to other app users/potential hook-ups in your area. Out with your friends? Check out InstaConnect to find matches at the same bar or club in real-time. But that’s not all: Stay up-to-date on the the most popular events in your city using HotList or see which area has the most activity on the HeatMap.

What it does: 
If Pinterest and your shopping addiction came together and had a baby, it would be Keep. Discover new products when you scroll through Keep’s endless feed of the latest in fashion, decor and design. Each item is linked to an online store allowing you to check the price and purchase directly through the app. If you see something you like but aren’t ready to buy, save for later in a customizable collection. Our favourite feature? If you “keep” an item in your collection, you’ll receive a notification as soon as it goes on sale. 
Free (aside from all the $$$ we will now be spending on sale items directly from our watches)

Muzzo expected to plead guilty to drunk driving charges

CityNews | posted Thursday, Feb 4th, 2016

The man accused of being behind the wheel of the SUV that killed three children and their grandfather last September is due back in court on Thursday.

Marco Muzzo, 29, is expected to plead guilty to charges related to the crash in Vaughan.

The Toronto Sun reports that a recent Supreme Court decision on drunk driving could increase the amount of jail time Muzzo receives.

Legal experts say the court’s ruling has opened the door to judges imposing longer sentences.

Muzzo is facing four counts of drunk driving causing death.

Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly, and their 65-year-old grandfather Gary Neville died after the van they were in was T-boned by an SUV.

The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were seriously injured in the crash.

The children’s parents, who’ve attended all of Muzzo’s court hearings to date, said they were “cautiously optimistic” about his intentions to plead guilty because it would allow them to move forward.

With files from The Canadian Press

A 101 guide to reading a report card

Dr. Karyn Gordon | posted Wednesday, Feb 3rd, 2016

The Do’s & Don’ts

DON’T:  Ask – “How Many A’s Did You Get?”

This the is number-one question kids get asked on the day of report cards which is not helpful.  The focus is on achievement. Often, kids will internalize this as “My parents only love me if I achieve.” As a result, kids do two extremes: They either under-function (“I’ll never get the approval of my dad so why bother trying”) OR they over-achieve to win their parents approval. The challenge with over-achievers (they look great on paper and get into a lot of the top schools) – but they often struggle with low self-esteem, perfection, and anxiety because their self-worth is based on externals.

DO: Ask – “How Do You Feel About Your Report Card? OR

“If You Were Your Own Teacher – How Would You Grade Yourself Based On Your Effort?

Put the focus on character (self-discipline, motivation, asking for help, time management, organization). All of these “characteristics” and “habits” will highly influence their marks – and these behaviours are what kids can 100% control! Not only is it extremely empowering for your kids, but it also puts them all on the “same playing field” so regardless if you have one child that is gifted and one that has an LD… the goal and objective is effort, not mark!

DON’T: Compare To Their Siblings Or Other People

When parents compare siblings to each other (or others) its extremely disempowering and frustrating for kids!  Each child is different, unique and has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. If we compare – we are focusing on something they cannot control. In addition it often creates intense competition and jealousy between siblings.

DO: Get Them To Compare To Themselves!

The key to intrinsic motivation is to get the person to focus on what they can control (which is themselves). If they had a 68% in math – their goal could be a 73%. Get them to compare themselves to themselves. Get them to be their own evaluator. What worked this past term? What did not? What did they do well? What areas do they think they need to work on? By asking the questions (and getting them to answer it) … they are taking more responsibility for themselves and their learning!

do and dont TWO

Dr. Karyn Gordon, DK Leadership
Twitter @DrKarynGordon

Come Hear Dr. Karyn At Her SPRING SCHOOL SPEAKING TOUR / GTA – Free For Parents:)

See if she is speaking at a school near you! http://www.dkleadership.org/speaking/speaking-calendar
Or book her to speak at your school (Full funding is available through the Ministry)
Email for more information: info@dkleadership.org

Subway raccoon delays transit but delights passengers

Christine Chubb | posted Wednesday, Feb 3rd, 2016

Looks like one raccoon wasn’t going to let groundhogs get all the attention today.

Commuters at Spadina Station were shocked to see a nocturnal passenger on the subway Tuesday morning when a raccoon hopped on and tried to head south.

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said they’re not sure how the raccoon got into the station.

“From time to time, wildlife and other animals do make their way onto our property,” Ross said. “He did appear very harmless and very young, more curious than anything.”

Carl Fernandez documented the raccoon’s adventure on Twitter.

“I was closing my eyes on the subway heading off to work when I heard the commotion. I thought maybe it was a fight and saw people getting up,” Fernandez explained. “Then I finally saw the raccoon, just casually walking up the aisle of the subway.”

The adorable creature strolled onto the subway during the morning rush hour, only to change his mind and decide to walk.

“This was better than coffee, it woke me right up, I was sleeping and there was no sleeping afterward,” Fernandez joked. “Some people were screaming and were getting out of the way. Some people just stood there and the racoon just passed them by.”

Subway service southbound at Spadina was briefly delayed but video from the the scene showed those at the station didn’t seem to mind.

After a little stroll along the platform, Ross said the animal disappeared into the tunnel.

“He probably has a den or nest somewhere that has access to the tunnel,” he explained.

This isn’t the first time raccoons have opted for public transit to get around the GTA.

In December, a raccoon stowed away on a morning Aldershot GO Train.

Anne Marie Aikins, spokesperson for Metrolinx, said they closed off the coach to other passengers until they got to Aldershot, when the raccoon was safely removed from the train.

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