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Former South African leader Nelson Mandela dies at 95

CityNews | posted Thursday, Dec 5th, 2013

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically-elected president after decades of apartheid rule, has died, South African president Jacob Zuma says. He was 95.

“He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20:50 on the fifth of December 2013,” Zuma said on national TV. “He is now resting. He’s now at peace. Our nation has lost his greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”

The health of Mandela, who was freed from prison in 1990 and became president in 1994, had deteriorated in recent months after being hospitalized a fourth time since last December.

Reaction to his death from world leaders was swift. Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted, “All of Canada mourns with the family of Nelson Mandela and the citizens of South Africa. The world has lost one of its great moral leaders.”

“A precious light has gone out in the world,” former prime minister Brian Mulroney said in a statement. “Mila and I join with Graca Machel, his devoted family, and the millions who loved him in every corner of our world, in mourning this giant of our times.

“It is hard to imagine how much poorer the world would be, were we not to have been blessed by the power of the life of Mandela — the teacher of his people, a model for leadership everywhere.”

Mulroney hosted Mandela’s first visit to Canada in June 1990 and set up a $5-million fund to help relocate South African exiles.

In the United States, President Barack Obama said, “He achieved more than can be expected of any man. Today he’s gone home. We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings…He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages.”

Obama said he was among millions who drew inspiration from Mandela’s life and said his first political action was to protest against apartheid.

“The day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears,” Obama said.

Overseas, British Prime Minister David Cameron posted on Twitter, “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time. I’ve asked for the flag at No10 to be flown at half mast.”

Born in 1912 to the Thembu royal family, Mandela studied law and moved to Johannesburg where he became a part of the anti-colonial movement.

In 1961 he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe and led a bombing campaign against government targets. The next year Mandela was arrested and convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government.

He served 27 years in prison before an international campaign lobbying for his release was successful in February 1990.

His release was broadcast live around the world and would become a quintessential moment in the end of apartheid.

Mandela was married three times, had six children and 17 grandchildren.

Click here to view the comments of world leaders as they react to the death of Nelson Mandela.

CityNews’ Gord Martineau takes a look back at Mandela’s life in the report below.

EXCLUSIVE: Hockey comes alive when Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits BT

Winston Sih | posted Sunday, Dec 1st, 2013

Breakfast Television got up close and personal as we played host to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in studio to discuss his new book, A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey, in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 5.

In his first Canadian morning television interview for the book tour, Prime Minister Harper sat down with co-host Kevin Frankish to chat about this labour of love that looks at the early days of Canada’s pastime sport.

Released in November of this year, A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey explores the fascinating early years of ice hockey. A passionate hockey fan, Prime Minister Harper presents a thrilling depiction of hockey heroes, business leaders who built the game, and the rise and fall of teams pursuing the coveted Stanley Cup.

Watch the full interview above.

See the behind-the-scenes photos in the gallery below.

Click to buy the book at Amazon.ca.

Click to buy the book at Amazon.ca.

Week of Dec. 2, 2013

BT Toronto | posted Sunday, Dec 1st, 2013

It’s a star-studded lineup on next week’s Breakfast Television!

He’s our prime minister and hockey historian; Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be live on Breakfast Television Monday with his new book–A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey.  Plus, Toronto Maple Leaf Nazem Kadri will be on the show working up an appetite in the kitchen.

Click to buy the book at Amazon.ca

Click to buy the book at Amazon.ca.


Actress and singer Hilary Duff stops by on Wednesday to talk about her latest charity initiative.

And, Evangeline Lilly will be in studio with the scoop on her latest role in The Hobbit to round out the week on Friday!

Be sure to watch BT weekdays 5:30 to 9 a.m. on City, right here at BTtoronto.ca/live, or on our Breakfast Television mobile app for iOS and Android!


Actor Paul Walker killed in car crash

CityNews | posted Saturday, Nov 30th, 2013

Fast and Furious star Paul Walker has died in a car accident in California.

He was 40.

His death was first reported by online gossip website TMZ and then confirmed on the actor’s verified Twitter account Saturday evening.

A statement posted on the actor’s Facebook page said Walker was attending a charity event and was a passenger in a friend’s car at the time of the crash.

“We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time,” the statement read.

TMZ reported that the vehicle burst into flames after the collision.

Walker also appeared in such films as Varsity BluesShe’s All That and Pleasantville.

He was currently shooting Fast & Furious 7 at the time of his death.

With files from Christine Chubb, CityNews.ca

Shopping tips and resources for Canadian Black Friday

Winston Sih | posted Thursday, Nov 28th, 2013

Crushing crowds, stampedes at the door, even pepper spray and bullets — these are the just some of the scenes Americans are willing to endure on Black Friday as shoppers trample over each other to get the best prices on TVs, video games and designer handbags. Well, Canada, now it’s our turn.

City digital media correspondent Winston Sih shared some of his tips for preparing for one of Canada’s biggest shopping days.

Last year Canadian retailers began offering their own Black Friday deals in an effort to keep shoppers here north of the border. This year, the tradition looks set to really take off with major malls jumping into action — 21 Cadillac Fairview malls are set to open early on November 29th — encouraging even more stores to offer deep discounts and hopes that Canadians will bound through doors en masse.

For Canadians who aren’t quite used to dealing with Black Friday madness, we offer up a few tips for surviving the mad dash for discounts.

1. Do your homework

Before you head out into the mayhem, know where to start. Find out what’s on sale and where the best price is and plan your day accordingly. Keep an eye out for store fliers or check out sites like RedFlagDeals.com.

2. Make a list (and stick to it)

Hitting the chaos of Black Friday without a list can lead to bags full of useless things and big credit card bills. Figure out what you need to buy before you go out. And make your list realistic — you may not be able to buy everything on your holiday list.

3. Ask for a better discount

This is where we polite Canadians can take a lesson from our friends in the U.S.! You don’t need to be rude, but asking if a retailer if he or she is able give you a better price isn’t going to hurt anyone’s feelings — and you might even get away with paying less.

4. Know what to avoid

Black Friday doesn’t mean everything is on sale. Items like toys and winter clothes will be way cheaper right before or after Christmas. Ditto for brand name TVs and other electronics, which usually go on sale in January and February as retailers make room for new models.

5. Leave your credit card at home

Black Friday is a dangerous time for anyone with a tendency to impulse shop. The best way to avoid overdoing it or going over-budget is to avoid plastic and take cash, that way you’ll avoid any scary surprises when your credit card bill comes.

6. Read the fine print

Before you buy anything, make sure the store isn’t changing its return policy for Black Friday. For example, a sale item might be eligible for an exchange not a refund.

7. Wait for Cyber Monday

If the crowds and mall mayhem isn’t your thing, you can shop from the comfort of your couch on Cyber Monday. Lots of online retailers offer great discounts on the Monday after Black Friday. Even better, we can take advantage of deals on both sides of the border!

Online resources:

With files from Chatelaine and Caroline Cakebread

Donations bleak for Toronto Police toy drive

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 27th, 2013

Toronto Police are hoping that the holiday spirit will encourage donations to their annual Auxiliary toy drive.

Since the drive began on Monday, police say donations have been “nonexistent.”

Five locations are accepting new unwrapped toys to help approximately 3,000 children and youth in need from the Scarborough area.

Police say that while all toy donations are welcome they are desperately in need for toys for both girls and boys age 10 to 14.

Donations can be dropped off at the following locations:

  • 41 Division: 2222 Eglinton Avenue East
  • 42 Division: 242 Milner Avenue
  • 43 Division: 4331 Lawrence Avenue East
  • 33 Division: 50 Upjohn Road
  • TD Canada Trust Bank: 2561 Victoria Park Avenue

Toys will be distributed on Dec. 8.

With files from Christine Chubb, CityNews.ca

Bring a toy to the Breakfast Television Tree Sale and hang out with your favourite on- and off-air personalities!

Rogers and NHL sign 12-year broadcast agreement

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Nov 26th, 2013

The National Hockey League says it has reached a 12-year, $5.2-billion agreement with Rogers Communications for the league’s broadcast and multimedia rights.

As part of the deal, Rogers says the CBC will continue to air its iconic Hockey Night in Canada broadcast and that the TVA network in Quebec has all of the Canadian French-language multi-media rights.

The league says the deal gives Rogers national rights to all NHL games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, on all of its platforms in all languages.

In addition, the NHL says the agreement guarantees that there will be no further regionalization of games or local blackouts. Rogers has three exclusive windows to broadcast any game involving a Canadian team — Wednesday nights, Saturday nights (including CBC) and Sunday nights.

The NHL’s news release early Tuesday made no mention of TSN, which currently airs a package of regular season and playoff games, prompting at least one report that the network was shut out of the bidding.

Longtime NHL analyst Bob McKenzie said in a tweet early Tuesday that ”TSN’s national rights package for NHL games expires at end of this season and isn’t being renewed.”

He added that TSN would, in spite of losing national rights, maintain and intensify efforts to “continue as a prime source for hockey news and information.”

The NHL says the partnership with Rogers and TVA, which is subject to approve by the NHL Board of Governors, will begin with the 2014-15 season and run through the 2025-26 season. The Board of Governors will next meet Dec. 9-10 in Pebble Beach, Calif.

The league said in a statement that the agreement is the largest media rights deal in its history and one of the largest media rights deals ever in Canada, including the largest-ever sports-media rights agreement.

Executives from the NHL and Rogers will be hold a news conference today at 11 a.m. in Toronto to formally announce the deal.

“The NHL is extremely excited about the power and potential of this groundbreaking partnership,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement.

“Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey, and that is precisely what Rogers has promised to deliver over the next 12 years,” Bettman added.

Rogers will provide game coverage with expanded pre- and post-game coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. Rogers also has exclusive rights to special events such as future NHL All-Star Games and NHL Drafts.

In addition, Rogers said it will use its digital technology to stream games on the Internet, wireless and mobile devices, and satellite radio. Rogers will operate NHL Center Ice and NHL GameCenter Live in Canada.

“Sports content is a key strategic asset and we’ve been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians,” said Rogers CEO and president Nadir Mohamed in a statement issued through the NHL.

“Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice.”

Rogers Communications is the parent company of City, Breakfast Television, and BreakfastTelevision.ca.

How will this change how you watch hockey? Will it?

With files from The Canadian Press

Snow expected in Toronto on Tuesday

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Nov 26th, 2013

Some snow is expected in Toronto on Tuesday but the biggest dump will be east of the city and into New York State.

CityNews meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai is calling for anywhere from 2 cm to 5 cm of snow at Pearson airport and downtown, there could be 2-4 cm, due to the melting and mixing of rain.

That number jumps east of Toronto, with more than 15 cm in the forecast east of Oshawa and 15-30 cm in the Cobourg and Peterborough area.

St. Catharines and the Niagara region could see 10-20 cm of snow, Ramsahai said.

A low pressure system just southeast of New Orleans is beginning to track northeast and is expected to intensify into a winter storm as it moves up along the eastern seaboard of the United States on Tuesday night, Environment Canada said.

The storm will move into New England on Wednesday.

Travel into eastern Ontario and New York State is not recommended, as there will be more snow there, Environment Canada said.

What’s it like where you are? Let us know in the comments and send us your photos @BTtoronto.

With files from Erin Criger, CityNews.ca

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