Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Travel tips from the Canada Border Services Agency

MONTREAL, December 21, 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - With the coming of the winter season, many residents of Canada will travel by air for their vacations. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) makes every effort to effectively process the volume of international arrivals at airports. The travel tips below will assist travellers to take appropriate action before their departure, and to be aware of requirements to facilitate their return to Canada.

Proper identification

Make sure that you are carrying proper identification for yourself and any children travelling with you so you can prove that you have the legal right or authorization to enter Canada upon your return. While a passport is not mandatory for entry into Canada, it is the only document that is universally accepted..

Travelling with children - authorization letter

It is strongly recommended that any adults, who are not the parents or legal guardians of children with whom they are travelling, have a letter authorizing them to take the children outside the country. The letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or legal guardian can be reached. Divorced/separated parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of legal custody documents.

Personal exemptions

When you return to Canada, be prepared to pay the GST and provincial tax on your purchases, and customs duties on some items. Declare all your purchases and have receipts readily available. After an absence of seven days, you are entitled to CAN$750 duty- and tax-free.

One of the following amounts of alcohol can be imported free of duty and taxes (if you have been away at least 48 hours)

1.5 litres of wine (53 ounces)
1.14 litres of alcohol (40 ounces)
a combination of wine and liquor not exceeding a total of 1.14 litres (40 ounces)
24 cans or bottles of beer or ale (355-millilitre or 12 ounces each with a maximum of 8.5 litres)

One of the following amounts of tobacco can be imported free of duty and taxes (if you have been away at least 48 hours)

200 cigarettes (1 carton)
50 cigars or cigarillos
200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco
200 tobacco sticks.

Food products

Canada has complex requirements, restrictions and limits on the importation of meat, eggs, dairy products, honey, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other food products from all over the world. For more information, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Web site at www.inspection.gc.ca.

Plants and animals

Plants are potential carriers of insects and disease. For this reason, border services officers control the entry into Canada of plants, soil, sand or all other material in which vegetation or plants are rooted or wrapped. For more information, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Web site at www.inspection.gc.ca.

For more information, visit the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca or contact the Border Information Service at 1-800-461-9999.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Travelling this holiday season? TICO Travel Tips

TORONTO, December 20, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ -The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) suggests you keep the following in mind:

...Always book with an Ontario registered travel agency. Whether in person, by telephone or over the Internet, purchasing your travel services from a TICO-registered travel agency means you are covered by Ontario's travel consumer protection provisions. Check to see if your travel agency is registered by going to www.tico.ca and using the Travel Agency Search feature.

...Get a Receipt. Your Ontario travel agency is required to provide you a receipt and invoice for all payments, even when you pay with cash. Always retain original documents such as receipts, invoices, returned cheques and credit card slips. These are your proof of purchase, should you need them down the road.

...Do research and ask questions. Part of the fun of a vacation lies in making plans, so get involved. The Internet can be a great resource for information as can your TICO-registered travel agency. Remember that different standards of living and practices may exist outside of Canada , so ask questions and research your destination to help you make the best decision.

...Purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance is always recommended. Ontario travel agencies are required to advise about the availability of trip cancellation insurance and out-of-province health insurance at the time of booking.

...Know the terms and conditions of your booking. Whether in person or online, always read and understand the Terms and Conditions of the travel services being purchased. Pay close attention to items relating to cancellation, changes to bookings and refunds.

...Passports and Visas Your Ontario travel agent is required to disclose the travel documentation required for each person travelling. Avoid disappointment and prepare your travel documentation ahead of time and ensure your passport is valid well beyond the date of your expected return.

...Make copies. In case of loss or theft, make copies of your passport details, visa, insurance policy, airline tickets and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a place different than the originals while travelling and leave a copy with someone at home.

...Dates, Times and Flight Numbers. Contact the airline the day before your flight leaves to confirm departure times and how early you need to arrive at the airport. Call before you leave home to make sure your flight is on time.

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario administers the Ontario Travel Industry Act, 2002 as well as an industry-financed Compensation Fund.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

State of emergency in southwest Ontario highlights need for winter survival kit - Insurance Bureau of Canada

TORONTO, December 14, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Heavy snow stranding hundreds of drivers in southwest Ontario has caused a state of emergency, emphasizing the importance of preparing a winter survival kit before driving, says Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Treacherous Driving Conditions

"Winter storms can cause treacherous driving conditions as the people stranded on Highway 402 in Ontario have experienced", says James Geuzebroek, Acting Vice President, Communications, Insurance Bureau of Canada. "It's essential to be prepared when driving in these conditions. Check the weather before you leave, make sure your vehicle is fully maintained and pack a winter survival kit," he added.

What to Pack in a Winter Survival Kit?

...Sand and shovel

...Road map and compass or GPS unit

...Extra clothing, footwear and blanket

...Emergency food pack

...Ice scraper and booster cables


...First aid kit

For more ideas on what to include in a survival kit and tips on driving safely in winter, please visit ibc.ca.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Picture Painting Chimp Earns Fame, But Not Freedom

from TreeHugger.com
by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil

For most of his 27 years, Jimmy the chimpanzee has been kept under lock and key, allowed only to dream of the world beyond the confines of his enclosure at a small zoo in Rio de Janeiro. With no companion and little to do to pass the time, Jimmy had become understandably depressed -- that is, until he discovered the joy of painting. But despite receiving national acclaim for his uncanny artistic ability, and becoming a household name in Brazil, the results of Jimmy's latest bid for a better life may add a little gloom to his palette.

If Jimmy's art leans towards the abstract, it could be for his limited exposure to the beauty of a natural landscape. From birth until age three, the chimpanzee toured with a circus troupe where he endured untold stresses at the hands of people infamously more interested in profits than the humane treatment of their animals. And Jimmy isn't the only one with a difficult past; Several residents at the zoo where Jimmy lives were found abandoned by bankrupt circus owners.

For the last 10 years, Jimmy has lived by himself in an enclosure at the poorly funded Niteroi zoo, in Rio de Janeiro. Despite the economic hardships, his keepers did their best to keep his spirits up offering games, sugary snacks, and even a TV to the chimp -- but none of these things could cure Jimmy's loneliness and depression quite like one particular pastime. Six months ago, his trainer brought him a canvas, a few brushes, and some paints -- allowing Jimmy to discover his love of painting. And, boy, can he paint... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Saturday, 4 December 2010

New survey reveals more than half of Ontarians feel music enhances everything they do

A surprise TTC musical makes for melodic morning commute as TVO launches Music Week

TORONTO, December 2, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - A surprise live musical in Toronto subway stations during morning rush hour yesterday kept TTC riders humming just as new insights from TVO reveal that Ontarians are willing to make sacrifices to keep music as a vital component of daily life. Almost half (47 per cent) would give up beer or wine, and four in 10 (36 per cent) would forsake their cell phones for a month in order to keep the music playing. TVO joined in an Angus Reid Strategies poll to gauge the importance of music in the lives of Ontarians in an effort to raise awareness for Music Week, which begins on December 5th.

The impromptu performances by an undercover professional chorus aimed to inspire, delight and entertain unsuspecting audiences and help to demonstrate the positive influence music has on the daily life of Ontarians.

"These new insights from Ontarians and the response we saw from commuters during our surprise live performances tell us that music is not just an important part of daily life, but it inspires conversation," says Steve Rayment, Director of Marketing, TVO. "Interestingly, Ontarians told us that music, more than any other art form, has had the most influence on their learning and this is the driving force behind TVO's Music Week, and TVO's goal to inform, inspire and encourage all Ontarians to fully engage with the world around them."

In an effort to engage people in a new and compelling way, TVO enlisted a 30-person professional chorus, who were disguised as commuters to hand deliver a memorable musical message by infiltrating subways and surrounding TTC riders with song. Vocalists and street percussionists spontaneously performed renditions of Stevie Wonder's classic, Superstition, as a human experiment to explore music and what it means to so many people.

The power of music

The power of music to enlighten, empower and heal is evident in TVO's Music Week line-up, which includes the world premiere of Listen to This, on December 8. In this inspiring documentary, filmmaker Juan Baquero documents a unique song-writing class at Firgrove Public School in Toronto's Jane-Finch area that uses music to build self-esteem in inner-city kids. The program was created by jazz pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo who, along with three other musicians, works with students one-on-one to help them open up about what's going on in their lives and work towards achieving a positive goal.

As the subjects of Listen to This may attest, TVO's survey revealed that younger generation Ontarians, aged 18 to 34, are more inclined to believe in the extent to which music is a powerful social and cultural influence. More than half (54 per cent) believe music has the power to inspire trends in pop culture, while 50 per cent think it informs us about other cultures and more than four in 10 (42 per cent) believe it's a catalyst for change.

Similarly, the notion that music is intrinsically tied to the spirit of youth is captured beautifully in the TVO documentary Young @ Heart, which profiles an unorthodox chorus of senior citizens who channel a youthful passion in their interpretation of edgy and influential rock from the modern era. Featuring songs from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Clash and Radiohead, Young @ Heart, has inspired audiences young and old around the world.

"Music is a powerful cultural and social influence, and this notion is explored through a variety of engaging programs to air during TVO's Music Week," says Rayment. "We hope that these programs will not just delight and entertain, but will also inspire and fuel conversation around the integral role that music plays in all our lives."

Encore performance: music and memory

It's no surprise that music is on the minds of Ontarians. 91 per cent say they always or sometimes get music stuck in their heads. But, music is also a powerful tool for Ontarians to unlock memories and past experiences. Seven in 10 believe music is important in their ability to recall past experiences or relationships, even more so with women (75 per cent).

These results may inspire yet another conversation among Ontarians: if music helps to unlock memories, then what are Ontarians destined to forget without the aid of music to remind them?

About TVO Music Week: December 5 to 11

Music Week starts the month off on an up beat with a number of documentaries, current affairs programs and films that will have audiences tapping their toes and looking at the art and science of music in new ways.

Featured programming includes:

Young @ Heart, Canadian premiere on December 5, encores December 6 and 31
Music of the Brain, North American premiere December 7, encore December 9
Listen to This, world premiere December 8, encores December 12 and 31

For more Music Week listings and program previews, visit http://smr.newswire.ca/en/tvo/tvo-december-2010-highlights

About TVO

TVO is Ontario's public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. Celebrating 40 years in 2010, TVO's vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and supported by thousands of donors. For more information, visit tvo.org.

Where to find TVO
Cable channel 2 (channel may vary in some areas), Rogers HD channel 580, Bell TV channel 265, Shaw Direct channel 353.

About the survey

Methodology: From November 15 to November 16, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 808 randomly selected Ontarian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.5%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Ontario. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

TVO Music Week: survey results at a glance

What would Ontarians sacrifice for a month to keep the music playing?

...Almost half of Ontarians (47 per cent) would give up wine or beer for music.

...Women are even more likely, with 56 per cent saying they'd give up wine or beer for music.

...45 per cent of Ontarians would give up their daily newspaper, this number is significantly higher (58 per cent) among 18 to 34 year olds.

...Almost four in 10 Ontarians (36 per cent) would give up their cell phone for music
16 per cent of Ontarians would sacrifice sex for music.

Music enhances life:

More than half of Ontarians (52 per cent) said that music enhances everything they do, be it exercising, home or school work, spending an evening out on the town or watching tv/movies.
This is even truer amongst younger generation Ontarians. Fifty-five per cent of Ontarians aged 18 to 34 believe music enhances everything they do; and seven in 10 think it enhances exercise.

Music and the mind:

...Seven in 10 Ontarians said music is important in their ability to recall past experiences or relationships. Even more so with women (75 per cent).

...91 per cent of Ontarians always/sometimes get a song stuck in their head. For most, it's typically a song frequently played on radio (62 per cent).

...Of all art forms, music has the most influence on learning amongst Ontarians. 48 per cent ranked music the number one influence.

Music and community:

...70 per cent of Ontarians believe music unites people through shared tastes or experiences.

...Half of Ontario women said music is an important cultural influence because it can be created by anyone, regardless of ability.

...61 per cent of GTA respondents believe that music's cultural/social importance lies in its ability to demonstrate creativity.

...More than half of young Ontarians, aged 18 to 34 (54 per cent), believe music has the power to inspire trends in pop culture, while 50 per cent think it informs us about other cultures and more than four in 10 (42 per cent) believe it's a catalyst for change.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Are You Ready to Face the Rigours of Winter Driving?

OTTAWA, November 25, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Transport Canada would like to remind Canadians to be prepared for winter driving and to drive safely throughout the coming season. Ice- and snow-covered roads can be a challenge for drivers, so give yourself every advantage by preparing yourself and your vehicle before setting out on Canadian roads this winter.

You can reduce the chance of collision and help improve road safety by following these Transport Canada safety tips:

...Install winter tires on all wheels for winter driving. Winter tires provide better traction, give you better control over your vehicle, and increase stability in slippery and snowy conditions.

...Make sure that tire valves are equipped with caps to keep out snow and ice.

...Check tire pressure at least once a month, preferably after the vehicle has been parked outside overnight because tire pressure decreases as the temperature drops.

...Clear the snow and ice off your vehicle so you can see properly while driving.

...Be prepared for black ice, which occurs more often in shaded areas and is difficult to see.

...Be cautious on bridges and highway overpasses, which freeze quickly and remain frozen longer than other sections of the road.

...Give yourself extra distance to stop, as roads may be icy.

...Do not use cruise (speed) control in slippery conditions.

...Check weather conditions before setting out on extended trips and allow for extra travel time when weather is bad.

...Don't drive impaired by alcohol, drugs or fatigue — you need to be fully alert to drive safely.

...Dress properly — wear warm clothing.

...Carry a winter emergency kit.

...Bring a cell phone for emergency purposes but never use it while driving. Stay focused on driving and avoid other distractions as well.

For more information on winter driving, please visit the Transport Canada website here

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/news and keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Canadians make 5 trips to the mall and spend 11 hours holiday shopping, according to PayPal Canada survey

PayPal Escape the Mall Web Site Launched to Help Canadians Save Time and Money by Shopping Online this Holiday Season

TORONTO, November 23, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadian shoppers will go to great lengths finding the perfect present for everyone on their gift list this holiday season. According to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of PayPal Canada, the average consumer plans to take five trips to the mall and spend 11 hours shopping for family and friends.

The survey also reveals that instead of shopping, one third of Canadians (34 per cent) would prefer to spend their time with family, while others dream of relaxing (29 per cent) or baking and decorating their home for the holidays (26 per cent).

Not surprisingly, 54 per cent of Canadians will be avoiding the holiday squeeze at the malls by doing at least some of their shopping online. That number rises to 74 per cent amongst Canadians who are 18 to 34 years old.

Canadians report that their biggest holiday shopping peeves include:
Crowds and lines (49 per cent)
Not being able to find a unique gift (14 per cent)
Finding out the item you want is not carried or is sold out (10 per cent)
Getting carried away and exceeding budget (10 per cent)
Looking for parking (7 per cent)

"Canadians who want to escape the mall this holiday season can save time and money by shopping online," said Nicky Mezo, head of marketing, PayPal Canada. "Time-crunched Canadians know that online shopping lets them easily compare prices to find the best deals and get their shopping done faster so they have more time for what the holidays are supposed to be about - sharing time with family and friends, relaxing and celebrating."

To help Canadians find great deals and get their holiday shopping done quickly, PayPal Canada has launched the Escape the Mall microsite at www.paypal.ca/escapethemall. The site will help Canadians find great holiday deals with some of Canada's top online retailers, learn how to send money online as a great last-minute gift and receive a chance to win the perfect gifts in the PayPal Escape the Mall contest.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

'Tis the Season to Spend: Canadians Break the Bank before Santa's Arrival

MasterCard Canada survey reveals who's naughty, who's nice, and how few Canadians check their budgets twice during the holiday season

TORONTO, November 15, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - With less than six weeks until the holidays, the stores are filled with eager shoppers, and enthusiastic bargain hunters. But according to a new survey by MasterCard Canada, nearly half (48%) of Canadians admit they have gone over their holiday budget before the holidays have arrived. Only one in ten (11%) Canadians start budgeting during the first half of the year, and another seven per cent confess they prepare their budgets only after the shopping is done.

"The holiday season can be the most expensive time of year, and to help make it through the season on track, Canadians need to make their budget and lists early, and check them twice," said Julie Wilson, Director, Public Affairs, MasterCard Canada. "The season is busy enough with shopping, decorating and hosting holiday parties, that budgeting often falls far down on the list of priorities. Start early, and save a little each month to make it through the season on budget, and even with a little extra to treat yourself."

The list goes on

...According to the survey, Canadians spend on average $1,100 during the holidays, and one-quarter admit they spend between $1,000 and $5,000 during the holidays.

...When asked how much they spend per person, nearly one-third (29%) of shoppers report they plan to spend between $21 and $50 per person.

...Surprisingly, women are not the big spenders during the holidays. Almost twice as many men (27%) than woman (16%) dish out over $100 for each person on their gift list.

...More shoppers over 50 (27%) also plan to spend over $100 compared to those ages 18 - 29 (12%) and those in the 30 - 49 age category (20%).

"It's never too early to think about next year's shopping list. Even if you're heading over budget, track your spending closely and you'll have a realistic idea of how much you truly need to stay on budget," added Wilson. "For the few Canadians who manage to resist the season's sales and come in under-budget, put aside your winnings for the year ahead and you'll have more reason to celebrate next year's holiday season."

Before you head to the mall, or reach for your mouse, consider the following to stay balanced this holiday season:

...Set a budget. Only one-third (38%) of Canadians say they create a budget for the holidays. Without a budget you may spend more money than you intend. Create a holiday budget in January and stick to it throughout the year.

...Know your limitations. Beyond setting a budget with a certain dollar figure in mind, decide how much money you should spend on gift giving and each person on your list; decorations; holiday parties; and the unexpected. This budgeting technique will keep you in line and make sure you're not over budget before the holidays start!

...Make a shopping list. Record everyone on your gift list and how much you can afford to spend on each person. According to MasterCard Canada, one-third of Canadians spend between $21 and $50 per person. A shopping list will help you stay on track even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping.

...Shop with a friend. MasterCard Canada reports that only one-quarter (27%) of Canadians can say they don't go over budget. For everyone else, it's wise to shop with your spouse, friends or family members who can help limit your spending and keep you company during stressful shopping days.

...Plan for the party. Just because you are hosting a holiday party doesn't mean you need to pay for everything. Ask guests what they can bring - whether it's food, drinks, decorations or games. Everyone will be more than happy to chip in for a potluck celebration.

About the survey:

The survey was conducted by Environics Research Group between September 29 and October 3, 2010. A total of 1,000 Canadian respondents 18yrs+ were interviewed by telephone. The margin of error is +/-3.10% at 95%.

About MasterCard Worldwide

As a leading global payments company, MasterCard Worldwide prides itself on being at the heart of commerce, helping to make life easier and more efficient for everyone, everywhere. MasterCard serves as a franchisor, processor and advisor to the payments industry, and makes commerce happen by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, governments, businesses, merchants, and cardholders worldwide. In 2009, $2.5 trillion in gross dollar volume was generated on its products by consumers around the world. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network - the fastest payment processing network in the world - MasterCard processes over 22 billion transactions each year, has the capacity to handle 140 million transactions per hour, with an average network response time of 140 milliseconds and with 99.99 percent reliability. For more information, visit www.mastercard.com. Follow on Twitter: @mastercardnews.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Canadian War Museum Launches Online Naval History Exhibition

OTTAWA, November 11, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian War Museum is marking the 100th anniversary of Canada's navy with a dynamic new online exhibition that brings Canada's rich naval history to life. Canada's Naval History ( www.warmuseum.ca/navalhistory) is a compelling and substantial resource offering online access to an extraordinary range of evocative photographs and art, rare artifacts, fascinating archival documents, and educational materials.

"Canada's Naval History explores the wide range of this country's naval experiences over the past century, making this a valuable addition to the Museum's online offerings," said Mark O'Neill, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. "This online exhibition is both an innovative means to preserve and share Canada's naval history with all Canadians, and a wonderful way to mark the Canadian navy's centennial."

This new online exhibition allows users to explore Canada's naval history from its origins to today. The exhibition showcases about 750 items in a contemporary, visually engaging format that will help to tell the story of the country's naval history and highlight the experiences of the men and women associated with it. The exhibition will appeal to a wide range of visitors from across Canada and around the world, who can navigate the site to explore highlights from Canada's naval collections, research the past and use a variety of educational resources.

The War Museum is committed to the continued development of freely accessible, bilingual information through web initiatives, and to presenting Canada's unique history by preserving and providing access to a nationally important collection of artifacts, artworks, and archival material collected over the past 125 years. Past collaborations have led to the creation of the online exhibition Canada and the First World War, and the digital archive Democracy at War: Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War.

The Museum is also marking the navy's centennial with a travelling art exhibition. The Navy: A Century in Art opens at the War Museum in Ottawa on Remembrance Day, November 11, and closes on March 20, 2011. It has been presented at The Military Museums in Calgary and at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax. Already, more than 85,000 patrons have viewed the exhibition.

Canada's Naval History is funded in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage, and draws on a wide selection of material from the collections of the Canadian War Museum and its partners, including the Department of National Defence, the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, the Naval Museum of Alberta, and the Naval Museum of Quebec.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada's national Museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada's military history in its personal, national and international dimensions.

About the Online Exhibition

The Canadian War Museum's new online exhibition, Canada's Naval History, provides a fascinating and extensive overview of the country's naval history in war and peace over the past century. The exhibition's launch takes place during the centennial year of Canada's navy, which was created in 1910.

Visitors to the online exhibition will discover almost 750 historical objects, photographs, artworks and archival documents that have been photographed and digitized specifically for this project. Each item can be examined in detail and is accompanied by an extensive caption.

Drawn from the collections of the Museum and its partners, the Department of National Defence, the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, the Naval Museum of Alberta, and the Naval Museum of Quebec, these artifacts present Canada's unique naval heritage, including the experiences of Canadians at sea and ashore, and the navy's roles in war and peace.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Empire Theatres Announces Opening of New Theatre Complex in Waterloo, Ontario

New theatre presents the first-ever "Empire Extra" movie-going experience

HALIFAX, November 1, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Empire Theatres, a Canada-wide film exhibition company, will open a new, state-of the-art, 10-screen theatre complex, including one Empire Extra auditorium, in Waterloo, Ontario this Friday, November 5, 2010.

Empire Theatres Waterloo is located at the new development "The Boardwalk", near the corner of Ira Needles Boulevard and University Avenue. The new theatre is approx. 41,000 square feet and blends entertainment with technology in a contemporary and unique design. Its convenient location provides easy access to residents of Waterloo and surrounding areas, and features plenty of well-lit, free parking.

"Bringing a new state-of-the-art entertainment experience to moviegoers in the Waterloo community is very exciting for us at Empire Theatres," says Dean Leland, Vice President of Studio & Media Relations. "We are thrilled to be able to open another theatre in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and look forward to having residents experience this great facility because it appeals to everyone, including local businesses that can benefit from its corporate rental offerings. It's a must-see theatre complex."

The ten auditoriums feature curved screens for that perfect picture; Dolby Digital Surround Sound for optimum sound; stadium-style seating for unobstructed viewing; comfortable, wide, rocker-style, high back Greystone seats with lots of leg room. It has 100% integrated DLP Digital Cinema Projection providing crystal clear images, as well as RealD 3D capability in five auditoriums.

For the first time ever, Empire Theatres is pleased to launch "Empire Extra", which will provide guests with a heightened sensory experience in a special auditorium designed to offer dynamic sound, screen and seat quality. Empire Extra boasts custom-designed Multi-Channel Sound System for the ultimate audio experience; stunning digital presentation on a massive, wrap-around screen; and reserved seating in comfy, high back rockers.

"We're excited to unveil our first Empire Extra experience to movie goers in Waterloo," says Leland. "Our multi-channel, custom sound system, unique to any movie experience in the world, creates an immersive experience….it puts you right IN the movie. Empire Extra is the ultimate movie going experience."

Empire Theatres Waterloo also features an expansive lobby with a lounge and leather seating; an arcade; 9 Automated Box Offices; and large rooms that will be used for guest, community and corporate use. An expanded refreshment offering includes traditional theatre fare like fresh, hot popcorn, plus Pizza Pizza, Pretzelmaker and Swirls, Empire's very own brand of soft serve. Guests will also be able to purchase their tickets at refreshments for one-stop shopping. The opening of this new complex has provided both full time and part time employment opportunities to the Waterloo market and will employ over 80 staff once it opens.

The first phase of the The Boardwalk development includes Empire Theatres, Walmart, and Lowe's. The second phase will include banks and restaurants. This is the largest multi-use development in the region and will be under construction for many years.

"We're thrilled to have Empire Theatres as part of our Boardwalk family", says Steve Voisin, Construction Manager for The Boardwalk. "When the site has been fully built, customers will be able to enjoy a great evening out with shopping, dinner, and a movie... all along The Boardwalk."

Empire Theatres has a neighboring theatre at Gateway Park Drive in Kitchener, which recently underwent extensive renovations to provide a more comfortable and convenient movie going experience to the Kitchener community.

Guests can view showtimes, purchase tickets and access additional information on Empire Theatres Waterloo at www.empiretheatres.com.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Canadian Gamers Going Social

39% playing more social games

TORONTO, October 29, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) has released its annual Essential Facts, a snapshot of the Canadian computer and video game industry. The 2010 Essential Facts reveals that 39% of gamers (defined as someone who has played video games in the past 4 weeks) are spending more time playing games accessible through social networking websites.

Also of note is the fact that 7% of gamers use a mobile device (such as a cell phone or smart phone) most often to play video games - almost twice as many as in 2009 (4%). Gamers are also connecting their games with others through the Internet with 76% reporting online play.

"Social games are a growing part of the Canadian gamer's repertoire - especially for women and teen girls - but they are only one of the many types of games that Canadians enjoy," says Danielle Parr, Executive Director of ESAC. "While we're seeing a shift in how Canadians are playing games particularly towards online games, console and computer games remain the principal way to play," she adds.

Social games are mostly free, widely available and accessible through social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. These games - including popular ones like Farmville, Mafia Wars and Cafe World - are quick to load, take only a few minutes to play and grow virally as users invite their contacts to join in. Research found that 35% of adult women and 37% of teen girls play social games. 26% of girls (6-12yo) play social games, with 38% report spending more time playing these types of games.

To read a full version of ESAC's Essential Facts, which includes data on gamer demographics and gaming habits, information about the Canadian video game industry, ESRB rating awareness and updated charts on top-selling PC and video games, visit ESAC's website at www.theesa.ca.

The research was collected through a comprehensive Internet survey using NPD Group's Online Consumer Panel. Data was obtained from over 3,500 Canadians across the country identified as having played a video game at least once in the past 4 weeks. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 1.6%, 19 times out of 20.

ESAC is the voice of the dynamic and growing video and computer game industry in Canada which employs over 14,000 people. Association members include the nation's leading entertainment software developers and publishers including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Microsoft Canada, Nintendo of Canada, Sony Computer Entertainment Canada, Disney Interactive Studios, THQ, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and Take Two Interactive, as well as distributors Solutions2Go and Team One Marketing. In 2009, Canada's video game industry accounted for more than $2 billion in retail sales of entertainment software and hardware and contributed over $1.7 billion in direct economic activity to the Canadian economy.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

One Toilet Paper Company Decides to Ditch the Tube

from TreeHugger.com
by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil

In an attempt to cut down on consumer waste, one toilet paper manufacturer has unveiled perhaps the biggest change the product has undergone in over a century -- replacing that old cardboard tube with, well, nothing. If the advancement in TP technology seems unremarkable, consider just how much waste it will keep from the landfill. Each year, a million miles worth of cardboard tubing is tossed out -- that's enough to circle the Earth over forty times.

Kimberly-Clark, the company which produces Scotts toilet paper, will begin testing its oddly revolutionary Tube-Free TP next week in Walmarts and Sam's Clubs across the North-eastern US. Depending on how well it's received, soon the trend might spread globally.

According to a report from USA Today, while it may seem fairly innocuous, Americans have been tossing out a lot of those cardboard tubes each year -- and it really adds up.
The 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced annually in the USA account for 160 million pounds of trash, according to Kimberly-Clark estimates, and could stretch more than a million miles placed end-to-end. That's from here to the moon and back -- twice. Most consumers toss, rather than recycle, used tubes, says Doug Daniels, brand manager at Kimberly-Clark.

A consumers demand for less wasteful products is apparently what has driven the toilet paper maker to update a product which has gone without any major improvement since it was invented over 100 years ago.

"We found a way to bring innovation to a category as mature as bath tissue," says Daniels.

While the new tubeless rolls won't always be perfectly round, they'll have no problem fitting on standard toilet paper spindles -- and they can be used to the last square. The trick is in the special winding processes, but the company is keeping their technique a secret.
Seinfeld's George Costanza once pointed out how little TP has progressed over the decades. "Do you realize that toilet paper has not changed in my lifetime? It's just paper on a cardboard roll, that's it. And in ten thousand years, it will still be exactly the same because really, what else can they do?" On that last point, he was wrong.

.. read more story at TreeHugger.com

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Increased Arctic Shipping Means Even More Warming & Less Ice

from TreeHugger.com
by Matthew McDermott, New York, NY

It's likely not long before Arctic ice melt reaches levels where trans-Arctic shipment of goods is no longer headline-making, but commonplace. With that comes more black carbon air pollution from ships--soot to you and me--and, that means already disproportionately high levels of warming will increase and with those, more ice melting. A new report in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics highlights the issue:

James Corbett, professor of marine science and policy at the University of Delaware, lead author of the study says,

One of the most potent short-lived climate forcers in diesel emissions is black carbon, or soot. Ships operating in or near the Arctic use advanced diesel engines that release black carbon into one of the most sensitive regions for climate change. (Science Codex)

Though it's certainly a wide range of possible impact, the study concludes that in a high-growth scenario this increased black carbon pollution could increase warming in the region by 17-78% by 2030... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

New Report Uncovers Energy Efficiency of Golf Carts

Evaluation compares gas, electric and solar-assisted golf carts and shows electric golf carts
leading the way to better energy savings

TORONTO, October 20, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - A new report, by the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP), a multi-agency program led by the Toronto and Region Conservation, is shedding new light on the energy efficiency of gas, electric and solar-assisted golf carts. The report, released today, determined that gas carts were on average over three times less fuel efficient than an electric golf cart. In real terms, the difference in fuel economy between a gas and electric golf cart is similar to that of a Hummer H3 SUV and a Toyota Prius Hybrid car.1 Findings show that electric carts have 85 per cent lower fuel costs and produce one-quarter of the emissions of gas carts. STEP also determined that a solar-assisted golf cart isn't the only solution when looking to reduce air pollution and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

"We started this study with the assumption that the solar-assisted golf carts would be best solution, but what we've found is that electric golf carts are actually a better investment for golf courses both financially and environmentally," said Ted Sherk, Project Co-ordinator, STEP, Toronto and Region Conservation. "The addition of solar panels to a golf cart can slightly improve performance and when we surveyed more than 50 golfers many thought the solar carts were a great idea which would help with a golf course's green image. But aside from being a marketing advantage, the data in this study shows that electric carts can provide energy savings at a lower cost than the solar-assisted carts, by simply maintaining the carts in good condition."

The team at STEP did a side-by-side field evaluation of two solar-assisted electric golf carts, two standard electric golf carts and two gas-powered golf carts at Bathurst Glen Golf Course in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Over a three month period, the study measured the carts energy use and associated Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, dependability, overall capital and operating cost, and golfer preference.

A solar-assisted cart might obtain an energy savings of 12 per cent over a conventional electric cart which is much less than manufacturer claims of 30-50 per cent. More importantly the study found that the energy consumed by the carts varied greatly, indicating that other factors relating to cart condition (e.g tire pressure, new bearings) or driver behaviour may be more important than the solar panels in determining overall energy consumption. The report concludes that a well-maintained electric cart, free of mechanical problems may offer better energy and financial savings than the purchase of solar panels.

"We supported this study because we felt it's important for golf courses in Canada to get a true picture of what they need to do to become more environmentally friendly, " Said Ryan McCutcheon, Bennett Golf Cars. "As manufacturers of golf carts we're always looking for the best approach to meet the needs of our clients, and it's interesting to see that going solar isn't the best way to go."

There are at least 179 golf courses within a 100 km radius around Toronto, of which roughly 80 per cent are estimated to use electric carts, while the remaining use gas. According to the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program, if the 20 per cent were replaced with electric carts, this could reduce emissions by approx. 3.8 tonnes CO2 per day in an annual golf season, an amount roughly equivalent to taking 155 mid-sized gasoline cars off the road.

"The study is beneficial for golf course operators who are looking to green their operations in a cost-effective way," said Joe Petta, Manager, Bathurst Glen Golf Course. "We recently achieved Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program Certification, which is the highest level eco-certification a course can get for Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management. Our next step is to take the data from the golf cart study to begin moving forward with a plan to bring electric carts to our course."

The study was made possible by funding support from Bennett Golf Cars and TRCA municipal partners. The full report is available for download at http://www.sustainabletechnologies.ca

With more than 50 years of experience, TRCA helps people understand, enjoy and look after the natural environment. TRCA's vision is for The Living City - where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity. For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at www.trca.on.ca

Friday, 15 October 2010

Shaftesbury Films and Citytv welcome Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the set of their popular television series, Murdoch Mysteries

...on location in Guelph, Ontario this past summer

TORONTO, October 15, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Shaftesbury Films and Citytv today welcomed Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Toronto set of their popular drama series, Murdoch Mysteries. A longtime fan of Murdoch Mysteries, the Prime Minister visited the set to meet the cast and crew of the series, which is set in late 1890s Toronto and follows the adventures of a detective who pioneers forensic techniques in his quest to solve the city's crimes. Canadian production company Shaftesbury Films is currently filming season four of Murdoch Mysteries, which is broadcast on Citytv in Canada and drama channel Alibi in the UK, and has also been licensed in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide.

"Without the support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Media Fund and tax credit programs, Murdoch Mysteries would simply not exist," said Christina Jennings, Chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury Films. "Murdoch Mysteries has created more than 5000 jobs in the Canadian television industry since 2003, is enjoyed by audiences on TV and online in Canada, and has been sold to broadcasters in more than 100 countries around the world, making it a true Canadian success story."

"Murdoch Mysteries on Citytv represents some of the finest homegrown programming available to Canadian audiences," commented Leslie Sole, CEO, Rogers Media Television. "We are extremely proud of this series heading into its impressive fourth season. Murdoch Mysteries has solidified its position as a true fan favourite keeping Citytv audiences entertained week after week."

Based on Canadian author Maureen Jennings's popular Detective Murdoch series of mystery novels set in late 1890s Toronto, Murdoch Mysteries is a one-hour drama series that explores the intriguing world of Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), who uses unusual techniques for the time - including fingerprinting, human-blood testing, surveillance and trace evidence - to solve some of the city's most gruesome murders. Murdoch's small circle of confidantes include pathologist Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), a staunch ally who shares the detective's fascination for forensic science; Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris), Murdoch's eager but sometimes naïve right-hand man; and Murdoch's reluctantly supportive boss, Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig).

Since 2003, Murdoch Mysteries has created more than 5000 jobs for actors, writers, directors, producers, crew, extras and technical and production services. Murdoch Mysteries was initially adapted for television as three made-for-TV films produced by Shaftesbury, which were broadcast in Canada in 2004 and 2005. Following the success of the three movies, the series premiered in Canada in January 2008. Shaftesbury is in production on the fourth season of Murdoch Mysteries in and around Toronto and Southern Ontario until early November, for broadcast on Citytv in Canada and Alibi in the UK in early 2011. 52 hours of the series will have been produced upon completion of season four (four seasons x 13 one-hour episodes).

Murdoch Mysteries is developed and produced by Shaftesbury, in association with Citytv, a division of Rogers Media Inc., ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment and UKTV, and with the assistance of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, the Canada Media Fund, the Bell New Media Fund and the Cogeco Production Development Fund. ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment holds worldwide distribution rights for the series (excluding Canada and the UK).

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Death of the Yoga Mat?

from TreeHugger.com
by Jessica Root - Brooklyn, NY

Authentic Hatha yoga is already pretty minimalist. Spotted in The New York Times style section, a small group of yogins is taking it further--opting to sun salute on straight up floor rather than on their sticky mat.

... They argue that yoga mats are over commercialized, bad for the environment and less hygienic.

Their reasons are for the most part valid and to a certain extent, I agree. Sure, I get psyched that there are yoga mats set at price points for every aspiring yogin out there making it accessible to all-- but I also get ill over the saturation of conventionally-made mats spotted in supermarkets, book stores, beauty supply stores, etc. They're everywhere and riddled with toxic PVC as Pablo points out.

So I say, yes, if it works for you, forgo the mat altogether. But don't do it simply to join the trend and know that it doesn't need to be all or nothing. There happen to be some great green mat brands like Manduka and Jade out there. The NYT article fails to mention this... read the full story at TreeHugger.com

Saturday, 2 October 2010

What A Waste: Coffee Machine Designed For Paper Cups Only

from TreeHugger.com
by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

We often talk about how good design can improve the world, but one can also see many cases where designers and companies actually conspire to make it worse. A good example is the new in-room coffee system in the Sheraton Hotel where I am staying for a conference. I get up very early to put together the TreeHugger newsletter (wot, you don't read it? Sign up here!) and need my coffee, and I also try to avoid disposable cups. I noticed yesterday that they only had paper cups in the room and borrowed a ceramic one from a meeting room, but they have in fact redesigned the coffee maker so that there is no carafe, you have to make it in the paper cup!

Since it is a 12 oz cup and my ceramic cup is half that, I have to make it in the paper cup and then pour it into the ceramic. Of course when I go to refill, the coffee is cold because there is no heater.

Sheraton makes no claims to being green on their website; other Starwood hotels do, and it appears that this machine was designed for Starwoods and Starbucks, who should be ashamed of themselves.

I suppose it is convenient to make coffee right in the paper cup. But there is price for convenience and a message it delivers to the guest: We don't care... read full story on TreeHugger.com

Friday, 24 September 2010

Building a digital library for life on Earth

Launch of International Barcode of Life Project activates world's largest biodiversity genomics initiative

Toronto's CN Tower will be spectacularly illuminated as the world's biggest DNA barcode to mark the Official Launch of the International Barcode of Life Project (iBOL). Ontario's Minister of Research and Innovation, Glen Murray, will launch iBOL at the CN Tower on Saturday, September 25. (Note: the illuminated barcode will be visible on the Tower after darkness falls, approximately 7:00 pm)

TORONTO, September 24, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The largest biodiversity genomics initiative ever undertaken - an international effort to build a digital identification system for all life on Earth - will be officially activated this week. The International Barcode of Life Project (iBOL) will be launched by the Minister of Research and Innovation, Glen Murray, during an event at Toronto's CN Tower on Saturday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m.

By enabling automated, rapid and inexpensive species identifications, iBOL will transform biodiversity science and its applications throughout society. "We are witnessing alarming rates of species extinction," said iBOL Scientific Director Paul Hebert, "but efforts to reverse that trend are hampered by huge gaps in our knowledge about the distribution and diversity of life. DNA barcoding promises a future where everyone will have rapid access to the names and biological attributes of every species on Earth."

Dr. Hebert said that DNA barcodes will be a vital tool not only for conservation but also for monitoring species that have adverse impacts on human health and economic wellbeing. "We are only beginning to scratch the surface of how DNA barcoding will impact the way we live, work and play," he said.

DNA barcoding is a method for identifying species using a short DNA sequence from a standard location on the genome. The technique dramatically reduces the time and cost of species identification. Moreover, because DNA barcode libraries are in digital format, fully automated identification is now possible for a growing number of species.

Work over the past five years has produced one million barcode records representing almost 80,000 species and provided the impetus for the launch of iBOL, the large-scale genomics project that will not only massively expand the DNA barcode reference library but also develop the technologies to read it, including a table-top barcoder.

iBOL has been established as a not-for-profit corporation overseen by an international board of directors representing funding organizations. More than 25 countries are involved and major commitments have been made toward the Phase 1 (2010-2015) operating budget of $150 million. The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph will soon treble in size to both accommodate the iBOL secretariat and greatly expanded facilities for barcode analysis and data storage.

By the end of the first phase in 2015, consortium members will have entered DNA barcode records from five million specimens representing half a million species into the interactive Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD) databank, creating the launchpad for a subsequent push towards a DNA barcode reference library for all of Earth's animal, plant and fungal species.

"The International Barcode of Life is assembling a global network of taxonomists, biologists and geneticists to embark on the next great exploration of the natural world," said Dr. Christian Burks, President and CEO of the Ontario Genomics Institute and Chair of the iBOL Consortium board of directors. "It will bring about fundamental changes in the way we view Earth's biodiversity and our relationship to it."

Monday, 20 September 2010

What is Car Sharing and How Does it Work?

from TreeHugger.com
by Michael Graham Richard, Ottawa, Canada

An Introduction to Car Sharing

Car sharing is rapidly growing in popularity, but many people still aren't quite sure what it is, how it works, and how it compares to other methods of transportation. How expensive is it? Do you have to pay for gas? What if there's no car when I need one? What about insurance? Where do you park it when you're done? Is it really better for the environment? Does it save you money? Is it available in my area? These are all questions that we're going to answer today.

Car Sharing vs. Traditional Car Rental
The first thing you need to know is that car sharing is a type of car rental. What makes it different from traditional car rental (Hertz, Enterprise, etc) is that it is designed to be convenient for people who want to rent cars for short periods of times (a few hours) and only pay for their usage (you are billed based on how long you have a car and the distance travelled).

Another difference with traditional car rental that makes car sharing more practical for people who don't own a car is that it allows you to access a car at any hour, not just business hours. And because the cars are spread around town in reserved parkings, chances are there's one such parking close to where you live, making it easy to walk to it... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

7 Fruit Cocktails (Potentially) Good For Your Health

from TreeHugger.com
by Sara Novak, Columbia, SC

Can a cocktail be good for you? In moderation, we'd like to think so. The seven drinks here are packed with vitamin-rich fruit. Plus, the easy recipes are proof you don't have to pay top dollar for great cocktails -- you can make them at home.

The key to tasty and potentially healthy cocktails is avoiding processed, sugar-packed store-bought mixes. And just like cooking farm to fork, mixing farm to fork means letting the ingredients shine. In a word, simplicity is key.

To trim down the carbon footprint, use a farmers' market as your guide to what's local, using the same flexibility as you would in your normal seasonal cooking to adjust recipes as needed to what's growing at home. While South Carolina watermelons, cucumbers, pears, and peaches are often available locally into the late summer or fall, they may not be on shelves in your neck of the woods.

Here are the 7 recipes

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

New Bee Species Discovered During Downtown Toronto Commute

from TreeHugger.com
by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California

Researcher Jason Gibbs who was working on a study of sweat bees discovered a new species while commuting from downtown Toronto to York University. It is one of 19 new species he found while examining 84 species of sweat bees in Canada -- so named because they are attracted to perspiration -- which are common in North America. His study goes a long way in cataloging a variety of bee that has proven a "nightmare" to study.

Science Daily reports that despite their numbers and status as an important pollinator, sweat bees are tough to study because it is hard to pin a specimen to a certain species.

"They are a nightmare to identify to species because their physical characteristics -- their morphologies -- are so similar among species. No one has been able to identify these bees until now even though they make up so many of the bees we collect," says Gibbs. "It's important to identify these species, because if we don't know what bees we have, we can't know what bees we're losing."

... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Friday, 27 August 2010

Canada's Lost Salmon Return in Droves

from TreeHugger.com
by David DeFranza

Every year, sockeye salmon return to the rivers of western Canada to make their arduous upstream journey to calmer spawning grounds. It is a seasonal touchstone that signifies the approaching end of summer, one that has been observed for centuries.

The only problem is that some years, like in 2009, the salmon don't return.

In 2009, watershed managers estimated that 10,488,000 salmon would return from the Pacific. As the month wore on, it became clear that the reality would meet only a fraction of this goal. In the end, 1,370,000 salmon returned, a mere 13 percent of the preseason estimate.

The poor showing sent managers and scientists into a frenzy. After a year of research, no definitive conclusions could be made, but several theories had emerged. Warmer ocean temperatures, diminished food supplies, and an increase in predator populations were among the leading suggestions.

Others thought that offshore salmon farms could be responsible. Sea lice, which are common on the farms, may have spread to wild populations, killing many of the young salmon.

Though the final verdict is still out on the cause of last year's decline, it is clear that this year represents a dramatic rebound. Already, assessments predict 25,000,000 sockeye salmon will return to the Fraser river, the largest since 1913.

Still, even a record return may not be enough to reconcile the shock of last year's turnout.

"Everybody is abuzz about the great return of the Fraser sockeye," Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said, but "we're welcoming this with cautious optimism."

... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

China's 45 Billion Disposable Chopsticks Require 100 Acres of Forests Every 24 Hours

from TreeHugger.com
by Michael Graham Richard, Ottawa, Canada

That's a Lot of Chopsticks

Apparently China's Ministry of Commerce has had it with disposable chopsticks. It sent out a warning to chopstick makers in June to warn them that: "Production, circulation and recycling of disposable chopsticks should be more strictly supervised." The reason? With about 45 billion disposable chopstick pairs made every year in the country, or about 130 million a day, a lot of wood is being wasted, and that in a country that is trying to increase its forest coverage (from about 8% in 1949 to 12-13% today, compared to 30% for the USA).

Greenpeace China has estimated that to keep up with this demand, 100 acres of trees need to be felled every 24 hours. Think here of a forest larger than Tiananmen Square -- or 100 American football fields -- being sacrificed every day. That works out to roughly 16 million to 25 million felled trees a year. Deforestation is one of China's gravest environmental problems, leading to soil erosion, famine, flooding, carbon dioxide release, desertification and species extinction. ( source)

If you compare 100 acres per day to the size of China's forests, it still isn't that much (it's a big country), but chopsticks are far from the only thing pressuring Chinese ecosystems. It's one more thing the country's forests could do without... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Minimalist Starbucks Store Notable For What It Leaves Out Rather Than What It Puts In

from TreeHugger.com
by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

Last year at Greenbuild we learned about Starbucks' new Global Store Design Strategy from Corporate Architect Tony Gale. One very attractive feature was that it was not a "one size fits all" program but would adapt the designs to different regions; Tony said "we like to do different things in different regions, to reflect what is going on in the local culture."

We previously posted about their New York store at Spring and Crosby; I recently visited their Toronto prototype and found it to be a very interesting project indeed.

It is a small store, on the ground floor of a brand new condo, at the intersection of Toronto's shiny new rebuilt dedicated streetcar line and a major subway station, so it will get a lot of walk-in trade.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the store design is not the green goodies that they put in, but the stuff they left out. They have taken a minimalist approach and left out ceilings, drywall and flooring, leaving the basic concrete shell of the building exposed. All of the piping in the ceiling that serves the floors above is exposed and open, not even painted. There is an obvious environmental benefit of using less stuff, less building materials, a smaller footprint in construction... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Trailpeak.com Breaks New Ground in Trail Mapping

Hiking, biking, and paddling trails database develops hyperlocal and video features

OTTAWA, July 27, 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Trailpeak.com Canada's premier interactive trail mapping network, has unveiled two features to support hiking, biking, climbing and paddling enthusiasts who visit the site for information on trails across Canada and the U.S.

Trailpeak's innovative " hyperlocal widgets" feature allows visitors to customize their individual outdoor-adventures webpage, according to location and preference of the user. The gallery of hyperlocal widgets to choose from includes new and popular local trails, outdoor events, weather conditions, Craigslist, and Google maps.

"Our hyperlocal widgets feature has been designed to simplify information-gathering," said Kurt Turchan, founder of Trailpeak. "Instead of searching different pages of our site for trail, event or member information and browsing external sites such as Craigslist and YouTube, we bring it all together on one page."

The Trailpeak widgets page can be adapted by the user to include information and locations of particular interest to them. For example, a user in Calgary can track events in that city and can also go to the widget gallery and add the events or classified advertising widgets for Banff.

Trailpeak has also developed a video feature that allows members to upload video content by simply copying and pasting the embed code from any YouTube or Vimeo video. "We can't wait to see the footage that our members will be providing for the benefit and enjoyment of their fellow adventurers," said Turchan.

Next month, Turchan, and four Trailpeak editors will embark on a 10-day tour of Newfoundland and Labrador to explore some of the world's most breathtaking scenery. The team will be equipped with hands-free, high definition head cams, allowing them to capture the landscape and trail conditions of a variety of adventures such as shipwreck survivor trails, sea kayak routes and hikes on Fogo Island and Terra Nova National Park. Video footage and trail data collected by the team will be added to Trailpeak's database of over 10,000 outdoor trails and GPS logs across Canada and the U.S.

Monday, 12 July 2010

World Cup's Soccer City Shows Scale of Mining Waste in South Africa

from TreeHugger.com
by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California

All eyes were on Soccer City yesterday as the World Cup played out. However, few eyes were seeing it from above, which is the perspective that reveals the neighboring mountains of waste from gold mines. While Soccer City (circled on the image above) can hold 97,400 people -- a sizable stadium by any standards -- it is minuscule compared to the three slag piles shown in the NASA satellite image above. Those big brown patches to the left of the stadium are massive mounds of left-over crushed rock from gold mining. The companies that make up the gold mining industry in South Africa are going for deposits as tiny as 0.015 ounces of gold per ton of excavated rock. This desperate reach for microscopic flecks of gold spells environmental disaster.

Our Amazing Planet brings our attention to the image of the slag piles, or mounds of crushed rock. It points out that such destructive efforts yield so little product that "a single wedding band, at this rate, would need 20 tons of gold-flecked rock."

While South Africa is a leader in gold mining, it comes at a frightening cost. It takes roughly 3.3 tons of ore, 5,440 litres of water, 572 kilowatt hours of electricity, 12 cubic meters of compressed air, along with dynamite and chemicals to produce a since fine ounce of gold.

Cyanide is used to extract the gold from the ore, and slip-ups in its use have killed wildlife, contaminated drinking water supplies, and wiped out nearly all wildlife in stretches of river. Beyond that, there is the issue of altering the landscape beyond recognition or repair... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Saturday, 10 July 2010

PGA Tour

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The PGA Tour is an organization that operates the main professional golf tours in the United States. It is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, a suburb of Jacksonville. Its name is officially rendered in all-capital letters as "PGA TOUR".

The PGA Tour operates the following three tours, all of which are primarily contested in the U.S.:

PGA Tour, the top tour

Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. possession of Puerto Rico host one event each year. Note, however, that the events in Mexico and Puerto Rico are "alternate" events held opposite one of the World Golf Championships tournaments and therefore have weaker fields than a regular tour event. In addition, one of the four annual major championships is held in the U.K.

Champions Tour, for golfers age 50 and over

One regular tournament is held in the Dominican Republic, and one of the senior majors is held in the U.K. Tournaments in Canada and South Korea will be added in 2010.

Nationwide Tour, a developmental tour

In terms of tournament locations, the Nationwide Tour actually has a greater event presence than either of the other tours. Canada, Mexico, and Panama host one tournament each, and the tour co-sanctions two events on the PGA Tour of Australasia—one each in Australia and New Zealand. A tournament will be added in Colombia for 2010.

The PGA Tour also conducts an annual Qualifying Tournament (known colloquially as Q-School), a six-round tournament held each fall; the top 25 finishers, including ties, receive privileges to play on the following year's PGA Tour. Remaining finishers in the top 75, plus ties, receive full privileges on the Nationwide Tour.

The top 25 money-winners on the Nationwide Tour also receive privileges on the following year's PGA Tour. A golfer who wins three events on that tour in a calendar year earns a "performance promotion" (informally a "battlefield promotion") which garners PGA Tour privileges for the remainder of the year plus the following full season.

At the end of each year, the top 125 money-winners on the PGA Tour receive a tour card for the following season, which gives them exemption from qualifying for most of the next year's tournaments. However at some events, known as invitationals, exemptions apply only to the previous year's top 70 players. Players who are ranked between 126–150 receive a conditional tour card, which gives them priority for places that are not taken up by players with full cards.

Winning a PGA Tour event provides a tour card for a minimum of two years, with an extra year added for each additional win with a maximum of five years. Winning a World Golf Championships event or The Tour Championship provides a three-year exemption. Winners of the major championships and The Players Championship earn a five-year exemption. Other types of exemptions include lifetime exemptions for players with twenty wins on the tour; one-time, one year exemptions for players in the top fifty on the career money earnings list who are not otherwise exempt; two-time, one year exemptions for players in the top twenty-five on the career money list; and medical exemptions for players who have been injured, which give them an opportunity to regain their tour card after a period out of the tour.

Similar to other major league sports, there is no rule limiting PGA Tour players to "men only." In 2003, Annika Sörenstam and Suzy Whaley played in PGA Tour events, and Michelle Wie did so in each year from 2004 through 2008. None of these three made the cut, although Wie missed by only one stroke in 2004.

The LPGA like all other women's sports, is limited to female participants only.

There is also a PGA European Tour, which is separate from either the PGA Tour or the PGA of America; this organization runs a tour, mostly in Europe but with events throughout the world outside of North America, that is second only to the PGA Tour in worldwide prestige. There are several other regional tours around the world. However, the PGA Tour, European Tour, and many of the regional tours co-sponsor the World Golf Championships. These, along with the major championships, usually count toward the official money lists of each tour as well as the Official World Golf Rankings.

Charity fundraising

The PGA Tour places a strong emphasis on charity fundraising, usually on behalf of local charities in cities where events are staged. With the exception of a few older events, PGA Tour rules require all Tour events to be non-profit; the Tour itself is also a non-profit company. In 2005, it started a campaign to push its all-time fundraising tally past one billion dollars ("Drive to a Billion"), and it reached that mark one week before the end of the season. However, monies raised for charities derive from the tournaments' positive revenues (if any), and not any actual monetary donation from the PGA Tour, whose purse monies and expenses are guaranteed. The number of charities which receive benefits from PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour events is estimated at over 2,000. In 2009, the total raised for charity was some $108 million.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Solar Powered Airplane Flies for 26 Hours Straight

from TreeHugger.com
by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York

A solar-powered airplane piloted in Switzerland has just made a landmark achievement: It flew for well over 24 hours straight, continuing on its journey well after the sun went down. The story is making headline news all around the world, and for good reason -- it's a powerful example of the vast potential held by renewable energy.

Here's an excerpt from the New York Times' front page story about the flight:

Slender as a stick insect, a solar-powered experimental airplane with a huge wing span completed its first test flight of more than 24 hours on Thursday, powered overnight by energy collected from the sun during a day aloft over Switzerland.

The organizers said the flight was the longest and highest by a solar-powered craft, reaching an altitude of 8,564 meters, just over 28,000 feet, above sea level, at an average speed of 23 knots, around 25 miles per hour.

The craft, called the Solar Impulse, boasts 12,000 solar cells, and does indeed have a massive wingspan: It's 210 feet from tip to tip. One of the primary aims of the project was to prove that the plane can feasibly stay in the air indefinitely -- charging the batteries during the daytime, and using stored energy for travel at night. They hope to one day fly around the world in a solar plane. And indeed, the successful test flight goes a good ways towards meeting that goal... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Saturday, 26 June 2010



Professor Will Hopkins of AUT University in Auckland has been working in the world of sport science for decades, and his website is a crucial resource for people interested in such matters.

The Sportscience website features a peer-reviewed journal, information about sport science research methodologies, and thematic areas on sports medicine, sport nutrition, and statistics.

On the right-hand side of the site's homepage, visitors can look over the "Articles/Slideshows" area for helpful pieces on controlled trials, assessing athletes, and sample-size estimation.

Moving back to the journal, visitors have access to all of the past issues, and they can take advantage of the sophisticated search engine to look for specific materials. Finally, visitors to the site will also want to sign up to join the email list. [KMG]

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2010.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Death Of The Ugly Golf Mug?

TheGiftOfGolf.ca Launches In Time for Father's Day

TORONTO, June 3, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - TheGiftOfGolf.ca announced that it has officially launched its website that allows consumers to purchase golf experiences from the comfort of their desk.

The online retailer aims to end the stream of terrible golf gadgets that golfers inevitably receive by offering a convenient alternative. Rounds of golf, golf lessons, and driving range packages are some of the experiences that are available.

"Every golfer has received a really bad golf related gift that sits in the back of a storage room somewhere, our mission is to eliminate this problem by offering a simple and convenient online solution" says Ray Wali, Managing Director at The Gift Of Golf.

The company is focused on the gift giving and corporate markets. There is an estimated 5 million golfers in Canada.

"What better gift to get a golfer than golf? We anticipate Father's Day to be one of our busiest periods" adds Wali.

The company has launched in Toronto and will be expanding across Canada in the coming months.

More information is available online at TheGiftOfGolf.ca