Monday, 20 February 2012

Industry Applauds Bill Reducing Golf's Tax Handicap



VICTORIA, British Columbia February 17, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA) applauds the introduction of legislation designed to correct an unfair and outdated tax policy that hurts golf businesses. The bill, C-397, was introduced by Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca MP Randall Garrison and is entitled "An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (golfing expenses)".

"For the Canadian golf industry, which is now facing the most competitive marketplace in history, an inequitable tax legislation is not a tolerable disadvantage for the nearly 350,000 Canadians employed in the industry," said Gary Bernard, NAGA Chair. "NAGA and its member organizations have worked hard to reach out to the federal government in efforts to close this loophole and establish tax fairness for Canada's golf industry."


Due to a 1971 tax reform, the Canada Revenue Agency does not currently allow deductions for expenses incurred by business people entertaining clients at golf courses. Canada's golf courses, most of which are small business operators, are forced to compete on an uneven playing field for entertainment dollars. Over time, the unfairness of this discrimination against the golf industry has become more and more significant. Bill C-397 rights this wrong and provides greater tax fairness for Canada's golf industry. Mr. Garrison has been a member of the Federal Government's All Party Golf Caucus since the fall of 2011, and this Bill is a great indicator on the Caucus' dedication to Canada's golf industry.

Local golf industry professionals and politicians formally recognized Mr. Garrison's bill with a luncheon at Olympic View Golf Club, a golf facility in the area. Attending NAGA representatives enthusiastically showcased their support for Mr. Garrison's initiative, which is an important step in establishing greater tax fairness for Canada's golf industry.

"C-397 is an important first step that will help to relieve some of the pressure on our members," continued Bernard. "The golf industry is worth more than $11 billion per year to the Canadian economy, and we are happy to see steps taken towards tax fairness for our industry. It's high time that a golf handicap be on the course, not in the tax code."


NAGA is a national golf organization comprised of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA), Canadian Professional Golfers Association (CPGA), Canadian Society of Club Managers (CSCM), Canadian Professional Golf Tour (CPGT), National Golf Course Owners Association Canada (NGCOA) and the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA), dedicated to improving all sectors of golf in Canada. Formed in 1999, NAGA's objective is to work cooperatively together as industry leaders ensuring a strong future for golf in Canada. For more information on NAGA, please visit www.canadagolfs.ca.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Mats Sundin establishes medical fellowships at U of T, Karolinska Institutet



TORONTO, February 10, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Former Toronto Maple Leafs Captain Mats Sundin announced today he will establish an elite scientific exchange program in the field of developmental health between the University of Toronto and Karolinska Insitutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sundin's gift - one-third of $1 million dollars - was announced today at a press conference at U of T. The gift will support two fellowships at world-renowned labs in Toronto and Stockholm where scientists are probing how maternal health and our earliest life experiences can determine sickness, health, learning ability and overall well-being down the road.

"We all want our children to grow up healthy, with the best opportunities to learn and live free of disease, but how do we make that possible? What can we do to give our kids the best shot at reaching their full potential?" said Sundin. "By establishing this program at U of T and KI, we're creating an Olympic training camp for our brightest young minds to work with global leaders and answer these challenging questions."

"Every player knows we have a responsibility to pass on our skills and knowledge to the next generation - that's how the sport moves forward, and science as well," Sundin added. "It means so much to me to be able to support these two great universities and their incredible drive to find the breakthroughs that can change our lives."

Historically, genetics were thought to be the sole factor in determining whether a child would grow up to be a healthy, well-functioning adult. Now, scientists are realizing that the interaction between genes and the environment is critical. Teams at U of T and KI are leading the global charge to figure out what environmental factors - from breast-feeding to stress to nutrition - might impact the way a person's genes are expressed, effectively determining their well-being from the early years to later on in life.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the early environment of the fetus and infant can have major influences on susceptibility to developing cardiovascular, metabolic and mental health disorders in later life, not to mention on learning and social functioning," said Dr. Stephen Matthews, Professor of Physiology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Medicine at U of T. "These elite research fellows will help us advance our understanding of this complex relationship and assist in our efforts to build trajectories towards health and away from disease."


The Mats Sundin Award in Medicine will establish two post-doctoral fellowships in developmental biology - one at U of T and one at KI. The fellows will be chosen from a highly-competitive pool of researchers at each institution, and starting in September 2012, they will travel to their partner institution for a year of research under the direction of world-leading scientists in the field. At U of T, Dr. Matthews and Dr. Stephen Lye, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Physiology, will lead the program. Dr. Ola Hermanson, Associate Professor in Molecular Neurodevelopment, will lead the program at KI.

"Research that is happening right now at U of T and Karolinska Institutet is resulting in unprecedented opportunities to pre-empt, regulate and even eradicate some of the world's most common illnesses," said U of T President David Naylor. "By establishing these fellowships, Mats Sundin is helping us mobilize the power of our respective research towards areas that intrinsically shape the human condition."

"Karolinska Institutet is very proud to receive this gift. It is our clear goal to promote interactions like this and make the future even brighter for true young ambitious talents in science," said KI President Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson. "The support from Mats Sundin is a great step to improve the already fruitful collaboration between KI and U of T."


The fellowships build on a long and successful exchange program between U of T and Karolinska Institutet dating back to 1996. The exchange program leverages the very best research themes from both institutions to train and develop students into future scientific and medical leaders, with a particular focus on maternal-infant health, neurodevelopment and regenerative medicine.


Monday, 6 February 2012

Healthy polar bear cub makes debut



photo credit:(CNW Group/Toronto Zoo)

Healthy Polar Bear Cub Makes Debut at Toronto Zoo.

TORONTO, February 3, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - After a precarious start to life, the Toronto Zoo today introduced a very special member of the Zoo's wildlife family, the now 3 ½ month old male polar bear cub. This energetic young cub represents a heartwarming journey of survival, one where expert Toronto Zoo Wildlife Health staff worked around the clock to save a vulnerable species. The cub has successfully surpassed many milestones in his young life and is a great ambassador for a species in need of public education and support.

"This has been an interesting and challenging case for the Zoo and a valiant and dedicated team effort of both the Wildlife Health Centre and Wildlife Care staff," said John Tracogna, the Zoo's Chief Executive Officer. "Ultimately, it has been a rewarding journey for everyone involved, and we are happy to introduce an active and healthy polar bear cub, our new Arctic ambassador to help share our conservation message with our visitors."


On October 11, 2011, Aurora, one of the Zoo's two 10-year old female polar bears, gave birth to three cubs. Tragically, the new mother rejected the cubs shortly after birth. Zoo staff quickly intervened, and rescued the two surviving cubs. Less than 24 hours later, one cub did succumb to injuries sustained.

Polar bears are born in a very immature state and are documented as being very difficult to hand raise from the moment of birth. The newborn cub weighing only 700 grams was immediately placed into an incubator in the Intensive Care Unit of the Zoo's Wildlife Health Centre, and monitoring '24/7' commenced. At birth, polar bears have a pink nose, eyelids, and feet, and their eyes and ears are tightly closed.

For the past 3 ½ months, Zoo staff has focused on care of the cub, tending to his every need. There are few documented cases of humans rearing a cub from such an early age. Veterinary staff monitored his health closely to ensure he was receiving all of the necessary requirements to survive and grow strong. He was fed an artificial polar bear milk formula with an infant bottle, which he accepted very readily. While early on the cub did experience some close calls, he has achieved, right from the start, a strong and consistent growth weight, and now weighs approximately 17kg.

Some of the major milestones that were reached since birth are:

...At two weeks, the cub's skin color began to change and his pink nose and feet gradually changed to black.

...At about 30 days, his eyes and ears opened, and he begun responding to his environment and the people that cared for him.

...At about 40 days, the cub began to teethe, and to the delight of his care givers, very quickly showed his ability to use them!

...At about 90 days, his walking improved with lots of exercise to strengthen his hind legs. This increased mobility and independence allowed for his move from the Wildlife Health Centre to the polar bear house on January 26.

The cub can be seen in his new outdoor den in the Zoo's polar bear exhibit, generously supported by Symcor. "As part of our ongoing partnership, Symcor's Integrated Statement Services group is pleased to support the polar bear research and conservation initiatives at the Zoo," says Michael Corbett, Director, Operations, Integrated Statement Services at Symcor. "It also helps us to instill a culture of environmental awareness and engagement among employees which is an important aspect in solving the environmental challenges that face us today and in the future."

Name the polar bear cub! Presented by Coca Cola

The male cub also needs a suitable name. Starting today and over the next six weeks, names can be submitted to the Zoo's facebook page - facebook.com/TheTorontoZoo and on the Zoo's website at torontozoo.com . Voting on a short-list will start mid-March and the selected name will be announced on March 31, 2012.

The Toronto Zoo is a champion for Canada's majestic polar bears listed as a critically endangered species. The Zoo works closely with other Zoological associations and conservation institutions, including a close partnership with Polar Bears International (PBI). Zoo biologists and researchers work closely with their Wildlife biologist counterparts in the field with valuable learning and studies that can be applied to polar bear conservation in the wild.

About Toronto Zoo:

The Toronto Zoo is Canada's premier zoo and a leader in animal preservation and environmental protection. More than a tourist attraction, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats - from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except December 25 and attracts approximately 1.3 million visitors each year.

Visit their website at torontozoo.com

Follow the Toronto Zoo on Facebook: facebook.com/TheTorontoZoo


Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ontario Place closure 'a sad day for the province'


photo credit: Lloyd Alter

TORONTO, February 1, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today's announcement by the Ontario government that they will close most of Ontario Place for "re-vamping" raises some disturbing questions as to the future of the province's premier showplace.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, says that, from all appearances, Premier Dalton McGuinty has just put some of the most valuable real estate in Toronto on the auction block.

"The government is quoted as saying that 'everything is on the table' and that they 'will entertain private-sector investment'," Thomas said. "With John Tory advising Queen's Park, you can be fairly sure that it won't be long before Ontario Place becomes a private-for-profit venture."


Thomas says this closure is a sad day for the province due to the deliberately vague messages being given to the people of Ontario.

"The government is saying Ontario Place will be closed for up to the next five years," Thomas said. "Neither will they confirm or deny that the Cinesphere will be demolished. Rumours of a new casino or more waterfront condos could result in permanent transformation of this landmark area into just another cluster of concrete and steel towers."


Thomas accuses the McGuinty Liberals of not looking long-term into what will benefit Ontarians.
"There are profits to be made from entertainment, if the government made the investment," Thomas said. "Instead, the Ontario Liberals will hand over a provincial asset to the private sector, a move that is irrevocable. Cash that would have come to the government will instead go to private investors. And one more provincial icon will be gone forever."


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

TO2015 Reports Milton Council Confirms Velodrome



photo credit: InsideHalton.com

TORONTO, January 31, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Town of Milton made a landmark decision at last night's municipal council meeting to build a permanent velodrome at the Milton Education Village for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.

"On behalf of TO2015, we would like to thank the Town of Milton for making this velodrome a reality," says Ian Troop, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015). "This is the result of sound deliberation and an appreciation for the potential associated with a permanent velodrome."




This legacy cycling centre also includes an infield that could support other recreational activities such as basketball, volleyball or badminton.

"This is a great day for cycling and amateur sport in Canada," said Olympian Curt Harnett. "This will result in a world-class facility that will make Milton a cycling hub for the surrounding community, the province and eastern Canada."


TO2015 looks forward to working with Town of Milton and the Organizing Committee's partners to build a velodrome that will attract the best athletes from the Americas in 2015 and leave a lasting sport legacy.

About the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

The Pan and Parapan American Games are one of the world's largest international multi-sport events, held every four years for athletes of the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). The Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games will draw 10,000 athletes and officials and feature 48 sports in 17 municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. The Toronto 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10-26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14.


Thinking outside the box office:



New report cites digital strategy as vital to survival of theatre in Canada

TORONTO, January 31, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - A new report, entitled Beyond the Curtain: How Digital Media Is Reshaping Theatre, warns that performing arts companies in Canada will struggle to compete with foreign content unless they embrace digital technology as a means of finding new audiences for theatrical productions.

"The remarkable achievement of this report is that it has brought together unions, performing arts producers and content creators to discuss what is becoming a very serious issue affecting Canadian theatre," says veteran Canadian television producer Craig Thompson, author of the report.


According to the report, Canadian live theatre is facing stiffer competition for entertainment dollars from the proliferation of new digital platforms. In an environment in which funding for the arts is declining and broadcasters are turning away from traditional performing arts programming, capturing live performance for digital distribution has become more important than ever as a source of revenue. The report argues that the re-purposing of live theatre for cinema screens and the Internet offers an exciting opportunity to reach a broader audience and generate additional revenue.

"We want to ensure that Canadian audiences have access to Canadian performing arts productions wherever and whenever they choose to view it," says Arden Ryshpan, Executive Director of Canadian Actors' Equity Association, which represents stage performers and is one of the partners in the report. "We don't want the only thing available to be a foreign opera, ballet or theatre company."


The Canadian theatre industry is finding it challenging to keep pace with the number of foreign productions on cinema screens, such as The Met: Live in HD and National Theatre Live, both of which are attracting large audiences. The report warns that Canada will fall behind unless new funding models are made available to re-purpose homegrown theatrical content for digital platforms — with or without broadcaster involvement.

"Our industry is well aware of the need to embrace the digital reality and make the arts more accessible on different platforms," says Jacoba Knaapen, Executive Director of the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, which represents 187 theatre, dance and opera companies in the Greater Toronto Area. "This report highlights this need in the strongest possible way and is an important step in moving our industry forward in that direction."


The study also recommends theatre producers and unions accelerate the pace of discussions and negotiations to ensure barriers to rapid adoption of content re-purposing and digital media applications are removed. It further calls for the availability of innovation funding to allow theatre companies to experiment with all facets of digital media and technology.

The study was led by Ballinran Entertainment with funding from the OMDC Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund. Other partners in the study included Digital Wizards, Canadian Actors' Equity Association and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The study included an on-line survey and interviews with the theatre and performing arts community in Canada and abroad.

The report is available at: www.stagescene.ca