Latest Blogposts

  • Wait — the Oscars cost HOW much?!

    (Dan MacMedan/WireImage)

    Ever wondered how much the daddy of all entertainment award shows costs every year? Well, you can safely assume nothing comes from Costco. Check out these surprising tickets, along with some grocery list items from the Academy of Motion Pictures 2015 Annual Report, where an independent auditor puts a price tag on expenses such as the venue rental to the 13.5-inch tall gold statuette.

    THE SPACE: The event is held at Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak Theatre) located at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles, California. The theatre is rented to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for weeks before the actual event, and ‘Theatre Rental’ price tag in 2015 was US$349,100 (up from US$285,000 in 2014).

    THE ENVELOPES: Designer Marc Friedland debuted his Oscar envelopes and announcement cards in 2011, which cost US$200 in 2014 each and incidentally are gold and weigh 0.25 pounds. According to Mashable, Friedland’s team worked 110 hours in 2014 to create three

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  • Canada's American cereal 'grey' market revealed

    American cereal
    [If you want these cereals in Canada, you have to go through somewhat unorthodox channels/Candy Fun House]
    “Hey… you got the stuff?”

    That was me a few years ago upon the arrival of my CraigsList contact during a clandestine public meeting one evening at Toronto’s Atrium on Bay. But it wasn’t drugs, guns or even fake Rolex watches that my dealer then proceeded to pull from his jacket – it was breakfast cereal.

    At the time, only Count Chocula could be found on Canadian supermarket shelves and even that was only during Halloween. If you were like me, and you wanted to mix your Count Chocula with General Mills’ other Monster Cereals – Boo Berry and Frankenberry – you were sadly out of luck. Well, unless you happened to find a guy on CraigsList with a few extra, unopened boxes from a recent cross-border trip who was willing to sell them to you at a markup of $20.

    Thankfully, due to Canadians like me who will go to such desperate lengths to recapture their childhood Saturday mornings, The

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  • Toronto Repair Café aims to help ‘breath life back into’ treasured possessions
    A volunteer fixer helps repair a camera at a Toronto Repair Cafe event in January. (Repair Cafe Toronto / Facebook)

    About two years ago, Paul Magder, the co-founder of Toronto’s Repair Cafe, said a man came to one of their events with an old transistor radio that was his last possession of his deceased mother.

    It wasn’t a difficult fix. The sound crackled thanks to dirty contacts, but it was clear after Magder cleaned them off.

    And even though this was a minor repair for the retired electronic technologist, now 62, it meant a lot to the man whose transistor radio was up and running, just like he remembered.

    “He was so appreciative of being able to fix it,” Magder told Yahoo Finance Canada.

    “That was first time somebody had said something like that … it was really heartwarming. I felt really happy that I was able to help the person — it sort felt like ‘yeah, this is what it is all about.’”

    Magder along with his with his wife Fern Mosoff, a 63-year-old retired civil servant, and Wai Chu

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  • Canada received 8,000 millionaire migrants in 2016: study

    Canada received 8,000 millionaire immigrants in 2016: study
    A Canadian passport is displayed in Ottawa on Thursday, July 23, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

    While Canada is known for being a beacon for migrants looking for a better life around the world, it’s also becoming a destination for the wealthy.

    According to a new report from market research group New World Wealth, an estimated 8,000 millionaires moved to the country last year.

    That number put it third overall, behind Australia and the U.S., who received 11,000 and 10,000 new arrivals with seven-figure bank accounts respectively.

    Overall, Canada welcomed more than 320,000 migrants into the country from July 1, 2015 to the same date the following year.

    And that will continue in 2017, as Canada is planning to grant permanent residency to a minimum of 300,000 people.

    The report also found that millionaires globally are uprooting at an increasing pace, with 82,000 emmigrating last year, up from 64,000 in 2015.

    Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, told CNBC that

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  • Scam Alert: Better Business Bureau warns of blackhead remover shakedown

    (Getty Images)

    If you got a blackhead remover you don’t remember ordering in the mail, chances are it’s not from a good samaritan.

    A company called Lux International Sales is being investigated by the Better Business Bureau of Western Ontario for sending people in Kitchener a “blackhead killer face mask,” complete with invoice. After the recipient contacts Lux to report that the product was sent in error, the company threatens legal action, court and debt collections.

    On BBB’s website, one consumer reports seeing a commercial online and then looking at the product on their website. They were instructed to enter an address to view shipping costs, but did not provide any payment information. That was all it took.

    “Once saw the cost, i exited the website WITHOUT entering my credit card information as i (sic) was not interested in the product once i saw the price,” one consumer writes on the site. “A month later, i (sic) was sent the product with an invoice. there is no contact number for

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  • Here's what you should do if you have a horrible boss

    Dealing with horrible bosses
    [If you’ve got a problem, you’ve got to report it.]
    A former senior executive at the Public Health Agency of Canada reduced staff “to tears” and regularly broke out into fits of rage and intimidation according to a report by the federal government’s public-sector integrity watchdog.

    One character witness in the report described the party in question (masculine used as a stand-in to protect the identity of the former senior executive) as going “ballistic” over an email sent by the employee.

    “I have never seen an explosion like that (he) absolutely went ballistic…just totally decimated my whole character…like total rage, (the Executive’s) blood pressure was up I am sure, (he) was red, (his) eyes were bulging (…) (he) was completely out of control. To the point where I thought is (he) going to hit me,” said the witness.

    According to the report by Joe Friday, the public sector integrity commissioner, one of the witnesses testified that shortly after the outburst, at a group meeting, the

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  • 6 gadgets you don’t own (but should)

    iPhone? Yawn. Dell laptop? Old news. DJI drones? Meh.

    If you love your gadgets, but are in search of lesser-known and unique ones, you’ve come to the right place.

    There are many extraordinary tech toys available, some of which aren’t in Canada just yet or perhaps you don’t know about them because they haven’t garnered the same amount of attention as others.

    Here’s a look at six such examples. Oh, and if you’ve got one to share, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll check it out.

    Amazon Echo

    By far, this is my favourite piece of technology — but it’s not yet available in the Great White North.

    Essentially, Amazon Echo (US $179) is a personal digital assistant for your home. Simply plug this cylindrical speaker into the wall, join it to your Wi-Fi connection, and then even if your hands are full you can say the wake word, “Alexa,” followed by any number of questions or commands. Ask something like “What’s going on in the news” or “Play pop music” or ask to read recipes, pay your

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  • Canadian mobile bike shop company rides wave of success after ‘Dragon’s Den’ spot
    (velofix)

    Both avid cyclists, Chris Guillemet and Davide Xausa know first-hand the struggle of getting your bike repaired.

    The Vancouver natives were frustrated with having to get their rides into a shop during “open hours,” which often overlap with a nine-to-five schedule, loading them into a car or somehow getting them there via transit or walking them, and then having to make your way back when after the fixes have been made.

    So the pair, along with Boris Martin, a frustrated employee of one of the aforementioned establishments, came up with the idea to make it easier on the customer by bringing the shop to them at the time of their choosing. Together they launched the mobile bike shop company velofix in 2013.

    “It was born out of the frustration of poor service and time constraints of having to take a bike to a bike shop to get serviced,” Guillemet told Yahoo Finance Canada in an email.

    “We all shared the same belief that there had to be a better business model for getting your bikes

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  • Wealthy European investors drop nearly $1B on commercial properties in Canada
    Amancio Ortega, founder of clothing giant Zara, is seen here. (Town & Country)

    While it has been investors in the East that have been the subject of many a headline about their penchant for Canadian real estate, it turns out that their counterparts in the West are also snapping up properties.

    According to data reported by The Globe and Mail, foreign buyers doled out a record $5.6 billion on commercial properties last year, according to U.S. commercial real estate firm CBRE Group, $950 million of which came from the Europe.

    The majority of foreign investors were based in Asia, but a large part of the deals were hotel and office building acquisitions by financial groups such as China’s Anbang.

    The insurer has gone on a high-profile property-buying spree, swallowing up the likes of New York’s Waldorf Astoria, a US$6.5-billion acquisition of Strategic Hotels and Resorts, as well as a 30-storey tower occupied by the Government of Ontario in downtown Toronto.

    However, according to CBRE’s

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  • What happens if you file your taxes late, or not at all?

    Canada Revenue Agency
    [If you don’t file your taxes, the penalties can pile up quickly/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young]
    It can be fun to imagine just not paying income taxes and spending that extra thirty-odd percent of your paycheck on vacations and a nicer car. It’s also easy to just put off doing your return, because math is no fun and doing taxes forces you to dig through drawers for crumpled receipts.

    But paying your taxes late or not at all (besides being wrong, of course) has consequences that in the end will just end up eating up a bigger chunk of your hard-earned money.

    According to government data, Ottawa takes in around $150 billion per year in personal income tax revenue.

    Many Canadians rarely have to worry about this sort of thing, because employers typically withhold taxes ahead of time, so tax time means you could be expecting a refund.

    But there are still many who have to cut a check to pay their taxes, and with the amounts involved, it’s easy to see why the government is serious about

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  • Why do companies go public? An IPO explainer

    Canada Goose
    [Now you can own a piece of Canada Goose, but why do companies go public in the first place?]
    Everyone’s favourite catalyst for parka-purchasing debt, Canada Goose is going public. The winter apparel maker, whose parkas sell for up to $1,500, filed for an initial public offering (IPO) this week, seeking to list on both the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol “GOOS.”

    Canada Goose opened its flagship retail stores in Toronto and New York last year and according to regulatory filings posted $291 million in revenue for fiscal 2016, up from $152 million in 2014. Gross profit was $146 million.

    “We are focused on building an enduring brand, a legacy for our employees and our country and long-term value for our shareholders,” wrote Dani Reiss, president and CEO, in a letter to shareholders. “We have been careful stewards of this brand for 60 years and we will do the same as a publicly-traded company in the years ahead.”

    For consumers, the filing – which gives Canada Goose the

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  • Expenses you may think are tax deductible but aren’t

    Expenses that many taxpayers think are tax deductible but actually aren’t
    Tax forms and Canadian currency are shown together in a photo illustration taken in Toronto on Sunday, April 3, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)

    It’s likely an accountant’s worst nightmare: A client walks into the office carrying bags that are bursting at the seams from both the crumpled receipts they contain and the wishful thinking that these expenses will be tax deductible.

    While this may be an exaggeration, there are plenty of claims that many taxpayers believe are eligible for tax deductions but simply do not qualify.

    Here’s a look at these misconceptions, according to two experts from the field:

    Medical expenses

    Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning with CIBC, told Yahoo Finance Canada that medical bills are the most commonly denied expense, as taxpayers often try to claim the costs of vitamins, supplements, bandages, shoe inserts and over-the-counter medicines.

    “They just don’t qualify,” he said.

    “There’s a very specific list of medical expenses that

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  • First-class discounts? Air Canada auctioning off flight upgrades
    Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu poses for the media beside the new business class pod before his speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Tuesday, February 17, 2015 in Montreal.(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

    Air Canada is adopting a new method to sell empty seats in its business and premium-economy cabin, which could please bargain-hunting passengers.

    According to The Globe and Mail, the airline began a pilot program to auction off upgrades online late last year and plans to fully roll out the option this summer.

    Air Canada isn’t the first airline to test out this method. More than 30 others around the world have already implemented this system that gives casual fliers the chance to move up out of the cheap seats for a fraction of the price.

    The method is being widely adopted because airlines see it as a way to bring in added cash, rather than giving the seats away for free to frequent flyers.

    “They’re all thinking about it because they all have the same problem, which

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  • You won't believe what this new McDonald's straw can do

    (McDonald’s)

    You may have been drinking milkshakes the wrong way your entire life.

    McDonald’s USA shook up the blended beverage world yesterday with a limited-edition straw professional engineered to flood your mouth with the perfect balance of flavour.

    The fast food giant’s new seasonal Chocolate Shamrock Shake has dual layers of chocolate under green-dyed mint to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. But the problem persisted on how to get exactly 50% chocolate and 50% mint in each sip. JACE and NK Labs rose to the challenge and invented a j-shaped Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal (the STRAW).

    “From a physics perspective, it’s actually quite difficult to deliver a proportion amount of both chocolate and mint flavours with each sip,” Seth Newburg, managing partner at NK Labs, told MarketWired. “But that’s exactly what we did. It’s a marvel of fluid dynamics.”

    If you want to snag one of these ultimate shake-drinking experience tools for a hung-over binge-eating episode, you better plan

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  • When Canadian companies unwittingly advertise on Breitbart

    Steve Bannon
    [Senior Counselor to President Trump Steve Bannon/REUTERS/Carlos Barria]
    Borrowell CEO Andrew Graham was in for a shock when some customer feedback recently reached his desk. Unbeknownst to Graham, the Toronto-based loan company’s digital ads were running on the website of Breitbart News Network. That’s the far-right outlet formerly run by Stephen Bannon, the notorious White House adviser who’s been described as a white supremacist. It’s not a place Borrowell cares to promote itself.

    “My reaction was surprise,” Graham says of learning that the ads had appeared. “We want our display ads and our ad dollars go to sites that are compatible with our values, and we feel that’s not a site that’s compatible with our values.

    “Our customers know what our values are, and it was great to get that alert so we could move quickly,” he says. “We’re a data- and fact-driven company. About one third of employees were not born in Canada. We’re a diverse and inclusive company.”

    Graham’s piece of advice to

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