Insight
  • Ebooks may be convenient, but students still prefer to have physical copies. (Thinkstock)Ebooks may be convenient, but students still prefer to have physical copies. (Thinkstock)

    We’ve all heard the doom and gloom of recent years about the fate of paper books: ebooks saw a meteoric rise when they hit the market in a big way in 2008, and were predicted to have a meteoric rise.

    When bookseller Borders declared bankruptcy in 2011, people in the industry and bibliophiles alike feared it was the beginning of the end for beloved paperbacks and leather-bound hardcovers.

    But fear not, paper book-lovers, there is hope for the future.

    A recent study performed by Naomi Baron at American University found that a whopping 92 per cent of students preferred a paper tome to reading a digital book on an e-reader, laptop, phone or tablet, New Republic reports.

    After surveying over 300 university students ages 18-26 from Japan, Germany, Slovakia and the U.S., Baron found that the distractions presented by digital devices and the discomfort of eye strain and headaches were major deterrents for students to pick up digital books. They also cited certain experiences that the ebook just

    Read More »from Students overwhelmingly prefer paper books to ebooks, study shows
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    [Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visiting Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., on Jan. 14 for the opening of Google’s new office. Photo: @JustinTrudeau]

    You may not be aware of it, but Canada has likely played a big role in the technology you use in your everyday life. Big tech names like Microsoft and Google have had offices and research labs in Canada for years and seem to be here to stay. Google, for example, is making itself more at home by moving to a bigger office space in the Kitchener-Waterloo area in Ontario.

    Now, one of the biggest names in tech today, Apple, is setting up shop in Ottawa. According to the Ottawa Citizen, Apple will open a 22,000 square foot space in the nation’s capital, and as this office is across the street from BlackBerry’s largely automobile-focused QNX Software Systems, that has led some to believe the space may be related to the much rumoured Apple Car.

    Apple, Google and Microsoft are far from the only tech giants that have been opening up offices and/or research

    Read More »from 6 reasons why Silicon Valley loves Canada
  • A woman poses in front of a monkey-shaped installation in Beijing, China, Feb. 5, 2016. (Reuters)A woman poses in front of a monkey-shaped installation in Beijing, China, Feb. 5, 2016. (Reuters)

    On Monday, many Canadians will celebrate the end of the lunar calendar, which marks the beginning of the traditional Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey.

    Rooted in Ancient China’s agriculture-based society – which used to encompass parts of Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore – Asian populations have traditionally used the moons cycles to know when to plant seeds and when to harvest. More recently, the lunar cycles have been applied to wealth management and finances to predict prosperity.

    “From a financial perspective, basically the monkey is a trickster, the monkey can be unpredictable and is very intelligent and very innovative,” says Kristi Stangeland, who is founder of the Toronto-based Feng Shui Consulting Service, a company dedicated to helping corporate and private clients realize their goals using Feng Shui practices, and former CPA with PricewaterhouseCoopers and J.P. Morgan Chase. “Fire is combustible and hot.”

    The combination is part of a rotating system of 12 zodiac

    Read More »from Year of the Fire Monkey to bring volatility and financial mischief
  • Andy Villatoro plays with a toy he received after ordering a Happy Meal at McDonald's. (Getty)Andy Villatoro plays with a toy he received after ordering a Happy Meal at McDonald's. (Getty)

    Over the next two weeks McDonald’s will be giving away 1.5 million books in Happy Meals across Canada.

    “We’ve tied it into Valentine’s day, a time where kids have a lot of fun, so each of the books has fun little Valentine’s cards and stickers,” says Michelle McIlmoyle senior national marketing manager at McDonald’s and part of the team that is spearheading the Happy Meals book program. “It just adds to the overall experience that reading is fun.”

    The four books include the classic “Paddington” story by Michael Bond and three other heart day-themed stories – “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!” by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond; “Clark the Shark Takes Heart” by Bruce Hale; and “Pete the Cat Valentine’s Day is Cool” by Kimberly and James Dean.

    The books will replace the toys in Happy Meals from Feb. 2 to 15.

    The selection mirrors the U.S. market, which will distribute 17 million books. Quebec will get the titles in French. McDonald’s will also distribute books during that time period in

    Read More »from McDonald’s Canada to give away books in Happy Meals
  • [Cayman Islands Department of Tourism/Facebook]

    Yahoo Canada editor Simone Olivero is exporing the Cayman Islands this week, seeing first hand how to enjoy a relaxing trip away. With a little bit of adventure and a lot of spa time, you too can feel refreshed and recharged after a visit to this sunny destination.

    Read More »from Live blog: Making the most of sun and spas in the Cayman Islands
  • (Thinkstock)(Thinkstock)

    While cheap airfares south of the border have piqued passenger interest, Canadians may soon be getting some deals of their own, albeit for different reasons.

    In a conference call yesterday, WestJet announced it would be introducing discounts for fares to and from Albertan hubs like Edmonton and Calgary to help combat a sharp cut in demands on the back of a struggling oil industry.

    “We didn’t start to see much softness in our yields and our bookings until late (in the fourth quarter), and it was sudden and it’s gotten very deep,” said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet’s chief executive officer, during the call discussing the Alberta-headquartered airline’s profits, which fell by 27 per cent in the final three months of 2015 to $63.4 million.

    Stateside, passengers have seen deep discounts as a result of the falling cost of fuel and record profits for airlines. In January, the average round trip in the U.S. hit a three-year low of $210, a 14 per cent drop from the same month a year ago according

    Read More »from U.S. travellers seeing cheaper airfares — is Canada next?
  • (Thinkstock)(Thinkstock)

    Writer and editor Adrian Brijbassi travels for a living and can recall just a handful of frustrating hotel experiences.

    Those stays included non-smoking rooms that reeked of smoke and once the unsettling sight of a bathtub filled with dirty water.

    In each of those bad experiences, he politely but firmly dealt with management and received a satisfactory outcome. But when it comes to travel, that can be deeply unsatisfactory.

    “The point of a vacation isn't to have a ‘satisfactory’ experience. We want each of our holidays to be incredible in every way because the time and money we invest on our vacation choices are so precious,” says Brijbassi, the founder of the Canadian concierge site Vacay.ca

    What Brijbassi has learned is that poor hotel stays all have one thing in common: the properties were not of high quality and that’s why, through bad experiences, he avoids hotels rated three-stars or lower.

    “The higher-end hotels deliver dependable experiences and can often wow you with

    Read More »from Simple steps for the best hotel stay — and what to do if it goes wrong

  • A new study has surfaced in an ongoing class action lawsuit against Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which bought Cold-FX maker Afexa Life Sciences in 2011, saying the popular cold and flu remedy makers sat on results showing the supplement could be no more effective than a placebo.

    The suit, helmed by Vancouver lawyer John Green, takes issue with the company’s marketing claims that Cold-FX – essentially a fine-tuned dose of ginseng extract – could “stop cold and flu in their tracks” and bring “immediate relief” from cold and flu symptoms.

    “If true, this kind of information should have been disclosed,” Green told the National Post. “If it had been disclosed, it would probably have been the end of Afexa Life Sciences.”

    The company, which received endorsement from hockey personality Don Cherry, has since pared back its marketing on its website to suggest that “by boosting your immune system, Cold-FX helps reduce the frequency, severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms.”

    [Speedskater Clara

    Read More »from Cold-FX’s effectiveness questioned in class action lawsuit
  • [Dania Zargaran (left) with Purolator CEO Patrick Nangle during Zargaran’s day spent as co-CEO of the company/supplied]

    Dania Zargaran was 21 when she took the reins as co-CEO of Purolator. It was a short stint—less than 24 hours—but not because she got the axe so much as Zargaran was participating in executive search firm Odgers Berndtson’s CEO X 1 Day program.

    The program, which is kicking off its third year, pairs students with CEOs from organizations like the CFL, Omers Ventures, Altus Group and IKEA Canada.

    “It was really interesting to see how normal it was,” recalls Zargaran, who was a fourth year commerce student at Queen’s University when she participated in the program last year. “It’s just like a work day for anyone else, you come in, you have your to-dos for the day – it was surprisingly normal.”

    Zargaran teamed up with Patrick Nangle of Purolator, one of the 21 CEOs who participated.

    “It was an early morning, we started at the distribution centre in Mississauga and after the

    Read More »from CEO for a day: Students experience what it's like to run a major Canadian company
  • Dental hygenist and dentist (Thinkstock)Dental hygenist and dentist (Thinkstock)

    ABC’s “The Bachelor” may be all about the search for love, but the network has earned the scorn of two major health organizations.

    The show recently posted on its Facebook page a dozen images of faceless, comic book-like women under the heading “Bachelor jobs are the best jobs!”

    Those jobs had such esteemed titles as “professional snuggler,” “jewellery untangler,” “flatulence smell-reduction underwear tester,” and “wine enthusiast.”

    Somewhat seemingly out of place, “dental hygienist” also appeared on that list, alongside “miniature hat maker,” “hand model,” “hot dog vendor,” “chicken entrepreneur,” “pantsapreneur,” “free spirit,” and “hashtag enthusiast.”

    Screengrab of the post shared on 'The Bachelor' Facebook page. (via CDHA)Screengrab of the post shared on 'The Bachelor' Facebook page. (via CDHA)

    The perceived mocking of the dental hygienist profession has drawn the ire of the Canadian Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA).

    In a statement released on the afternoon of January 29, the CDHA expressed its “extreme disappointment” in ABC Studios and “The Bachelor” for

    Read More »from 'The Bachelor' earns the scorn of dental hygienists across North America
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    [Julie Bourbonniere, executive director of Moisson Montreal, the largest food bank in Canada, looks over the dwindling supply of fruit at the distribution centre Thursday, January 28, 2016 in Montreal. Canadian food banks hope that the pinch they're feeling from rising food prices isn't snowballing into a full-fledged crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz]

    While cauliflower has become the poster vegetable for rising food prices, people all over Canada are feeling the pinch as groceries become more expensive. Hardest hit are food banks and the people who use on them.

    “We’re hearing right across the country that food banks are experiencing challenges as a result of increasing food prices,” says Katharine Schmidt, executive director of Food Banks Canada. “Food prices have risen by 4.1 per cent, which is above the inflation rate, and people living on very low incomes are impacted at even greater levels than Canadians with middle or higher incomes.”

    Last year was a record year for food

    Read More »from Canada’s food banks see decline in donations as costs of food rises
  • See? Don't they look like they're having fun? (Thinkstock)See? Don't they look like they're having fun? (Thinkstock)

    Saving money is an easy enough concept: all you have to do is spend less, right? Yet successfully saving is extremely difficult for most. Despite numerous attempts and the best of intentions, it can seem near impossible to make even minor dents on bad spending habits.

    For many, extra incentive is required to make lasting changes to a budget, such as the popular 52-Week Money Challenge: participants save $1 the first week, $2 the next week, $3 the week after, etcetera until the last week of the year when they put $52 into savings. Sure you could just save $26.50 each week and achieve the same goal of $1,378 saved, but that doesn’t seem nearly as much fun, does it?

    So what is it about these money-saving games that are so attractive?

    Stress is not attractive

    It seems pretty obvious, but people do not like doing things that are stressful. This general rule holds true when it comes to budgeting, too. Turning saving into a game, therefore, adds an element of fun that improves the likelihood

    Read More »from Why people save better when we turn it into a game
  • Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates looks through a microscope during a tour on Jan.25, 2016. (Reuters)Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates looks through a microscope during a tour on Jan.25, 2016. (Reuters)

    First Bill Gates brought Windows to the world, now it’s mosquito nets. The Microsoft founder announced this week efforts to team up with the U.K. to funnel more than US$4 billion into the fight to eradicate malaria.

    “When it comes to human tragedy, no other animal even comes close to the devastation caused by one insect – the mosquito,” wrote the billionaire in a joint op-ed piece with British chancellor George Osborne in U.K. newspaper The Times. “It transmits diseases that claim more than 700,000 lives each year. The worst of these is malaria. A billion people are infected with malaria parasites, and malaria kills one child every minute.”

    Last year alone, 500,000 people were killed by malaria, according to the World Health Organization. Gates has been outspoken about eliminating the disease from the history books and eradicating it within the next couple of years.

    “In the world’s poorest places, malaria is both a cause and a consequence of poverty,” they write. “It costs Africa,

    Read More »from Bill Gates' billion-dollar commitment to ending malaria just a first step
  • A row of brand new Volkswagen Jettas are seen on a lot at a Volkswagen dealership on March 28, 2011. (Getty)A row of brand new Volkswagen Jettas are seen on a lot at a Volkswagen dealership on March 28, 2011. (Getty)

    It’s been four months since Volkswagen was caught skirting emissions tests by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Since then we’ve learned the gritty details – the German carmaker had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate certain emissions controls only during testing. We’ve also learned that between 2009 and 2015, the VW Group sold 11 million Volkswagens, Audis and Porches – specifically the Audi A3, VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat models – with this cheating software equipped in them, including some 100,000 that made it onto the Canadian market.

    But the whole thing, so far, seems to have been met with a collective shrug. At least in Canada.

    Sure, there was Volkswagen Canada’s stop sale order for vehicles affected by the software within three days of the news breaking. And there was the duck-taped together compensation package – $500 for use at Volkswagen dealerships, a further $500 credit gift card for use wherever

    Read More »from Where’s Canada's Volkswagen backlash?
  • Save that piggy bank! A no-spend challenge can help you make more of your nickels and dimes. (Thinkstock)Save that piggy bank! A no-spend challenge can help you make more of your nickels and dimes. (Thinkstock)

    No-spend challenges are remarkably common. From Ad Buster’s annual Buy Nothing Day to No-Spend Month, to one blogger’s well-titled Fiscal Fast, there is no shortage of options for anyone looking to challenge themselves to save a few bucks.

    Just because no-spend challenges are common, though, does that mean it will truly change anything? We asked people who had completed no-spend challenges and financial advisors for their takes, and for any tips they may have for those who wish to complete a challenge of their own.

    Lasting effects

    Hemal Patel is founder of KB Studio, a marketing consultant firm in Tallahassee, Fla.  As a business owner and recent homebuyer, he decided to take on a no-spend challenge as a way to store extra change from work so that he and his wife could better furnish their new home. 

    To start, Patel listed out all of his expenses to help him more clearly visualize just what the challenge was going to look like. He then went through each expense and reduced or

    Read More »from What can you really achieve with a no-spend challenge?
  • Vancouver foreign ownership controversy continues

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    [PHOTO COURTESY: CBC News]

    Two companies selling real estate in Vancouver’s red-hot housing market are under scrutiny from the B.C. securities regulator after Chinese-language advertisements brought more controversy over foreign ownership of Canadian real estate.

    Sun Commercial Real Estate and Luxmore Realty both solicited clients to invest in crowdfunded real estate portfolios using Chinese-language websites and publications.

    The B.C. Securities Commission said neither company appeared to have the required documentation to offer a financial security, such as a crowdfunded real estate investment.

    Calls to both companies on Friday went unanswered.

    Foreign investment, specifically from China, has been a flashpoint in Vancouver’s overheated housing market, one of the most expensive in the country for residential and commercial real estate.

    In September, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada said in a report that turbulence in the Chinese stock market could cause people to put their money in

    Read More »from Vancouver foreign ownership controversy continues
  • View of the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ont. (photo via Facebook)View of the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ont. (photo via Facebook)

    Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle could soon be the most expensive hotel ever sold in the Canadian market.

    The iconic hotel, a 3.5 acre fixture at the foot of Yonge Street on Toronto’s waterfront is expected to hit the market next week, and could go for anywhere from $350 million to $400 million say Curtis Gallagher, vice-president of hotel investments at Cushman & Wakefield, the broker for the property.

    “With the Canadian dollar where it’s at, it just gives that little bit more leverage to foreign buyers,” Gallagher told the Globe and Mail.

    In September, Concord Pacific Developments snapped up Westin’s antipodal hotel, the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver for another record setting $290-million.

    In comments via email sent to Yahoo Canada, Russell Beaudry, a senior manager for Colliers International Hotels, says the hotel investment market has been breaking records as of late.

    “Transaction volume exceeded $2.4 billion in 2015, the third highest volume on record,” he wrote. “We expect

    Read More »from Toronto lakefront hotel could be record-setting sale in Canada

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