Shortly after the announcement that Amazon would be buying Whole Foods, the company made another, not quite as ground shaking, announcement regarding their business operations in Canada. On Tuesday, Premier Kathleen Wynne made an announcement with Amazon that they would be expanding their corporate offices into Toronto. The office space will accommodate for the hiring of 200 new employees, 90 percent of which will be highly skilled technical positions.
The requirement for highly skilled technical positions makes sense, especially when you look at what the objectives of this new office space will be. The focus areas of the Toronto office will be on Amazon Fulfillment Technologies, the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant Alexa and Amazon Web Services.
Coca-Cola Canada is helping our great nation celebrate the 150th anniversary in style and starting this week you’ll be able to see just how much the soda retailer cares about its unique history in the Great White North. Coca-Cola Canada has created a new iconic can, which will be sold in 222mL 6-packs and will feature the 150th logo against the backdrop of an old fashioned Coca-Cola bottle. At the top of the bottle, a silhouetted maple leaf will be proudly displayed and of course the colour scheme will be red and white, which just so happens to be both Canada and Coca-Cola’s colours.
In addition to the new Canada 150 can, Coca-Cola will also be releasing a commemorative book (starting today) that celebrates the company’s history in Canada for the past 120 years. You will be able to find this piece of memorabilia wherever books are sold and the book is going to be, aptly called, Canada’s Coca-Cola: Refreshing the Nation for 120 Years.
Coca-Cola is also releasing a new commercial to help promote the new 150 222mL cans that will feature music from none other than the great Canadian musician Bryan Adams. The ad has two Canadians going from one side of the country to the other in search of a runaway Coca-Cola.
It’s back again for another year, except this year’s iteration of the IKEA Canada Play Cafe will be emphasizing the ‘play’ portion of their name as it features interactive games that will help in discounting your food purchases from the cafe. The pop up shop has opened in Toronto on Queen Street West, at 336 Queen St., and it will be open from June 16th to June 26th. The hours of availability will be:
Mon to Sat: 11-8pm
The cafe is 8,000 square feet and takes up an entire two floors of interactive fun. The cafe is broken into three different themes: shopping, eating, and playing (of course). In the play room, you can enjoy a game that is similar to what most people would call DDR (Dance, Dance Revolution) and collect points to discount your purchases at the cafe. At the cafe, you can buy familiar IKEA staples, such as Swedish meatballs and waffles.
And if you head over to the shopping area, you won’t necessarily be able to make big purchases on things like bed and living room furniture, but you will be able to shop for over 50 different decor items and kitchen accessories.
The chains that previously kept you tethered to your cellphone company, that is the irritating and outrageous unlocking fee, usually costing at least $50, is no longer. The CRTC ruled on Thursday that both small and individual cellphone customers will have the right to request to have their cellphones unlocked for free, making unlocking fees a thing of the past.
As of December 1, 2017, customers will be able to request for their cellphone to be unlocked for free and all newly purchased cellphones will have to come unlocked for the customers automatically.
The unlocking fee is something that many Canadians have complained about in the past, as it essentially keeps you locked in to your providers services. This new decision is a step in the right direction to giving Canadians more freedom with their cellphone providers, though there is still a long way to go.
Last year, the CRTC reported that the big Canadian telecoms made $37.7 million for 2016 just through unlocking fees.
Another change announced by the CRTC was that customers trial period will be extended to 15 days after their purchase, in which they can return their phone in “near new” condition free of charge. They must have used less than half of their plan’s monthly usage limit, but so long as you meet these requirements it will come at no extra charge.
One of Canada’s most fabled department stores, whose catalogue has been a coffee table feature of most Canadians homes for the past few decades, made an announcement on Tuesday that there is “significant doubt” about Sears future and that they could be selling the company.
This announcement comes at the heels of many other staple Canadian retailers who are struggling to compete in the e-commerce world of online shopping. Sears reported in their first-quarter a loss of $144.4 million – which is a 15.2 percent decline in revenue from last year.
In their first-quarter results, Sears cites online shopping as one of the main competitors that is threatening their efforts to transform the department store for the modern consumer, saying:
“The company continues to face a very challenging environment with recurring operating losses and negative cash flows from operating activities in the last five fiscal years, with net losses beginning in 2014.”
There have been improvements in sales at Sears retail stores, partially due to their efforts of adding discount designer lines to their selection, their revenue still fell to just $505.5 million (a $90 million drop) largely because of a loss of interest in catalogue sales.
Sears currently runs 95 department store and 26 Sears Home locations, plus an additional 14 outlets.
The department store giant has postponed their annual meeting, which was scheduled for Wednesday at 8am and Jeffrey Stollenwerck, who is not standing for re-election as a director, has resigned effective Tuesday.
The unveiling of one of the gaming world’s biggest tech giants is being met with what can only be described as a mixed bag of emotions. The new Xbox One X is being marketed by the company as being the “world’s most powerful console”, which if you dig into the specs enough you’ll see that it probably is one the most powerful consoles on the market right now, but, people are asking, at what cost?
The Xbox One X was announced last year at E3 under the pseudonym of Project Scorpio and was teased as being the smallest and fastest console to be produced. But when gamers were shown the renamed Xbox One X model (a name that has nearly as many complaints lodged against it as the price tag itself, which is a whopping $499 USD) at this year’s E3 conference, they were quick to point out the frightfully close similarities between the One X and the Xbox One S – which was released last year.
The Xbox One S was also marketed as being a faster, slimmer version of previous console models, and the Xbox One X is just a minor improvement from its immediate predecessor, though it’s $100 more expensive (Xbox One S runs for about $399).
That being said, this will be one of the fastest consoles that Microsoft has ever produced and will place it far ahead of its direct competitor, the PS4 Pro. Though the PS4 Pro has 4K capabilities like the new Xbox One X, it only has 8GB of RAM to the One X’s 12GB, and only 4.12 teraflops of graphics processing power compared to the 6 that the Xbox One X totes.
But all this doesn’t really mean that much to the average gamer. When placed side by side, a confused parent come holiday season will see the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X, both of which are marketed as being “faster and slimmer”, and will only see one real difference: the price tag.
Another hiccup on Microsoft’s presentation and release of this new console was their failure to emphasize the console’s virtual reality capabilities. While Sony has been churning out over a million VR headsets that are compatible with PlayStation, the Xbox One X made no mention of any VR game that would be launching with the console.
During a routine testing, the chocolate company Mars has decided to voluntarily recall thousands of Galaxy chocolate products after detecting a possible presence of salmonella in some of the chocolate confectioners products.
In a statement released by the company they said:
“As a precaution, we are voluntarily recalling certain Galaxy Smooth Milk Chocolate bars, Galaxy Minstrels, and Galaxy Counters and Teasers bars. We are working closely with the relevant food safety authorities and our customers to ensure that the affected products are no longer available for purchase.”
The company also said that though they have received no complaints, they are continuing with the recall as a precautionary measure.
The recall is only happening in the UK and Ireland, though if you by some chance were in either of those countries and purchased some of these goodies while across the pond, here is the list of products that are being recalled by Mars:
Galaxy Milk 200g Bar – product code AC76R, batches 719G1SLO00, 719G2SLO00, with the best-before date of May 6, 2018, and batches 720A2SLO00, 720B1SLO00 with the best-before date of May 13, 2018
Galaxy Milk 4x42g Multipack Bars – product code AF67D, batches 719G1SLO00 and 719G2SLO00 with the best-before date of May 6, 2018
Galaxy Milk 42g Bar – product code AN22R, batch number 719G2SLO00, with the best-before date of May 6, 2018
Galaxy Counters 78g Treat Bag – product code AW99N, batch number 719G2SLO00, with the best-before date of May, 6, 2018
Galaxy Counters 112g Pouch – product code AW99G in Ireland, batch numbers 720B1SLO00 and 720C1SLO00 with best-before dates of May 13, 2018
Maltesters Teasers 35g Bar – product code AX46E, batches 720C1SLO00 and 720D2SLO00 in the UK and Ireland, with the best-before date of May 13, 2018
Galaxy Minstrels 118g Pouch (Sweet Nights In promotion) – product code BJ30K, batch number 720B1SLO00, with the best-before date of May 13, 2018
If you have purchased any of these products and would like a reimbursement you can call 0800 952 0084 (for UK reimbursement) and 1890 812 315 (for Irish reimbursement).
You may be familiar with Apple Pay, but one of Apple’s biggest competitors, that is Google’s Android, is now launching Android Pay to its Canadian customers.
Android Pay works the same way as Apple Pay, in that it uses a secure tokenized system that syncs your Visa or MasterCard credit card or debit card with Android Pay so that you can pay for things with the ‘tap’ of your phone. This will work on terminals that advertise having the Near Field Communication supported technology, and it will keep your credit card and debit card numbers protected from the merchants, as all they will see, says Google, is the total price of your purchase and the specific financial institution you will be paying with.
The financial institutions covered with this new technology for us Canadians will be:
Canadian MasterCard and Visa cards
Interac debit cards:
Bank of Montreal
President’s Choice Financial
and Canadian Tire Financial Services
The biggest difference between Apple Pay and Android’s version is that instead of the encrypted financial and tokenized information being stored on a separate chip, as it is in Apple’s permutation, Google will store your information on the cloud. Google takes security very seriously and wants to assure anyone who is having doubts about having this information stored on the cloud that in Google they can trust, said Pali Bhat, the vice president of product payments at Google.
Click here to learn more about the release of Android Pay in Canada.
Apart from our favourite inmates at Litchfield making a return on June 9, there are a number of other much anticipated releases coming to Netflix Canada this month. Movies that I’m most excited about (*cough 13 Going on 30) may not be classically defined as “good film”, but that’s the whole fun of Netflix. Popping on your guilty pleasures with a fresh popped bag of popcorn and just ‘chilling’ until that not so friendly pop-up pauses your streaming and asks, with a hint of judgement, “are you still watching?”
Here’s a list of shows and movies that you can get lost in over the month of June:
13 Going on 30
Amelia – A Tale of Two Sisters
The Birth of a Nation
Homeland (season 5)
Jackie – A Tale of Two Sisters
Kardashian: The Man Who Saved O.J. Simpson
Kate and Mim-Mim (season 2)
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
The Mitfords – A Tale of Two Sisters
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie
West Coast Customs (season 3)
You’re Not You
Chelsea (season 2)
Flaked (season 2)
Blue Gold: American Jeans
War on Everyone
TURN: Washington’s Spies (season 3)
The Eyes of My Mother
Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (season 2, part B; new episodes weekly)
Health Canada is investigating three cases of burns that have been allegedly reported to be caused by the use of Banana Boat sunscreen product. The three reported cases are just the last ones to come in over the past few weeks, though the federal agency said they have received a total of nine complaints about the company’s product.
The agency released a statement saying that:
“To date, Health Canada has received nine adverse reaction reports involving Banana Boat products as suspected products. Four of the reports were for Banana Boat products for kids and three were for Banana Boat Baby. The other two reports were for adult products,” said Renelle Briand, a Health Canada spokesperson.
Health Canada has advised parents to go to the adverse reactions database to fill out a product complaint form should they find that they’re child present any strange symptoms after using Banana Boat product.
There is one case that has yet to be registered with Health Canada’s investigation, and it’s coming from a mother in Quebec who says that her son suffered second-degree burns from the application of one of Banana Boat’s products.
In her Facebook post, Caroline Morneau described how her nine-month-old son developed blisters on his skin after the application of a Banana Boat sunscreen. She alleges that the sunscreen product was at fault and after taking him to his paediatrician she was able to confirm that her child had succumbed to second-degree chemical burns.
Rebecca Cannon, another mother who made a public post on Facebook about her child’s reaction to the sunscreen product, has said that her daughter’s dermatologist confirmed that one-year-old Kayla had incurred second-degree caustic burns – better known as chemical burns.
Banana Boat has come out to say that they acknowledge that there has been some “discussion” about their product, but that they want to assure the public that their product goes through rigorous testing. They posted on their Facebook page asking that if anyone has any issues with their product that they reach out to the company and let them know about their concerns either by email or by phone at 1-888-786-8477.
Each year, Tim Hortons Canada has a day solely dedicated to helping low income kids get support for attending one of Tim Hortons summer camps. This day is aptly named Camp Day and is being celebrated on Wednesday, May 31st.
100% off all the coffee sales on this day will go towards sending these kids to camp, and they will also be selling bracelets for Camp Day where the proceeds from these sales will also go towards helping low income children in Canada.
Tim Hortons in the US (and hopefully Canada with some good pressure from us Canadian customers) will be fashioning 24 of their best flavoured timbits into a ‘bouquet’ on Sunday, May 14 to help celebrate Mother’s Day, but again, this offer will only be available at participating locations that are south of the border.
The bouquet will cost $7.99 and will include flavours like Cinnamon Sugar, Apple Fritter, Old Fashioned Plain, Chocolate Glazed, and Honey Dip.
Would you buy a Mother’s Day timbit bouquet if they were being offered north of the border?
Flying nowadays has become a pricey endeavour. Between needing to pay for checked bags, extra bags or even carry-on bags, it sometimes feels like hopping in your car and driving might be the more budget friendly option – though this option won’t really get you across the Atlantic/Pacific. WestJet Canada has recently recognized that their low-cost carrier services that initially made them so popular in 1996 when they first opened have become difficult to maintain, especially with their more than a 100 worldwide destinations and state-of-the-art aircrafts.
That is why WestJet has decided to launch a new ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) at the end of 2017. This ULCC is a kind of carrier that has become more popular in the past few years with other airlines. The airline essentially strips a flight of all the additional frills to a very low price, and then with each additional ‘frill’ you add to your flight (e.g. airport check-in fee, checked baggage, etc.) you will add an additional expense to your flight.
The carriers are also more densely packed than regular airlines, but the prices are much cheaper than others making those tighter quarters more bearable. WestJet has yet to give an official name to this ULCC, but they have said that they plan to launch officially by the end of 2017, hopefully in time for you to begin booking inexpensive holiday travel.
The internet blew up last week following the surprise (and tongue-in-cheek serious) premiere of season three for the hit Adult Swim cartoon, Rick and Morty. Though the show premiered on April 1st, the content of what the show discussed – that is, the fabled szechuan sauce that was retired from McDonald’s menu in the late 90s – is gearing up to have some real world consequences.
In the show, the main character Rick (an alcoholic, mad scientist) admits that the Pandora’s box for all his crotchety and time travelling behavior was the discontinuing of McDonald’s szechuan sauce. Since then, he has been on a mission to bring the sauce back into his life.
For those of you not familiar with the Rick and Morty universe, you can check out a clip from the most recent episode here for more context:
But for those of you who either don’t trust the ‘suits’ behind the Golden Arch or can’t wait for McDonald’s to re-release the szechuan sauce (some Twitter followers speculate 2018 might be the perfect time to re-launch the sauce, as Disney’s live action Mulan will also be coming out in 2018), here’s a video tutorial that can show you how to make a homemade, copy-cat version: