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Is it Wise to Take Kids Along on a Gambling-Centric Trip in Canada?



Maybe a friend told you Canadian casinos are among the most fun she’d ever visited or perhaps you’ve just been thinking about becoming more familiar with the gambling opportunities available in Canada after doing some basic online research and really liking what you found. Gambling trips are fun but might seem too complex to manage if you have kids who can’t or won’t stay at home. Luckily, that scenario doesn’t have to make your gambling plans impossible to pull off.

Set Realistic Expectations for Kids

Once you’ve decided to take your kids with you on a gambling-themed trip, it’s important to let the youngsters know what to expect. That’s especially true in terms of child care.

Whether you and your spouse have decided on an arrangement where one person watches the kids while the other adult goes gambling or you’re going to hire a local babysitter from the community near your casino of choice, it’s crucial to keep kids in the loop as much as possible. Otherwise, they’ll get confused and probably unnecessarily upset.

Put Aside Time for Child-Friendly Activities

Sure, the main purpose of your trip is to gamble, but you shouldn’t try to spend every spare moment in casinos. When you’re ready for a change of pace, find something that you and your kids can enjoy together. For example, if you’re thinking about spending all or most of your time at a casino in Nova Scotia, you might research activities and points of interest for kids, such as spending time at the Atlantic Playland amusement park.

The 50-acre Oaklawn Farm Zoo is another notable attraction in Nova Scotia that kids will love. This family owned operation has the largest exhibits of big cats and primates in Eastern Canada.

Instead of only doing things with your kids when you’re temporarily bored by Blackjack and think your luck with the slot machines has run out, schedule your days so free time gets devoted to both adults-only diversions and fun things for all ages. That way, your kids will have activities to anticipate and know you care about making the trip fun for them too.

Think Beyond Physical Casinos

Several decades ago, gambling only took place inside physical casinos, but now you can place bets and get involved in your favorite casino games anywhere with an internet connection. Basically, if you can play it in a land-based casino, then you can play it online.

The most obvious advantage of online casinos in terms of your parenting duties is you can keep an eye on kids and have fun gambling at the same time, or at least after the little ones have gone to sleep. An online casino is also worthwhile to try if you’re interested in getting acquainted with a new game but want to do it without other people potentially picking up on visual cues that clearly designate you as a newbie.

If you’re trying to decide whether it’s worth it to let kids tag along on a gambling-centric getaway, the insight you’ve just read should clarify that such a trip can be beneficial for all involved. That’s especially true if you plan things carefully.

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Ontario Line subway construction permanently shuts down beloved Toronto bakery



The Danforth is set to lose yet another neighbourhood favourite to the Ontario line subway construction as Greek bakery Akropolis Pastries prepares to close its doors for good after over 40 years in business. 

They announced on Instagram that they’ll shut down in mid-August, sharing a painting of the storefront alongside a simple message thanking their customers.

Dozens of people took to the comments to express their love for the establishment and their years of service to the community.

“Thank you for your friendly customer service & delicious goodies. You will be missed,” said one customer. 

Another added, “You always had the best akropolis pies and always great service. Good luck!”

Several more chimed in with hearts and crying emojis, as well as shout-outs to their favourite dishes. 

The bakery’s president, Bill Gekas, confirmed to the Toronto Star that he received official notice that Akropolis was to be expropriated in the winter of 2022.

He says that the offer from Metrolinx, who had previously promised to compensate affected business owners accordingly, was below market value and that he planned to take the company to court. 

He continued, further pressing the company for taking away affordable housing from his upstairs tenants without providing them a suitable replacement. 

Akropolis isn’t the first Greektown business to announce its expropriation, with Flox on Danforth and Home Hardware the most recent neighbour to share that they’ve fallen victim to the Ontario line.

They also certainly won’t be the last, as Metrolinx has confirmed that they’ll be shuttering 13 businesses on the Danforth to make way for construction. 

The forthcoming transit line is currently due to open in 2031 — although, if the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is any indication, that won’t be the case. 

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Canada considers capping international student visas to address housing crisis



The Canadian government is considering a cap on international student visas to tackle the housing crisis.

During a press conference on Monday, Housing Minister Sean Fraser told reporters that a cap is “one of the options” Ottawa is considering to address the lack of housing amidst the “explosive growth” of temporary immigration programs like the international student program.

“The international student program has seen such growth and in such concentrated areas that it is really starting to put an unprecedented level of demand, in some instances, on the job market,” he explained.

“But given the economic conditions we’ve been living with for the past couple of years, you see it in a more pronounced way on the housing market.”

Fraser stressed that the conversation isn’t about blaming newcomers for Canada’s housing challenges.

He acknowledged that these issues have been decades in the making and have been perpetuated by previous Liberal and Conservative governments.

“[Governments] retreated heavily from making the basic investments in social housing that is now revealing itself through the market today,” said Fraser.

According to official data, as of December 2022, there were over 800,000 foreigners with active international student visas in Canada.

Fraser says that before seriously considering a cap, the government plans to work closely with Canadian universities to ensure these students have a place to live.

He adds that that includes addressing some of these institutions’ exploitation of international students.

“When you see some of these institutions that have five, six times as many students enrolled as they have spaces for them in the building, and you see them continue to pop up in plaza colleges across the country, you’ve got to start to ask yourself some pretty tough questions,” said Fraser.

According to the housing minister, the government has no immediate plans to lower the number of international student visas.

Fraser says he’ll be discussing options with Immigration Minister Marc Miller.

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Toronto’s financial woes could mean delay of Eglinton LRT and Ontario Line opening



Facing a budget deficit of a whopping $46.5 billion over the coming decade, the City of Toronto and Mayor Olivia Chow have got their work cut out for them in trying to reduce costs and increase revenue during what is now being called an “unprecedented financial crisis.”

Among 13 suggested courses of action that staffers put on the table during an Executive Committee meeting last week are a new municipal sales tax, an increase in land transfer taxes for multi-million dollar homes, and permitting the Toronto Parking Authority to charge higher fees for on-street parking, which is currently capped at $5 an hour.

Though these very feasible options were the most widely-reported ones, there are a few parts of the new 192-page long-term financial plan that are quite concerningly being overlooked.

As local political expert and columnist Matt Elliott noted in the latest edition of his City Hall Watcher newsletter, the City Manager and Interim Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer have made a couple of pretty bold recommendations for paths forward, taking aim at the provincial government for not allocating more funding to the city.

Further down the list, we find a few items that feel more dramatic than the aforementioned levies, including, at number 11, a push to potentially refuse to fund the operation of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and Finch West subway lines that the city is currently on the hook to pay for.

As Elliott illuminated, the document states that “It was never foreseen that these new operating costs would begin in circumstances when the City had such limited capacity to afford them. Deferring the launch of these two transit lines could reduce the 2024 pressure by up to $106 million.”

Similarly, item 12 advises that “City Council inform the Province of Ontario that in the absence of a new funding model for transit operations in the City of Toronto… the City will pause negotiation of further funding agreements for Provincial Priority Transit Projects and any future provincial transit expansion projects.”

These priority transit projects include the Ontario Line, on which construction has already commenced, most noticeably at Queen and Yonge.

Though these are only proposed ideas for ensuring a better fiscal future at this point, we will have to see which, if any, of the recommendations leadership heeds.

Though there would be inevitable backlash to pressing pause on the decade-plus-in-the-making Eglinton Crosstown LRT or the forthcoming Ontario Line, would anyone in the city really be surprised if a major public transportation project was delayed yet again?

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