Guest Blog Entries

Batteries for Children's Miracle Network

The following entry is sponsored by Duracell.

Each year, thousands of children and their families spend time in Canadian hospitals over the holidays. For children staying in the hospital, often something as simple as a new working toy or game can help make a child's hospital stay a little brighter, by giving them the power to imagine a better tomorrow.

For the 10th year in a row Duracell will be donating a year supply of batteries to hospital playrooms across the country to power smiles this holiday season and beyond. For every pack of Duracell batteries sold at Walmart in December 2016, Duracell will donate to Children’s Miracle Network. The goal this year is to raise $150,000.

To find out more on how you too can support Children's Miracle Network hospitals to power imagination of kids throughout the holidays visit Duracell.com/cmn.

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Have you seen Westworld?

I'm not referring to the original movie with Yul Brynner, although on its own it too is a classic.

Just this week I watched the premiere episode of HBO's new series of the same name, and it absolutely blew me away. In fact I've already re watched it twice, it's that fucking good.

It's dark, visceral and intelligent. The cast is top shelf, featuring Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris. But the standout performance in episode 1 comes from an actor you may have never heard of: Louis Herthum. He's excellent in every sense of the word, and he stole one particular scene right out from under the aforementioned Hopkins.

The premise of course comes from the original film which was written by Michael Crichton. Years later, Crichton went on to write a modernized Hollywood friendly version of the same basic plot: Jurassic Park.

Westworld is HBO's newest Game of Thrones, and it's fabulous.

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Sharks Vs Penguins: Who will triumph in the Stanley Cup Final!

Big news in Hockey this week: We finally know who will be battling it out for the prestigious Stanley Cup in a couple of days, on Tuesday May 31st. Whether you are a Sharks or Penguins fan, or whether your team got knocked off during Playoffs; Hockey lovers all over the world are buzzing with excitement for the most anticipated final of the season!

If you are in Canada, you should have a look at Canadian sportsbooks. Everyone has a strong opinion as to whether the Sharks or the Penguins will be this season’s victors; so why not place some bets on your favorite for the winning title. These Canadian sportsbooks over at Freebets are also offering some great free bets when you sign up; all you have to do it enter their promo-code. Easy as pie!  And if you really have a good feeling about the Sharks or the Penguins, then this is the perfect time to claim those free bets, as they really could help you optimize your earnings this week.

It has been seven long years since the Penguins have made it to a Stanley Cup final. Before this long, dry seven year stretch, the Penguins had had relative successes in the Stanley Cup, having been to the finals a couple of times before. And now, after almost a decade, here they are again. You could really see the pure emotion, happiness, joy, and relief that the team felt on Thursday evening at the Consol Energy Center.

Sidney Crosby who has been with the Penguins for a long time, has been through that seven year drought. He was 20 and 21 years old when he got to play in two finals –and will now get to do so again after seven years of hard practice, determination, and waiting. The Penguins have a true underdog story this season - that is for sure! When their current coach, Mike Sullivan was brought on to help the team last year towards the end of December, the Penguins were not even in a position to be in the Playoffs! It turns out the Sullivan is indeed a “Magic Mike” of sorts. He has managed to turn the Penguins back in to the winning machine that they used to be. But the big question now is, will they have what it takes to beat the San Jose Sharks in the finals next week?

The Sharks, on the other hand, are going to be playing their very first final next week. So the question is, will the sharks who are beyond excited to be in this position have an edge over the Penguins who used to be considered legends, but have not been thought of as such since their decline after their last Stanley Cup win in 2009. It is an interesting situation for this final because we have two teams who could be considered underdogs in their own way. The Sharks have never made it this far, and have not really been considered great threats, and the Penguins are fallen heroes who have the chance to redeem themselves. We will have to wait until next week to see who prevails.

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Help Jason Find Internet for his Mom

Back in the day, I would post "guest blog entries" from readers. I had a form for this and everything. Today, if you want this treatment, you're going to have to send me an email.

That's what Jason from Sudbury did, and this entry was written by him.

First, @Toronto Mike: Thank you for publishing this, I really appreciate it.

So my parents are moving to Waterloo next month and I'm being sent on a mission. My mission...help them get internet. My mom has no clue about upload/download speeds, caps, etc. So I have to look around for them. They're looking for highspeed, they have a 50 mb/s connection right now which is good. I'm also trying to avoid Rogers and Bell, especially Rogers cause I know they have an 80 gig cap. They got an android box so I'm trying to either find a plan with no cap or if anything high enough that I know they won't go over it.

Here's where you guys come in. If you live in the Waterloo area, who's your ISP? How much are you paying? Do you have a cap? Help me be a good son and get my parents internet.

Jason from Sudbury

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Have fun and make some money while staying indoors this winter

Canada's long dark winter nights sure can get lonely and boring, but now there's a great way to fight back against the winter blues.  The massive casino games to play at Euro Palace casino will keep anyone entertained for hours, and who knows you might even come out with more than you started with thanks to the generous bonuses and excellent odds offered by the Euro palace casino.

If you've ever played at an online casino and ran out of options for new games you'll want to give Euro palace a try.  With over 500 different games you can play something different every day of the year.  They offer a large array of table games with multiple options such as Craps, Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat.  You'll also find nearly 200 different slots games -- enough to give even the most die-hard slots player more options than they can take advantage of.

If you're snowed in and prefer a more Vegas-like experience you can take advantage of the Live Casino at Euro Palace.  Here you'll find live dealers hosting games of blackjack, roulette and baccarat.  It's just one more feature that makes the Euro Palace casino the go to gaming experience for players in the know.

I haven't even gotten to the best part for some of you.  Euro Palace has all the blockbuster pokies you love to play such as Game of Thrones, Avalon II, The Dark Knight, and Thunderstruck II.  There is also a wide array of regular pokies to keep you entertained.  And those who love progressive jackpots can play the following progressives, some with jackpots topping $1 million: Cyberstud poker, King Cashalot, Mega Moolah, Roulette Royale, and Major Millions.

All of these great games are powered by Microgaming, so you know the games offered will keep expanding and Euro Palace will always have the latest and greatest games to keep you entertained year-round, even during the cold Canadian winter months when you can't get outdoors to a bricks and mortar casino.

To keep things fresh and make sure you can play longer the Euro Palace offers a welcome bonus, but they don't stop there.  You'll find weekly promotions that can lead to some quick rewards.  They come in the form of tournaments, lucky draws, free spins and bonuses and can even include physical prizes such as vouchers and the latest electronics.  Monthly promotions are slanted more towards tournaments and offer much larger prizes as they typically last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks.

Euro Palace gives points for each wager made in the casino and those points can add up fast and be redeemed for cash credits as soon as you reach just 5,000 points.  The cash credits are better than normal bonuses as there are no wager requirements.

So come over and take a look at the massive casino games to play at Euro palace casino.  Once you do you'll never need to go back to another casino, and you'll have found a solution to the boredom of the long, cold Canadian winters.

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In-form Raptors Chasing Down the Cavs

Whenever it has looked as though the Cleveland Cavaliers were about to pull away from the Toronto Raptors at the top of the Eastern Conference, the Canadian franchise has clawed them back. With less than a month to go until the end of the regular season, the Cavs and the Raptors both know that their postseason tickets are all but booked. But that won't stop the battle between the two going all the way to the finish. While it's hard to look beyond the Golden State Warriors in terms of the championship this season, there are at least two teams in the East who will be feeling confident about handling themselves well against Stephen Curry and company.

Toronto's impressive 112-104 overtime victory over a Miami Heat side leading the Southeast Division only served to further cut the gap between the Raptors and the Cavs at the top of the Eastern Conference. DeMar DeRozan once again showed just how much of an influence he is going to have in the playoffs, with the All-Star swingman repeating his exploits from the 117-115 win over the Portland Timbers earlier in the month by recording 38 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. The latest in a string of sensational performances this season, DeRozan scored 17 of his 28 points in the final 17 minutes of the game and impressed in all areas of the court.

1/24/14 | Sixers vs. Raptors
"1/24/14 | Sixers vs. Raptors" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by  Philadelphia 76ers 

In a rare off night for Kyle Lowry and Cory Joseph, who recorded just five goals from 23 attempts collectively, DeRozan's performance ensured the Raptors maintained pace with Cleveland at a time of the season when many felt the Cavs would have already wrapped up the Eastern Conference. But with still a month left of the regular season, including a number of tough games for both franchises, this race at the top of the conference could well go down to the wire. While Cleveland are as short as 4/11 in the latest Bet365 NBA betting odds, the Raptors have shown more than enough over the past few weeks to prove they aren't yet willing to throw the towel in just yet. And while you're at it, Bet on Euro 2016 finals on William Hill's website.

While Toronto were beating Miami, the Cavs will have been sat around their televisions knowing just how big a result this could be. With the Canadians now within two games of Cleveland, who have led the conference for much of the season, both teams know it would be the Raptors who would take the title should the East's top-two finish with identical records due to their 2-1 season series win. Both franchises are set to play 10 of their final 18 regular season games away from home, during which time Toronto could be able to welcome back Carroll into the team following his knee injury.

Having averaged almost 12 points a game, the former first round draft's return to action will be a major boost to a Raptors team that will need all hands on deck come the postseason. While Toronto have won 23 games from the 28 Carroll has missed, the small forward will have an important role to play between now and the end of the campaign.

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Think outside the boardroom: Corporate event ideas

There was a time when corporate events meant nothing more than gathering the relevant parties around a boardroom table and hammering out the points of the meeting. These days, corporate events are designed to build rapport amongst departments, to foster team-building skills, and to just plain have fun with each other! It has been shown that employees that can get along with each other on a personal level will be more productive in the workplace, having more of a teamwork mindset rather than an us-vs.-them mentality. So, what kinds of activities can you do with your employees as corporate events? Corporate event ideas abound these days.

Test your skills in an escape room!
Escape rooms are all the rage these days. Basically, your team is locked in a mocked-up room and charged with the task of getting out. Through team work and a pooling of skills, your corporate team will figure out clues and decode their way out of the room before the clock runs out.  They’ll even have a little fun a long the way, too.

Join a sports team
Sports is another great way to foster teamwork amongst your employees. Whether it’s golf, soft ball or dodgeball, playing a team sport helps to encourage team members to work together toward a common goal. And a little healthy competition against other teams (or between departments!) never hurt anyone either.

A corporate picnic
Getting the family involved is another fantastic way to keep your team strong. One of the best ways to do that is to host a corporate family picnic. This can be in a local park or other greenspace, anywhere where coworkers and their families can enjoy the great outdoors while spending time together. Make it a potluck and share a meal while you spend time together outside of the confines of the office.

Bowling night
It may seem so “back in the day,” but bowling is actually enjoying a bit of a resurgence. And with the proliferation of places to go these days where you can not only bowl and enjoy a few drinks, but also enjoy a game or two of laser tag (also a great corporate team-building activity) or hit up the arcade, bowling alleys are a great option for your corporate event. Divide into teams and have some healthy competition.  Winner gets a trophy and some serious bragging rights!

Take a cooking class
Few activities on this list require more teamwork than cooking classes. Many places offer classes that are specifically designed to be corporate team-building activities. Having to read and interpret a recipe, prepare ingredients and come up with a dish that resembles something one would want to eat can be the perfect exercise in collaboration.  And the best part is, your team will get to enjoy the fruits of its labours at the end of the night!

If you are looking for team-building corporate event ideas, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. What you choose should bear in the mind the demographic of your team, their preferences, abilities and comfort level, and what your end goal is. From there, the possibilities are virtually endless!

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Things That Have To Be Handled Before a Trip to Canada

For most people, being able to take a vacation is an ideal way to reduce the amount of stress that they have in their life. In order to have a great vacation, a person will need to ensure all of their plans are made well in advance. If you are planning a trip to Canada, a person will need to make sure that they do not have any felonies on their records. If they do, then contacting the team at nationalpardon.org is the best course of action. The following are some of the things that a person will need to consider before heading out on a trip to Canada.

Making Sure that Their Reservations are Secure
The first thing that a person will have to do in order to have a great travel experience is to make sure that their travel reservations are booked and correct. Neglecting to make sure that these elements are in place can lead to a very bad travel experience. The time that is put into calling and double checking on your hotel and flight arrangements will more than pay off in the end.

Ensuring Your Criminal History Does Not Interfere
Not being able to enter Canada due to a criminal record can be a very embarrassing and disheartening experience. The only way to ensure that this does not happen is by checking into getting a pardon. This may require you to get some professional assistance. The more you are able to find out about this process, the easier you will be able to find out about what can be done to rid your record of the offense that you have been charged with. The right professionals will be able to get you the help that you need to get in the country and enjoy your vacation.

Make Sure you Have Transportation
Another very important thing that you have to consider when trying to have the right travel experience is getting the right mode of transportation to use while in Canada. Things in this part of the world are usually pretty far apart, which means that you will have to get a car or truck to get around in. Paying money for a rental will more than pay off due to the convenience that it can offer. The time and effort that is put into finding the right rental is well worth the energy that is invested.

By planning out your getaway in detail, you will be able to avoid having problems that can take away from the good time that you have.

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Tips on Finding the Right Jewelry Store

One of the best ways to enhance your personal appearance is by getting some great looking jewelry. There are a number of jewelry pieces out there and choosing the right one will take some time and effort. The last thing you want to do is go out and not have an idea of what you want or who you are going to buy from. Getting the right jewelry is a process and in order to complete it you will have to do some homework. Here are some tips to use when trying to find the right jewelry store, like Randor, in your area.

Do They Know Their Product?
The first thing to consider when trying to find the right jewelry store is the knowledge they have regarding the products at their disposal. The more they are able to tell you about a particular product, the easier you will find it to get what you want. For most who are new to the world of jewelry, finding some assistance is needed in order to get the right pieces. Finding a professional who has knowledge and experience can make this process go much easier.

The Variety They Have
Another very important factor to think about when trying to find the right jeweler is the variety they have to offer. The last thing anyone wants is to have the same old run of the mill jewelry. In order to get the great pieces you are looking for, you will have to find a professional who has a great deal of selection and experience. The more you are able to find out about the jeweler and what they can offer you, the better equipped you will be to find the right one in your area.

Can They Customize?
Yet another very important thing you need to think about when trying to find the right jeweler is their ability to customize pieces for you. The only way you will be able to get the pieces you want is by having them made from scratch. The time and money you put into this process will be well worth it when you are able to get the best pieces out there. Make sure you get a look at a jewelers previous customized work before making a decision. This will allow you to get the right decision made and get the pieces you want in the process.

The investment that you make in a new and high-quality ring will more than pay off due to the length of time you will get to keep it.

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The Best Entertainment at Canadian Casinos this Winter

Many people don’t actually realise that some of the top casinos in Canada are also home to plenty of other entertainment-based attractions as well as some of the best slot and table game action around. Some of these amazing venues regularly hold big ticket events such as concerts, shows and other variety performances. We take a look at a variety of the very best on offer at Canadian casinos this winter.

VANCOUVER, THE RIVER ROCK CASINO
The lively nightlife in Vancouver will once more be animated this winter and many of the casinos around town will be offering some fantastic live entertainment. Canadian musician and songwriter Burton Cummings will be performing with his band at the River Rock Casino in British Columbia just outside Vancouver. The veteran rock star, famed for his hits performed with Canadian rock band The Guess Who, will be playing a set just in time for New Years which will feature a number of hits from across the decades which will no doubt keep patrons entertained.

riverrock

QUEBEC, CASINO DU QUEBEC
Montreal is the home of the famed Casino Du Quebec which always has a show or two to keep its visitors happy. Performances that range from a variety of different musical acts and talents and ones that will appease a number of musical tastes such as fans of pop, electronica and more. This December saw their performance hall visited by the popular Michael Jackson tribute act the Forever Michael show as well as Canadian singer Martine St. Clair performing a number of seasonal songs for the festive period. And there’s plenty more to look forward to in the coming weeks.

casino2

MANITOBA, THE MCPHILLIPS STATION AND CLUB REGENT CASINO
These two Winnipeg-based casino venues are located within a stones throw of each other and often have plenty of wintertime entertainment on their schedules to thrill their guests with. Earlier this month there were comedy shows as well as a 70’s-based musical tribute act from ABBAmania and on New Years Eve those lucky enough to be in attendance will get to enjoy the always busy Danny Kramer Dance Band who’ll be helping you to dance the night away right into the early hours of 2016. You can of course check out the Royal Vegas casino blog for all the latest casino news or even head to the official casino sites to see their winter show schedules.

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