DIY Gift Baskets

Gift Baskets – More than Just Giving!


art-design-and-craft-partWho does not love to receive a gift basket on a special occasion like a birthday, anniversary or during the holidays? Giving and receiving a gift basket filled with goodies are a fun way to say thank you or you matter to any family member or close friend!

If you are looking to have a gift basket made for that special person or family member there are plenty of options available with free Canada wide delivery. One tip; if you are ordering from an online service don;t be afraid to call the company and ask if the baskets are hand packed and use top quality ingredients. We love  giving real , fresh gift baskets from the pros at Gifts For Every Reason in Toronto. They too have free Canada wide delivery of their baskets. That way you can avoid the letdown of having a drop shipped basket of sub par quality delivered with your name on it!

For those who are stuck for time in the busy day to day of the gif we call life, making your own gift basket may not be something you have time for. Juggling a job, kids and family chores leave little time for deign and the logistics of getting all of the necessary things together to make a professional looking home made gift basket. For those that do have the time, you can save some money and put a little of yourself in there, to make your friends and love ones feel special.

For those looking to save some money here are some basket design tips from the pros:

  • Choose a Smaller Basket

Bigger baskets cost more to fill and quickly run over your original budget

  • Use Some Form of Filler

You can find filler at the local dollar store for well, a dollar! You can even used multi coloured gift tissue paper to suit the basket. Blue for men and boys, pink for women and girls or less traditional neutral colours that are not gender associated for the whole family to enjoy!

  • The Goodies

This is the fun part, fill your basket with non perishable goodies if you are going the food route, Nuts and goodies can be bought in bulk and packaged at home. Generally bulk food stores have everything you could wish for from candies to nuts and all manner of chocolate goodies that can be included in your basket and not spoil quickly.

Flavoured tea’s and coffees are also a hit these days, if your budget allows some great and diverse coffee flavours are available for the Keurig crowd, careful there this can get expensive in a hurry. There are plenty of shops that sell quality coffee pods at discount prices. Perfect for budget conscious gift givers.

Jams are another tasty goodie to include in your gist baskets, if you happen to  live in a rural area or some where that has a farmers market you are in business! Fresh, local made jams are a basket spectacular.

  • Wrap it up!

Clear cellophane wrap and ribbons add a professional finish to your basket project, again you can match the colour to the gender or use something that compliments the filler in the basket. Either way these items can be found on the thrifty side from your local dollar store.

There you have it, the lowdown on gift baskets made simple!  A great way to spend time with the kids and a great way to tell family members anywhere that you care!

Unregulated Canadian Service -– Home Security

Locked Out? Know Before You Call

In many provinces in Canada there is little regulation in regards to the home/commercial security industry, which are usually serviced by locksmith companies. While many legitimate locksmith companies do not just install locks, they install all manner of home or business related security equipment such as CCTV and alarm systems. There are many that just deal with traditional key and locking systems.

These types of “lock only” companies have caught the attention of may media outlets in Canada as well as those south of the border in the United States.

It has really become a case of buyer beware, especially in the home security industry here in this country. Many of the businesses that dominate business directories such as the yellow pages are not at all Canadian. In fact there are some that are based in places like New York city, yet have ads in major metropolitan areas such as Vancouver or Toronto.

I recently spoke to the owner of Locksmith Mississauga  about this alarming (no pun intended) trend, Given the fact that in reality you are trusting your families security to these people, usually in an emergent panic situation, it is wise to be aware of a give sways that you are not dealing with a professional.

Lack of transparency in regards to pricing is the number one give away, there should be a set price list for services as well as locks, If there isn’t, be cautious. Some of these untrained “locksmiths” will reach for a drill, before even inspecting the problem, this is a dead give away. Many people are not aware that most trained professional locksmith technicians can pick a lock in under two minutes and open your front door. This is the preferred method to open any door that is malfunctioning, especially when the remedy may be something as simple as having a new key cut.

In one sting video a so called locksmith can be seen prying a door handle off with a pair of giant channel lock pliers, no trained or reputable company would allow a technician to behave in this manner.

While there are many industries that sub contract jobs to individuals, such as the appliance repair or furnace and air conditioning repair industries, most of these people are trained and licensed.

If you happen to find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing a locksmith on a snowy Canadian evening in January, make sure you are dealing with a professional with a local Canadian office, referral is always the best recommendation!

You can also use the internet to find out if there is a local locksmith association near you and ask for a recommended company in your area or call one of national security companies that has a local office and ask for a referral.

Imagine, a Canadian Tropical Paradise!

Cuise Port Beach Grand TurksA Canadian Tropic Destination?

As we head into another Canadian winter and temperatures plunge well below zero, one can’t help but wonder if we are headed for another “polar vortex” extended deep freeze.

While most Canadians are a hardy bunch, and some even welcome the cold and the snow, just ask all the folks in Whistler. An early winter means busy slopes filled with skiers and snowboarding enthusiasts, and welcome profits for ski country operators, there is a equal amount of Canadians that spend plenty of money for a fun in the sun beach vacation.

This usually involves a long flight, not to mention long security and customs line ups in major airports across the country. Arriving for a flight at Toronto’s Pearson International airport can be taxing in more ways than one. If you happen to be heading to the USA you will have to clear both the U.S. Customs and the security line up, this will mean getting to the airport two hours before your scheduled take off.

It seems that every established Western nation would have an island or a chain of islands to call their own in the sunny Caribbean, that is every nation but Canada, peculiar indeed, when our coast guard has a station in a sun drenched local such as Curacao a mere 25 kilometers off the coast of Venezuela.

There has been mention, more than once of Canada having interest in the beautiful Island of Turks and Caicos. You can date this interest back to the year 1917 when then Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden suggested that the Turks and Caicos join Canada.

The sentiment is reciprocal, in fact, Turks and Caicos has asked and been, much to many a sun worshipers dismay, rejected on three separate occasions.

Imagine, hopping on a plane, no customs line up required. Destination, a Canadian tropical playground, complete with our very own Margarita-ville. I’m sure the folks in Quebec, nor any other part of this country would object!

Canadian Broadcast Icon Morphing Into the 21st Century

Hockey Night in Canada in the  21st Century!

Old TV in Family RoonOne could argue that the CBC did and still does  two things better than any private broadcaster on Canadian airwaves; present the nightly news with true national relevance and broadcast our national sport at its highest level.

While the news is still hosted by Peter Mansbidge, The National is the pinnacle of news broadcasting in this country and Mansbridge is by all accounts a world class news broadcaster.

The same could be said of Hockey Night in Canada from its days as a radio broadcast until its TV introduction in 1952. With the legendary Foster Hewitt proving that his radio play by play was right for the TV airwaves as well,the show has been a Saturday night staple on Canadian airwaves for more than half a century.

While it continues to be a part of our cultural heritage in the modern age, it has undergone a major overhaul for the 2014 season, with the most curious move of introducing George Stroumboulopoulos as its new host.

While change is a constant an necessary, some may argue “evil” in today’s fast paced, cut through the white noise world. Many people find it hard to digest that the owners of the HNIC brand Rogers Communications would entrust hosting a natural treasure to someone with such little hockey credibility. While it is understandable that the brain-trust would want to procure a younger audience, there must be something said for tradition and the fact that the love of the game is handed down from generation to generation.

One must wonder how long time hockey broadcasters must feel at being passed over as host of the crown jewel of hockey broadcasts. Not to mention how long time host Ron MacLean must feel.

MacLean continue to be part of the now iconic Coaches corner segment broadcast between the first and second period of each Hockey Night In Canada broadcast, thankfully the higher ups at the parent company know enough not to mess with this part of the telecast. I would suspect that it is a major contributor to the advertising revenue that the show generates, given the fact that we have to sit through two commercial segments before and after the introduction just to get to the sometimes controversial content and the brilliant puns that MacLean delivers on a weekly basis.

The new era NHL is bigger business than ever, with more revenue and bigger TV deals than ever. While it is understandable, and somewhat from a thankful standpoint that Rogers outbid all others to secure the rights to NHL broadcasts in Canada, one cant feel but a little sad and nostalgic that they are changing our;and we have the right to say our because it was funded by taxpayers dollars, national icon.

Time will tell if it was for the better.

Oh Canada!

Canadian FlagThis site is about Canada and all things that are Culture related. Canadian business, politics, sports and the fabric of all things from the Great White North.

Being Canadian is a pretty special thing, given the general state of the geopolitical economic climate.

We are in good shape on the surface fiscally and appear to have a functioning democracy, one that values the fact that we encourage mult-culturalism both in the work place and in the household. That is one big difference between us and our big brother to the south, which is more of a melting pot. Assimilation seems to be more of the American psyche, here in Canada being different is celebrated for the most part, and remembering your roots is encouraged.

While Canada as a whole seems like a great place to live, it also has its challenges.

While navigating the Global Recession and its repercussions since 2008 , Canada has faced its share of challenges, especially in Government.

There have been scandals in all levels of government. Municipal, provincial and Federal levels have all had their share of monetary scandal. Canada and specifically Toronto was brought to the world;s attention by the Rob Ford scandal, especially in Hollywood.

Federally we have had the Harper appointed Senate debacle, with the misuse of tax payers funds. Provincially the Ontario Liberals, who inexplicably got re-elected with a majority government after the Gas Plant Scandal in Ontario. To say the Canadian system is perfect would be a far stretch.

It seems that the political landscape has changed in Canada, with virtually all elected officials thinking that there is no end to tax payers money and their entitlement to outright waste it.

While it is Canadian nature to be tolerant and forgiving, this trait is being exploited be various government officials, who are blatantly spending, stealing and wasting Canadian tax dollars.

The average Canadian is aware of this, but in true Canuck fashion, they do little about it.