Family Day 2017: GTA Home & Reno Show


The GTA Home & Reno Show is returning February 17-20th and has activities for GTAers of all ages.

Family Day Fun at the GTA Home & Reno Show

It’s never too early to get the kids involved; home design and fun-filled activities for all ages this Family Day

Grab the kids and head to The GTA Home & Reno Show for a Family Day event that’s fun for all ages. This year’s show is ‘fam’ packed with activities and learning opportunities for the young and young at heart!

Family Day Highlights:

  1. Time for the little ones to discover the wonders that await in their backyards! Join Master Gardeners as they teach your budding green thumb to plant, see a bean sprout and learn what birds and insects they can find in their garden.
  2. Kids can ‘putt’ their golfing skills to the test at the Backyard Greens Golf.
  3. Free daycare available on Family Day Monday, February 20th. Drop the little ones with us while you check out some of Canada’s best contractors, suppliers and design experts.
  4. Discover how Curb Appeal Active Kids Play Space can create magical spaces for your unique outdoor lifestyle.

 

Show Dates/Times:

Friday, February 17:                                        10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturday, February 18:                                   10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday, February 19:                                      10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Monday, February 20 (Family Day):          10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Venue Name:                                    The International Centre

Venue Address:                                6900 Airport Road, Mississauga, ON

Website:                                             www.gtahomeandrenoshow.com

Cost:

Adults                                   $15.00

Seniors (65+)                      $13.00

Youth 13 – 17                      $13.00

Children 12 and under      FREE

 

We attended the show last year and it was a blast!

Family Day 2017 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.


agoKite-making, skipping ropes and short films, oh my!

Kids take over the AGO for Family Day

 

WHAT:          On Monday, Feb. 20, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) once again transforms into the Kids’ Gallery of Ontario (KGO), with a jam-packed line up of artful activities inspired by the ongoing exhibition Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation. Programming highlights include kite-making and bubble wrap-bursting, Gallery tours, family yoga, exciting interactive performances by the SOAR children’s skipping team and a screening of Small Cave, Big Cave, a new short film written by two Toronto seven-year-olds.

For more programming details and information on how to book discounted family passes, visit http://www.ago.net/family.

WHEN:          Feb. 20, 2017

Activities take place from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.; please visit ago.net/family for a complete schedule of activities and times.

WHERE:       Art Gallery of Ontario.  317 Dundas St. W. Toronto, ON

TICKETS:     Admission is free for AGO members and children five and under. A special discounted family pass is available for advance purchase at www.ago.net/family for only $39. A family pass admits two adults and up to five youths (ages six to 17). Individual tickets are $11 for youth ages 17 and under, $16 for seniors and $19.50 for adults and can be purchased at ago.net, in person and over the phone at 416-979-6648.

 

The “Sir” David Beckham Controversy: Knighthood, Tax Evasion, What Canada Should Do?


This story is of great interest to me because it covers many areas which I feel passionate about. Taxes, Sports, Canada, and Social Media.

In this case, David Beckham, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, and husband to former Spice Girl Victoria was denied knighthood for his involvement in a tax avoidance scheme, however the presence of some leaked emails have really stirred the pot recently and caused damage to the Beckham brand.

A Unicef goodwill ambassador since 2005 – Beckham is furious that the leaked emails appear to show him as cynically using his charity work to curry favour with the honours committee and identifies his frustration with having to kiss up to the Queen in order to achieve his knighthood.

He is also furious that they depict him as demanding money from the United Nations children’s charity to pay for flights and hotels to visit its projects with children in places such as the Philippines and in one email he apparently complained about being asked to match the highest bidders at a Unicef auction in New York, stating: “Chloe asked me an outright which I was p***** . . . I don’t want to do it and won’t do it with my own money.”

He comes across as a petulant child.

The hacked emails were obtained by website Football Leaks which had, up to now, focused on exposing players’ contracts and third-party ownership arrangements considered illegal by FIFA.

Beckham and his advisors knew about the existence of these emails last year, and had obtained an injunction preventing a major British newspaper and others from publishing the information. Beckham was also the subject of blackmail, with the perpetrator asking for $1-million dollars from “Becks” in order to prevent the emails from becoming public.

The email hack is believed that have been executed on a server associated with Simon Oliveira – Beckham’s communications spokesperson – in 2015. The 2 had worked together for more than a decade.

Oliveira was also the spokesperson for another tax cheat, former Tennis player Boris Becker, which might be a coincidence, or might not.

In 2002, Becker became a convicted criminal after judges found him guilty of tax evasion. Becker was given a stiff punishment: a two-year prison sentence, suspended for three years, a 500,000 euro (£315,000) fine, and the entire cost of his trial after he pleaded guilty to evading about 1.7m euros tax by claiming to live in the “offshore” haven of Monte Carlo at a time when his main residence was really in Munich.

Beckham was nominated for knighthood by the head of the London 2012 Olympic Organizing Committee, Lord Sebastian Coe, however UK Tax authorities, HM Revenue and Customs, flagged Beckham’s involvement during a screening process and it seems that it was enough to block the proposal.

The couple got caught up in a £434million tax avoidance dispute.

Over a decade ago the Beckhams joined Inside Track Productions LLP, set up by notorious investment firm Ingenious.

David went on to invest in two further Ingenious tax schemes in 2005 and 2006. Along with 140 other Inside Track Productions investors, the couple have been hit with tax demands by HMRC.

Ingenious invested hundreds of millions of pounds through schemes aimed at backing the British film industry.

But the company claimed £1.6billion in losses – and clients, who were made partners of limited liability partnerships, were lawfully able to write off any losses from the schemes against their other income. Companies House records show Victoria and David are still listed as members of the LLP.

After a tax tribunal ruling last year, investors in Ingenious schemes have faced a bill for £434million in unpaid tax plus interest. Ingenious, of course, denies HMRC’s allegations and the sides are still in a legal dispute.

HMRC boss Jennie Granger said: “The schemes involved people claiming far more in tax than they invested.”

So what should Canada do, and how does this impact us?

Well, if the UK offers knighthood to their top political donators, and famous people around the world and it is viewed as an honour, its’ about time for Canada to step up to the plate and recognize our elites and respected Canadians.

Since “Sir” is already taken, we should consider another honour, maybe adding “Eh?” after someone’s name. So once the tax matters are resolved, someone like David Beckham could become David Beckham, eh?  That’s 100% Canadian!  And… If he gets his tax problems resolved, and his knighthood, he could become Sir David Beckham, eh?

Pretty awesome!

 

The moral of the story is this:

Pay your taxes, don’t slag people in emails, and be kind to everyone, all the time!

The Urban Daddy: Bringing The Modern Dad To the Blogosphere


#TBT Tuesday to being featured in the Canada Writes series on “great Canadian Blogs” by the CBC.

http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/2014/08/bringing-the-modern-dad-to-the-blogosphere.html

By day, Warren Orlans is a mild-mannered tax consultant, shoehorning in time to be a hands-on dad to his three young children and to helm an impressive backyard vegetable garden. But by night (10 p.m. to 2 a.m., to be exact) he morphs into The Urban Daddy, blogging on everything from why a child whose age is less than your shoe size feels the constant need to correct you to the parenting situation that leads you to eat a nibbled, warm banana.
As part of our Canada Blogs series on great Canadian blogs, we chatted with Warren about handling your private blog going public, falling asleep mid-post and why daddy bloggers may be coming out of the woodwork.

When and why did you start The Urban Daddy?
I started The Urban Daddy in 2004, just before my first son was born. I wanted to keep a diary of my wife’s pregnancy, what it was like being a father for the first time, and other related, or non-related, events that caught my attention at that time. The blog was kept private for four years until a colleague caught wind of it and it became very public.
I also started writing The Urban Daddy to work on my grammar and punctuation, which were not strong points for me in school. I have come a LONG way from my earlier posts, and the few who followed me from post #1 through post #1,000 have commented on the huge difference in my writing.
You’re a very hands-on dad. What kinds of reactions do you get from people about this? Do you find there’s still some bias towards dads being so involved in parenting?
I am as hands on as I can be because I love being a dad, and I want to spend more time with my kids than my father was able to. I know life can be very short—my dad passed away at the age of 62, so he was at our wedding but did not get to see any of my children. I do not want my children to not have had the opportunity to know me, to learn from me and to be taught some of the wonderful traits that were passed on to my from my mother: respect, consequences of actions, and that others are entitled to their own opinions and sometimes it’s best to listen, smile and not say anything.
I also see many other dads hanging around their kids’ classes, at least in my community. I see it more and more. I don’t judge those who can or cannot be there—we all have choices to make—and I do not feel that there are people judging me for being there as often as I am. Or maybe I just convince myself that anyone judging me must be thinking how successful I am that I have the free time to participate in my kids’ lives so much.
There are a lot of “mommy” blogs out there, but not so many “daddy” blogs. Why do you think this is?
I usually do not mention my blogging because I long felt that I was a “fraud” by blogging standards, being a “daddy blogger.” Early on I was at a gathering with a bunch of friends (all new dads as well) and one father said, “I think people who blog are narcissistic and do so only to brag about themselves.” From that point on, I kept it to myself.
Nowadays, especially after being featured in The Globe and Mail and Canadian Living, I don’t hide anything. It’s what I like to do no matter what anyone thinks.
I do have mothers coming up to me and asking me if I blog, and the reaction from them is usually one of surprise and support. I get a lot of positive feedback from mothers and from involved dads, who by choice or necessity are more involved than dads who leave for work before their kids wake up and who return home after the kids are in bed.
You tell a lot of personal stories about your wife and family. Where do you draw the line in what you do and don’t write about?
When my blog was hidden, I had no boundaries, until one day a colleague at the government asked a very personal question that they would have only known to ask through my blog. From that point on, I treat each and every post as if it were very public and I think about how my kids would feel as adults reading it. Would they want me talking about embarrassing things, or just telling stories and highlighting milestones?
How does your family feel about your blog?
My family likes the blogging—some more than others—because I relay stories about my children that I’ve sometimes forgotten to tell them. I also do not air dirty laundry on my blog, so there are very few posts where I am venting about my family.
I think they are amazed at the attention The Urban Daddy has been getting over the past few years more than anything. I have never seen myself as a writer, and I appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read and comment on posts because there are so many other things they could be doing, but they are reading my ramblings, and I appreciate it.
You have another blog, inTAXicating. What’s the story of this blog?
InTAXicating came to me while I was working in the government and learning about how the Internet would help the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) collect money and educate taxpayers. As I progressed through collections, I was a Resource Officer for five years and that role was very technical, requiring me to understand and interpret the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act.  In order to get the level of understanding of legislation, I started re-writing the text into “English” and posting that on my blog.
So you have a day job, two blogs, and three kids. How exactly do you find time for all of this?
I don’t. Having my own business has made blogging as The Urban Daddy very difficult, and I have almost 200 posts sitting in my draft folder, in need of a good review. Prior to that I would generally blog from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and I would schedule my posts to come out during the course of the week. When my first son was born, I was doing my MBA online and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. was my time to work once everyone went to sleep, so I maintained that time as my time to get posts written.
Now I find I have so much work to do for my business that I spend time working on that instead of the blogging. But it changes, and sometimes I get extra time to bang out a post or two.
I’ve started going back to edit old posts, and I’ve found some where I clearly fell asleep in the middle of typing but posted them anyway. It’s a great reminder of my exhaustion back then.
What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?
Do not get discouraged and do not write for others. Write for yourself first and try not to fret when only one or two readers come by your blog in a day, week or month. It takes time to build up a following. Reply to comments, follow other blogs, read them if you have the time and figure out what you want from your blog.
If you want to win awards, get hundreds of thousands of followers and use it to step up to a more prolific role, then stick to a topic or theme and write about it, and it only.
If you want your blog to be a journal to look at as your kids get older or to record things you might need, then write for the love of writing. If more comes of it, just say thank you and continue doing what you love doing.

 

“Super”Bowl Thoughts from my Kids


We watched most of the Super Bowl yesterday which would represent a first for my middle and suddenly sporty son.  He has had zero interest in football prior to yesterday – and to be honest – he watched it because of the commercials and the Lady Gaga half-time show.

Here are his thoughts of the game;

  1. Why don’t they show the commercials here in Canada?  What a scam!
  2. If the NFL is worried about concussions, why do they allow players to hit someone head first.  If they were really concerned, they would toss all players who hit with their heads, or hit someone in the head.
  3. NFL does not stand for “No Farting League” as I told his sister.  I suggested “No Farting Ladies” but my wise 7-year-old countered with “No Farting Lads”!
  4. When asked who would win, he said “New Zealand”.
  5. When asked which state Boston is in, he said “New York”.
  6. After realizing that Ottawa was in Ontario, he wondered out loud if Canada consisted of Ontario and Quebec – to which I said; “And that is why Western Canada hates Toronto, my son!”  Plus we’ve all been to the East Coast of Canada.
  7. Why is Tom Brady’s wife cheering into her cell phone – taking selfies instead of celebrating with the rest of the people in the press box?
  8. Lady Gaga was incredible!  On the roof, jumping from the roof, singing, not singing, all in those high-heels.  She totally rocked and was a true highlight of the night.
  9. He felt because the game was played in a neutral location (Texas) the sounds from the stands sounded canned and phony.  He said they might as well have played the game in an empty stadium and played a cheering sound track along with the game.
  10. Why does the NFL need their championship trophy to be “Super”?  Why is the Stanley Cup not named the Super Cup and why does the winning team receive the Vince Lombardi trophy when they win???  Where is the bowl???
  11. Why isn’t there a team in Toronto?
  12. Since no team had even overcome a 10-point deficit and there had been no overtime games in the league’s 51-year history, and with New England (or New Zealand, New York) losing 28-3 at half-time – my kids assumed it was over for the Pats.  Upon learning of the Falcon loss, my son’s response was the always classic, “Whoa!”.
  13. Upon hearing that Tom Brady was being regarded as the best quarterback in the history of the NFL, my son quipped; “I think he is, because he’s the only quarterback I know, and he won the game.”
  14. Where are the damn commercials???

 

So I think this was a success, and even though he doesn’t know all the rules, or where the teams play, him, his sister and their older brother enjoyed the half-time show more than anything.

“Can you take me to a concert?” was the post-game cry from the kids…

… and sign me up for lacrosse.

Only in Canada, eh?