Author: David Lipton

Things to Do for Fall and Halloween

It’s that time of the year again, and with it, is another post about what you can do to make the most out of fall and Halloween. 

  1. Apple Picking: Although it’s getting a little late in the season, there are a variety of different farms that have corn mazes, markets, and activities for kids. Chudleigh’s is a popular farm, where you can pick apples as well as purchase baked goods from their bakery. Another great option is Pingle’s Farm Market, which also has a “fun farm” filled with animals, a giant slide, and a pumpkin cannon show. 
  2. Road Trip: Take a leisurely drive up to St. Jacob’s out west to see the changes in the leaves. While you’re at it, St. Jacob’s has a farmer’s market that goes on year-round on Thursdays and Saturdays.
  3. Wine Tasting: If you’re feeling it, you could also head to the Niagara region for wine tasting. There are a variety of wine tours, including ones on the lake, or ones paired with different types of cheese. 
  4. Haunted Houses: It’s the spirit of Halloween, and no Halloween would be complete without a haunted house. There’s your typical Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland, where monsters wander the park grounds, and there’s also Black Creek’s True Terror Stories at Pioneer Village in North York. The village has a massive 60-person escape game, where teams work together to solve the curse.
  5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Like every October, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is returning to theatres. The movie will be playing in cinemas such as Ted Rogers Cinema and Lower Ossington Theatre throughout the month. 
  6. Night of the Dread: The Clay and Paper Theatre will be hosting The Night of The Dread, a parade full of masks, puppetry, and dancing. The parade will start at Dufferin Grove Park on October 26th, starting at 6:00 pm.
  7. Pumpkins After Dark: Up at Country Heritage Park in Milton, walk along a quarter mile path which showcases over 5,000 jack-o-lanterns and over 100 pumpkin sculptures. It’s a great family event—especially for kids! 

Whatever you choose to do this year, please have a safe, warm, and happy fall season!

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Something to Consider For This Upcoming Election

For this blog post, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about one of the candidates who is running in the upcoming election, that I personally know. Maria Augimeri is running as the NDP candidate in the riding of Humber River-Black Creek.

I first met Maria several years ago while a member of her family was working at SQM.  At the time, Maria was a City Councillor and she maintained this position for 23 years, until recent changes forced incumbents to run against each other in the last municipal election.   From time to time, we would have a chance to chat and she was always willing to provide me with advice and direction about business projects.  In addition, she would occasionally introduce me to people in the business world, constituents of hers, and even some of the folks at city hall.

Over the time I’ve gotten to know her, I’ve come to realize that she is one of the hardest working politicians out there.  In a day and age where you often hear about lazy politicians who are always on vacation or not doing anything, Maria’s the exact opposite.

She’s a workaholic, always at different meetings, on the phone, and often missing family and social engagements in favour of doing work for the community.  Maria has served, and continues to serves on different boards, including a previous stint as the Chair of the TTC, and her present position on the board for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.  She’ll always take a call from someone who wants to speak to her, and when she’s out in her ward, people will often want to talk and ask her questions on a wide variety of topics.

Perhaps one of the telltale signs about how Maria operates is that I’ve gotten to know other people who were affiliated with her re-election campaign, and many of these people are actually Conservatives or Liberals, who still support Maria and her efforts.  While Maria is running for the NDP and we often disagree on each others views and perspectives I am completely confident that she would make an amazing Member of Parliament, and would be a fantastic representative for the people of Humber River-Black Creek.

If you happen to live in her riding, please consider supporting her. You can do so by making a donation or putting up a lawn sign, but regardless, please know that you are in good hands with Maria.

Maria Augimeri
https://mariaaugimeri.ndp.ca/

 

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My Oldest Friend in the World

In a previous blog, I mentioned that I found my accountant through my good friend and lawyer, Mitchell Rose. Mitchell is my oldest friend in the world, as our moms both met when they were expecting us.  Ever since we were been born, we’ve managed to keep in touch and when Mitchell graduated from law school and was called to the bar, I am proud to say that I was one of his very first clients.

While Mitch continues to do legal work for me, in more recent times he has been focusing a great deal of attention on the mediation aspect of his business. Although he is still very much a lawyer, these days most of his work involves him acting as a mediator or settlement council.

Recently, Mitch has decided to focus all of his attention on mediation, and has started his own firm, known as Mitchell Rose Professional Corporation. Mitch is the perfect person to be involved in mediation work, as I have always found him to be a very level-headed and methodical lawyer. Unlike other lawyers who are very aggressive and take on cases that are impossible to win, Mitch always thinks things through and provides his clients with reasonable and sound advice.

In some circumstances, Mitch has even suggested not pursuing certain actions or cases based on either the financial or emotional toll that it may take on myself and other clients. While this may have cost him money or fees in the short term, I have no doubt that this approach has served his mediation clients well, and will continue to serve him well as he attempts to grow his business.

Mitch also has an uncanny ability to look at things from more than just the financial aspect. With both personal or business matters, people in law often forget the human component. Whether it’s preparing a marriage contract (a pre-nup), a partnership agreement, drafting wills, or beginning a lawsuit, many lawyers do not take into consideration the fact that they are dealing with people that are connected in various ways.

Mitch always works with a great deal of class, thoughtfulness, and kindness. While I have not personally had the chance to use Mitch for mediation (and probably couldn’t, due to our close friendship), I highly recommend that you or your legal counsel consider him for all of your mediation and settlement council needs.

Mitchell Rose
Mitchell Rose Professional Corporation
5000 Yonge Street, Suite 1901
Toronto, ON, M2N 7E9
416-227-3406
https://mitchellrose.ca/

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Taking Customer Service Into Account

Sensors Quality Management Inc. is coming up to its 26th year in business. Many years ago, when we first started out, I was fortunate that a few of my friends in accounting assisted me from time to time when we needed help with the books….the dreaded financial books!

When we got to the point where we needed an actual accountant, I had initially reached out to my good friend and lawyer, Mitchell Rose, who immediately recommended a colleague of his who he had met during university: Brian Bossin.

Brian’s accounting firm is named Bossin, Tin Yan Chartered Accountants, and right from our first meeting 20 years ago, I knew that Brian was going to be the perfect fit for both myself and SQM. Brian was clearly experienced and knowledgeable enough to deal with larger corporations, but also patient enough and willing to work with smaller, local businesses.

Unlike the bigger firms that often nickel and dime you as soon as you pick up the phone, Brian and his colleagues are more understanding, and are willing to take calls without running the meter, or meet from time to time to provide advice and direction.

In addition to doing the accounting for SQM, over the years, Brian has also taken care of my personal income taxes, done taxes for other family members, worked on other business-related projects, assisted me with various government applications and paperwork, and played a role in providing me with advice on tax and estate planning.

During the 20 odd years that I’ve known Brian, it’s become increasingly clear that he is knowledgeable and experienced with many facets of both personal and business accounting, and for areas in which he is not an expert, he can often direct me to somebody who is. I know that his advice and expertise is just a telephone call away.

Whether you’re looking for somebody to handle personal matters or your business, I highly recommend you consider Brian and the team at Bossin, Tin Yan Chartered Accountants for all of your accounting needs.

Bossin, Tin Yan Chartered Accountants
416-492-8484

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Dialling Up Great Customer Service

Many of the blogs that I write about are based on my own experiences, and while I try to write stories about my travels and encounters outside of Toronto, I do realize that many of my topics are centered on the Greater Toronto Area.

However, this story is about a Canadian company, and while they are here in Toronto, they’re also right across the country. I’ve written about them in the past, but I feel like it is necessary to mention them again.

For many years, my cell phone and cable provider has been Rogers. One of the reasons behind this is because when I ran into a problem several years ago, I came into contact with a customer representative who was extremely helpful and kind. Ever since then, I’ve kept in touch and she’s always been able to help me out whenever I’ve been in a pickle.

In more recent times, she’s taken on another position within the company but has been thoughtful enough to direct me to employees as kind as herself. Back a few weeks ago, I had a software problem with my phone, which then turned into a hardware problem. I realized I needed a new phone and reached out to one of my new contacts at Rogers—John.

I first connected with John when I was looking to reduce some of the costs connected with my services. At the time, John made a few adjustments, so I ended up with more features and services while at the same time, reducing my monthly costs.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when my phone had died and I reached out to him in a little bit of a panic, because like many people, my phone was like my life and I needed it to be working for various reasons. On top of that, my phone was fairly new…only two years old…and should have been operational. Even though John works on the west coast, he got back to me within minutes of me sending him an email, asked me what the issue was, and told me that if I could give him a bit of time, he would work on a solution.

In less than an hour he got back to me and gave me a number of options—all but one of them involved a new phone without any extra charges or long-term commitments. Once I made my decision, I received my new phone just two days later and I was back up and running in no time.

You would expect a company in telecommunications like Rogers to understand the urgency of uptime, and clearly they do from the way that John and some of his other colleagues work.

To tell you how Rogers is evolving as a company, years ago if I had a problem with my bill, phone, or other services, and I had to call Rogers, the hair would stand up on the back of my neck because the entire process was often quite frustrating.

In more recent times, they seem to be changing with the era, and adapting to the growing need for good customer support. I now know that I can count on Rogers to stand behind their services, and support me when I need it.

Rogers
1 (855) 381-7834
www.rogers.com

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Ensuring You Use the Right Insurance Company

This week, I’d like to write a blog about Intact Insurance, however, I’m going to take a slightly different perspective on the subject.

Insurance is one of those industries that touches just about everyone, whether or not you own a house, rent an apartment, drive a car, or run a business. As one of my colleagues says, “you can never have enough insurance”. Most people deal with an insurance company or a broker on a somewhat regular basis, and while buying insurance typically comes down to the cost, I would think that it’s always better and easier to be dealing with an insurance company that has a good reputation in the industry.

Often times, I hear stories about insurance appraisers and adjusters that try to pay as little as possible for claims, or make it very difficult on one to resolve their claims or issues. That said, this story is meant to look at an insurance company from a different angle….

A couple of years ago, my 90 year old aunt tripped on a mat, fell, and broke her hip while shopping at a grocery store. As a result of this accident, a lawsuit was filed as my aunt was incurring a number of significant expenses associated with her injuries. As the lawsuit progressed, we began dealing with a lawyer for the insurance company that was representing the grocery store.

Although I often hear horror stories about dealing with lawyers in such cases, the lawyer representing my aunt was pleasantly surprised by the insurance company’s approach to handling the situation. While many insurance companies would have dragged the process out for as long as possible, given my aunt’s advanced age, all parties involved were looking for a reasonable solution so that my aunt could return to a normal life as soon as possible. While it’s difficult to put a price tag on such a terrible accident, and my aunt didn’t necessarily feel that she received as much money as she deserved, the willingness of the insurance company to move the process along was very much appreciated. It was truly a breath of fresh air to see both the lawyer and insurance company treat my aunt respectfully and professionally, while simultaneously looking out for their interests as well. After the case was settled, I took the time to call the President of Intact Insurance to acknowledge how their in-house lawyer handled this difficult matter in a professional and respectful way.

During the conversation, the President mentioned that Intact Insurance attempts to be a different type of insurance company, and treats people the way their employees would want to be treated themselves. While many companies in the industry say this, very few put their words into practice, however, I can tell you firsthand that Intact Insurance really does have this kind of culture and approach.

Again while I realize that purchasing insurance often boils down to price, I highly recommend that you at least look at Intact Insurance for your insurance needs. They are truly an excellent company to deal with.

Intact Insurance
www.intact.ca

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Ten Things To Do During the Canada Day Weekend

Canada’s birthday is approaching, and 152 has never looked better! If you are unsure of what to do for the upcoming long weekend, look no further.

Fireworks: If you’re in the mood to create your own DIY fireworks show, there are many pop-up locations that will suit all of your needs. Kaboom Fireworks, Phatboy Fireworks and Rocket Fireworks are all good choices. If not, you can check out your local parks in order to see if they are doing their own fireworks show.

Wonderland: The amusement park is fun for the whole family! In addition to the spectacular rides, there will be street performers, traditional Canadian food and a light show.

Harbourfront Centre: There will be paddleboard rides on the Natrel Pond from 3:00 – 8:00 PM. At night, make sure to catch the live indie music that will be playing at the Harbourfront Centre Concert Stage!

Blue Jays Games: There will be games every day from June 28th to July 1stat the Rogers Centre. There will also be giveaway prizes on Friday and Monday. Be sure to grab tickets while they last.

Ribfest: The Etobicoke Ribfest is back for another year! From June 29th to July 1st, there will be many activities run from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Stop by to hear live music, visit the Beer Garden and the Kids Zone, all while enjoying delicious ribs. There is something for everyone!

BBQ: Thinking about having a family barbecue or food with friends? Cumbraes and the Healthy Butcher have a wide selection available both in store and online. While it is always nice to support a local butcher, you could also visit your grocery store’s butcher section.

Craft Beer: What’s better than celebrating the country’s birthday than cracking open a cold one? Be sure to check out your local brewery, but please remember to drink responsibly.

Ottawa: Planning on spending the weekend in the capital? Events will be held at Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History. Check out the official list of events.

Parades: In the mood for travelling? There will be parades held at Niagara Falls and in Downtown Vancouver. Both parades will be followed by fireworks over the Falls and at Canada Place.

Concert: At the North Maple Regional Park in Vaughan, multiple live performances will be played. The headliner will be Toronto’s very own reggae fusion band, MAGIC! See the full details here.

Whatever your plans may be, I hope that you have an enjoyable time. I wish everyone and their families a safe and happy Canada Day!

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