Tag Archives: SQM Picks

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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A Reye of Sunlight at the Gym

This week, I’d like to talk about a personal trainer who has gone above and beyond the call of a regular trainer.

For over 30 years, I have been a member of the Columbus Centre’s gym / fitness club. Over my time there I’ve gotten to know many of the staff and personal trainers. One of the trainers who I find myself chatting with about anything from sports, to business, to life in general, is a gentleman by the name of John Reyes.

John, works at the Columbus Centre part-time, a personal trainer, and has also recently become a registered kinesiologist. While the kinesiology work that he does is at a separate clinic and has nothing to do with the Columbus Centre, he often uses his knowledge, education, and experience in kinesiology when working with his clients as a personal trainer.

A number of weeks ago, I decided to pick his brain as I was having some difficulties loosening up, even though I stretch regularly. It just seemed that despite my ongoing efforts, I was extremely tight, which was impacting my ability to properly complete some of my exercise routine. John suggested a few stretches and within a short amount of time, these stretches seemed to be working, as I seemed to be improving.

A couple of weeks later, I came back to him again because I was still tight…I just couldn’t loosen up completely. Even though John was only there once a week, he would try and line up his times with mine, and take me to one of the fitness rooms where he would help me stretch. These kinds of stretches were challenging in that you need a second person to help do them properly.

We figured my loosening up would take a few weeks of stretching on my own, in addition to his assistance. True to his word, after some time I was once again making good progress, and returning to normal. While I’m sure other trainers could have assisted me with the stretches, I believe that John’s background in kinesiology very much helped get me moving in the right direction.

If anyone is looking for a personal trainer, or for someone to help them with their stretching and range of motion, I highly recommend John Reyes.

John Reyes
J-rey636@yahoo.ca

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Nothing’s Tougher Than a Burton

For transparency purposes, I will say right off the bat that the person I am writing about just so happens to be my next-door neighbour, however, this article is based on work that he has done for my family.

Back about three years ago, my 90-year-old aunt fell in a grocery store and broke her hip. Because we felt that the grocery store was responsible for her fall, we quickly decided to retain a lawyer who specialized in personal injury law. While there is certainly no shortage of advertisements for these types of lawyers on TV and in newspapers, I had the good fortune of knowing one who lives 20 feet away from me: Jonathan Burton, who works at Gluckstein Lawyers.

The fact that he was my neighbour and lived nearby was only one factor in deciding to use his services for my aunt. Jonathan has been practicing law for a number of years, and my research indicated that he was extremely experienced, well respected by his colleagues, and specializes in personal injury law. From the beginning, I could tell Jonathan knew how to handle the situation. Whether it was quickly drafting up a letter, scheduling meetings with my aunt and myself, or just organizing his work the way he does, I was able to see that I made the right decision.

Over the course of the case, there were certain objectives that needed to be completed, and Jonathan always made sure to give us the information and heads up in advance. He was always prepared for upcoming activities, and we could tell that we were in good hands.

A few weeks ago, we had a scheduled mediation. For those who are unaware, before you are able to arrange a date for certain types of trials, in Ontario, you have to participate in a mandatory mediation. This involves a third, unbiased party, working with both sides to find common ground. and a settlement that both can live with. It may come as a surprise to many, that the majority of cases are settled at mediation and never end up going to trial.

We were fortunate in that we had a good meditator handling my aunt’s case. Jonathan presented himself in a professional manner, and dealt with the mediator and opposing lawyer in a skillful way. The other party was open to a settlement, and after a few hours of discussion the case was settled.

I truly believe that one of the main reasons the case was settled was because of Jonathan’s reputation amongst his colleagues in the legal profession. Jonathan was never rude in his dealings, and treated people with respect and honesty. He was always willing to listen, however, he recognized that he was there for his clients’ best interests. I often hear of lawyers who are rude, bullies, and not open to discussion, however, when you take on tactics like these, I believe you do it at the disservice of your clients.

I wouldn’t wish my aunt’s situation on anyone, but if you do need a personal injury lawyer, I highly suggest Jonathan Burton.

Jonathan Burton
Gluckstein Lawyers
416-408-4252
burton@gluckstein.com

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The Running Room: A Company Running with Great Customer Service!

People Cheering for the Running Room at an event

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about some of the challenges facing the retail industry, and highlighted some retailers that are changing the way they do business. Recently, I’ve come across another company that really seems to capture the essence of customer service, as it clearly comes from the top down.

As anyone who knows me well can tell you, I really have a difficult time finding shoes that fit me. While I’ve frequently gone to The Running Room for my daughter’s shoes, I never seem to find anything that works for me, so an employee suggested I go online for a wider variety of their shoes. They told me that there are no shipping fees or returns fees involved.

I thought I’d take a shot at it and (of course) immediately ran into an obstacle when the one pair of shoes I really liked were not available in my size. They had every other size except mine! Throwing up my hands in frustration, I decided to put The Running Room to the test and I contacted their head office. Their head office phone number is answered by a recorded greeting of their founder, John Stanton, and includes an option of hitting a button to speak directly to John. I wasn’t expecting to speak to someone, but to my surprise, he immediately answered.

I had a lovely chat with John, told him my problem, and without hesitation he offered to find someone to help me and said I would get a call back in just a few minutes. Not fifteen minutes later, one of John’s colleagues called me up, asked me some questions about my needs, did some research, and found me some options for shoes that would work for me.

While I was given the option of picking the shoes up from the store, it was easier to have them delivered to my house and within a few days, I had a pair of shoes that fit and easily returned the others that I chose not to keep.

It’s rare to find a company that goes above and beyond to keep customers happy, and it’s even more rare to have a President who is as accessible as John is (answering his own phone). Clearly, The Running Room gets it. Thanks to John and his team, I now have a pair of running shoes that fit my needs….and my feet!

The Running Room
1-800-419-2906
https://www.runningroom.com/hm/

 

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Cool cocktails and Awesome Americanos

Voodoo Child a coffee and cocktail bar

Hello again! It’s Clare here and I’m taking over David Lipton’s blog to tell you about a restaurant worthy of a spot on SQM Picks. Last month, I had some work to do and in my classic disorganized style, I left it to the last minute. It was later in the evening than I had planned to get to work, so I had to find a place where I could type into the night.

I stumbled upon Voodoo Child, which is just as cool as it’s Hendrix-inspired name suggests. It is open late and has a very cool atmosphere. The café features dim lighting and low hanging lights, creating a unique feel. Instead of my usual coffee house cohorts, I was surrounded by young people with many different agendas. Nearby, there was a couple that appeared to be on their first date, some young professionals sipping Wu Tangs while typing away and a few folks hanging out and enjoying the live music, which happens every Tuesday night.

During the day, Voodoo Child utilizes a communal table that has a great view of the ever busy and trendy College Street West. On Tuesday evenings, the café moves the table aside, so live performers have a place to play their tunes. On this particular night, there was a trio playing folk tunes that made everyone including the friendly bartender/barista tap their feet.

I knew I’d be in for a long night so the first beverage I ordered was a black americano. The bartender-barista explained I had the choice between two different blends of espresso – this evening, the choice was between a juicy one, with tasting notes of cranberry and stone fruits, and one that was described as syrupy, nutty and chocolatey. I opted for the chocolatey one and was very pleased with my choice.

When it was time for my second drink, I ordered the Wu Tang bourbon cocktail, which is a bit stronger than my chocolate flavoured americano and it tasted delicious. The bartender described it as “not too sweet and pretty strong”. The menu includes everything from a classic Old Fashioned, to the Wu Tang and a drink called the Suffering Bastard.

This isn’t necessarily a place to take the kids, but if it’s early and you’re looking for a great latte (served in a skull glass), an americano, or even a drip coffee, Voodoo Child is the place for you. If you get there before noon, you can purchase an americano and a locally baked muffin for only $5.25. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, the shop offers wood fired bagels with a variety of toppings.

This is definitely a place where you can start your day with a yummy coffee and end it with a strong cocktail. You might even find yourself back there the next morning if you enjoyed one too many Suffering Bastards.

Voodoo Child Espresso and Cocktail Bar
647-748-1011
www.voodoochild.ca

 

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