Entries in Canada (6)


Nintendo of Canada Releasing Wii Mini at $99

Nintendo(NEW YORK) -- Nintendo of Canada is taking a page out of Sony’s book this week by re-releasing the original Wii with a major make-over, evoking the popular PS2 Slim.

Wii’s old technology has a new look, a black matte surface and an even more compact package. 

But with the redesign, which includes a red Wiimote plus and a red nunchuck, comes a few caveats.  Wifi is no longer included and backwards compatibility with GameCube games has been stripped from the system.

Although it is not difficult to purchase a cheap Wii on eBay, this $99 mini-Wii may seem like a good deal for some, especially considering that a Wiimote with nunchuck attachment can still go for $60 on its own.

While not available in the United States just yet, perhaps a quiet, limited relaunch is a good thing, saving less knowledgeable parents and relatives from picking up the wrong “new Wii” and causing Christmas morning disappointment.

Some 400,000 new Wii U systems were sold last week, according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, on par with the demand for the original Wii back in 2006.

That’s good news for the new system, as the original Wii was the second highest-selling home console ever, bested only by the Sony Playstation 2.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Canadian Town Sells $10 Plots of Land

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Got an extra 10 bucks?  If so, you could be the owner of a sparkling new home in Reston, Manitoba, a rural prairie town in Southern Manitoba bordering Saskatchewan on the west and North Dakota on the south.

In an effort to jump on the oil boom in that part of the country, officials are once again selling undeveloped land for a mere $10, an initiative they first started in 2010.  Back then they had 14 lots for sale, 11 of which have houses built on them currently, economic development officer Tanis Chalmers told ABC News.

That plan was so successful that in September the Rural Municipality of Pipestone, of which Reston is the biggest town (population: 550), decided to put up an additional 10 lots for sale, along with the three left from 2010.

Nine remain, “But I’ve had offers on them already from both Canada and the U.S,” said Chalmers, adding that the initiative has been so effective that the local school finally “has a standalone kindergarten class.”

Agriculture and oil are the main industries in the town, which was founded as a railway point for the Canadian Pacific Railway, but Chalmers says she hopes to attract small businesses, too.

“We need to have supporting services to support the people living here and coming,” she said.  “We’d like to see a new hotel here, a new restaurant, a bar.”

The plan is pretty straightforward: To purchase a property, wannabe homeowners have to sign an agreement and put down a $1,000 deposit.  Once a lot is purchased, owners have 90 days to begin construction, and 12 months to complete it.  As soon as the town receives your occupancy permit, they will refund $990 of the original down payment.

“You don’t have to live here full time, but you do need to put up a permanent structure,” said Chalmers.

As further incentive, the town is offering a $6,000 grant to people who’ve built a new house or purchased an existing home in the rural municipality.  The grant can be used for anything from home upgrades to a new car.  Chalmers says taxes hover around $1,500 to $2,500 per year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Washington Residents Fed Up with Canadians Taking over Local Costco

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(BELLINGHAM, Wash.) -- Residents of Bellingham, Wash., are fed up with Canadian shoppers who cross the border and buy up the goods at the local Costco.

Canadian residents are driving less than 30 miles across the U.S. border and taking full advantage of the favorable exchange rate when buying food, gas and other items.  Right now, Canada’s dollar is much stronger than the U.S. dollar.  Gas is more than a buck less in the U.S., and milk is nearly $5 a gallon less.

Many British Colombia license plates have been popping up in the Costco lot, preventing locals from finding spots, according to many Bellingham residents.  Videos have been posted to YouTube showing long lines at checkout and a mad dash for cheap American milk in the store.

Things have gotten so bad for local residents that they have started a Facebook page with the pleading title, “Bellingham Costco Needs a Special Time Just for Americans.”

“It’s like the border dropped 25 miles.  Americans should be able to find parking in their own country,” reads one post.

As of Tuesday morning, the Facebook page has more than  2,900 “Likes” and tons of debates between Americans and Canadians.

A senior vice president at Costco told CBC News that anyone with a Costco membership can shop at any store in the world.

As long as the exchange rate stays in favor of the neighbors to the north, the residents of Bellingham, Wash., can expect more of the same.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Employees Working Remotely Are Seen Not as Productive

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ONTARIO, Canada) -- Most employees in the U.S. and Canada are open to flexible work arraignments, which includes working remotely, but a new survey shows a majority of bosses in the Great White North don’t think staffers are as productive when they work outside the office.

A survey commissioned by Microsoft Canada finds just 25 percent of Canadian bosses feel employees are more productive working remotely than inside the office.

In comparison, 55 percent of Canadian workers believe they are more productive when they work remotely.

Still, 42 percent of the bosses polled say they do support remote working arraignments.

The bosses surveyed also listed their complaints when it comes to dealing with employees who work remotely.  Here are the top pet peeves, along with the percentage of bosses who feel that way:

  • Inability to talk face-to-face, 49 percent.
  • Lack of focus, 26 percent.
  • Lack of accountability, 22 percent.
  • A belief employees are doing less work, 22 percent.

The Microsoft Canada survey involved 1,249 employees and bosses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Has Facebook's Popularity Peaked in the US?

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Nothing is going to stop Facebook from reaching 700 million users but what's stopping its growth in the U.S. and Canada?

That's the question facing the social media giant, which is still adding millions of new users each month.

However, Inside Facebook, a research and marketing group, says that the social networking site has experienced an overall growth slowdown in April and May -- the first time that's happened for two straight months.

The loss has been most evident in the U.S. with Facebook losing six million users in May although the site still boasts about 150 million people nationally, or just under half the entire population.  Canada also saw a decline as well as the United Kingdom, Norway and Russia.

Yet, Facebook manages to make up for these losses in emerging markets such as Brazil, India, Indonesia and Mexico.

Responding to the Inside Facebook study, Facebook said, "We are very pleased with our growth and with the way people are engaged with Facebook.  More than 50 percent of our active users log on to Facebook on any given day."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chairman of Canada's Maple Leaf Foods Dies

wallacemccaintribute[dot]ca(TORONTO) -- The chairman of Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods, Wallace McCain, has died at the age of 81.

The company issued a statement on Saturday, saying that McCain passed away following a long struggle with pancreatic cancer.

“Wallace made an indelible impact on Maple Leaf Foods, our country and the food industry globally,” said Purdy Crawford, lead director of the Maple Leaf Foods Board of Directors. “He had a rare gift for business that was driven by his personal courage, love of people, and sharp insights.”

Wallace, who received a bachelor’s degree from Mount Allison University in 1951, started off his career as a salesman that same year. In 1956 McCain, along with brother Harrison, founded McCain Foods. The McCain family, together with a financial partner, then went on to acquire controlling interest in Maple Leaf Foods in 1995, for which Wallace McCain would serve as chairman.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio