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Poll suggests younger Canadians interested in attending Remembrance Day events

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  • TORONTO — A new survey suggests Canadians of all generations are more likely to honour military veterans by attending a Remembrance Day ceremony this year.

    A poll commissioned by Historica Canada, the organization behind the popular Heritage Minutes videos, found a 10-per-cent spike in the number of respondents who planned to take part in a ceremony this year compared to 2017.

    The online poll, conducted by Ipsos, found 39 per cent of those surveyed had firm plans to attend a ceremony on Nov. 11 compared to 29 per cent the year before.

    The survey found plans were relatively consistent across demographics, with millennial respondents expressing the most consistent enthusiasm for attending Remembrance Day events. It found 41 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds polled planned to attend, compared to 40 per cent of respondents over 55 and 38 per cent of participants between 35 and 54.

    Historica CEO Anthony Wilson-Smith called the findings around millennials gratifying, saying the poll results challenge the theory that the generation with the fewest tangible connections to the two World Wars would be most likely to ignore Remembrance Day.

    “We are now at a point where we have to contemplate that the day will come when there aren’t any more World War Two veterans,” Wilson-Smith said in a telephone interview.

    “That leaves you to wonder if, when everyone is gone, will people still be able to grasp the significance of war, of sacrifice, of the causes that drove people to war, and the outcomes,” he said.

    “The answer would appear to be yes.”

    Wilson-Smith speculated that at least part of the surge in interest in Remembrance Day ceremonies stems from the fact that this year’s events will mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice that brought the First World War to an end after four years of strife.

    But he said the younger generation’s apparent connection to the day may also come from personal ties to those who served in more recent conflicts, such as the war in Afghanistan in which 158 Canadian soldiers and two civilians were killed.

    The poll found 95 per cent of those surveyed felt Remembrance Day ceremonies should honour veterans of recent conflicts. It also found 83 per cent of respondents planned to wear a poppy in the run-up to Nov. 11, with baby boomers showing the most enthusiasm for that idea.

    The online poll of 1,002 Canadians also surveyed how many respondents had visited a cenotaph or other war memorial in their community or elsewhere.

    Participants in British Columbia were most likely to have done so, the survey found, noting the provincial response rate of 64 per cent was well above the national average of 46 per cent.

    The Ipsos survey was conducted between Oct. 25 and Oct. 29, Historica said.

    The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.

    Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press



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    Online real estate auctions try to shake up sales with novel approach

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  • An online auction for a luxury home in Abbotsford, B.C., is drawing attention for its novel approach, which some observers say has potential to inspire new sales even if it doesn’t have any notable impact on the housing landscape.

    Bidding opens Tuesday on the 12-bedroom, 10-bath restored train power station known as the “Sumas Powerhouse,” which was previously listed for $5 million and has an assessed value of $2.2 million on B.C. Assessment.

    It’s one of three properties in Canada listed on global firm Concierge Auction’s website. A news release says it’s targeting Chinese buyers and will be sold in co-operation with Re/Max.

    Scott Pate, a project sales manager with Concierge, said luxury real estate has been a buyers market for quite some time in both the United States and Canada and auctions are a way to give sellers more certainty.

    “We’ll bring the market to this sale instead of the normal way of selling real estate, which is putting it on the market and waiting for an offer, which could take years and years,” he said.

    “The market is motivated because there’s a fear of missing out. This auction is going to end on a certain day … so it creates a lot of interest.”

    Real estate auctions are typical in Australia and New Zealand, but the model is less common in Canada. 

    A real estate agent in Victoria tried the in-person auction approach in 2016 with a property in the city’s upscale Rockland neighbourhood, holding a public auction featuring a pianist playing a grand piano in the ballroom at the event.

    But local media reported that although 60 people filled the room, only one was an interested buyer so the auction was cancelled. In 2017, the B.C. Supreme Court accepted a $1.8-million offer for the historic mansion in foreclosure.

    Tom Davidoff, director of the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, said online auctions aren’t all that different from the way we buy and sell homes traditionally in Canada, especially in cases where there are multiple interested buyers and a bidding war.

    That could make it comfortable for Canadian buyers to transition to the model.

    “It certainly could be a direction the market could go. In segments where the market is slow today, people will try different approaches to move product, so it’s certainly possible,” he said.

    But beyond creating another way for potential buyers to bid, he said he doesn’t believe there will be an impact on the market in terms of housing prices or competition.

    “This will have no impact on the market overall,” Davidoff said.

    In Toronto, On the Block sells real estate both the traditional way and through its online auction platform but doesn’t focus on luxury sales.

    Co-founder Daniel Steinfeld said online auctions offer a way around some of the frustrations that come with silent bidding wars under the traditional system.

    As part of the company’s model, buyers must sign agreements to make the value of their bids public while their identities remain protected. Real estate board regulations otherwise prohibit real estate agents from disclosing the substance of competing bids.

    “Buyers, especially in the Toronto and Vancouver markets, have grown pretty frustrated with the blind bidding approach,” he said.

    The platform also allows the company to post more information than might be available through MLS listings, like copies of home inspections and agreements of purchase and sale, which makes it less likely for a sale to fall through.

    The most important factor in a successful real estate auction is the starting price, which can inspire competitive bids, Steinfeld said. So when identifying potential properties for auction, the company interviews the sellers to determine their objectives and market expectations.

    If the seller has unreasonable expectations about the market value of their property, it’s probably not the right fit for auction.

    Market conditions matter less, he said.

    “We have seen in both good and bad market conditions that it can work, it really just comes down to the appropriate pricing strategy,” Steinfeld said.

    Auction properties are typically first-time listings and the company sets a reserve price, which represents the minimum value at which the seller is obligated to sell.

    “Once bidding reaches that number, everyone knows for sure that property will sell,” he said.

    “Then everyone starts to bid quit a bit more because they know at that point that if they win, it’s theirs.”

     

    Amy Smart, The Canadian Press


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    A week on, vigil held for Christchurch victims in Prince Edward Island

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  • CHARLOTTETOWN — More than a week after the deadly shooting rampage at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, a vigil was held at the Charlottetown cenotaph in Prince Edward Island on Saturday to show solidarity with the victims.

    Sobia Ali-Faisal, a faculty member at the University of Prince Edward Island’s psychology department, said while the temperature was cold the atmosphere at the vigil was warm.

    “It was sombre, but the signs that people had were very, very supportive,” she said, adding that the hundreds of people who attended “really wanted to be there.”

    Ali-Faisal said it was particularly heartening to see support from outside the Muslim community.

    “It’s soothing because you can feel quite vulnerable after something like this happens,” she said.

    “It could happen here. You could be a target, and you just kind of become cautious and take a lot more precautions. So it’s nice when you see people come out and support you. It makes you feel safer.”

    Vigils can also be a starting point for challenging hate by allowing people of different faiths to connect, she added, but said it’s important to keep up the momentum they create.

    Shaukat Khan, the president of the Pakistan Canada Association in Vancouver, said it’s “amazing” to see Canadians standing with the Muslim community, adding that Canadians always come together in hard times and these vigils show that.

    There are a number of groups in British Columbia and other parts of the country meeting up and thinking of ways to sustain the dialogue following the attacks, he said.

    The gunman killed a total of 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, in the nation’s worst terrorist attack.

    Australian national Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder in the attacks and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on April 5.

    Alhadi Abusneena, the president of the Muslim Society of Prince Edward Island who was also at the Charlottetown vigil, echoed Ali-Faisal’s words.

    The people of Charlottetown and P.E.I. support the Muslim community and “we stand as one family,” he said.

    “I see in their eyes, I see the love and compassion,” he said.

    Such vigils show that in spite of the sorrow, people choose love over hatred, he said.

    Although the vigil on Saturday took place more than a week after the shooting, Abusneena said the timing is irrelevant since the victims’ families have to live with a lifetime of pain.

    —By Hina Alam in Vancouver, with files from The Associated Press

    The Canadian Press


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