• There’s a tent in the centre of Hootsuite’s office. Actually, there’s a string of them at the social media management platform’s headquarters  – green canvas tents all in a row filled with employees puttering away on MacBooks or chatting on phones.

    It’s set up like the Vancouver-based company’s staff has travelled through time to a ski cabin retreat in the summer of 1965. Except this is the day-to-day work environment – plaid couch cushions, log cabin-like walls strung with antique skis, snowshoes, fishing gear, picnic tables, wood stacks and cots for sleepy employees.

    It’s unreal, unconventional and quite possibly the coolest office space in Canada. It’s also a prime example of the evolving approach to designing the workplace, says Susan Steeves, principal interior designer at SSDG Interiors, the firm responsible for Hootsuite’s offbeat office.

    Inside Hootsuite, photo courtesy of HootsuiteInside Hootsuite, photo courtesy of Hootsuite

    “People spend a lot of time at work so you want to like where you are – the space creates different feelings, people react (differently)

    Read More »from Our new obsession with office space
  • Few people at the second concert of U2’s worldwide tour on Friday in Vancouver had any idea how close a complete unknown came to joining the band on stage for a song.

    Patrick Stark has been working on a documentary about stage fright and facing your fear for six years. His connection to U2 is tangential; he told Breakfast Television in Vancouver that he first discovered he could sing, somewhat, listening to U2’s seminal live EP "Under a Blood Red Sky" in his car.

    U2 fandom intact, Stark set his sights on one auspicious goal to provide the perfect ending for his film: to sing with U2. So two weeks ago, when he heard that U2 was in Chambar, a trendy restaurant in Vancouver’s Gastown district, Stark walked over, summoned up some courage, and walked up to the band with his pitch:

    “I envision myself on a stage in a stadium filled with people, singing one song with the biggest band in the world,” he said.

    “About half a second later, Bono goes ‘sure’.”

    Stark said he and the band quickly

    Read More »from B.B. King's death scuttles filmmaker's dream U2 gig
  • Medicine Hat makes homelessness a thing of the past

    Communities across Canada grappling with homelessness may now look to Medicine Hat.Communities across Canada grappling with homelessness may now look to Medicine Hat.
    Five years ago, the Alberta city of Medicine Hat committed to an ambitious plan to end homelessness by this year.

    One of the critics of the plan was former councillor, now mayor, Ted Clugston.

    But with his city of 61,000 poised to be the first in North America to do just that, Clugston counts himself among the soundly converted.

    “I wasn’t on board with this when they first announced it,” Clugston tells Yahoo News Canada. “I used to say silly things like, ‘why do they have granite countertops when I don’t?’”

    He voted against several projects. Then advocates showed him the numbers.

    The Medicine Hat Community Housing Society proved to him that a single homeless individual can cost about $134,000 a year in emergency-room visits, hospital stays and interactions with police and other first responders.

    It costs about $34,000 a year to house that person.

    “If you believe there’s only one taxpayer, it just makes fiscal sense,” says Clugston, a self-described conservative.

    Spurred by the Alberta

    Read More »from Medicine Hat makes homelessness a thing of the past
  • It’s hard to think of anything more likely to inflame Canadians’ sense of fairness than the idea of a residential building where those of modest means have to use an entrance separate from their economic betters.

    So it’s surprising an eruption of the so-called “poor door” controversy didn’t get more traction in Vancouver after word got out a new condominium planned for downtown had just such segregation between those who’d be living in subsidized “non-market” apartments and those paying top dollar for luxury suites.

    The debate flared for a few days after a contributor to the civic watchdog group CityHallWatch tweeted that the project proposed for the prime West End location on Jervis and Davie streets would have separate entrances for condo owners and non-market renters.

    But it soon became evident

    Read More »from Vancouver, Toronto building ‘poor doors’ viewed as opportunity, not segregation
  • What happens to social media accounts after you die?

    Facebook tracks users without their consent, the Belgian privacy watchdog reportedFacebook tracks users without their consent, the Belgian privacy watchdog reported

    By 2065, the number of dead Facebook user profiles will outnumber the living. Or rather, that’s what absurdist scientific Q and A forum What If by XKCD estimates. Sure, there are a ton of “ifs” required to figure out that number – if Facebook doesn’t gain any more market share, if Facebook doesn’t pivot its business model – but the big question is still relevant, what happens to social media accounts after you die? And what about your loved ones? When they go, what happens to their social feeds?

    “I think it’s a cultural thing – in North America we don’t like to discuss dying and we seldom prepare for death especially for young people,” Sharon Polsky, president of the Privacy and Access Council of Canada told Yahoo Canada. “Technology just makes the situation more complex.”

    Especially when it works like this: you sign up for Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or InstaFace or TweetBook or whatever incarnation of experience sharing platform is all the rage and you click the agree box

    Read More »from What happens to social media accounts after you die?
  • Bellwoods Brewery Brewpub in Toronto (Courtsey of Mike Banani)Bellwoods Brewery Brewpub in Toronto (Courtsey of Mike Banani)

    The long weekend is officially a time to mark Queen Victoria’s birthday. Unofficially, it’s a time to finally get your shorts and flip flips out of the closet, kick back on the patio or deck and crack open a few cold ones.

    Back in the day choice was limited on what many call the May 2-4 weekend (in reference to a 24-pack of beer). Canadian guys were likely to be cracking open a Molson Canadian or a Labatt Blue. Those who considered themselves beer connoisseurs might’ve opted for an Alexander Keith’s or a Rickard’s Red.

    These days, the beer mug floweth over with choice from Vancouver to Halifax, and everywhere in between.

    In Canada’s most populous city, it’s a heady time for Bellwoods Brewery.  Since the award-winning brewery opened its doors in early 2012 it has tapped in to Torontonians seemingly insatiable thirst for craft beer. Bellwoods has been so perpetually popular it has struggled to keep up with demand. They are in the midst of opening a larger facility that will be able to

    Read More »from Canadians saying cheers to craft beer this Victoria Day long weekend
  • A sweeping panorama combining 33 telephoto images into one Martian vista presents details of several types of terrain visible on Mount Sharp from a location along the route of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover.A sweeping panorama combining 33 telephoto images into one Martian vista presents details of several types of terrain visible on Mount Sharp from a location along the route of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover.

    The planet Mars is fairly modest, as spaceports go. There are only five active satellites in orbit there.

    But that doesn’t mean collisions are impossible. And because Mars missions are so massively expensive, NASA doesn’t want to take any unnecessary chances with the orbiters that have managed to get there, and survive.

    So, in a lovely piece of forward-thinking mathematical prudence, air traffic control at the red planet is being re-thought and upgraded, in anticipation of busier times to come.

    “As long as we’ve had multiple assets in orbit there, we’ve always kept track between the different navigation teams of where they are, and if there’s any proximity issues,” said Robert Shotwell, chief engineer of the Mars program for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

    “As we get more and more spacecraft there, the overall density goes up.”

    Two new craft entered Mars' orbit in the past year – both taking non-typical elliptical orbits which can and do cross the paths of satellites

    Read More »from They're developing air traffic control - on Mars
  • Tim Horton's coffees (Canadian Press)Tim Horton's coffees (Canadian Press)

    Near St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto there’s a Tim Hortons to the south, a Starbucks to the west and a Balzac’s sandwiched in between the two java juggernauts.

    “There’s room for us all,” says Diana Olsen, the president and founder of Balzac’s Coffee Roasters at her Market St. location in an interview with Yahoo Canada News.

    And so it seems there is. All three stores were bustling with a mix of tourists and locals on a recent spring weekday afternoon. Canadians are certainly hopped up on java, sipping 2.1 billion servings of coffee every year, according to a report by market research firm NPD Group.

    The leader in the take-out coffee market -- Tim Hortons officially turns 51 on May 17. The coffee industry in Canada has changed significantly since hockey player Tim Horton opened his first store in Hamilton back in May 1964. For one there was no Starbucks Coffee Co. here – the first Canadian store didn’t open until 1987 in Vancouver. And it was decades later that Olsen gave up the

    Read More »from Tim Hortons turns 51: Canada’s coffee market brews up big changes since 1964
  • Canadians who have been suffering cabin fever will emerge en masse this May long weekend, celebrating the start of camping season.

    But the camping muscles can be a little stiff after sitting idle all winter. Perception of the proper beer-to-sun ratio is off. Judgment may be marred by months of shoveling snow and scraping the car windshield.

    “People often try and be a little to exuberant on the May 24th weekend,” says Bruce van Staalduinen, manager of operations for Ontario Parks and 40-year veteran of the Victoria Day holiday.

    “It’s the first time you’re getting outside. You get together with friends around a case of beer and alcohol is a catalyst to loud talking, bigger parties, later nights.

    “Radios get turned up, guitars get turned up and the alcohol basically just loosens people’s tongues and they just get a little too boisterous, unfortunately.”

    Ontario put a temporary alcohol ban in place in about half of its parks almost four decades ago and provinces including Manitoba,

    Read More »from Let the sunburns begin! Victoria Day long weekend marks start of Canadian camping season
  • There’s nothing quite as damning as the wrath of the supreme court of public opinion. Do something abhorrent on camera like say, kicking a dog or making derogatory remarks in a reporter’s camera, and the all-seeing Internet might select your case to be tried via social media shaming.

    Which could cost you your job, as a Hydro One employee at a Toronto soccer game learned when CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt challenged him and his friends to explain why they made derogatory remarks.

    “We’re living in a fishbowl these days and everything we do and say is disseminated,” Natalie MacDonald co-founding partner of Rudner MacDonald LLP, and author of Extraordinary Damages in Canadian Employment Law told Yahoo Canada.

    And where employee rights are concerned, she says, if you’re doing something harmful and it’s caught on camera, you really don’t have a lot of rights.

    “That incident (at the soccer game) was reprehensible, that was sexual harassment of a female reporter and that was discriminatory

    Read More »from FHRITP incident: Canadian workers can get fired for saying a lot less, experts say


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