• (Reuters photo)(Reuters photo)

     

    Thrill seekers may be getting more than they bargained for when they sign up for adventure races like Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Spartan Race.

    Every summer thousands of people gather in cities across North America to test their toughness with a series of obstacle-based races that have you diving into ice pools, jumping through fire and enduring electric shock. Seriously.

    The goal? To prove you’re not only fit but—more importantly—badass.

    Dustin W. Ballard, an emergency physician at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in California explains, “The Tough Mudder participant who conquers his or her fears along with the event also may garner confidence and optimism to face challenges elsewhere in life.”

    While most people cross the finish line with little more than a mouthful of mud, others aren’t so lucky.

    The Spartan rash

    In the summer of 2013, reports of the “Spartan Rash” began circulating when a number of participants from the Spartan Race in Marseilles, Illinois took to social media

    Read More »from Are adventure races like Tough Mudder and Spartan worth the risk?
  • Metal detector locates lost jewelry at Fredericton's Killarney Lake.Metal detector locates lost jewelry at Fredericton's Killarney Lake.

    Edmonton resident Norm Peters is fluent in the language of metal detection. The 63-year-old is part of an international network of people who help retrieve lost valuables from tricky places – anywhere from lakes to beaches to roadways.

    “The machine talks to you,” he told Yahoo Canada News. “You distinguish between a bottle cap or a can. Every one of them has got a different tone and as you learn, you get to know the signals.”

    Peters got into metal detecting five years ago when his son lost his wedding ring in the ocean in Mexico after getting married. Though Peters wasn’t able to retrieve his son’s jewelry, it inspired him to take up the hobby.

    Since then, he gets about six calls a month, mostly through the Ring Finders, a listing of metal detectors from 22 different countries around the world, which was started by a Vancouver man named Chris Turner. In Canada, there are a total of 36 finders in 51 cities.

    Most of the people listed on the website are hobbyists who offer their services

    Read More »from Ring Finders ‘detectives’ crack cases of lost jewelry and other treasures
  • By Aviva West

    As the threat of wildfire recedes in northern Saskatchewan, residents from across the province are banding together to help reunite owners with pets left behind when they were forced to flee.

    Wildfires began raging at the beginning of the summer and since then, more than 13,000 people from 50 communities have been living elsewhere and vast swathes of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan scorched.

    On Monday, with the worst of the fires under control, troops began to depart fire-plagued areas of northern Saskatchewan and residents of La Ronge, Air Ronge and Lac La Ronge Indian Band began returning home.

    When residents fled their homes and communities, workers from rescues agencies and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) collected as many animals as they could, and have been fostering them all over Saskatchewan. The SPCA says they’ve taken in more than 150 dogs from northern fire-affected communities.

    At the height of the Alberta floods in June

    Read More »from With wildfires under control, work turns to reuniting displaced with their pets
  • (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    After Carolyn McGroarty’s beloved bike was stolen in April, she decided to take her efforts to find it in cyberspace.

    The Torontonian figured she’d take advantage of social media’s wide reach and started an Instagram, Twitter and Facebook account devoted to finding lost bikes.

    Her efforts led to a police investigation of her condo building, where an in-house bike theft operation was allegedly taking place. As a result, one bike and three bike frames were retrieved.

    From there, McGroarty started finding listings for lost bikes on Craigslist and Kijiji, which she’d then post to her social media pages.

    “A lot of people thought it was amazing and needed in the city,” she tells Yahoo Canada News, adding that city councillors and the Toronto police have started following the accounts as well.

    Each post lists the bike’s description, as well as the owner’s social media information and a photo. Similar FindMyBike accounts have since been started in Calgary and the United Kingdom.

    Read More »from Cyclists use social media to #findmybike
  • When Marymay Downing moved into her Ottawa townhouse two decades ago, there wasn’t much but a patch of weeds when it came to neighbourhood landscaping.

    Over the years, the 64-year-old guerrilla gardener has cultivated six community gardens in the neighbourhood, with eclectic mixes of flowers, vegetables and herbs.

    “When you’re out there working people stop and talk to you and tell you how much they like the garden and thank you for doing it,” she tells Yahoo Canada News.

    But Downing is devastated that Canada Post plans to erect a suite of community mailboxes, including one just outside her backyard. The mailbox will not displace the community garden she’s built there but it will block the view of it from the street.

    “As one of my neighbours says, it will be ugly,” she says.

    It will also bring dozens of people to the edge of her backyard on a daily basis, she says.

    “My privacy will be destroyed and this is the only thing I do now,” says Downing, a former University of Ottawa professor

    Read More »from Ottawa gardener wants to return community mailboxes to sender
  •  

    A week ago, folks in downtown Toronto looked up, and were surprised and concerned to see big plumes of smoke billowing from the observation deck of the city’s iconic CN Tower.

    Multiple 911 calls went out from onlookers, afraid a major fire was engulfing a 553-meter-tall building that was the world’s tallest free-standing structure from the mid-70s until 2010.

    False alarm.  It turned out the smoke came from a pyrotechnic display tied in with a rehearsal for the opening ceremonies of the Pan-Am Games.

    The crisis dissipated with the smoke, but it left behind a lingering question:

    What would happen if the CN Tower ever caught fire for real?

    For an answer, we called the fire department.

    “The secret for that place is actually the use of the elevators,” said Andrew Kostiuk, a division commander with Toronto Fire Services.

    “We’d have the elevators to get the fire-fighting forces up to the restaurant area, or wherever the fire might occur.  Most likely it would be the restaurant, due to the

    Read More »from What would happen if the CN Tower actually caught fire?
  • A brought-to-their-feet opening ceremony at the Pan Am Games was bad news for some attendees. (Getty)A brought-to-their-feet opening ceremony at the Pan Am Games was bad news for some attendees. (Getty)

    The slogan of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) is “Bringing the World to its Feet” and that was exactly the problem for Paul Bronfman.

    The film executive uses a mobility scooter because of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis, but when he bought a seat in the accessible section of the Air Canada Centre for the U2 concert on Tuesday, July 7, he couldn't see 85 per cent of the performance because other concert-goers in the row ahead stood in front of him.

    This wasn't the first time either. Bronfman even went so far as to give MLSE chairman Larry Tenenbaum a tour of the section and explain the problem with its sight lines, but his experience this summer was proof nothing had been done and Bronfman has vowed to take legal action against the MLSE over violation of his human rights.

    Meanwhile, The Rogers Centre, hasn't fared any better in the accessibility department. When walker user Mary Penner attended the PanAm Games Opening Ceremony, security wouldn't allow the WheelTrans van she

    Read More »from Frustrating accessibility issues persist at major MLSE entertainment venues
  • Tax man gets his cut of criminal profits

    The Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa is shown on November 4, 2011. Almost seven in every 10 callers looking for help from the Canada Revenue Agency are greeted by a busy signal because the lines are overwhelmed, newly released documents show. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickThe Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa is shown on November 4, 2011. Almost seven in every 10 callers looking for help from the Canada Revenue Agency are greeted by a busy signal because the lines are overwhelmed, newly released documents show. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

    It wasn’t the bootlegging, the gambling or the prostitution that brought down notorious gangster Al Capone. It was taxes.

    Crime doesn’t pay, they say, but if it does you better claim it as income.

    A convicted drug trafficker in Quebec learned that this week when Revenue Quebec received court approval to seize his bank accounts, properties and possessions to cover $270,000 in unpaid taxes for his ill-gotten gains.

    The Canada Revenue Agency, too, pursues criminals for unpaid taxes.

    The agency’s investigations division acts on tips from police agencies or the public to pursue people who earn money through illegal activities. Those include everything from drug trafficking and prostitution to theft or loan-sharking.

    “Like legitimate incomes, proceeds of crime are taxable,” says the agency. “This is an enforcement principle of the Act; its purpose is not only to ensure fairness of the tax system, but also to reduce profits from crime and to help counter the lure of profit that motivates

    Read More »from Tax man gets his cut of criminal profits
  • A teen boy saved a three-year-old girl's life in 1977 at Toronto's Cherry Beach and Edit Beliwicz is now searching for him on social media to thank him.A teen boy saved a three-year-old girl's life in 1977 at Toronto's Cherry Beach and Edit Beliwicz is now searching for him on social media to thank him.

    The mystery hero who saved a three-year-old from drowning at a Toronto beach nearly 40 years ago has been located, thanks to commenters on Yahoo Canada News’ Facebook page.

    Terrence Perry, who in 1977 dove in to rescue a drowning Edith Beliwicz, née Langille, says that day is “welded into” his memory.”

    “It’s as clear as if it happened yesterday,” Perry tells Yahoo Canada News.

    Beliwicz had taken to social media in an attempt to find the man who saved her life at Cherry Beach, after she’d come across an old newspaper clipping, which featured a photo of Perry and his dog Whiskey.

    After Yahoo Canada News posted the story about Beliwicz’s efforts, sleuthing commenters were able to track Perry down via Facebook.

    Perry, who was 14 at the time, was fishing at the beach with a friend when he noticed a group of people standing around, pointing at the water.

    He saw something that looked like a doll floating in the water and realized it was a child. To this day, he can recall exactly what she was

    Read More »from Mystery hero who saved girl from drowning located
  • There’s an image of a calf being roped at the Calgary Stampede, jerking its eyes in fear as a plaid-clad and denim-sporting cowboy reaches towards it.

    In essence, it’s a simple image, there’s really no question what’s happening. It’s calf-roping, a popular rodeo sport and staple of the nine-day event which draws a million plus visitors to the stampede grounds in Calgary, the beating heart of Alberta’s cowboy culture.

    But it’s an image that evokes an adverse response dependent on where you are in Canada. For many Calgarians that response is tradition.

    “It’s a local celebration and a local concern but I see that in a positive way,” says Aritha van Herk, author of Mavericks: An Incorrigible History Of Alberta. “It matters to us and we understand the sport in visceral ways that I don’t think… I mean visitors come and they either think it’s exciting or awful but they don’t understand its long history.”

    She says that whether or not the Stampede is relevant in this day and age is a simple

    Read More »from Does the Calgary Stampede still matter?

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