Three Canadian cities are among the best cities to live in the world, according to a new survey. The #Global Liveability Index ranked 140 cities based on stability, health care, culture and environment, #education and infrastructure.
Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto received some of the highest scores for liveability out of 140 cities evaluated. Calgary came fifth, Vancouver ranked sixth and Toronto was in seventh place.
Austria’s capital city, Vienna, finished first on the list. Vienna scored full marks in areas such as stability, health care, education and infrastructure. Overall, it received a whopping 99.1 out of 100 percentage points, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) annual survey found. In second place was Melbourne, Australia, with a score of 98.4, and Sydney was third, the EIU said. The only other European city to grace the top 10 list was Copenhagen, Denmark, which came in ninth place.
Other top-ranked cities were Osaka, which finished fourth, and Tokyo, which came in tied with Toronto for seventh. The 10 most liveable cities:
Vancouver: Did you know this is where the California roll was created? Being on the west coast, Vancouverites cam indulge in fresh fish from the Pacific in one of the many sushi spots in the city, like Miku Japanese Restaurant or Sushi Bar Maumi.
Toronto: As the most multicultural city in the world, there are cuisines from all nations. Neighbourhoods like Little Portugal, Little Tibet and Chinatown offer some of the best food options in the country. Toronto is also known for unique food markets like Kensington Market and St. Lawrence Market, offering a wide variety of local and imported goods.
Montreal: Not only is Montreal known for smoked meat and bagels – it’s also the place where new ideas tend to flourish when it comes to cuisine, all thanks to the city’s wildly creative and innovative chefs. From Parisian style bistros to eclectic eateries, the options are endless. It’s also the best place to try Canadian classics like maple treats from Mamie Clafoutis and poutine from Pierrette Patates!
Halifax: While dishes like lobster rolls and cod tongues receive high praise from both locals and tourists, food lovers know the real treat in Halifax is the city’s official late-night snack – the Halifax donair. It’s a grilled pita stuffed with shaved roasted beef, tomatoes and onions and topped with its signature sweet garlicky sauce. Eateries like Johnny K’s and King of Donair are top spots for locals!
There’s no doubt that Canadians can appreciate various cuisines and signature dishes unique to each city. With Canada’s diverse options, you are guaranteed to satisfy any craving you might have in any neighbourhood that you live or work in.
What exactly is the First Time Home Buyer Incentive?
The First Time Home Buyer Incentive is a shared-equity mortgage aimed at middle-class first-time homebuyers, designed to lower their monthly mortgage payments without increasing the amount they need to save for a down payment. For buyers who qualify, the government puts up five per cent of the price of a resale home, or either five or 10 per cent of the price of a newly constructed home. The incentive is a second mortgage on the title of the property, but no regular principal payments are required. The loan is interest free, and it can be repaid at any time without incurring penalties.
But there’s a catch.
The point of the First Time Home Buyer Incentive is a loan based on the fair market value of the property. The loan must be repaid within 25 years of the date borrowed or when the home is sold, whichever comes first. While the loan is interest free, it’s a “shared equity mortgage” which means the government shares in any gains on the property value. Alternately, if your property value takes a hit, your repayment amount to the government will be less than the amount borrowed.
For example, let’s say you took the five-per-cent incentive on a home priced at $200,000 (wishful thinking!), which would be $10,000. If you sell your home for $300,000 or its value increased to $300,000 at the 25-year mark, you would have to repay five per cent of the current value, or $15,000. On the flip side, if the home’s value decreased to $100,000, you’d only have to repay $5,000.
How do you qualify?
The First Time Home Buyer Incentive is aimed at helping middle-class homebuyers who need a boost. Thus, in order to qualify:
- the borrower must be a first-time homebuyer
- the borrower must have a household income of less than $120,000
- the mortgage is capped at four times the maximum household income of $120,000, or $480,000. This means the average price of a home would be $500,000 to $600,000, depending on the down payment.
Flooding in Calgary, Toronto and, more recently, Manitoba has caused widespread devastation to farmers' crops, as well as extensive damage to homes and communities. When prospective homeowners in British Columbia read about possible flood threats here at home, they question whether it's smart to buy in at-risk communities, such as the Fraser Valley, Richmond and Delta.
Here's what you need to know about specific areas of the Lower Mainland and how you can mitigate problems.
The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) has many rivers, streams and creeks that are prone to freshets and flooding, especially in the late spring and early winter. The best way to protect your home or business from flooding is to be prepared. FVRD provides flood protection and drainage services, but it does also recommend that home buyers contact their local government before purchasing a home to ensure they understand what they are buying. Local governments can provide valuable information to home buyers about zoning bylaws, flood plains, hazards and more.
Although Richmond is not officially designated a flood risk, it is on a floodplain. John Irving, director of engineering for Richmond, says the last time any flooding occurred in Richmond was in 1948. Since then, city has constructed a comprehensive system of dikes on Lulu Island. In addition, the drainage and pump systems are "very strong." Even in the case of extended rainfall or storm surge, the diking systems will protect residents and their homes.
Delta's location on the Fraser River floodplain also puts the community at risk of flooding. The main flood threat for Delta occurs when winter storms result in heavy rains or a heavy snow pack and are followed by a sudden spell of hot weather in late spring or early summer. The lowlands of Delta (such as Ladner) are located in a floodplain (see this floodplain map ). Delta is working hard to ensure that the risk of flooding is minimized for all residents and the risk of flooding in a given year is estimated to be 0.5 per cent. "Delta's current dike system is constructed to the 200-year flood level, which means the risk of flooding is estimated to be 0.5 per cent in a given year," says Sarah Howie, urban environmental designer for the Corporation of Delta. "Delta inspects, maintains and upgrades the dikes regularly to ensure they continue to function as designed."
Do insurance companies cover flood insurance?
According to a spokesperson at BCAA, most insurance policies do not cover loss or damage resulting from continuous or repeated seepage, rising ground waters or surface waters. However, water backing up from an internal drain, like a toilet, would typically be covered under most policies. Coverage for the escape of water from a private external drain differs among many policies.
What home owners can do to protect their home
Have a portable emergency kit near an exit and ensure that all family members know where it is. That kit should include a three-day supply of water for people and pets, non-perishable food, plastic garbage bags, plastic or paper dishes, a portable radio with extra batteries, a flashlight with extra batteries, books, toys, a first aid kit, a change of clothing for each family member, personal toiletry items, infant supplies if needed, emergency tools, sleeping bags and blankets, and the phone number for an out-of-area contact person.
Have an emergency plan. The plan should include information on how to turn off the gas and electrical power in your home, establish a safe meeting place for family members, and plans for pets during an emergency.
Enroll a family member in a First Aid course.
Monitor local news and stay aware of potential flood events.
Keep a battery or hand-crank operated radio handy to be advised of changing conditions.
Assemble important documents in a fireproof/waterproof container. For more information on preparing for emergencies, visit www.getprepared.gc.ca.
At its most basic level, blockchain is literally just a chain of blocks, but not in the traditional sense of those words. When we say the words “block” and “chain” in this context, we are actually talking about digital information (the “block”) stored in a #public database (the “chain”).
“Blocks” on the blockchain are made up of #digital pieces of information. Specifically, they have three parts:
- Blocks store information about transactions like the date, time, and dollar amount of your most recent purchase from Amazon. (NOTE: This Amazon example is for illustrative purchases; Amazon retail does not work on a blockchain principle)
- Blocks store information about who is participating in transactions. A block for your splurge purchase from Amazon would record your name along with Amazon.com, Inc. Instead of using your actual name, your purchase is recorded without any identifying information using a unique “digital signature,” sort of like a username.
- Blocks store information that distinguishes them from other blocks. Much like you and I have names to distinguish us from one another, each block stores a unique code called a “hash” that allows us to tell it apart from every other block. Let’s say you made your splurge purchase on Amazon, but while it’s in transit, you decide you just can’t resist and need a second one. Even though the details of your new transaction would look nearly identical to your earlier purchase, we can still tell the blocks apart because of their #unique codes.
Anyone can view the contents of the blockchain, but users can also opt to connect their computers to the blockchain network. In doing so, their computer receives a copy of the blockchain that is updated automatically whenever a new block is added, sort of like a Facebook News Feed that gives a live update whenever a new status is posted.
Each computer in the blockchain network has its own copy of the #blockchain, which means that there are thousands, or in the case of Bitcoin, millions of copies of the same blockchain. Although each copy of the blockchain is identical, spreading that information across a #network of computers makes the information more difficult to manipulate. With blockchain, there isn’t a single, definitive account of events that can be manipulated. Instead, a hacker would need to manipulate every copy of the blockchain on the network.
There are numerous applications to #blockchain technology and real estate might just be the next step!