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Hefty fines recommended for bad B.C. Realtors

VANCOUVER – A panel struck to restore faith in British Columbia’s besieged real estate industry is calling for hefty fines of up to $500,000 for misconduct and measures to end aggressive sales tactics.

The advisory group was launched by the Real Estate Council of B.C. in February amid allegations that some agents were deceiving clients to rack up commissions and inflate prices in Metro Vancouver’s overheated housing market.

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The panel released a sweeping report on Tuesday with 28 recommendations, including that the province hike maximum misconduct fines to $250,000 for individual Realtors and $500,000 for brokerages — a significant increase from current maximum fines of $10,000 and $20,000.

Carolyn Rogers, the superintendent of real estate, chaired the advisory group. She said it didn’t examine affordability, but skyrocketing prices have impacted the council’s role as a regulator and the recommendations addressed that issue.

“Any time there is extreme price fluctuation, you have people who rush into the market who try and make a quick buck,” she told a news conference.

“The regulatory regime for real estate services was designed for people who buy and sell homes, not people who are buying and selling investments. That is a different market. It requires different regulatory rules, approaches and powers.”

The real estate council is the industry-funded body that oversees licensed agents. It’s made up of 14 industry members and three government appointees, but the panel recommended the portion of non-industry members be increased to 50 per cent.

The panel also called for a ban on agents representing buyers and sellers in the same transaction, for any profits received from misconduct to be returned to the client, and for a confidential whistleblower hotline.

Rogers said the panel often began meetings by discussing predatory sales tactics they had seen, such as Realtors approaching homeowners on their property. It recommended council increase efforts to end marketing practices that target vulnerable people, particularly seniors and immigrants.

Executive officer Robert Fawcett said the council has established a committee to implement the 21 recommendations that were directed to it.

“For many British Columbians, buying or selling a home is the biggest financial transaction they will make in their lives,” he said. “They count on real estate professionals to provide them with the information, guidance and advice they can trust.”

The province is responsible for the remaining seven recommendations. Finance Minister Michael de Jong said actions to strengthen consumer protection would be announced Wednesday.

“The report is a comprehensive examination of the practices and challenges plaguing the real estate industry right now, and paints a troubling picture,” he said.

The panel also examined the role of the province’s 11 private real estate boards. The overlapping functions of the boards and the council have caused public confusion, and the council should take sole responsibility for investigating misconduct, the report said.

Dan Morrison, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, said he welcomed all the recommendations, especially the opportunity to clarify the role of the boards.

“The differences between what we do as a real estate board and what the council does — the better job we can do of making that clear to everybody, the better off we’ll both be.”

The advisory group didn’t consider the issue of self-regulation. Rogers said the decision to take away self-regulation rests with the province, but she’s confident the recommendations will create a more independent council.

David Eby, the provincial NDP’s housing critic, called the document an “incredibly damning” report into a failed regulator and demanded an end to self-regulation of the industry.

“When you add it all together, it is no surprise that they have recommended the near wholesale replacement of the board,” he said. “I am surprised that they didn’t come to the inevitable conclusion, which is that self-regulation has failed here.”

— Follow @ellekane on 桑拿会所.

Canadians will be consulted on first new housing strategy in decades: housing minister

VICTORIA – Canada’s housing minister says he and his provincial and territorial counterparts are working toward the country’s first national housing strategy in four decades.

Jean-Yves Duclos said Tuesday that Canadians will have their say on a long-term strategy for the country through online consultations and other means.

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Discussions involving Indigenous communities and housing experts will be convened by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. in the summer and early fall, when the ministers will meet again, the group said in a joint statement.

READ MORE: Federal government announces $150 million for B.C. affordable housing

Duclos said the ministers settled on an agenda to build a national housing strategy.

“No one government can address those housing needs alone,” he said. “Today is a demonstration that we are there to listen and address the housing needs that Canadians have frankly expressed over the last few months and last few years.”

Duclos, who is also responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., was drowned out by chanting protesters earlier Tuesday when he invited himself to a homeless rights rally in Victoria.

WATCH: Duclos says he was moved by AG Report’s focus on less fortunate

About two dozen protesters demanded to know the Liberal government’s plan to build more social housing across the country.

Duclos said he wanted to hear people’s views on housing and homelessness but the crowd yelled, “Trudeau lies, people die.”

“I’m here exactly for the same reasons as you are here,” said Duclos, who appeared to be on a lunch break when he walked up to the protesters who gathered outside of a hotel where the ministers were meeting.

Ivan Drury of the Alliance Against Displacement said homelessness is at record levels across Canada and the protesters are calling on the federal government to build 77,000 units of social housing every year.

READ MORE: Feds being asked to rethink how Canada counts, tracks homeless

He spoke into a microphone in front of Duclos.

“How much money are you giving to social housing?” said Drury. “The Liberals aren’t building any social housing. It’s a lie.”

Duclos said the federal government is spending $2.3 billion on housing over the next two years, which includes social, transition, shelter, market and homeless housing.

He complimented the protesters for their passion and energy before walking away amid the chants.

The protest coincided with a B.C. Supreme Court hearing Tuesday to shut down a homeless camp at Victoria’s courthouse though a judge has reserved his decision.

Patrik Laine to miss Winnipeg Jets Development Camp

WINNIPEG —; The Winnipeg Jets unveiled the roster for next week’s Development Camp and one notable name was missing.

The Jets recent second overall draft pick Patrik Laine will not take part in any of the on-ice activities after undergoing what the Jets called “minor surgery on his knee” earlier this month following the NHL Combine.

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RELATED: Winnipeg Jets extend qualifying offers to 8 players including Scheifele, Trouba

34 players will suit up for the five-day camp. St. Adolphe’s Austin Lotz is one of five goalies who will attend. First round draft pick Logan Stanley will be there, as will third and fourth round picks Luke Green and Jacob Cederholm. In addition to Laine, recent sixth round draft pick Mikhail Berdin is also not on the roster.

U.S. College sensation Kyle Connor will skate after signing with the Jets at the conclusion of his season. Axel Blomqvist, Brendan Lemieux, Michael Spacek, Jack Roslovic, Jiri Fronk and Jimmy Lodge are also among the 18 forwards who will attend.

RELATED: ‘He’s going to be a special player’ Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele on new teammate Patrik Laine

The roster is broken into two different groups. Camp opens on July 3 and includes an intrasquad game on Tuesday, July 5 at 6:00pm at the MTS Iceplex. Tickets for the game will cost $10.

2016 Winnipeg Jets Development Camp Schedule (MTS Iceplex)

Sunday, July 3 – Group B 1:15pm – Group A 2:30pm

Monday, July 4 – Group A & B – 9:45am

Tuesday, July 5 – Intrasquad Game 6:00pm

Wednesday, July 6 – Group B 10:15am – Group A 11:30am

Thursday, July 7 – Group A & B – 10:30am

Development Camp Roster

GOALTENDERS: (Group A) Eric Brassard, Brett Magnus; (Group B) Nick Kassoff, Austin Lotz, Olivier Mantha

DEFENCEMEN: (A) Jack Glover, Jan Kostalek, Alec McCrea, Tucker Poolman, Corey Schueneman, Logan Stanley; (B) Jacob Cederholm, Luke Green, Sami Niku, Nelson Nogier, Justin Woods

FORWARDS: (A) Mason Appleton, Axel Blomqvist, Kyle Connor, Matteo Gennaro, Jansen Harkins, Brendan Lemieux, Michael Spacek, Jordy Stallard; (B) Jack Roslovic, Scott Davidson, Erik Foley, C.J. Franklin, Jiri Fronk, Jimmy Lodge, Tom Marchin, Jacob Pritchard, Louie Rowe, Matt Ustaski

Your Saskatchewan – Regina: June 2016

Every day on Global Regina at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., we feature a viewer submitted photo for Your Saskatchewan.

Submit your photo with a description and location via Facebook, 桑拿会所 or by email to [email protected]长沙夜网.

Photos should be added to the email as an attachment, in jpeg format and at least 920 pixels wide.

June 1: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Tami Dirks.

June 2: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Stephanie Styles.

June 3: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken of a red-winged blackbird by Paul Godfrey.

Paul Godfrey/ Your Saskatchewan

June 6: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken of a Clydesdale horse by Kayla Weber out in Waldheim, Sask.

June 7: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken at Patuanak, Sask. by Anton Larivière.

June 8: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken near Balgonie, Sask. by Kayla Brennan.

June 9: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Derek Sylvestre at Lac La Loche, Sask.

June 10: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Stacey Dupuis at Estevan, Sask.

June 13: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Joy Flaman of a Blue Heron at Moosomin Lake, Sask.

June 14: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Josh Kowerchuk in Maidstone, Sask.

June 15: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Rhyland Cottingham.

June 16: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Marissa Alarcon of Cochin, Sask.

June 17: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken near Regina by Grant Sloan.

June 20: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken near Bethune, Sask. by Tara Langlois.

June 21: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Pearl LaRiviere.

June 23: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by our videographer, Dave Parsons in Regina, Sask.

June 24th: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken near Lillestrom, Sask. by Juan Cardama.

June 27: This Your Saskatchewan photo of a moose cooling off was taken by Kirsten Morin.

June 28: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken at Echo Lake, Sask. by Larry Hubich.

June 30: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken near Bethune, Sask. by John McKay.

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Canadian cattle industry says Mexico lifting ban is ‘satisfying’

Mexico’s lifting of a more than decade-long ban on some cattle imports will mean a big boost to Canadian exports, said the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

“When we get our production levels back up to where they used to be, we can be doing $250 million a year or more into the Mexican market, no problem,” said John Masswohl, director of government and international relations at the association.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Ban on Canadian beef lifted by South Korea

  • Alberta beef producers concerned as more countries restrict Canadian beef imports due to BSE

  • More countries restrict Canadian beef imports due to BSE

    Mexico imposed a ban on Canadian beef imports in 2003 over fears of mad cow disease, and while some restrictions were lifted within a year, a ban on cattle over 30 months old is still in place.

    In the two years before the ban, Canada exported around $270 million to $290 million of beef to Mexico, with cattle over 30 months of age making up close to a quarter of the total.

    Meanwhile, Canadian beef exports to Mexico averaged $136 million annually between 2011 and 2015.

    Masswohl said Tuesday’s announcement that the Mexican government would lift the ban on Oct. 1 will mean Canada’s exports to the country can rebound.

    He said it also ends one of the few remaining global trade restrictions related to mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

    “It’s satisfying that something that you’ve worked on for years and years to finally be achieved,” said Masswohl. “We’ve been trying to get rid of all the BSE trade restrictions in all the markets, and it’s getting down to be a pretty short list of what’s left now.”

    He said Taiwan and China are the remaining holdouts, though China does allow some younger boneless beef imports.

Sud-Ouest borough to spend $25,000 on effort to clean up dog poop

MONTREAL – Man’s best friend can make for a smelly companion, that’s why the Sud-Ouest borough is spearheading a campaign to get dog owners to clean up after their pets.

“We think it’s really important that you pick up after your dog,” said councillor Craig Sauvé.

“That’s something a lot of citizens do complain about.”

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Sauvé and borough mayor Benoit Dorais are leading the local effort; Montreal kicked off its “Cleanliness is a matter of pride” campaign last year.

This year, they are targeting dog poop.

The city will distribute 2,500 pink bags as a reminder to residents to clean their dog’s poop.

They’re also ramping up their presence by sending inspectors to remind people to clean up.

“We also have a dog educator and she is a professional with dog owners,” said Sauvé.

“[She is] trying to help them have better behaviour towards their dogs and get better results from their dogs too.”

The initiative has a price tag.

“It’s around $25,000 for the publicity, for the bags, for the specialist and also for the publicity on our trucks,” said Dorais.

The city says each box of 60 bags costs $4, and 2,500 will be distributed to dog owners in the Sud-Ouest borough, in dog parks and city offices.

Geneviève Charette, a recent dog owner and a resident of Saint-Henri for the last 10 years, thinks the price tag is too high.

“It’s a lot of money,” said Charette.

“I didn’t think it would be that much money just to take some poo. I think it’s our responsibility, the owner, to take care of that.”

The city insists it’s money well spent.

“We’re putting an investment, for sure,” said Sauvé.

“It’s not a huge investment, but it’s an investment that is very significant. It’s something that’s never been done in Montreal before.”

Residents Dominic Norman agrees.

“I think it can be a good idea, if it’s done well,” said Norman.

“Sometime you can forget to bring a bag or maybe your dog has to go twice in a row so it’s useful. It’s like having garbage bins in the parks.”

How efficient the campaign is going to be remains to be seen.

The city agreed most dog owners are respectful, it’s really just a few that are neglectful.

“It’s about civic pride,” said Sauvé.

“I think people in the neighbourhood, they’re disturbed when they see dog droppings all over the streets. Sometimes it’s one or two owners on the street that are less respectful of their neighbours.”

‘I don’t know how anyone survived’: 3 missing, 1 injured in Texas train collision

DALLAS — Three crew members were missing and one was hurt Tuesday after a head-on train collision in the Texas Panhandle that caused several box cars to erupt in flames and led authorities to evacuate residents in the area.

The two BNSF Railway freight trains were on the same track when they collided near the town of Panhandle, about 25 miles northeast of Amarillo. Each train carried two crew members; one man jumped before the collision, according to BNSF spokesman Joe Faust. The man was being treated at a hospital and the extent of his injuries was unknown.

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It’s not clear how fast the trains were traveling when they collided, but the speed limit in that area is 70 mph, Faust said. It also wasn’t clear why the trains were on the same track. The rail cars were holding a variety of consumer goods, Faust said.

“I don’t know how anyone survived,” said Billy Brown, a farmer in the area who saw a fireball after the collision. “It’s terrible. I’ve seen a number of train wrecks but I’ve never seen one like this.”

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said the NTSB has opened an investigation, and the Federal Railroad Administration said it has investigators on site.

Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Bryan Witt said few other details were available because emergency responders were still assessing the damage. DPS Sgt. Dan Buesing said the fire was still burning Tuesday afternoon.

BNSF has pledged to meet a 2018 federal deadline to adopt technology, called positive train control or PTC, that relies on GPS, wireless radio and computers to monitor train positions and automatically slow or stop trains that are in danger of colliding, derailing due to excessive speed or about to enter track where crews are working or that is otherwise off limits. At least three freight railroads have said they’ll need an extension to 2020.

Faust said in a statement i later Tuesday that the West Texas collision is the type of accident PTC can prevent and that BNSF is “aggressively” pursuing it “across our network.”

“While sections of the track operated by the eastbound train involved in this accident have PTC installed and are being tested, the section of track where the incident occurred will be installed later this year,” he said in the statement.

It’s not unusual to have an accident in the Panhandle involving a truck that’s struck by a freight train, Buesing said, but the magnitude of Tuesday’s accident was startling.

Officials in Panhandle ordered an evacuation of some nearby areas out of concern the flames would cause a fast-moving grass fire, the Amarillo Globe-News reported, but Buesing said that residents later returned to their homes and were told to shelter in place and monitor wind conditions. Officials also asked residents to curtail water use because the water supply is being depleted by firefighters at the scene, according to KVII-TV in Amarillo.

Tuesday’s accident is at least the second in recent years involving BNSF trains striking one another. In September 2013, three were involved in a wreck near Amarillo that injured five crew members, according to an NTSB report. The federal agency in that incident faulted the crew in one train for improperly proceeding past a signal and striking the rear of a stationary train, and cars that derailed were then struck by a train passing in the opposite direction.

Kids were healthy before residential schools: study

SASKATOON – A study suggests indigenous children from Saskatchewan and Manitoba were healthy when they were sent to residential schools, but the malnutrition they suffered while there set the stage for health problems plaguing First Nations today.

Paul Hackett, a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan, said he and two colleagues analyzed the body mass index figures of more than 1,700 children entering the schools between 1919 and the 1950s. The children’s records, which are public, were meticulously kept on microfilm.

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They detailed the weight, height and sex of youngsters sent to a residential school in Brandon, Man., and to two others in Saskatchewan.

The team found 80 per cent of the children were at a healthy weight, better than the Canadian average today.

READ MORE: New Heritage Minute highlights shame of Canada’s residential schools

“All that suggests they were healthy, on the whole,” Hackett said Tuesday. “That was somewhat surprising to me largely because of the thought that the Great Depression would have had some impact on health, that access to food might have been less.

“But they were coming out of their communities quite healthy, indeed much healthier than we see today.”

The analysis, published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, suggests the residential school experience is directly linked to health problems such as obesity and diabetes, which disproportionately affect indigenous people today, Hackett said.

Previous work by one of the researchers suggests diabetes was unknown among indigenous people before 1937.

“There are many, many different factors, but certainly residential schools are certainly right up there as being one of the main factors in that loss of traditional food and loss of health,” Hackett said.

“If there is a nutritional problem, it’s probably coming out of the residential schools experience.”

READ MORE: Residential schools subjected students to disease, abuse, experiments: TRC report

About 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were taken from their families and forced to attend government schools. The last school closed outside Regina in 1996.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimated at least 6,000 children died in the schools. The commission’s final report said they were poorly heated, poorly ventilated and “the diet was meagre and of poor quality.”

Murray Sinclair, who led the commission, said the schools were so poorly funded that they couldn’t afford to properly feed the children.

“We heard stories … that children were being fed rancid meat, being fed poorly prepared foods and generally unhealthy foods,” he said.

It was in stark contrast to their lives before they were taken from their parents, he said.

“Survivors told us they felt loved. They felt well taken care of. They felt well nourished,” Sinclair said. “It was at the schools that they began to feel the harshness of starvation.”

It left an indelible mark which was passed on through generations, he said.

READ MORE: Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report details atrocities of residential schools

Some hoarded food, a practice that they carried into adulthood, Sinclair said. Others used food to punish their own children, repeating their own experience as kids.

The federal government knew nutrition was an issue, he said. Experiments with vitamins and enriched flour divided children at one school into two groups — one received vitamin, iron and iodine supplements and the other didn’t.

The children who got the supplements saw their health improve, but the government wasn’t interested in expanding the benefit to all, Sinclair said.

“It started the cycle of poor nutrition and poor eating practice and poor food purchasing practices very early on,” he said.

“It maintained that for many generations and still continues today.”

Explosion destroys home in Mississauga; 1 person dead, 25 houses damaged

One person was killed and several others injured in a massive explosion in Mississauga that completely destroyed one home and left 25 others damaged Tuesday afternoon.

Peel Regional police, firefighters and paramedics responded to the call of a house explosion at 4:20 p.m. on Hickory Drive near Willowbank Trail, in the Dixie Road and Rathburn Road East area.

UPDATE: Some evacuees allowed to return home a day after house explosion in Mississauga

Toronto Emergency Services told Global News one person was killed in the explosion, but they could not provide details on the person’s age, name or gender.

Peel Police confirm fatality in massive home explosion in Mississauga


Peel Police confirm fatality in massive home explosion in Mississauga


Enbridge working on natural gas leak in area of home explosion: Mississauga Fire Chief


Mayor of Mississauga says displaced residents should go to Burnhamthorpe Community Centre


Gas and live wires a concern as crews work to stabilize scene at Mississauga house explosion


Mississauga’s Fire Chief outlines extent of damage after house explosion


“It was a disaster”: bystander says after witnessing home exploding in Mississauga


Mississauga neighbourhood littered with debris after house explodes


Aftermath of Mississauga home obliterated after explosion

ChangSha Night Net

Tim Beckett, fire chief for the City of Mississauga, said the damage to neighbouring houses ranged from very light to extreme and there had been several injuries reported.

“Crews are working on stabilizing the scene … it is far too early to speculate what the cause is,” he told reporters at the scene, adding that emergency crews were working to evacuate people in the area and relocate residents.

“We are still in the stabilization mode. We have police, we have paramedics and we have fire on the scene that are dealing with the issue in the hot zone.”

A spokeswoman for the City of Mississauga said first responders continued to investigate the area Tuesday night, adding that 25 homes had been damaged in the blast. Utilities in the area had also been shut off as a precaution for emergency crews and residents.

“We have a large debris field in the area. We totally lost one home so you can imagine … Right now our focus is on stabilizing the scene,” Beckett said, adding that live wires and gas in the area were initially preventing emergency crews from accessing the site.

“So until we can get that taken care of, we are unable to access. We have to stabilize the buildings. There is a safety aspect for our crews and the other crews who are operating as well.”

Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette

Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Zeljko Zidaric

A firefighter walks on the scene of a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Mark Blinch


A firefighter walks on the scene of a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016.


A fire fighter sprays water on debris after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Mark Blinch


A fire fighter sprays water on debris after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Mark Blinch


A fire fighter sprays water on debris after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Mark Blinch

Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette

Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette

Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette


Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette

Beckett said there were 50 firefighter staff at the site of the explosion, while paramedics had six units with 12 to 15 people on scene and there were an unknown number of police investigating.

City spokeswoman Lindsay Litzenberger said in a statement that a reception centre had also been set up for those affected at Burnhamthorpe Community Centre at 1500 Gulleden Dr.

Peel paramedics told Global News one person was found by firefighters at the scene without vital signs shortly after the explosion and a triage had been set up nearby to treat any other victims.

Emergency crews said there are several people being assessed at the scene for minor injuries, while door-to-door searches are also being conducted.

Limited information is available and police said they have no word yet on the cause of the explosion or the specific number of injuries.

Hickory Drive has been closed for the investigation and police have set up a large perimeter around the blast zone and are asking people to avoid the area.

With files from Jeremy Cohn and Erica Vella

Therapeutic horseback riding organization Opening Gaits seeks new home

A Calgary-based therapeutic riding organization that means so much to so many is looking for a new home.

Opening Gaits first opened its doors in 1998 and gives those with disabilities the chance to ride a horse, which brings many mental and physical benefits.

READ MORE: Equine therapy a growing trend in treating mental health issues 

ChangSha Night Net


  • Alberta man and horse reunited 3 years later at therapy centre

  • Calgary’s ‘Enable’ website connects people with disabilities to caregivers

  • How horses are being used to help veterans deal with PTSD

    After operating at the same barn for almost 16 years, Opening Gaits can no longer stay there. It is desperately trying to find a new location for its program.

    “Unfortunately, we don’t fit into their mold and we were asked to leave,” Leona Messer, president of Opening Gaits, said. “It is bittersweet.”

    One of the many benefits of horseback riding is that the motion of the horse mimics a human walking. Even if a rider is wheelchair-bound or unable to walk, their body still can go through the motions of walking. This is beneficial because it engages the body in a way that would not otherwise be possible and helps to build core strength.

    “The way a horse moves mimics our pelvis,” riding instructor Joy Jenson said. “It moves you like you’re walking, without needing to use that drive.”

    Opening Gaits has a group of volunteers that comes out week after week to help in any way they can. This usually includes helping riders get on the horses, leading the horses and walking beside the rider to make sure they keep their balance and do not fall.

    The riders look forward to the days they get to go to Opening Gaits. Many of them also have a profound impact on the instructors.

    “It’s a very humbling experience,” Jenson said. “I tell people that I get to see miracles every day.”

    Opening Gaits is mostly funded by donors, which is how they are able to subsidize their riders. Their horses are borrowed and they do pay for board.

    Currently, all of Opening Gaits’ equipment is in storage and the horses have all been returned to their owners. Those who run the organization are hopeful they will be able to find a new home but they fully comprehend the consequences of not being able to find one.

    READ MORE: Equine therapy program for veterans hoping for government funding 

    “Is there a possibility that we won’t find it [a new facility]?” Messer asked. “Absolutely. That part is hard to swallow.”

    The group is really hoping to find a new location to operate out of by September, as it is not operational in the summer.

    Sheila Wilmot, whose daughter Maggie rides with Opening Gaits, is also hopeful a new facility will be found.

    “It’s a freedom for some of our riders in [and out of] wheelchairs. Maggie is non-verbal. The smile comes through her eyes.”

    If you think you might be able to help, or want more information about Opening Gaits, check out its website here.

    Maggie, a client of Opening Gaits rides Fleck and is watched closely by her two side-walkers.

    Kelsey Ferrill | Global News