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Toronto Family Sue Neighbors for Copying the Look of Their House

A family in Forest Hill, Toronto, has taken their neighbors to court for copying the design of their multi-million dollar house when renovating their property, thus decreasing the value of their own home. They are asking for $2.5 million in damages.

It turns out you can’t just copy design elements of a house you like without suffering the consequences. Barbara Ann and Eric Kirshenblatt learned that the hard way three years ago, when they were taken to court by their neighbors, Jason and Jodi Chapnick, whose home they had allegedly used as inspiration when renovating their own property. The Chapnicks claimed that the defendants had fixed up their house to look “strikingly similar” to theirs, including using matching stonework the same shade of blue. They were asking for $1.5 million in damages, $20,000 in statutory copyright damages, $1 million in punitive damages, and for the defendants to change the look of their house.

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Woman Loses Engagement Ring on Her Farm, Finds It 13 Years Later, Wrapped Around a Carrot

It was September of 2004, when Mary Grams, of Alberta, Canada, lost her diamond-encrusted engagement ring, while working on her family farm. She spent days looking for it, but to no avail. Last week, nearly 13 years later, her daughter in law plucked a weird-looking carrot from the garden, with a diamond ring tightly wrapped around it.

“I went to the garden for something and I saw this long weed. For some reason, I picked it up and it must have caught on something and pulled [the ring] off,” 84-year-old Mary Grams recalls about the day she lost her engagement ring, in 2004. She had worn it on her finger since 1951, a year before she married her husband, Norman. “We looked high and low on our hands and knees. We couldn’t find it. I thought for sure either they rototilled it or something happened to it.”

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Someone Is Meticulously Shaving Kittens and Selling Them as Hairless Sphynx

A number of people looking to buy hairless Sphynx cats for cheap fell victim to a scammer who meticulously shaves regular kittens to make them look exactly like the exotic breed.

Genuine Sphynx cats usually sell for $1,000 or more, so when Shayla Bastarache, from Alberta, Canada, saw an ad for a Sphynx kitten for just $650, last month, she thought it was too good a deal to pass up. There was no photo attached to the ad, but the price was so enticing that she agreed to meet the seller in a gas station parking lot an hour north of Calgary, at night. She handed him the money and received two hairless kittens, one for herself and one for a friend. Bastarache says she only realized that she had been scammed two weeks later, when both felines grew a thick coat and were revealed to be regular house cats. The cat lover, who owns two genuine Sphynx cats – for one of which she had paid $1,500 – said she was amazed by how thoroughly the animals had been shaved. “I don’t know how she did it,” Bastarche told reporters.

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Canadian Buddhist Monks Buy 600 Pounds of Lobsters from Restaurants, Release Them into the Ocean

A group of Buddhist monks from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, on Prince Edward Island, recently bought around 600 pounds of live lobsters from various restaurants and released them into the ocean.

600 pounds of lucky lobsters were spared the boiling cooking pot last Saturday when Buddhist monks in Little Sands bought as many of them as they could find around Prince Edward island with the purpose of setting them free. Enlightened Dan, of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, said the purpose of this unique mission was not to challenge people’s dietary options, but merely to send a message of compassion. “We respect everyone’s dietary choice, so we’re not doing this to convert everybody to be vegetarians or vegans,” he said. This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others. It doesn’t have to be lobsters, it can be worms, flies, any animals, drive slower so we don’t run over little critters on the street.”

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Isolated Town Is Desperate to Find a Hairdresser after Years of Cutting Their Own Hair

Fed up of DIY haircuts, the residents of Norman Wells, an isolated town in northern Canada, are desperately looking for a professional hairdresser. They’ve been cutting their own hair for the past two years and frankly, they’ve had enough of it.

Located near the southern edge of the Arctic Circle, with a population of about 800 people, Norman Wells has always been a small community with more pressing small-town problems. Food products need to be flown in, prices are higher, and sometimes the residents need to go without supplies because the planes don’t come in.

But they never realised that something like the lack of professional hairdressing could be a nightmare until their hairstylist moved out due to the lack of housing in town. “It’s been a long struggle for us,” Nicky Richards, the town’s economic development officer in charge of the hairdresser recruitment effort, told The Guardian. “We just don’t have anyone. It’s something that people down south don’t ever think about because they don’t have to worry about it.”

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Scientist Volunteers as All-You-Can-Eat Buffet for Bedbugs in the Name of Science

In a bid to find a remedy for bedbugs, Canadian scientist Regine Gries has spent nearly a decade studying the parasitic creatures. In fact, she is so dedicated to the project that she actually allows thousands of hungry bedbugs feast off her own blood! Thankfully, her efforts have paid off – she and her husband Gerhard have perfected a chemical that is capable of luring bedbugs away from mattresses.

Regine and Gerhard are both biologists at Simon Fraser University, just outside of Vancouver, in British Columbia. Their lab features a Plexiglass-walled colony with about 5,000 bedbug residents. The bugs live inside glass jars – about 200 to a jar – each covered with a fine mesh that’s held in place using rubber bands. And once a month for the past nine years, Regine has rolled up her sleeves, inverted the jars on to her arms, and allowed the bedbugs to reach through the mesh to bite into her skin!

Regine-Gries-bedbugs

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Couple Rent Out Their Home on Airbnb for a Weekend, Find It Completely Trashed after Monster Party

When this young Canadian couple got the chance to make a few extra dollars by renting out their three-bedroom home on Airbnb, they took it immediately. Little did they know that two days later, they would find their beautiful home wrecked beyond imagination.

Mark and Star King bought their house in 2010, in Calgary’s fashionable Sage Hill, for a little over US $300,000 and lived in it with their two sons – five-year-old Vincent and one-year-old Oliver. When a local man offered them about $650 to have the house for a weekend, the Kings, being mortgage-payers, couldn’t refuse. The man told the Kings that he needed the house to accommodate four of his relatives who were in town for a wedding. He was well-dressed, well-mannered, and told them, “You have a beautiful home. God bless you.”

“We use Airbnb when we travel, we love it, it’s a great website, vacation rental by owner type website and my parents are out of town so we were going to go and stay at their house and we get an offer to rent out our house for three days for a family coming for a wedding, it’s going to be four older adults, go through the house rules, they shook my hand,” Mark said.

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Canadian Hot Springs Resort Holds Awesome Hair Freezing Contest

Canada’s Yukon territory is well-known for its wide range of cultural and sporting events that attract tourists from all over the world. Perhaps the most bizarre of these events is the International Hair Freezing contest, held at Takhini Hot Springs every year, in February. As the name suggests, the contest has people enter the springs and just wait for the cold air to freeze their wet hair!

In order to win the $150 prize, all contestants need to do is sink their heads in the hot springs that are at 40 C, and then wait  for the freezing outside air to fix their crazy hairdos in place. At temperatures of under -30 C, hair can freeze in under 60 seconds, creating a stunning effect.

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World’s Largest Snake Gathering Turns Canadian Wilds into a Slithering Sea

Every spring, the Canadian wilds of Manitoba become a sea of nightmarish writhing snakes. A tangled mass of thousands of red-sided garter snakes come together in what is considered the largest snake-gathering in the world. After spending the long winter months in hibernation, they all come out for a bit of a breather, to frolic in the sun and perform their mating rituals.

The fascinating event takes place at the Narcisse Snake Dens, a few kilometers north of Narcisse, in Manitoba province. What makes Narcisse the ultimate rock-concert equivalent of the snake world? Well, the answer to that question dates back to the Paleozoic era, when the area of Manitoba was covered by an ancient ocean. The water doesn’t exist anymore, but the ocean bed still does – layer upon layer of thick limestone rock covers the region, with thousands of natural crevices, tunnels and caves. Rainwater seeps through these cracks and when the rock gives way near the surface, the resulting collapse forms a sinkhole.

The cold-blooded snakes happen to love these sinkholes, which are perfect for hibernation during the harsh Canadian winter with temperatures reaching 50 degrees below zero. So they migrate from far and wide and settle into the sinkholes, putting a good distance between themselves and the frost line. Because there’s a limited number of sinkholes, also known as den sites, all the snakes in an area have to go to the nearest den site. So there are literally tens of thousands of snakes crowded into just one sinkhole the size of the average living room.

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No Internet, No Cable, No Problem – Canadian Family Lives Like It’s 1986

Most people couldn’t imagine a day without their fancy smartphones, but a family in Guelph, Canada has decided to shun all post-1986 technology from their lives for a whole year, as part of a social experiment.

It all started last year when Blair McMillan asked his five-year old son if he wanted to come outside and play, only to realize that even on a perfect summer day the child preferred to stay indoors and play video games on an iPad. He started thinking about his own childhood and how today’s youth have become so dependent on modern technology like computers, mobile phones and the internet. The 26-year-old father-of-two talked to teens and young people in their 20’s, most of which confessed they couldn’t even picture their lives without all their different gadgets, and began questioning contemporary public service announcements that encourage parents to get their kids active outdoors for at least 30 minutes a day. He remembered that when he was a child, it was nearly impossible to keep kids siting quietly indoors for half an hour. And that’s when it hit him – what if he could go back in time and give his own children a taste of how life was back then? Since April, the McMillans have given up all modern-day technology, and went back to living in 1986 (the year Blair and his wife were born) with its bad hair, cassette tapes and most importantly, real social interaction.

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Meet the Guy Who Built a Train in His Basement

Canadian Jason Schron loves VIA trains so much that he actually spent four and a half years and $10,000 building his own genuine replica of a 1980s VIA train cart, accurate down to the tiniest details, right in the basement of his home, in Vaughan, Ontario.

“The train is where I feel most at home,” Schron says. It’s where I feel most at peace. Especially when it’s hurtling along at 85mph with the snow and rain pelting down outside – it’s the perfect place to be.” But since he could’t really ask his family to live in a real train, he settled for the next best thing – building his own VIA train cart replica in the basement of their house.  “I’ve always wanted to have a VIA train in my basement since I was a kid,” the Canadian rail-geek admits, so when it was time for him and his wife to buy a house. he would always say no if the place didn’t have a basement big enough to accommodate his dream replica. And after they found a suitable space, he dedicated around 2,500 hours over the course of four and a half years to getting every detail of the 1980s VIA cart just right. Making it look authentic was as difficult as you can imagine, and Jason says he had to scrap everything and start over three times, but it was all worth it for the model train company owner. Now he’s known as the “the guy with the train in his basement” and he even posted a video on YouTube showcasing his impressive replica.

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Chivalry Is Alive and Riding a Horse through Canada

In a time when man has so many communication tools at his disposal, it seems odd that someone would use a horse to get their message across to the world. But that’s exactly what Vincent Gabriel Kirouac did to promote chivalry and polite manners in Canada.

It’s not every day that you get to see a man in full knight regalia, riding a horse through the busy streets of Canadian cities like Ottawa, but that’s just what Vincent Kirouac has been doing during the last few months. “I’m crossing Canada on horseback dressed as a knight, to remind people of the values of long ago, such as devotion,” he told the National Post. And believe it or not, his unique strategy seems to be working as he manages to steal smiles from people everywhere he goes and even some friendly invitations from total strangers. “You ask for the hospitality and they say ‘yes’ all the time,” he told CBC.

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Canada Makes World’s Largest Ice-Cream Cake

Yesterday, Canadian company Dairy Queen has set a new world record by making the world’s largest ice-cream cake in Yonge and Dundas Square, Toronto.

It took 100 people over a year to plan the event, but after 30 years and 52 million ice-cream cakes sold, this was the perfect way to celebrate, according to Denise Hutton, vice-president of marketing at Dairy Queen Canada. Dozens of chefs worked around the clock using over 9,000 kg of ice-cream, 91 kg of sponge cake, around 136 kg of icing and Oreo crumbles, to beat the former world record, a nearly 8,000 kg ice-cream cake made by China, in 2006.

After the cake was completed and acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records, pieces of it were served to the crowd gathered in Yonge and Dundas Square, with 100% of suggested donations going to Children’s Miracle Network. “When else can eating ice cream cake help to fund medical care, research and educational programs so that Canadian kids have access to world-class care? It’s the best of all worlds – a delicious treat and a great cause.” said the charity’s Paul Lethbridge.

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Canada’s Goldstream River Turns Green for the Holidays

The winter holidays are now behind us, but it seems I missed one of the biggest pranks of 2010 – the green river of Goldstream Park.

It happened on December 29, 2010, in Victoria’s peaceful Goldstream Park. The waters of the river suddenly became neon green, and everyone passing by it rubbed their eyes to make sure what they were seeing wasn’t just an illusion. It was very real, but was it that made Goldstream River look so alien-like? After an hour or so, the fluorescent coloring vanished, but the questions about the bizarre phenomenon remained unanswered.

After analyzing the neon-green water, the local Environment Ministry said it was the result of a chemical called “fluorescein”. Neither the substance itself nor its products of degradation are toxic, and experts believe that fish and their habitat were not affected, judging by the concentration and flow rate of the river.

Authorities haven’t yet identified the culprits, but believed the dumping of fluorescein in the Goldstream River was just a holiday season prank.

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World’s Largest Collection of Santa Claus Memorabilia

Canadian Jean Guy Laquerre , a 74-year-old former geography teacher, is the proud owner of the World’s Largest Collection of Santa Claus Memorabilia.

Laquerre became addicted to Santa Claus memorabilia after his aunt gifted him with a beautiful 20th century papier-mache Santa Claus figure, over two decades ago. “It awakened the child in me” he says, but his fascination for Santa soon turned into an uncontrollable obsession. This “Santaphilia”, as he calls it, started back in 1988, and in the next 22 years he managed to put together an impressive collection numbering 25,139 items.

Laquerre confesses it is hard for him to restrain from buying more Santa stuff, “I can’t stop myself entirely, but I do restrain my urges. I surprise myself when I go into a store and I don’t buy any new ones…it’s because I just don’t have any more room for more figurines.” They are everywhere…and in every form imaginable, from jolly-dancing Santas to table-cloths, cushions, blankets, albums, and even a toilet-seat cover.

Although his name was listed in the Guinness Book of records in 2009, he broke the record in 2004 with this impressive collection.  “A Texas woman held the record for 30 years.  She had 1,039 items. It was time that I came along and broke the record.”

It is clear that he is very fond not only of his entire collection, but of every piece in particular as he is very meticulous in arranging and classifying them, every year. He is very hopeful that one day this will all be displayed in a museum, although his home on Christmas can already be perceived as a private Santa Claus museum.

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