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5 dos and don’ts of tax-free savings accounts – National

TORONTO – Tax-free savings accounts: A great way to pay less tax on your savings, but also a program that more than 50,000 Canadians are doing wrong.

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That’s how many people the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) warned earlier this year that they’re facing a one per cent tax penalty on over-contributions–depositing more money in a tax-free account than they’re legally allowed. Many of those people were likely under the impression they were following the rules.

Read below for the dos and don’ts of TFSAs, and some examples of how to calculate what you’re allowed to put in and take out.

1. Don’t go over the maximum contribution amount

This is the maximum you’re allowed to contribute to a tax-free savings account since they were launched in 2009. It applies to people who were at least 18 years old that year.

2009$5,0002010$5,0002011$5,0002012$5,0002013$5,5002014$5,500

So if you don’t yet have a TFSA and you were born before 1992, you can contribute a total of $31,000.

If you’re at the maximum total contribution amount and you go over the allotted amount per year, the CRA will impose a tax of one per cent per month for each month (or part of a month) that the excess money is in the account. You’ll keep getting taxed until you withdraw the excess amount, or if it’s absorbed by extra contribution room in later years.

See examples from the CRA of tax payable on excess TFSA amounts

2. Do keep track of your contribution room each year

Keep track of your how much contribution room you have through the financial institution holding the TFSA – it will report your contributions and withdrawals.

3. Don’t go over the total contribution allowance if you open more than one TFSA

You are allowed to open more than one TFSA, but the total contributions to all accounts is the same as it would be if you only had one account  (i.e. $31,000 if you’ve reached the maximum amount each year up to 2014).

4. Do fill out the proper tax forms if you go over the maximum

For any year you need to pay the one per cent tax because of an excess TFSA amount, you must complete and file two forms by June 30 of the year following the calendar year in which the tax arose.

Those papers are Form RC243, Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) Return, and Form RC243-SCH-A, Schedule A -Excess TFSA Amounts.

5. Don’t replace TFSA contributions that you’ve withdrawn until the next calendar year

This is where many people get confused.

Withdrawals from your TFSA don’t reduce the total amount of contributions you’ve already made for the year—so think of that $5,500 per year (as of 2013) as the total amount you can put in for the calendar year, no matter what you take out.

So if in January 2014, you have a TFSA with the maximum total contribution of $31,000, and you decide to withdraw $6,000 in June 2014, you have to wait until at least January 1, 2015 to replace the $6,000. If you do it before then, you will be taxed one per cent by the CRA until you withdraw that extra cash.

See the CRA’s examples of making and replacing withdrawals here

One Ottawa fire hydrant has made the city more than $65k since 2008 – Toronto

OTTAWA – There’s a fire hydrant in the national capital that spouts cash.

Tucked away on a side street of Ottawa’s Little Italy neighbourhood is a hydrant that’s responsible for more parking fines than any other in the city.

The little yellow fireplug on Beech St. between Preston St. and Rochester St. has netted the city more than $65,000 since 2008.

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A Canadian Press analysis of Ottawa’s parking-ticket data, obtained through a freedom-of-information request, found that the Beech St. hydrant is the city’s biggest money maker. More than 1,100 tickets have been handed out at that spot.

So why is this one hydrant such a cash cow for the city?

A couple of bylaw officers out on a recent patrol think it’s because the white lines painted on the road on either side of the hydrant make it look like a parking space when it isn’t. The lines are actually there to show people where they can’t park.

READ MORE: Illegal parking next to Toronto fire hydrants a cash cow for the city

The bylaw officers, who didn’t want to give their names because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, say there’s almost always someone parked in front of the hydrant, even when the rest of the street is completely empty.

Sure enough, during a recent noon visit, a car was parked there.

There are actually two hydrants on this stretch of road, but the bylaw officers were positive the one midway between Preston and Rochester streets is to blame for all the parking tickets.

It’s in a prime location, just steps away from Little Italy’s main thoroughfare with all its busy shops, restaurants and pubs.

The spot’s proximity to a paid parking lot also makes it an attractive option to drivers who would prefer to park on the street, where it’s pay-and-display.

No one from the city was available for an interview.

©2014The Canadian Press

5 revelations from rocker Courtney Love

TORONTO — Rocker Courtney Love, who was married to Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain when he died in 1994, has admitted she lost about $27 million in “Nirvana money.”

In an interview with The Sunday Times, the 50-year-old singer said she’s not bothered by the financial blow.

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“I know that’s a lifetime of money to most people, but I’m a big girl, it’s rock ‘n’ roll,” she said. “It’s Nirvana money. I had to let it go. I make enough to live on. I focus on what I make now.”

Love also said she got control of her finances thanks to cocaine.

“I had to run very fast to look after my money and I felt cocaine helped me do that,” she said. “So I started taking cocaine and that turned into nine months of crack.”

Here are five more fascinating statements and revelations Love made in the Sunday Times interview:

She plans to have plastic surgery

“When my looks are shot — which I reckon will be in about six years — I’ll have plastic surgery here on my chin, and they can pull my cheeks back,” said Love. “But I’m not ready for that. And because of the smoking, the mouth is starting to give.”

She — not her daughter — controls the Nirvana music catalogue

Love dismissed as “absolute nonsense” reports that 21-year-old Frances (her daughter with Cobain) controls the catalogue. “When she’s 40, she becomes a member of the board and she has a vote, but not now.” Love also said she has turned down a lot of requests to use Nirvana songs. “I’ve protected it from everything from KFC commercials to movies about board games,” she said. “We’ve been offered $6 million for 18 seconds of one Nirvana song.”

She went along with a three-day stint at a psychiatric facility because she wanted to smoke.

“I wanted a cigarette so bad I just kept saying, ‘Yes sir, no sir,’ so they had to let me out,” recalled Love. “My friend was waiting for me with an ambulance and a carton of cigarettes. Oh, that first hit was so wonderful!”

Using Adderall gets her in trouble; having a martini calms her down

“It’s a very potent speed drug. It makes me crazy,” Love said. “It makes me write long, unintelligible emails and get on 桑拿会所 and say something nasty and then I get sued.” The singer also admitted she enjoys an espresso martini because it’s “a very good mood stabilizer.”

Prince Andrew showed up at her house

“He rang the bell, but my nanny wouldn’t get up because she’s anti-monarchy,” Love claimed, “so I had to go down in my slippers and bathrobe.” She said she ended up inviting the Prince in for tea. “I had all these Jubilee mugs with pictures of the Queen so I made him a really good pot of tea and I hand him a mug with his mom on it, and he saw the joke,” Love said. “He asked, ‘What do you do all day?’ which I thought was just nerdy. I said, ‘What do you do all day, Prince?’”

Court allows extradition of Alberta terrorism suspect

WATCH: An Edmonton man has been ordered to face terrorism and murder charges in the United States. Fletcher Kent reports.

EDMONTON – The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled that an Alberta man should be extradited to the United States to face terrorism and murder charges.

Sayfildin Tahir Sharif is accused of murder and supporting a terrorist group that took part in suicide bombings in his native Iraq.

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The Americans allege Sharif worked from Edmonton to help a Tunisian man enter Iraq in 2009 and detonate a truck filled with explosives at a military checkpoint, killing five U.S. soldiers.

Prosecutors contend that evidence from intercepted Internet and phone conversations shows that Sharif was directly involved in supporting Tunisian terrorists, who conducted the suicide bombing, by helping them make contact with other supporters as they made their way across the Middle East to Iraq.

The terror network is also accused of blowing up an Iraqi police station, killing seven Iraqi officers.

Sharif, who also goes by Faruq Khalil Muhammad Isa as well as another name, has been in custody in Edmonton since his arrest in January 2011.

Sayfildin Tahir Sharif appears in court in Edmonton, Thursday, Jan.20, 2011 in this artist’s sketch.

Amanda McRoberts/The Canadian Press

Canada’s justice minister granted extradition last summer after receiving assurances from the U.S. that Sharif wouldn’t face the death penalty. Defence lawyers also received a letter from U.S. authorities promising the man wouldn’t be held indefinitely in pre-trial detention.

Sharif was appealing the justice minister’s decision as well as a judge’s original ruling in 2012 that there was enough evidence to extradite Sharif on two charges.

Sharif is an ethnic Kurd who was born in Iraq but moved to Toronto as a refugee in 1993. Four years later, he became a Canadian citizen.

In 2011, he was arrested at an Edmonton apartment where he lived with his girlfriend and her children.

Defence lawyers had argued before the Appeal Court that RCMP didn’t allow Sharif access to a lawyer or interpreter the day of his arrest, and transcripts of police interviews show he didn’t understand what was going on.

They also said allegations against their client came from three people, including his brother, who were tortured by investigators in Iraq.

The Appeal Court ruled that none of the arguments merited keeping Sharif in Canada.

©2014The Canadian Press

Teen who drowned identified by friends and family – Winnipeg

Winnipeg – Friends and family have taken to social media to remember a 19 year-old Rosenort man who drowned at St. Malo Provincial Park on Saturday.

Calvin Dueck was swimming with friends when he came “under distress while swimming,” said an RCMP release Sunday.

Dueck was a prospect of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Winkler Flyers and also was an avid baseball player.

Deuck’s father, Mervin Dueck, is a councillor in the RM of Morris.

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The reeve of the RM offered his condolences over social media on Sunday.

“RM Morris council, staff, and families extend condolence(s) to Coun. Merv Dueck, wife Susan and family on the tragic death of son Calvin,” tweeted Ralph Groening, the reeve of the RM of Morris.

Groening’s wife also took to twitter to offer her sympathies.

A STARS air ambulance was dispatched about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, a STARS spokesman said, however, Dueck was taken to a hospital in Steinbach by ground ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.

桑拿会所 postings offered condolences on Dueck’s death.

Dueck’s hockey team also released a comment via twitter which read “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Dueck family on the passing of Flyers prospect Calvin Dueck.”

The 19 year old`s former baseball coach, Tyler Kornelsen, posted to Dueck`s facebook page and said, “I had the honour of coaching Cal for two years of High School baseball and I have nothing but amazing memories of Cal as a ball player. He was a star player on a team that had its share of struggles but he was nothing but humble, a great leader, and also an encouragement to his teammates.”
“RIP Calvin thoughts go out to the rest of the Dueck family,” tweeted AJ Nychuk.

This is not the first time someone has drowned at St. Malo Provincial Park. There have been two others in recent years.

In July of 2009, a two-year-old boy from Kleefeld drowned in the lake and in August of 2008 a 13-year-old boy also died.

A Grave Mistake: Burial sites in Fernie vanish amid new development

Amidst its postcard perfect views, the city of Fernie, B.C. is also the backdrop for a century old mystery.

A number of old burial plots in the scenic city are missing, and new developments may be to blame.

Decades ago, a large cemetery existed, but over time the boundaries got blurred.

Some residents are concerned that remains in the cemetery were unintentionally exhumed as developers, unaware of what lied beneath, built an elementary school.

Adele Dvorak is one person who has been impacted by the missing burial plots.

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Her great grandfather died over a century ago, but she has no idea where his remains are today.

“I think he would be horrified to think ‘hey, I was put here to rest for eternity, but I am no longer where I am supposed to be,’” says Dvorak.

“Where is he?” she asks.

“He died in Fernie and was laid to rest. Is he still at rest? I’d like to know where he is.”

Vern McGarrigle was one of the workers that helped build the school in the 1970’s.

“First time they found remains, we shut the job down,” says McGarrigle. “Authorities didn’t let us go near it, and that was it.”

“So the next two, three, four times they found remains… they never called anybody. They just pushed them aside and buried them so they were out of sight out of mind.”

“That was the way it was,” says McGarrigle. “Nobody wanted to stop work because the kids were eating, and when you stop working you lose some of the pay cheque.”

After the school was demolished, the land was sold to a private developer.

It’s not known if the school’s history was ever disclosed, but the buried bodies were disturbed for a second time.

“I watched them remove the bones,” says Dot Gildea. “It was a grown man and a baby and they putting them in the bag.”

In 2008, luxury homes started going up.

During the excavation, skeletons were found.

The majority of the lots have been purchased, except where evidence of remains were uncovered.

The development sits as a vacant space in middle of the most sought-after suburb in the city.

Despite repeated efforts to contact the developer, he would not speak to Global News.

The City of Fernie is working on getting approvals to hire a company for ground penetrating radar, to help narrow down how far the bones are scattered.

They’re also considering some kind of public memorial.

Meanwhile, some Fernie residents are working tirelessly to expose the truth and find out just how many people’s remains have gone missing.

For more details on the Lost Souls Project 2014 visit their Facebook page or email [email protected]杭州夜网

WATCH: Bear takes a dip in backyard kiddie pool while family watches – National

When Toshi Miyamoto first heard his daughter shouting “big bear!” from the living room this past Sunday, he thought she must be referring to the place.

“We just came back from Big Bear Mountain,” Miyamoto told KNBC News in Los Angeles. “So [I thought] she is talking about Big Bear mountain.”

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But sure enough, when the San Gabriel Valley resident looked out at his backyard, he got the shock of his life: a brown bear, lazily rolling about in his family’s kiddie pool.

That’s when he got out his camera.

“Oh my god, there is a bear Carole!” Miyamoto can be heard shouting to his wife, as the family gathered around the patio door to watch the animal in action.

It quickly became apparent the bear was interested simply in beating the heat on the stifling hot Sunday afternoon, with temperatures going above above 32 degrees Celsius.

And while he may have been a bit too big for the children’s wading pool, the overheated bear seemed quite relaxed as he sloshed about – much to the delight of Miyamoto’s three triplets.

The three-year-olds seem quite taken with the uninvited swimmer, cheerfully narrating the action from inside the house.

But Miyamoto drew the line when one of them asked to go outside to “take a wook” at the bear.

Eventually the bear lost interest and left over their fence, leaving the family with an incredible story to tell – and the video to prove it.

For the record: Conservative statements on National Peacekeepers’ Day – National

OTTAWA — While Canadians across the country celebrated their peacekeepers past and present this past weekend, the ceremony in Ottawa was of particular interest after Global News reported the Conservatives had asked the ceremony’s organizers to pen the speech for parliamentary secretary for veterans affairs Parm Gill.

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Global News gave the government almost two full days to respond to questions for that article but communications staff for Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino did not respond until after the story was published. On Friday afternoon a spokesperson said via email any suggestion the department had asked peacekeeping veterans to write a speech was “completely false.” Ceremony organizer Wayne Mac Culloch took exception to that statement:

“I think I’m going to be losing a lot of sleep tonight,” he said after hearing the government’s response. “It’s difficult to take government at its word and then have government turn around and say we never said that.”

The speech Gill delivered at Sunday’s ceremony strayed from the one Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping gave Global News just days earlier. It excluded any mention of adding a police officer to Ottawa’s peacekeepers’ memorial, as it has been asked to do and as Mac Culloch said he wrote into Gill’s speech.

If only we could travel to an alternate timeline where Friday’s story was never published, to see and hear what Gill would have said.

According to an iPolitics reporter who was at Sunday’s ceremony in downtown Ottawa, Gill refuted the assertion he and his staff would not have written his speech.

Below is the speech the peacekeepers’ association gave Global News, a transcript of Gill’s speech and copies of written statements from Fantino, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson.

Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping:

Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs. Bonjour.

It is an honour to be here in Ottawa with you to mark National Peacekeepers’ Day—a day that reflects so much of our country’s proud history and heritage.

Around the world, Canada is respected as a peaceful and just nation … a nation dedicated to freedom and democracy … and we know that much of the credit goes to the men and women we are honouring today.

Canada’s peacekeepers … from our men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces to our police officers … have proudly served wherever they’ve been needed.  And each time, they have brought hope to people who had only known fear and violence.

We have some of these remarkable men and women with us today, and I want to thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Many times you have arrived in countries where there was little peace to be kept … and you have always distinguished yourselves through your courage and compassion.

2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of Canadian military service on the United Nations mission in Cyprus and celebrates 25 years of Canadian police contributions to international peace operations. From its humble beginnings in 1948, Canadian peacekeeping efforts have showcased the best of Canada and Canadians.  The three military figures on the monument behind me recognize those beginnings and the variety of military missions in which our country has participated in the decades since, but there is something missing – a police officer.  It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Government of Canada is resolved to correct that deficiency by adding a fourth figure – one modeled on the officers preparing for deployment with us on parade today, and recognizing their unique achievements.

That is why we are here today. That is what we are recognizing … the generations of Canadian peacekeepers who have served and continue to serve around the globe … more than 150,000 men and women who have dedicated themselves to defending our shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

As we gather here, Canadian peacekeepers are still proudly serving in places such as Haiti, the Darfur, the Congo, and the Middle East.  They are serving in harm’s way because they believe a better world is possible … and that troubled nations can realize a better tomorrow.

Our Government is proud of such commitment … such selfless service … and we know that all Canadians share our pride in our nation’s peacekeepers. We see it every time Canadians travel abroad with the Red Maple Leaf proudly displayed.  We know our flag is recognized around the world as a symbol of peace and freedom.

But our peacekeeping traditions have come at a terrible price to our country. Canada has lost some of her finest sons and daughters in the name of peace.

That is why we mark National Peacekeepers’ Day each year … to remember Canada’s fallen men and women, and to stand with their families and mourn our nation’s loss.

National Peacekeepers’ Day allows us to pause and remember the courageous men and women who have served so many noble causes around the world.

I want to thank all of you for being here this morning. Your presence reflects your determination to keep faith with Canada’s fallen peacekeepers and those that have served with you.

On behalf of the Prime Minister, our Government and our grateful nation, I want to thank each one of you— for your service and your sacrifice. You will never be forgotten in the places where you’ve served … and you will always be remembered as our nation’s truest heroes

Lest we forget.

– 30 –

Prepared by: Richard Roik, speech writer and co-ordinator

WATCH: This weekend, the tens of thousands of Canadians who served overseas on United Nations peacekeeping missions were honoured.  But the soldiers, veterans and police officers say they’re a forgotten group.

Parliamentary secretary Parm Gill:

It is an honour to be here with you in Ottawa this morning, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Canada’s Minister of Veterans Affairs, to mark National Peacekeepers’ Day., a truly Canadian tradition.

Peacekeeping is a part of who we are. As Canadians, it goes to the heart of our proud history and it reflects our enduring values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

That is why I feel privileged to stand amongst so many of our nation’s finest peacekeepers who have brought honour and distinction to our country.

As members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and as police officers, diplomats and aide workers serving in some of the most troubled parts of the world, indeed as we gather here today, Canadians are proud of how you have always been willing to serve wherever you’re required, just as so many generations of men and women before you stepped forward when the world called, because that is the Canadian way.

We’ve been reminded of that this year, as our government formally marked the 50th anniversary of Canada’s peacekeeping mission in Cyprus. On March 4, 1964, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution calling for the deployment of peacekeeping forces. Mere days later, Canadian military forces were among the first to arrive in Cyprus. Fifty years later, Cyprus has come a long way. While lasting peace remains elusive, the island nation is now a member of both the European Union and the United Nations.

This is a legacy that Canadians can be proud of and one that Cyprus greatly recognizes. Minister Fantino saw that firsthand this year, when he led a delegation of Canadian peacekeepers returning to Cyprus. Everywhere he went, those Canadian veterans were greeted with a hero’s welcome.

And  it is the same reception wherever Canadian peacekeepers have served. The world will never forget you, the sacrifices you’ve made, nor will Canadians ever forget that.

We must never forget those noble men who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of freedom, peace and democracy in countries around the world. We remember our loss every single day. That is why we are here today. That is why we mark National Peacekeepers’ Day each year, to join as one and remember such selfless sacrifices.

And so on behalf of the prime minister, Minister Fantino, our government and all Canadians, I thank you for your faithful service in pursuit of peace and freedom throughout the world. You have done your duty. You have made our country proud, and the world is truly a better place because of you.

Lest we forget.

RCMP Chief Superintendent Marion Lamothe, places a bouquet of flowers in a brass shell casing as Parm Gill, parliamentary secretary to minister of veterans affairs (left) looks on onAugust 10,2014.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Veterans Minister Julian Fantino:

“Canadian peacekeepers are internationally respected for the unparalleled contributions they have made to peace and stability the world over. Today, on National Peacekeepers’ Day, I am honoured to recognize their heroic efforts.

“For more than six decades, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial and municipal police forces, as well as civilians and diplomats, have worked together to maintain peace and stability throughout the world.

“On August 9, 1974, nine Canadian Armed Forces members were killed when their plane was shot down during a United Nations supply flight in the Middle East. This remains the largest single-day loss for our country during a peacekeeping mission. Today, we not only remember them, but also the more than 275 Canadians who have lost their lives in peace-support missions around the world.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, I offer heartfelt thanks to all Canadians who have served as peacekeepers. Their achievements, courage and commitment have made a profound difference in the lives of people around the world.”

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson:

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls and Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement:

“For several decades, Canada has made important contributions to peacekeeping operations. National Peacekeepers’ Day provides Canadians with an opportunity to recognize the service and sacrifice of the Canadian Armed Forces personnel and Canadian civilians who work in support of peace around the world.

“Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces have a long association with Peace Support Operations. Over the course of the past 60 years, the Canadian Armed Forces have consistently risen to the challenge of contributing and maintaining international peace and security.

“This important work does not come without sacrifice. We must always remember those who paid the ultimate price helping to bring peace to dangerous conditions. Canada’s first casualty on a peacekeeping mission occurred in 1951, and since then 116 members of the Canadian Armed Forces, three members of the Canadian Foreign Service and two RCMP officers have died in far-off lands in the service of peace. On National Peacekeeping Day, we also recognize their service and commemorate their sacrifice.

“Canada remains committed to working with our allies and partners in the international community to preserve and promote a free, democratic, and peaceful world.”

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney:

“National Peacekeepers’ Day recognizes and honours Canadians who have served or are currently serving in peace missions around the world.

Many serve on these missions, including police officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and provincial and municipal forces, as well as personnel from the Canada Border Services Agency and the Correctional Service of Canada. They train and advise foreign law enforcement officers, border and correctional staff to promote the rule of law and uphold human rights. Their dedication and selfless service have contributed to improving the security and stability of troubled countries including Haiti and Afghanistan.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Canadian police contributions to international peace operations. Thousands of Canadian police serve in peacekeeping missions around the world to assist foreign police to maintain law and order, and create a safer environment for their communities.

Today, please take the time to reflect and thank the men and women who have sacrificed so much to ensure that others are able to live in a peaceful and secure world.”

5 reasons to look at the night sky (not just when it’s a ‘supermoon’)

TORONTO – This weekend the word “supermoon” was bandied about once again, just a month after the last so-called special moon event.

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While it’s great that people are looking up at the night sky, the truth is, the difference between a supermoon and a regular moon isn’t easy enough for you and I to pick out. Sure, it may be 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter, but if anyone hadn’t told you it was, do you think you would have noticed?

The moon has an elliptical orbit, meaning that at one point in its orbit it’s the furthest it can be from Earth – called apogee – and at one point it’s the closest it can be – called perigee. When it’s at perigee, and in particular when it’s a full moon, people have started to call it a supermoon. But it’s just as special as any other full moon.

READ MORE: Enjoy the supermoon this weekend (but it’s not as ‘super’ as you think)

It’s a great thing that people are looking up at the sky, but you don’t have to wait for an event with a catchy name. There are plenty of good reasons to look up, and summer is the best time to do it in Canada.

1. The Moon

The moon is the nearest celestial body to us, but most people take it for granted, rarely looking at it unless it’s deemed special, such as a lunar eclipse or “supermoon.” But looking at it any time is sure to impress you.

This may not be a ‘supermoon,’ but looking at the moon at any time can be amazing.

Nicole Mortillaro

To fully appreciate our nearest neighbour, all you need is a pair of binoculars. Grab any pair – they don’t have to have particularly high magnification – and look at the moon. Instead of a flat orb, the moon is full of craters and ridges that give it so much more depth. Trust me: You will be amazed when you see our moon close up.

2. Meteors

Almost every month we go through a meteor shower, but meteors are visible every night. Tiny bits of dust or rock burn up in our atmosphere producing a meteor, or shooting star, as some call it. All you need is a relatively dark-sky site, a lawn chair or blanket. Moonless skies are also preferable as it’s easier to spot even dim meteors.

A Perseid meteor streaks through the constellation Cassiopeia

Bill Longo

3. Space junk

Earth is surrounded by literally tons of human-made debris. From telecommunications satellites, GPS or military satellites, or even spent rocket parts, Earth-orbit is a very busy place. There is also something called an Iridium flare. There are about 100 Iridium communications satellites that orbit Earth, just about 800 km above us in a steep, inclined orbit. When the sunlight glints off them, they flare in brightness before once again dimming. And they are very bright when they flare.

There is also the International Space Station. Depending on its orbit, you can catch this space laboratory as it slowly crosses the sky. Depending on the angle of the sun which reflects off it, it can be very bright to bright. To see when it passes over your area, visit 杭州夜生活heavens-above杭州夜网 (it will also provide you dates and times for Iridium flares).

WATCH: An Iridium flare

An artist’s impression of space debris objects in orbit. Though the debris is not to scale, it shows you just how much is in orbit around our planet.

ESA

4. Learn the night sky

Do you know if Orion is a summer or winter constellation? Do you know what Cassiopeia looks like? What about Pegasus? Learning the night sky can be a fun family experience. You can even go out and make up your own constellations.

And the great thing is, you can be doing three of the things on this list (including catching a meteor or following a satellite) just by learning the night sky.

You can find some great apps that will help you in your quest to identify constellations and visible planet such as Stellarium, StarWalk or SkySafari available on iPhone and Android.

One of the better known constellations is Ursa Major, of which the asterism the Big Dipper is a part. Learning to identify constellations can be fun.

Courtesy Stellarium

5. The northern lights

This may be somewhat rare, but Canada is in a prime location to see the northern lights, or aurora borealis.

WATCH: The northern lights over Alberta, February 2014

Northern Lights – Feb 19 & 20, 2014 from Richard Gottardo on Vimeo.

Northern lights occur after the sun unleashes a solar flare, a coronal mass ejection or both. When those charged particles arrive at Earth and interact with our magnetic field, the night sky is set aglow in colours, the most common being green and red. The further north you are, the better chance you have to see them. But during very strong eruptions they can be seen even through light pollution, though sometimes they’re so faint only a long-exposure (20 seconds or more) of a camera will capture their colour. Still, living in the shadow of Toronto, I’ve seen them on numerous occasions.

Bill Longo photographed the aurora borealis just north of Toronto in 2013.

Bill Longo

So, who needs a supermoon? In a country as vast and northerly as Canada, there is plenty of opportunity to catch some spectacles of the night. And with colder weather slowly sneaking up on us, summer is the best time to take advantage of it.

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NFL testing new sideline tablets in preseason

NASHVILLE – Adjusting to new technology just isn’t easy for some people, even in the NFL where everyone is trying to find that winning edge.

Even in a pouring rain, Titans assistant coach Louie Cioffi flipped through soggy black-and-white printouts reviewing the opening series with his defensive backs. A couple times players shielded assistant coaches with towels to study photos of the Green Bay Packers.

So much for the NFL’s new tablets only a few steps away.

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HangZhou Night Net

Teams wrapped up the first full preseason test of the new Surface tablet from Microsoft for NFL sidelines with mostly good reviews and some glitches to fix. And yes, they were designed with a protective case to survive rugged weather conditions.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said Sunday he only heard positive feedback on the tablets and the photos available, especially upstairs in the coaching booth. He thinks the key now is only getting accustomed to using the tablet.

“One of the concerns that you had was the rain and how that would affect that, but it didn’t affect it last night,” Whisenhunt said. “And the players seemed to like it too. I mean the ability to zoom in and out to see those looks is a pretty neat thing. I think as the preseason progresses we’ll get more involved with those because it is a tremendous tool.”

The tablets also come with one very big difference from the black-and-white photos.

“It’s colour,” Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III said, laughing. “We went from black-and-white to colour.”

The tablets had their biggest weather test in Nashville where a couple inches of rain fell Saturday night during the Titans’ 20-16 win over the Packers.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy also gave the tablets a rave review.

“It’s really convenient as far as having every series on the iPad as opposed to having a book for each series,” McCarthy said. “Very convenient and nice to not have to leave the sideline and go to the bench is something I haven’t had in a long time.”

READ MORE: How World Cup referees are using goal-line technology to help make calls

Washington defensive backs coach Raheem Morris loves having the entire game right at his fingertips only a swipe away. That keeps him from scrambling for another batch of papers to find a pre- or post-snap look of what an opponent did earlier.

“It just helps coaches be more efficient, and anytime you help a coach be more efficient and save time, that’s ultimately what we’re all looking for,” Morris said.

Coaches did run into some issues.

In Washington’s 23-6 win over New England, one tablet was missing a play from the first series of the game that was on other tablets. That was corrected quickly.

Coaches also had to figure out which direction to swipe for the next picture. Usually, that involves dragging the finger left. This tablet requires a swipe right. Washington coach Jay Gruden called that a little weird, taking time to become accustomed to the difference. Still, count him among the converts to quickly check coverages or blitzes.

“Those tablets do come in handy and I think it’ll take some getting used to by the coaches, but I think they were good,” Gruden said.

Falcons coach Mike Smith called the tablets a “work in progress.” His coaches had better luck with them upstairs than on the sideline of their 16-10 win over Miami, and they also used the tablets at halftime. The tablets include no video, so their use currently has its limits.

“On the sideline it wasn’t as clear and as smooth as he would’ve liked it to be,” Smith said. “I think that can contributed to a number of things. It could be some tweaks we have to do in terms of software, but there’s also the possibility of the user not being familiar with all of the ways that you can move around on that tablet.”

Some coaches are sticking with the black-and-white printouts the NFL will use all season as a backup like Arizona coach Bruce Arians. He joked he will “let Tom handle the high-tech stuff,” 75-year-old assistant head coach Tom Moore.

As for the players, the tablets are just another tool.

“They’re all tech-savvy,” Morris said. “They’ve got iPads, they walk around with these iPhones and all this stuff.”

©2014The Canadian Press

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