In case you were wondering what Judge Judy thinks about Justin Bieber, she’s weighed in on his rash of recent arrests and questionable antics by saying, “You sing alright. You’re no Sinatra, but people are going to remember that you’re an idiot.” Welcome to the end of days, people. Enjoy. In the news: Tourism in Toronto hits an all-time high, distracted driving fines are set to increase next month, and a new competition aimed at creating innovative ways to tackle poverty in York Region launches.
Apparently, Toronto is a pretty popular place to visit. According to Tourism Toronto, the number of international visitors to the city hit a record high last year, topping an estimated 13.69. About 1.42 million of those visitors were from outside Canada and the United States—most overseas tourists hailed from the United Kingdom. Overall, visitors pumped an estimated $6.54 billion into the local economy. No word on how much tourism was generated by people trying to catch a glimpse of their favourite sideshow act, Mayor Rob Ford—although in all likelihood he’s about to take credit for every single tourist who’s stepped foot in the city.
As of March 18, fiddling with your phone, MP3 player, or other device while driving will cost you a lot more. The provincial fine for distracted driving is set to leap from $155 to $280 after Ontario’s chief justice signed the judicial order approving the increase last week. The ticket will not automatically come with demerit points, but does leave the door open for drivers to face dangerous driving charges, which involve six demerit points. Toronto police constable Clint Stibbe says that the fine increase is needed because drivers are simply not getting the message that distracted driving is dangerous. It is 2014, people. If we can find the Higgs boson, we can grasp the basic concept of waiting to text someone until after our cars are parked, right?
In what could be the beginning of a new corporate social responsibility craze, York University and ventureLAB—a centre for business innovation in York Region—have partnered with the United Way to launch a competition aimed at motivating entrepreneurs to create new ways of tackling poverty and youth unemployment. The CommunityBUILD Mash Up is looking for innovative venture pitches that both generate revenue and develop skills for at-risk communities including the homeless, the hungry, and youth. Competitors will participate in a two-day workshop, and have the chance to win a $5,000 consulting grant for their venture. The deadline for applications is March 8, and interested participants should visit the ventureLAB website for full details.