March 20 2017: Why do Snowbirds
travel south for the Winter: Pick one.
2017 winter storm Niagara area.
Feb 2017 Davenport Rental, Florida Swim Time.
Ok, these two dudes aren't Snowbirds, they are my Grandsons, enjoying some
warm weather at a vacation rental in Davenport, Florida.
Myself and my wife went on that trip too. Then we had to fly
back north to go back to
work. For some reason I've never had
any of my clients call me up at the beginning of Snowbird
season, and tell me they want a quote for a six month winter
trip to The Yukon, or Alaska. I admit I've had a few clients in the summer
who took an Alaskan cruise, but only for a couple of
Remember when we were all kids and actually
enjoyed winter sports? We couldn't wait to go out skiing
for the day, or riding a snowmobile, ice fishing, hockey on the
frozen lake or trekking through the woods. Even one cold
overnight winter camping trip in winter with Scouts didn't
depress me. Now of course I don't do any of those things
today. And I frequently turn on our heated seats in our
SUV and crossover during winter drivng. The gas
fireplace at home gets turned on on a chilly winter day. And I stare out
the windows at the snow.
obvious why Canadian Snowbirds travel south during the winter.
Its much warmer and way more comfortable, and as long as you have the money,
the time, and good health, you can hit the road, or fly out. And
if it starts to get too expensive, simply consider cutting down
the length of your trip, not cancelling it completely.
I'm staring out my office window again.
The snow is still there, from our March winter storm, but there
is hope. The weather is warming up again, the snow is
melting, and our back yard pool is scheduled to open up again in
less than two months on May 9th.
July 5, 2016 :72 Hour Warning -
Upcoming Strike courtesy your Canadian Union of Postal Workers
July 2016 - Big Mistake (Again)
Who here is a fan of Canada Post, other than the
employees? Look at our costs: .85 (stamps bought in bulk)
plus GST for a 50 gram letter. Most of my outgoing mail is
$2.95 or $4.10 each item plus GST. What is the Union demanding
in their new contract? From what I can read: two main
items - continuing to have a Defined Benefits plan for employees
and something about higher pay. Most companies have ditched or
are ditching a Defined Benefits Pension plan because the model
doesn't work. I'm not an accountant or economist, but I
can tell you its pretty hard to guarantee in advance a pension
plan which is going to give you a guaranteed monthly income as
far as 35 or 40 years in advance of your projected
retirement. As a self employed Insurance Broker, I don't have
that luxury, I "own" my personal RRSPs to which I make annual
deposits and whose rate of return fluctuates.
Remember its not Canada Post which is going on
strike (or seems too). Its the Union. Unions can be great.
They can protect their members, fight for fair wages and
benefits. They can also be bad. A union should never
be in a position where it dictates the running of a corporation.
Or it messes up regular people.
the future for Canada Post? I don't think its good.
In our business model, we can electronically send all
confirmations of policy documents via e mail. And in fact we do
send out confirmations AND mail out printed copies. One of
my own Brokers only e mails me my annual liability policy.
In the "old days" they used to e mail and send me printed
copies. Even in cases where some of our clients do not have e
mail or have a busted printer, we can usually e mail their
relatives or a friend with their permission. We in turn
can receive a scanned signature copy from them or even a fax.
We don't even own a fax anymore, when someone 'faxes' us, it
goes to a Bell Canada toll free number which then sends the fax
to our e mail account automatically. We can then save the
pdf document in the clients file and forward it to the company
when necessary. The system is called Fax to Email and if
your company doesn't have it now you should call Bell Canada.
Prior to me hearing about "The Strike" one of
my insurers sent me an E Blast, advising me to switch over to
automatic bank deposits on commissions ifI had not already done
so. Most of my partner companies have been sending me E
Mail commission statements and depositing my commissions
directly into my Bank account for years. Rarely do I get a
commission cheque in the mail now. Less business for Canada
In fact, many years ago Insurance
Courier was formed to courier insurance documents because Canada
Post employees seemed to be going on strike all the time.
Ironically I have not used Insurance Courier for years, because
almost all my documents can be e mailed to our partner companies
So here's the Canada Post
Strike Scenario: Go on strike, lose business. Go on
strike again, lose business. Etc, Etc. The writing
is on the wall, keep striking and the business will continue to
shrink. Pretty soon you won't have to strike anymore.
1 Hour 39 Minute Wait Time at Queenston Lewiston
bridge for Cars headed to US on morning of July 1 2016
I had my doubts about that one. The Niagara
Falls Bridge Commission web site is supposed to give accurate
wait times for the Queenston Lewiston, Rainbow, Whirlpool and
Peace Bridge crossings. Since I l live very near the New
York border I do cross "over the river" frequently. I
always check the wait time first and either pick the Queenston
Lewiston Bridge or the Whirlpool (Nexus pass only) Bridge
depending on traffic.
Today, the warning was well over 1 hour
wait at Queenston, Lewiston. When I checked the Whirlpool, there
was no wait. I picked Whirlpool today. When I got there,
there were about 7 cars in front of me with two lines. The
friendly US boarder guard asked my nationality, and if I was
importing anything. That took maybe 20 seconds top plus
about a minute waiting in line.
When I drove back through
Lewiston Queenston Bridge (same bridge, different direction) I
was the second car in the Nexus lane and passed about a 30
minute wait or more of cars in the "herd" lane (those who do not
have Nexus). Nexus by the way costs $50.00 for 5 years,
per person (kids under 18 free), or about $50.00 US (around
$65.00 Canada currently) if you apply online instead of by
The only problem with coming back on the Lewiston Queenston
Bridge assuming you will be using your Nexus pass is two fold:
The Truck/Nexus lane may be backed up by trucks and the car lane
may be backed up as well, meaning you would have to wait until
you got around the bend before you could get into the Nexus
lane. A short wait is fine, but an hour or so seems a lot
longer. And if you have never used the Nexus lane before and
simply get into the Truck/Nexus lane which may be backed up
trucks, you could have simply driven the car lane if it is
clear, then get into the Nexus lane after the bend.
I have never seen such a long wait of cars heading to
the US on that bridge in the six years we have lived in Niagara.
In fact the line of cars were bumper to bumper about 1/8th of a
mile past the last exit on the 405 into St Davids. Thats like
forever in waiting time, and once you are in line you can't turn
around. So make sure you have enough gas and have stopped
for a bathroom break prior to hitting the bridges.
all the GPS's direct the driver through the Queenston Lewiston
crossing when you plug in the destination from an out of Niagara
address. But you do have a choice of the other three (two
if no Nexus card). And if you are using the Nexus pass for
the first time at the Whirlpool Bridge and heading south, once
over the bridge, make right turn, then a left turn on Ontario
St. A right turn on Hyde Park Blvd, a left turn on Porter Rd
which will take you to the 190 Interstate. Don't stop
along Ontario, or Hyde Park Blvd for safety reasons.
Porter Rd starts to get nicer looking.