4 Ways to Volunteer in the GTA this Spring

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Posted on Mar 23, 2017

Ways to Volunteer

 

The warmer air isn’t the only thing that can make you feel good this spring – so can giving back to your community. If you have some free afternoons or weekends coming up, why not spend some of your time volunteering for a local organization? Volunteering is often a very rewarding experience that can help to improve the lives of those living in your community. Whether you are a high school student needing to complete your volunteer hours before you graduate or just someone who wants to make a positive impact in your community, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer with great organizations right here in the GTA:

 

Habitat for Humanity

 

For those looking for hands-on work, Habitat with Humanity provides volunteers with the opportunity to build houses in the GTA from the ground up. No experience is required, just be prepared to get your hands dirty! Their online sign-up system makes it super simple to find a day, time and build-site location that is convenient for you.

 

Ontario SPCA

 

Are you an animal lover? Spend some time walking dogs and cleaning cages at your local SPCA. These dogs and cats are often on their own for extended periods of time so a little love will go a long way. The minimum age to volunteer is 14 and full training is provided, making this a great volunteer opportunity for students. Plus, there are locations all over the Greater Toronto Area, so it will be easy to find one that’s close to you.

 

Meals on Wheels

 

If you have access to a vehicle, consider helping your local Meals on Wheels program. As a volunteer, you will be delivering meals to the elderly living in and around your neighborhood. This is a great opportunity to not only ensure that those who depend on the program receive their daily meals, but to also build meaningful and lasting relationships with the people you are helping.

 

Canadian Cancer Society – Daffodil Month

 

Every April, volunteers set up shop in grocery stores and malls across Canada to sell fresh daffodil and daffodil pins to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society. It is an annual tradition that has helped to raise millions of dollars towards helping reduce the burden of cancer on Canadians. Volunteers are still needed for this year’s upcoming Daffodil Month, so sign up now!

 

To find more volunteer opportunities in the GTA, start by visiting https://volunteer.ca

 

If you’re in the York Region area, the NewRoads Automotive Group holds several community events each year and we’re always looking for great volunteers!  See what we’re up to in the community here.

 

 

Understanding the Dangers of Spring Driving

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Posted on Mar 21, 2017

Understanding the Dangers of Spring Driving

 

Winter driving may finally be behind us, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to take a relaxed view behind the wheel. While you may not realize it, spring driving hazards can prove quite dangerous when taken lightly.

 

Here are a few things you should be on the lookout for this spring:

 

Cyclists/Pedestrians

 

Warmer weather means more people on the streets.  If you live or work downtown, you’ll soon notice the increased number of cyclists, motorcyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians filling the roads and sidewalks. Pay close attention to your surroundings and make sure you’re not solely focused on the other vehicles around you.

 

If you’re someone who parallel parks frequently, remember that cyclists can sometimes appear out of nowhere, which is why it’s important to always check your mirrors.

 

Children

 

Unlike most adults, children often don’t pay as much attention to their surroundings. Slow down, and make sure you’re aware of your surroundings when you’re in your vehicle, especially if you’re in a school zone or residential area.

 

Rain/flooding

 

Just because the snow has melted doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about the weather anymore. Studies have shown that driving in the rain can be as dangerous than driving in snowy conditions.

 

When the road is wet, your tires can easily lose traction, putting you and everyone around you in an unsafe position.  If it’s raining outside or there are puddles on the road, make sure you drive slow and leave extra room between you and the car in the front.

 

If possible, avoid driving over big puddles or any areas where you can’t see how deep the water is. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you happen to hydroplane, make sure to take your foot off the gas to allow your tires to regain traction.  Remember, there’s nothing wrong with refusing to drive when you feel it may be unsafe.

 

Potholes

 

With the wild fluctuations in temperature we’ve experienced over the past month, don’t be surprised if you run into your fair share of potholes in the coming months.

 

Avoid driving through a pothole whenever you can. If there’s no way of avoiding one, do everything in your power to safely slow down before hitting it. Don’t brake altogether, as this can actually cause more harm.

 

Avoiding potholes doesn’t mean you should be constantly looking down while you’re driving. Instead, drive slower to make sure you’re still aware of all of your surroundings, and be conscious of uneven terrain.

 

Animals

 

Not only does the warm weather bring out more people, but it also means more animals.  If you’re situated in a rural area, it’s important that you stay on the lookout for animals, as many are just beginning to emerge from hibernation. If you come across one when you’re driving, slow down, and give it the time it needs to cross the street.

 

5 Tips for a Perfectly Organized Workspace

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Posted on Mar 17, 2017

Tips for an Organized Workspace

 

Whether you are a student swamped with assignments or have a job that keeps you seated at a desk all day, maintaining a neat workspace can prove to be quite the challenge. When you are nearing a deadline, it doesn’t take long for a clean desk to become covered in stacks of paper, sticky notes and pens. However, studies have frequently linked having an orderly workspace to increased productivity both at home and in an office. The task of cleaning up your desk and keeping it flawless may seem daunting, but it’s actually much easier than you think. Here are five tips for a perfectly organized workspace:

 

  1. The less, the better

 

Start your desk transformation by tossing everything you don’t use from both the surface and the drawers. From that dried-out liquid paper to broken pens and old mousepads, it all has to go. If you haven’t used something in the past six months, send it on its way.

 

  1. Embrace the digital age

 

If you have documents lying around that you can make digital versions of, do so. It may be time consuming, but the amount of workspace gained will make it totally worth it. Plus, using search capabilities on your computer is much easier than looking through piles of paper when looking for specific information.

 

  1. A place for everything and everything in its place

 

Take a trip over to the dollar store and pick up some desk and drawer organizers. Separating your pens from elastics and staples will make grabbing items much easier than digging through a pile of varied accessories. Keep only your most frequently used accessories on top of your desk – everything else can go into drawers, leaving you with much more space to work on.

 

  1. Label, label, label!

 

Now that everything in your workspace has a specific place to be, it’s time to label those spots. If you don’t have a label maker handy, just grab some sticker labels while at the dollar store. Not only will having labels help you to remember where everything goes, but they are also great for when your co-worker is returning those sticky notes he borrowed.

 

  1. One minute a day keeps the mess away

 

Once you have a perfectly organized desk, you will no doubt want to keep it that way. The solution is simple: When you are done working for the day, spend a minute tidying up any loose paper clips or coffee cup rim marks. This way, you can start work with a fresh surface every day and not have to worry about a mess accumulating ever again.

 

 

Lake Wilcox with the new Subaru Impreza

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Posted on Mar 15, 2017

Subaru Impreza in winter

Subaru Impreza hatchback

wood archway photo

 

Does anyone else feel like we are in a never-ending winter? The snow and cold weather just won’t quit. So obviously, I had to pick one of the (hopefully) last coldest days of the year for a road trip.  BUT – since I knew I was going to be riding in a Subaru I had no concerns about the day. It’s crazy how reassuring it is to drive a car that is world renowned for its safety and handling. and I was a little lucky to have the sun on my side.

 

Subaru logo

Lake Wilcox

Subaru Impreza in red

Impreza PZEV

 

First things first, I have to give a big shout out to the team at Richmond Hill Subaru, they really know how to make a girl feel special. When they give you a brand new red Subaru Impreza and it’s all warmed up with a full tank you feel like a Queen.

 

I hopped in the car and headed out on my road trip to Lake Wilcox.  Lake Wilcox is an 11 min drive from Richmond Hill Subaru, so this might have been my quickest road trip yet. Yes, that’s right there is a lake right in the middle of Richmond Hill.  As soon as you drive up to the community surrounding Lake Wilcox you get an instant feeling of lake life. This was my first time visiting the lake and I am 100% going to be visiting in the summer (stay tuned). Side note, I am pretty sure the Subaru was clean when I picked it up, but you know it wouldn’t be a Subaru without some dirt on it.

 

Subaru sunroof

Subaru headlights

Impreza steering wheel

Lake Wilcox in winter

 

I wouldn’t say that I was off-roading or anything but the road conditions were less than ideal however having the Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive on my side was all the comfort that I needed.  I also became a bit obsessed with the cars infotainment system. You know I am a sucker for back-up cameras but this system was NEXT LEVEL. It was like having a giant iPhone on my dash. It was so easy to use – hands down the best I think I have ever tried.

Impreza rear view camera

Impreza steering wheel  Subaru Impreza hatchback

Subaru Impreza wheels

Subaru Impreza dashboard

 

The best part about this (mini) road trip was once I was I finished exploring in the park I decided to try out a few side roads and I stumbled upon the most beautiful archway made out of trees. I was kicking my self, because I really wanted a photo in the archway. My mom came through and drove out to meet me – thanks mom!

 

Lake Wilcox wooden arch

Impreza in winter red

 

I can’t wait to come back this summer!

 

 

Tips for Removing your Winter Tires

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Posted on Mar 14, 2017

Tips for Removing your Winter Tires

 

It may not feel like it given the current weather conditions, but spring is officially set to arrive in less than two weeks’ time.  With the warmer weather inching its way into Southern Ontario, now is the perfect time to figure out the ins and outs of removing your winter tires.

 

When should I take them off?

 

A general rule of thumb is to remove your snow tires once the temperature has risen into the double digits for at least a week’s time. However, some insurance policies require you to keep your tires on until a certain date (usually sometime in April) so you’ll want to check with your insurance provider before removing them.

 

While it’s important not to take them off too early, winter tires wear much quicker in the warmer weather, which is why it’s also crucial that you don’t wait too long before swapping them for your summer or all-season set. Of course, there’s always the risk of a snowstorm and/or temperature dip occurring after you take them off, so take that into consideration as well.

 

Give them a good scrub

 

Before you even think of storing them, you should give your tires a thorough scrub before storing them for the summer. Getting rid of all the gunk and debris that has accumulated over the past several months is an important step in preventing any damage going forward.

 

This is also a good time to inspect the tread of your tires to determine whether you can use them for another winter.

 

Make sure they’re properly inflated

 

Be sure each of your tires are at the correct pressure prior to storing them, as this will help to lengthen the tire’s life.

 

Bag each tire

 

In order to ensure your tires don’t dry out and crack, you should cover each one of your tires using either a garbage bag or any other type of plastic bag. If you want to play it safe, you can vacuum seal each of the bags to make them as airtight as possible.

 

Find a spot indoors

 

Whatever you do, do not leave your winter tires outside. Even if they’re properly sealed, they can still wear from the rain and sun, so you’d be wise to find a spot indoors to store them.

 

When finding a spot indoors, it’s important to keep them in a cool place where the temperature can be controlled, and you don’t have to worry about any fluctuation in humidity. Even somewhere like a shed would likely be too hot for them in the warmer months, so you should really store them in your basement if possible.

 

If you simply don’t have the space to store all five of your tires, you can always take them to a nearby storage facility or you can simply contact your local dealership.  Each of our NewRoads Automotive Group dealerships offer tire storage services.

 

 

Planning a Successful Garage Sale

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Posted on Mar 13, 2017

Planning a Garage Sale Tips

 

The air outside may still be chilly as the calendar turns to the month of March, however it’s never too early to get started on your spring cleaning. Instead of tossing your unwanted goods in the trash this year, plan a garage sale! Your clothing, gadgets and household items may not be of use to you and your family anymore, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be valuable to somebody else. Here are some tips and tricks for planning a successful garage sale this upcoming spring:

 

Save the Date

 

The first step to planning your garage sale is deciding when to have it. Many people choose to have their sale over an entire weekend, however if you are only offering up a few items, a Saturday or Sunday morning or afternoon may suffice. Try to avoid long weekends, as many families tend to leave town and streets are often quieter than on an ordinary Saturday and/or Sunday.

 

The More the Merrier

 

The last thing you want to happen on the day of your garage sale is to set everything up only to see you will be in direct competition with your neighbour. Once you’ve decided on the date, contact your neighbours and see if they are also interested in selling some gently used goods. Strength comes in numbers, and having one big garage sale will more than likely be more successful than several small ones spread out across your street. Getting your neighbours involved will also help to spread the word and also create a nice variety of goods for your customers to choose from.

 

Give Back

 

Just want to clear some space in your house and not interested in making a profit? Donate all the proceeds of your garage sale to a charity. Not only will some people be more encouraged to take some items off of your hands knowing those less fortunate will benefit, but you will also be making a difference in your community. Charities such as SickKids Foundation allow you to register your event through their website and will send you posters and stickers to help you promote it. They will even advertise it on their website to help you attract some attention!

 

Savvy Advertising

 

It’s always ok to go old-school and advertise your garage sale by placing signs around your neighbourhood. However, the Internet allows you to make your message a bit more widespread. Many communities and neighbourhoods have Facebook groups you can post ads and announcements in, and some cities even have their own Kijiji-style websites where you post a free classified. If your garage sale will feature an item you think many people could be interested in, make sure that it is highlighted in your advertisements, and maybe even include a picture!

 

 

Hacks for Cleaning your Car this Spring

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Posted on Mar 7, 2017

Hacks for Cleaning your Car this Spring

 

With the snow blissfully melting away and the weather heating up, there’s no better time than now to spring-clean your vehicle.  While cleaning your car may feel like a long and tedious task, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some hacks for freshening up your vehicle this spring:

 

Hack #1 – Use toothpaste to clean your headlights

 

As it turns out, toothpaste can clean more than just your teeth. Spread it around on your foggy headlights, let it sit for a few minutes, then wash it off. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how well it works.

 

Hack #2 – Grab a toothbrush to get the gunk off your seats

 

If you already have toothpaste, you might as well grab your toothbrush while you’re at it. They may be designed for cleaning your teeth, but toothbrushes are the perfect size for getting the dirt that’s accumulated between your seats over the winter months.

 

And while they may work best between your seats, you can really use a toothbrush anywhere in your vehicle to get rid of any dirt and debris that your vacuum just can’t get to.

 

Hack #3 – Wash your windows with baby wipes

 

If you have trouble getting rid of the dirt and scum on your windows, have no worries. Baby wipes are the perfect cleaning product for your windows, working effectively to get rid of all the smear marks that have accumulated over the months.

 

Remember to roll your windows down a bit when you clean them. Otherwise, the top of the windows will still be dirty.

 

Hack # 4 – Use hair conditioner to give it some shine

 

If you want to give the exterior of your car the finishing touch it needs, grab some hair conditioner and get to work. It may sound a little silly, but conditioner will actually make your car look like it was just waxed.  Just remember to get conditioner that has lanolin in it.

 

Hack # 5 – Douse your wipers with rubbing alcohol

 

Streaking wiper blades are typically a sign that they need to be replaced, but they can still hold up if you clean them correctly. Take a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and douse your wipers in it. If they’re no longer leaving streak marks, you may actually be OK.

 

Hack # 6 – Clean your AC vents with a foam brush

 

One of the best ways to clean the dust that’s accumulated in and around your air vents is to grab a foam paint brush and run it between each of the slots. Doing this every month or so will make sure your AC is working to its full potential.

 

Hack # 7 – Freshen up your car with Q-Tips           

           

If your car has an odour that you just can’t seem to get rid of, you may need to clean one of the vents in your vehicle. Take a Q-Tip and scrub vigorously around the vent, making sure to get every nook and cranny.  It’s important to note that if there’s mold present, there’s no point in cleaning, and you should really replace the vent altogether.

 

 

March Break on a Budget

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Posted on Mar 2, 2017

March Break on a Budget

 

March Break is coming up, and students can’t wait for their week off of school. However, keeping your kids occupied over March Break can get expensive. Camps, ski passes and vacations don’t come cheap! The good news is there are plenty of fun activities for children and teens alike to take part in over the annual break that won’t break the bank. Here are five ways to get the most out of March Break on a budget:

 

Black Creek Pioneer Village

 

Want to spend a day outdoors with your children? From March 13-19, Pioneer Village  is hosting a week of maple syrup mystery-themed activities for kids, featuring a scavenger hunt, detective workshops and a maple syrup show, along with the chance to try all the different syrup samples. Entry for kids is free with the purchase of adult admission!

 

University tours

 

It’s never too early for high-schoolers to start thinking about their post-secondary education, so why not spend March Break checking out all the options out there? Almost every university in Ontario hosts an open house over the break where prospective students are invited to attend information sessions, participate in fun and educational workshops and get a tour of the campus. Best of all? Not only is registration to these events free, you are always guaranteed to leave with a swag bag full of goodies!

 

Hit the books

 

No, we aren’t suggesting that kid are actually going to do work over the break. However, many public libraries in the GTA are hosting daily activities for kids of all ages throughout the week, ranging from magic shows to arts and crafts to sing-alongs and exotic animal presentations. These events are typically free, so make sure to sign up early!

 

Set up campin your living room

 

Grab your tent and some sleeping bags and get ready for a camp out… er, a camp in. With cold temperatures in the forecast, sleeping outside is probably not the best idea. But that shouldn’t stop your kids from inviting some friends over for an evening of s’mores, games and of course, sharing scary ghost stories late into the night – all in the warmth and safety of your house.

 

Get Artsy

 

This March Break, the Elman W. Campbell Museum in Newmarket has a whole slate of art activities planned for kids ages 5-10. Costs range from free to $5.50 per person and registration is required for specific dates. While at the museum, remember to take a walk around with your kids to check out all of the neat exhibits on display.

 

Spring Maintenance Tips for your Vehicle

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Posted on Feb 28, 2017

Spring Maintenance Tips for your Vehicle

 

With the winter weather almost behind us, now is the perfect time to get your vehicle ready for the warm months ahead.  Below are just a few of the maintenance services you should consider performing this spring:

 

Change your oil

 

Oil changes may be one of the most neglected services out there, but you’d be foolish to overlook them.

 

Failing to replace your engine oil on a consistent basis can lead to a number of problems, including poor performance, lower fuel efficiency, and even engine failure. Considering how cheap it is to replace your oil, it seems silly to neglect doing it and risk the chance of a much bigger problem occurring down the road.

 

If you haven’t gotten your oil changed in the recent past, now is the perfect time to get it done.

 

Check your wiper blades

 

While springtime means warmer weather, it also means more rain. To make sure you’re prepared for the fiercest of thunderstorms, check to see how your wiper blades are holding up following months of sub-zero temperatures. If the blades are making squeaking noises when they’re turned on, it’s time to get a new set.

 

Inspect your battery               

 

It may be completely fine, but it’s never a bad idea to have your local mechanic check your battery after a long few months of winter weather.

 

If your battery is more than 3-4 years old, now may be a good time to get it replaced. Even if your battery isn’t that old, it may have been affected by the cold weather, so it’s likely still worth your while to have a mechanic look at it.

 

Changes your tires

 

You don’t have to do this right away, but make sure to switch out of your winter tires once the temperature begins to approach double-digits for about a week’s time.  Having proper tires can make summer driving much less dangerous, while also helping your vehicle’s handling and fuel efficiency.

 

If you’re unsure whether to switch to all-season or summer tires, remember that the latter is designed for the hot weather, meaning it is likely worth the extra price.

 

Spring Clean

 

Like most people, you probably didn’t wash your car in the winter as often as you should have. Spend an off-day giving your vehicle a good scrub, or take it to a high-end car wash to ensure all the salt is removed. Failure to do so could lead to corrosion.

 

Inspect your brakes

 

No matter how well the rest of your car is running, if your brakes aren’t up to par, you’re putting yourself at serious risk whenever you enter your car.  Take your vehicle into a mechanic to ensure your brakes are squeaky clean and are working properly.

 

Vacuum the inside

 

Unless you’re somehow blessed with some mysterious superpower, you’ve probably tracked your fair share of dirt and salt into your vehicle over the winter months.  Grab a vacuum and get to work.

 

Must-Watch Oscar-Nominated Movies

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Posted on Feb 23, 2017

Must-Watch Oscar-Nominated Movies

 

Film award season is coming to an end but not before the grand finale: The Oscars. This Sunday, Hollywood’s hottest stars will all be in attendance as The Academy honours the best movies of the past year and the actors and actresses who starred in them. This year, there is no shortage of strong candidates who could take home an iconic statuette. To ensure that you are in the loop when the winners are announced, catch up on some of the top-nominated films before the show begins. Here are three must-watch Oscar-nominated movies:

 

 

La La Land

 

If you like star-studded casts, this is the movie for you. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (a Canadian!) are the leads in this musical rom-com that tells the tale of two aspiring talents trying to make names for themselves in Hollywood. After great success at other award shows this winter, expectations are high for La La Land at the 89th Academy Awards. Don’t be surprised if it comes away with the Best Picture title – and many others.

 

 

Hidden Figures

 

Based on a true story, Hidden Figures depicts the challenges faced by three African-American women working for NASA in the 1960s. Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe show how racism and sexism can be overcome in this inspiring, motivational and educational film that generated more revenue than any other 2017 Best Picture nominee. A favourite of movie-goers, expect Hidden Figures to take home some more accolades Sunday night.

 

 

Arrival

 

For all the sci-fi fans out there, Arrival is the movie to watch. Amy Adams plays an expert linguist who is tasked with the challenge of interpreting the language of aliens who have mysteriously landed on Earth, while navigating her own complicated relationships at the same time. The stunning visuals, the work of cinematographer Bradford Young, are appealing to movie buffs and casual viewers alike, and make Young a sure-fire favourite to receive the Best Cinematography award this year.

 

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