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Northern Alberta family sells home, belongings to ‘give’r’ on year-long globetrotting getaway

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For some parents, having children means settling down and putting some items on their bucket lists on hold for a few years.

But for the Turnquist family, from the small northern Alberta town of Falher, the kids are coming along for the adventure of a lifetime and their parents are pulling out all the stops to make it happen.

Geoff and Patty Turnquist, both in their early forties, are leaving their jobs for now and have sold their home in Alberta’s Peace Country region — along with many of their possessions — to embark on a nearly year-long trek around the globe.

“It’s a short time that we’re here on the Earth, so give’r,” says Geoff, who first developed a taste for travel at a young age when he was a bullrider. “It’s been in the back of our minds for the past five to 10 years probably and it just seemed like the right time.

“We’ve always had the travel bug,” he says. “When you decide to travel, you just have to go.”

READ MORE: B.C. family sells Surrey home to travel the world for a year

Turnquist has resigned from his post on the Falher town council and plans to find a way to continue his work in the insurance sector while he and his family embark on a journey to discover all that the planet has to offer.

Patty is taking a leave of absence from her position at ATB Financial to make the trip happen. She says a recent trip made her and her husband realize their children were ready for an experience like the inter-continental odyssey they’re planning.

“About a year and a half ago, we went to Sweden and Norway with the kids and just did a backpacking trip there — staying in hotels, still being frugal but just having carry-on luggage to make it easier to travel,” she says. “The kids were younger then and they actually did really well.”

A photo of the Turnquists at the original homestead of Geoff’s family in Sweden.

Supplied by the Turnquist family

The Turnquists’ son Reid is nine years old and their daughter Lela is seven.

“For the most part, they (the kids) are excited,” Patty says. “They’re a little bit worried… But… we’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos, we’ve been researching different countries, we’ve talked about all of the different activities and adventures we’ll be having and it does excite them.

“They are excited for the most part, they’re just kind of unsure how this is all going to work out.”

READ MORE: Couple globetrotting for 17 years heading home with 4 kids as souvenirs

Watch below: (From January 2017) The Zapp family is getting set to put the brakes on 17-year-long road trip.






The Turnquists leave Alberta in the first week of November. Their first stop will be China, but the next few months will see them visit dozens of other countries in Asia, Europe and North Africa.

Geoff says everyone in the family has places they’re particularly excited to visit but there’s a consistent theme in terms of what appeals to his children: “anything to do with water or beach they’re all in.”

A photo of Reid and Lela Turnquist in Mexico where the family swam in a cenote.

Supplied by the Turnquist family

The family has travelled a fair bit before but not like this.

“Everything came together, the stars aligned and it was the right time for the children,” Geoff says. “They’re at the age where they’ll appreciate it and we can teach them on the road and it’s the right time for us.”

READ MORE: This family of 4 is travelling the world on business class through travel rewards

Watch below: (From June 4, 2017) This family is flying across the globe for free on business class.






The family plans to return to Canada in time for their children to be back in school for the 2019-20 school year, but just because they’ll be moonlighting as world travellers doesn’t mean Reid and Lela won’t have to keep up with their studies.

The Turnquists, who say their children are very good students, are going over curriculum requirements to make sure their kids don’t fall behind. Both children will also update their own blogs to help them keep up their writing skills. Geoff says the whole idea of the trip is in large part to benefit his children and to give them a broader world view.

“We’re doing this to better our family, to better our children, to better ourselves [and] to hopefully inspire others,” he says. “We’re excited to show them… what the world has to offer other than what they just see in front of their face here in Canada.

“There’s so much more that’s out there and they need to know.”

Despite leaving home for almost a year, the Turnquists plan on packing lightly, not even allowing themselves to bring any checked luggage so they can be nimble on their voyage.

“We’re trying to keep it very minimal,” Patty says. “Items we can’t live without… [are] iPads, phones and the MacBook Air so that we can keep in touch and edit videos.”

The Turnquists have people they can connect with in many of the countries they’re going to.

While they may occasionally sleep at a friend or family member’s home, for the most part they will find their own lodging. Geoff and Patty say they plan to adopt the “flashpacker” approach, a way of travelling that they’ve read about online.

“[Flashpackers are] backpackers that are just upscaling a little bit — so finding a little bit nicer hotels, you might take the plane instead of a 10-hour bus ride,” Patty explains. “Still a little bit frugal but being able to travel a little bit more in style.”

Geoff says they’ve come up with their own approach to flashpacking, with the emphasis being on travelling “smart, not hard” and keeping “the humanitarian purpose to travelling” top of mind.

You can keep up with the Turnquists on their travels through their website, their Instagram account and their Facebook page.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Anglais

‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Anglais

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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