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You’ve got mail: Canada Post to handle weed deliveries in Ontario

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The GTA location of the giant distribution centre that will feed the province all of its legal pot products come Wednesday is being kept a dark secret.

While details of the centre’s size and address are being withheld for security reasons, its Ontario Cannabis Store owner has revealed several key aspects of it’s new online service — which will be the sole source of legal pot in the province as of 12:01 a.m. Oct. 17.

The location of the Ontario Cannabis Store’s distribution centre is being kept secret for security reasons. The centre, located in the GTA, will handle all of the OCS's distribution of cannabis products across the province come Oct. 17.
The location of the Ontario Cannabis Store’s distribution centre is being kept secret for security reasons. The centre, located in the GTA, will handle all of the OCS’s distribution of cannabis products across the province come Oct. 17.  (SUPPLIED BY ONTARIO CANNABIS STORE)

During a briefing introducing the ocs.ca website to reporters Thursday, store officials said delivery fees on its cannabis orders would be a flat $5 anywhere in the province.

Those deliveries, conducted by Canada Post personnel, would be made between one to three days from the time of ordering, officials said.

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And though you’ll be asked to state you’re a legal 19-years-old several times on the site while ordering, it will be those Canada Post carriers who will ultimately determine if you’re of age to receive pot packages on your doorstep.

Anyone who can prove they are 19 or older can sign for a package at any address the order indicates — including work places. But as with alcohol or medical marijuana deliveries, ID will be demanded from anyone who looks 25 or younger.

A worker examines cannabis products at the Ontario Cannabis Store distribution centre ahead of the Oct. 17 legalization date.
A worker examines cannabis products at the Ontario Cannabis Store distribution centre ahead of the Oct. 17 legalization date.  (SUPPLIED BY ONTARIO CANNABIS STORE)

Postal carriers will not be allowed to drop off the plainly-packages good — which could include cannabis flowers, pre-rolled joints, oils and oil capsules to begin with — with condo concierges or apartment doormen.

And when no one is home to receive packages, a slip will be left guiding purchasers to their closest post office for pickup.

(Cannabis seeds — which site goers can use to grow their four plants per-household limit — will be on sale in the near future, officials said.)

The site’s search function — designed by online retail giant Shopify — will select products largely on levels of the active cannabis components, the intoxicating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the medicinal cannabidiol (CBD) that buyers desire.

Those levels can be plotted on a sliding scroll function, which will guide purchasers to appropriate products from the 32 licensed producers the OCS has so far selected to supply the online store.

There will also be a slew of cannabis accoutrements on sale including pipes, rolling papers, vaporizers and grinders.

Pot buyers will be able to use VISA or Mastercard to order on the 17th, but the OCS is in negotiations with other payment platforms as well.

The OCS has yet to determine prices, but they will be set to be competitive with those on the illicit market and will include all taxes.

Buyers can purchase a limit of 30 grams of product at a time and the site will keep track of amounts as you add orders to your cart.

Nothing, however, will stop a buyer from making several orders a day, beyond a federal regulation that limits personal possession to 30 grams.

Cannabis orders will be sent out in plain packaging and delivered by Canada Post.
Cannabis orders will be sent out in plain packaging and delivered by Canada Post.  (SUPPLIED BY ONTARIO CANNABIS STORE)

The shopping site will also include an educational element that can tell users about such things as active cannabis components and the way they can interact with the body.

This educational material is already available on the store’s ocslearn.ca site.

Matei Olaru, CEO of the Toronto-based Lift & Co., which offers an online guide Canadian cannabis buyers can access, said Shopify and the OCS have integrated some useful tools on their site, such as the THC and CBD sliding scale filter.

“But it’s clear the OCS is still limited in how they can communicate specifically about products and their effects,” Olaru said. “In the absence of that kind of online resource or brick-and-mortar stores, ‘Trip Adviser’ resources like Lift & Co. will continue to fill the information gap between producers and consumers.”

Joseph Hall is a Toronto-based reporter covering cannabis. Reach him on email: gjhall@thestar.ca

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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