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Man facing eviction from family home on Toronto Islands gets reprieve — for now

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Days before Christmas, Don Sampson learned he had been voted off the island — and out of his childhood home on Algonquin Island.

Eviction day was scheduled for Monday. Locks would be changed, forcibly if necessary. Possessions removed. The home at 8 Omaha Ave. would then be sold by the Toronto Islands’ trust, which instructed Sampson to vacate the property in a letter dated Dec. 20.

“The Trust will neither be evicting anyone from 8 Omaha nor changing the locks at that address on January 7, 2019,” Lorraine Filyer, Toronto Islands’ trust board chair, wrote in an email to the Star on Sunday. She did not respond to a followup email asking if the trust would — or would not — evict anyone from that home after Monday.

Sampson, when told of Filyer’s statement, was skeptical.

He said he received another letter from the trust on Friday that suggested “we’re going to carry on” with eviction plans. He added he hasn’t been contacted directly by the trust about dropping the eviction demand.

“I would love to hear that it’s happening,” said Sampson, who hosted a “Save Our Sampsons” rally at his home on Sunday — the letters S.O.S. were drawn on signs filling the front windows.

“I would like to have an email from the trust itself before I can be assured (that he can remain in the home).”

And if a crew shows up to evict him?

“If they come to try and change my locks (Monday), of course I’ll stand here and try to prevent them,” Sampson said.

He said he has support from friends who showed up for an afternoon barbecue he hosted Sunday. Many of them have known the Sampson family for 60 years. Some pledged to form a human chain around the home Monday if an eviction is attempted.

Councillor Mark Grimes (Etobicoke-Lakeshore), another long-time Sampson friend, recalled when they played baseball together on the island in the 1980s.

“It’s a family home and I think it should stay in the family,” said Grimes, standing in the home’s front yard Sunday.

Grimes spent part of the morning reviewing his friend’s documents and said he would reach out to the province to learn more about how the trust operates.

Mayor John Tory said at a Sunday event in Scarborough that he would not interfere in the island dispute.

Sampson’s property battle with the trust surrounds the deed to the family home, which was in the name of his brother, Bruce, who had cancer and died in 2017. Though Don Sampson is named in his brother’s will to inherit 8 Omaha, the house cannot be transferred to him — a quirk of trust rules.

Sampson was informed by the trust that the home must be sold by the trust to someone on its waiting list, which has about 500 hopeful island buyers on it.

The letter Sampson received from a trust lawyer advised he had until Jan. 7 (Monday) to relinquish his house keys. If not, the letter states the “Trust will forcibly enter and change the locks.”

He also was directed to remove all possessions from the home by that date as well, but Sampson, as of Sunday, hadn’t moved a stick of furniture.

Sampson was born in the Algonquin Island home in 1957 and moved away when he was about 30 years old. He had a family, raising three sons — twins Dylan and William, 27, and Dustin, 25 — in a Toronto apartment, and then moved back to the island full-time two years ago to care for his terminally ill brother. Bruce had no spouse and no children.

Sampson said he thought that because he was part of the original island community that fought and won the right for islanders to stay put, the trust would let him stay after his brother passed away. He claims the trust has made exceptions to the rules for others in the past.

Filyer told the Star’s Marco Chown Oved in a Dec. 30 story that privacy concerns prevented her from commenting on an individual and that she was not aware of any exceptions made to the property transfer rule.

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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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