Upskirting victim launches website to flag hidden cameras across Toronto

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Sydney Eatz and her friend, computer programmer Richard Trus, launched a website Monday that allows the public to flag hidden cameras spotted in washrooms and change rooms.

TheySaid.org allows users to submit anonymous tips about peeping Toms, hoping that if there are enough complaints about a particular business, others will be warned to steer clear of the establishment and the police will be forced to investigate.

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It’s a personal mission for Eatz, who said she was a victim of upskirting on the floor at a Google-sponsored event two years ago — and didn’t know it until she found a video of herself online.

“It was really horrible,” said Eatz. “I was really depressed and traumatized.”

Google chose not to comment to Global News on the alleged incident.


READ MORE:
Man wanted for voyeurism after hidden camera found in Scarborough restaurant washroom (May 2018)

Eatz and Trus then began a mission to see how many people across the city may have been victims of upskirting and a quick search online gave them an idea.

“When you search on Google for Toronto hidden camera porn, you will find millions of videos. When you click on the results for Google, it will take you to porn sites and you will see places you recognize in Toronto,” said Trus. “We thought, oh my gosh, these people have no clue that they are basically being assaulted by someone and these repeat offenders are getting away with it.”

“It’s upsetting that a lot of these people can’t go to public washrooms or unisex washrooms and feel safe and have to check for cameras all the time,” said Eatz.

WATCH: Man charged with voyeurism at BCIT in Vancouver (July 2018)






Hans School, president of SpyTech, told Global News that part of the problem is that cameras are getting smaller and record in better quality. It’s easy enough to even purchase cameras that look like wall outlets online, he said, or you can make your own at home, sticking a small camera behind fake wall socket.

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That’s exactly what happened at a Starbucks at the intersection of Yonge and King streets in downtown Toronto. When the coffee company got into hot water after it failed to notify the public right away that a wall-socket camera had been discovered under their bathroom sink, facing the toilet.


READ MORE:
Hidden camera discovered in downtown Toronto Starbucks washroom (May 2018)

Eatz and Trus hope that their website gains enough traction to try and curb secret recordings in public washrooms.

“If nobody stops hidden camera porn, what’s going to happen is that you’re going to start videos of people that you know,” said Trus. “Sisters, mothers, aunts, anyone who has used a public washroom.”

“It’s not until it happens to you,” Eatz said. “Then you realize this is a big issue and needs to be tackled right away.”

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Please sell responsibly: Ontario launches cannabis retail training

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It will take four hours of online training before employees can step behind the counter of a pot shop in this province.

That’s the average length of time a mandatory course known as CannSell will take prospective workers in Ontario’s forthcoming cannabis stores to complete, its builders say.

A grow room at Canopy Growth’s Tweed facility in Smiths Falls, Ont. For retail workers, a program has been set up in advance of the first stores, coming April 1.
A grow room at Canopy Growth’s Tweed facility in Smiths Falls, Ont. For retail workers, a program has been set up in advance of the first stores, coming April 1.  (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Created by the cannabis resource company Lift & Co. and MADD Canada, the program was announced this week by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as the sole certification program for all store employees.

“By law everyone that touches cannabis (in) retail essentially has to have this course,” said Lift and Co. head Matei Olaru.

“CannSell is meant to educate cannabis retail employees on the responsible sale of cannabis and their legal and regulatory obligations,” Olaru said.

The $49.99 (plus tax) course will be offered starting Feb. 25 and will have to graduate its first class in time for the scheduled April 1 opening of Ontario’s 25 initial brick-and-mortar shops.

Read more:

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Central to the self-guided program, said MADD Canada CEO Andrew Murie, is its focus on responsible sales.

“The drug presence in (road) fatalities is three times what it is for alcohol,” Murie said. “We’ve done an amazing job on alcohol so we need to applaud ourselves for that, but we still haven’t had the same rigour around cannabis.”

Murie said safety issues covered in the course will largely mirror those found in the Smart Serve Ontario training program, required of LCBO workers.

Most important, he said, are the program’s focus on the legal liability that stores could face; federal and provincial regulations surrounding pot; and the ability to recognize both cannabis and alcohol impairment.

“If you train people to know their jobs so they don’t serve minors, they don’t serve intoxicated people, that lowers the incidence of potential impaired driving,” Murie said.

But he said ongoing alcohol and gaming commission inspections must ensure that the rules taught in the online program are being enforced at shop doors and counters.

“If we can tighten up on that (responsible service) then that goes a long way to reducing the harms.”

The course will also delve into the risks, harms and responsible use of cannabis and provide an overview of the plant and its history. The latter aspect, Olaru said, will give store employees the grounding they need to build an expertise in cannabis products that consumers will demand.

Some 70 per cent of consumers rank a strong product knowledge among store staff as the top feature of a cannabis outlet, a 2018 industry report by Deloitte Canada found. Olaru said Lift could take the lead on further product education among store employees.

“CannSell is very much a foundation for you to even understand how to talk about products.”

The course will be taken individually online and students must score 80 per cent to pass. All retail managers and store owners must also be CannSell-certified under provincial rules. The program’s website, cannsell.ca, was to go live Thursday with an information package on the course.

A similar program is being offered by MADD and Lift & Co. in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and by many private stores across Canada.

Murie said CannSell programs are modular and that they can keep up with a changing industry — one that will see edibles enter the market next October, for example.

“The training needs to keep up with the marketplace,” he said. “So we designed it on that flexibility so every teaching element is a single component in the training so it can be removed, can be updated and slotted back in — components come in come out.”

Murie said he does not know if employees will be on the hook for the course costs or if store owners will cover them.

He said many LCBO applicants take the Smart Serve course at their own expense to boost their hiring prospects.

Joseph Hall is a Toronto-based reporter and feature writer. Reach him on email: gjhall@thestar.ca

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Alberta Liberal party launches campaigns for Lethbridge East and West constituencies – Lethbridge

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Alberta Liberal Party leader David Khan made a stop in Lethbridge Saturday to launch the campaigns for Devon Hargreaves and Pat Chizek. Hargreaves is running for the Lethbridge-East constituency and Chizek is running for Lethbridge-West.


READ MORE:
Provincial Liberal leader makes pitch to southern Albertans ahead of spring election

“This is going to be a great opportunity for us to regain seats in the legislature. Lethbridge-East and Lethbridge-West are going to be a big part of that plan. We’ve elected Liberal MLAs here in the past and we’re going to do it in the future,” said Khan.

Hargreaves was born and raised in Alberta. He is married, works in the private sector and has lived in Lethbridge for several years. Speaking to the crowd of supporters, Hargreaves talked about his passion for inclusivity, diversity and his desire to take back the ridings that were once Liberal.


READ MORE:
How do Alberta’s political parties vet their candidates?

Challenging in Lethbridge-West is former teacher Pat Chizek, who discussed her passion for public health over private.

“I would like to make sure seniors have enough facilities to care for them so that they can live dignified in the last years of their life,” said Chizek.

The two new candidates along with the Alberta Liberal Party Leader spoke to a room of supporters, at a local Lethbridge restaurant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Family of mentally ill man who died in Ontario jail launches $14.3-million lawsuit against province, guards

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The family of a mentally ill man who died following a three-hour confrontation at an Ontario jail is suing the province and guards at the facility, alleging correctional officers used excessive force leading to his death.

Soleiman Faqiri’s relatives claim an eye witness, who was housed in a cell near Faqiri, has new information that suggests correctional officers were allegedly responsible for his death.

“The Faqiri family has been waiting for years for someone to explain how this could have happened,” family lawyer Nader Hasan said in a news release Wednesday. “This is about truth and accountability.”

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Faqiri, who had schizophrenia, died in December 2016 after guards at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ont., pepper-sprayed and beat him after he refused to get out of the shower, according to a 2017 internal report by the Kawartha Lakes Police Service that refers to surveillance video.

The report, which was obtained by the Star in February 2018, described how officers forced handcuffs and leg shackles on the 30-year-old as they returned him to a segregation cell.

Faqiri was to be transferred to a mental health facility in Whitby.

A 2017 coroner’s report, which ruled Faqiri’s cause of death to be “unascertained,” found he suffered more than 50 injuries, including a bruised laceration on his forehead, and multiple bruises and abrasions on his face, torso and limbs.

Faqiri’s family on Wednesday filed a statement of claim seeking $14.3 million in damages, alleging cruel and unusual punishment, battery, negligence, and abuse of public office.

In a news release, Yusuf Faqiri said his family has been suffering since his brother’s death. “While in segregation, a place he never should have been, Soli’s mental health deteriorated significantly,” he said. “We are seeking accountability and justice for Soli.”

The Ontario Provincial Police recently reopened the investigation into Faqiri’s death, which had earlier been probed by the Kawartha Lakes Police Service with no charges laid.

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Kids Help Phone launches texting service for youth nationwide, in both English and French

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For kids in crisis, help is a text message away.

That’s because Kids Help Phone recently launched a national texting service making mental health support more accessible.

Cara Chen, manager of community crisis responders at Kids Help Phone, is the first “texting supervisor” on the recently launched crisis text line, which is available at all hours in both English and French.
Cara Chen, manager of community crisis responders at Kids Help Phone, is the first “texting supervisor” on the recently launched crisis text line, which is available at all hours in both English and French.  (MOE DOIRON / TORONTO STAR)

“We needed to ensure young people could reach out for support in the way they prefer and using the technology they carry around with them everywhere,” said Alisa Simon, chief youth officer at Kids Help Phone, a charity that provides free anonymous and confidential services round-the-clock.

“We want every young person in Canada to quickly and easily be able to reach out for support and help.”

Kids Help Phone provides professional counselling services, anonymously, by phone and through an online chat. In November, it launched the confidential texting service, using volunteer crisis responders who engage in empathetic listening. Every texting conversation is monitored, in real-time, by a professional supervisor who supports the volunteer and can step in to help if necessary.

“By using volunteers we’re helping to change communities,” she said, adding more than 700 volunteers nationwide have been trained on the challenges young people face, how to have difficult conversations with them and how to assess whether they’re safe.

Between February and October, the service was tested in Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Atlantic provinces and at the University of Guelph. There were more than 13,000 texting conversations during that period, with the most common issues related to anxiety, depression, relationships and feelings of isolation.

Feedback on the new service has been positive. Texters, who are typically in their late teens or young adults, were surveyed about their experience. Eighty-eight per cent found the conversation helpful, 86 per cent reported a reduction in stress and 52 per cent felt more confident that they could cope with whatever was bothering them. About a quarter of respondents had suicidal thoughts. At times it was necessary for a professional supervisor to call emergency services, resulting in one to two active rescues daily. Supervisors are the only ones who can see the texter’s number and will call for help while the volunteer continues the conversation with the texter.

Most respondents said if they hadn’t engaged in a texting session they would have managed the issue on their own, ignored it or not spoken to anyone. Seven per cent said they would have gone to the emergency room.

The service was rolled out nationwide in early November and since then there have been, at least, an additional 15,000 texting conversations. Cara Chen, the manager of community crisis responders at Kids Help Phone, says youth from every province and territory are participating.

“It’s a groundbreaking service,” says Chen, who oversees the volunteer crisis responders. “It’s the first texting service for youth that’s 24-7 and offers services in English and French.”

She notes youth can reach out for help, even in the middle of the night, when other supports may not be available to them in their communities.

Shana Kapustin of Toronto decided to volunteer as a crisis responder, in large part, because she wants to ensure that her 15-year-old son always has “a safe place” he can turn to if he doesn’t feel comfortable speaking with her.

“You’re changing the lives of children, there’s nothing that is more meaningful than that,” says Kapustin, whose day job is as a senior director of human resources at Synnex Canada, which is a corporate national partner of Kids Help Phone. “The demographic lends itself to texting. They live on their phones. They live on texting, rather than talking.”

“I’ve found that most texters are very open, very willing to have a text with someone, because they’re really in crisis and they just don’t have any other options at that point.”

She started volunteering eight months ago, and says she’s had one conversation that required an active rescue. Authorities arrived in time.

“At the end of the day, we saved a life. There is nothing more rewarding than that.”

To reach a crisis responder who speaks English text TALK to 686868, and to connect with a French speaker text TEXTO to 686868.

Isabel Teotonio is a Toronto-based reporter covering education. Follow her on Twitter: @Izzy74

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Family of Toronto van attack victim launches foundation to end violence against women

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The family of a woman killed in the Toronto van attack has launched a foundation in her name to help women suffering from violence and abuse.

Anne Marie D’Amico was among the 10 people killed in the van attack that struck Toronto’s north end in April.

The Anne Marie D’Amico Foundation was launched on Dec. 3, which would have been D’Amico’s 31st birthday.

Following her death, D’Amico’s friends and family described her as a cheerful, friendly person and a dedicated volunteer.

« I think her spirit is something that’s going to live on, » her brother Nick D’Amico told CBC Radio’s Here and Now this week. « That was really what we were trying to capture here. »

In its mission to end violence and abuse against women, the foundation will begin by raising money for the North York Women’s Shelter, which is in the process of building a new facility.

Foundation is ‘grounding point’ for family

« It’s appropriate for the kind of situation that happened to my daughter, » said Rocco D’Amico, Anne Marie’s father.

« Rather than sprinkling our hard work throughout various organizations, we’ve decided to focus on this particular organization, » he said. « They do great work. »

The foundation is hoping to raise $3 million for the new facility.

There are also plans to host an annual fundraiser, called the Turtle Project, on D’Amico’s birthday. The event will feature entertainment and stories from survivors of abuse.

« Just having this foundation as a bit of a cornerstone, a bit of a grounding point for us, has really kind of brought us through a lot of the darkness, » Nick D’Amico said.

« This will be what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life, » Rocco D’Amico added.

Alek Minassian, 26, of Richmond Hill, Ont., is facing 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in connection to the attack.

His trial is scheduled to begin in February 2020.

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Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques launches into space – National

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BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan – Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques blasted off from Kazakhstan this morning aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station.

The 48-year-old doctor and astronaut lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with Anne McClain of NASA and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

The launch appeared to go smoothly from Kazakhstan at the precise liftoff time of 6:31 a.m. eastern time.


READ MORE:
3, 2, 1, liftoff: David Saint-Jacques, Canada’s next astronaut, set to blast off Monday

The crew was reporting that all was going well in the critical initial minutes after liftoff and were safely in orbit.

It was the first manned Russian rocket launch since a dramatic aborted Soyuz failure in October.

On Oct. 11, a rocket failure forced a Soyuz capsule carrying two astronauts to abort and make an emergency landing.

Russia suspended all manned space launches pending an investigation before giving the green light Nov. 1.

VIDEO: Canadian David Saint-Jacques, fellow astronauts make way into capsule






Saint-Jacques has spent years training for the six-month mission, which was originally scheduled for Dec. 20 but was moved up after the aborted Soyuz launch.

Aboard the station, he will conduct a number of science experiments, with some focusing on the physical effects of the weak gravity astronauts experience in orbit as well as how to provide remote medical care.


READ MORE:
Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques gets new launch date after Russian rocket failure

It was expected the crowd on the ground watching the liftoff in Kazakhstan would include members of Saint-Jacques’ family as well as Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, herself a former astronaut.

Payette, who completed missions to the space station in 1999 and 2009, says the most dangerous moments come immediately following the launch as the rocket passes through several “critical zones” on its way into space.

The last Canadian astronaut to visit the space station was Chris Hadfield, who was on a five-month mission that ended in May 2013.

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Postal union launches protest campaign as employees halt rotating strikes

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Federal back-to-work legislation may have ended rotating strikes by postal workers — but their union now says it’s switching to a campaign of « non-violent civil disobedience » to press its contract claims.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers Union (CUPW) National President Mike Palecek said that while legal strike action is ending, the pressure campaign is just beginning.

« You cannot legislate labour peace. We are now moving to a different phase of the struggle, » he said.

Union members were instructed to return to regularly scheduled shifts as of noon ET today, and to await further instructions.

Striking Canada Post workers stay warm around the fire as they walk the picket line in front of the Saint-Laurent sorting facility in Montreal on Thursday November 15, 2018. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

« In the coming days we will be calling on our allies and membership for a campaign of mobilizations, demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience, » Palecek said.

« All options remain on the table to achieve negotiated collective agreements that address health and safety, inequitable treatment, fair wages and working conditions, and the democratic right to free collective bargaining. »

The union also warned it’s considering legal action against the federal back-to-work legislation, but offered no details.

The rotating strikes ended after senators voted Monday night in favour of the Liberal government’s legislation to force Canada Post employees back to work.

Bill C-89 was debated in the upper chamber Saturday after the Liberal government fast-tracked the legislation through the House of Commons. The Senate vote passed by a margin of 53 to 25, with four senators abstaining, as walkouts by Canada Post workers entered their sixth week.

C-89 imposes fines of between $1,000 and $50,000 per day on anyone found in contravention of the Act, and up to $100,000 per day against Canada Post or the union if they are found guilty of violating its terms.

Negotiations between Canada Post and the union have been underway for nearly a year, but the dispute escalated when CUPW members launched rotating strikes on Oct. 22.

The union wants better pay and job security, guaranteed hours for its 8,000 rural and suburban carriers, and equality for those workers with the corporation’s 42,000 urban employees.

CUPW also wants Canada Post to adopt rules that it said would address workplace injuries — a problem the union has described as a « crisis. »

Canadian Union of Postal Workers National President Mike Palecek. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Palecek has called the back-to-work bill a slap in the faces of Canada Post employees and accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of turning his back on postal workers.

The former Conservative government forced an end to a lockout of postal workers during a 2011 dispute by enacting back-to-work legislation, which was later declared by a court to be unconstitutional.

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu has insisted the Liberal legislation is dramatically different, since it tasks an independent mediator-arbitrator with reaching a contract settlement in 90 days. Failing that, a settlement could be imposed by the arbitrator.

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Simcoe County Archives launches region’s first WW1 honour roll – Barrie

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The County of Simcoe Archives has launched a virtual memorial to honour 1,006 men and women with ties to Simcoe County who died while in service or as a result of injuries sustained during the First World War.

According to a news release issued by the county on Thursday, the memorial, titled Simcoe County Remembers, is the first known First World War honour roll in Simcoe County which centralizes multiple lists and sources into one database.

“Following the war, many of the region’s townships, towns and villages established their own individual forms of commemoration,” the release reads. County officials say the honour roll complements the existing public memorials with one consolidated list.

“This is a tremendously important undertaking and truly documents the significant sacrifices of our men, women and families during WW1,” Simcoe County deputy warden, Terry Dowdall, said in the release. “Simcoe County has a deep military history and the Archives continues to play an important role in preserving our past so it can be illuminated for future generations.”


READ MORE:
Barrie residents, dignitaries, veterans celebrate grand opening of Memorial Square

According to the county, staff conducted extensive research of public memorials, published local histories and official military records in order to establish the Simcoe County Remembers database.

The release says databases found on the websites of the Library and Archives Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada Books of Remembrance and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission were also searched to find the names of the region’s deceased war veterans.

The county says the following criteria were used to develop the list of names:

  • Was the individual born in Simcoe County?
  • Did the individual reside in Simcoe County at the time of enlistment?
  • Did the individual’s official next-of-kin reside in Simcoe County?
  • Is the individual’s name on one of the public war memorials located in Simcoe County?
  • Did the individual die while in military service prior to Nov. 11, 1918, or soon after the Armistice of causes directly connected to his or her war service?

According to the release, while the Townships of Mara and Rama did not join the County of Simcoe until 1974, the names of fallen men and women from the communities have been included in the Simcoe County Remembers database.

The county says the database is intended to be as inclusive as possible. Anyone who feels a name is missing or finds there is a documentation error is encouraged to contact Simcoe County Archives at 705-726-9331.

Simcoe County Remembers can be accessed on the county’s website.

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

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U.S. online giant Zillow launches first Canadian property listings

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After months of speculation and outreach to the Canadian real estate industry, U.S. online giant Zillow begins posting Canadian properties on its site and mobile app on Tuesday.

The Seattle-based company has agreements to receive more than 50,000 Canadian listings, including those from Century 21, Right at Home Realty and Toronto-based Re/Max Ultimate Realty. The listings will be published in batches, starting with about 10,000 properties with others coming online in the weeks and months ahead, said Errol Samuelson, Zillow’s Vancouver-based chief industry development officer.

Zillow claims to attract more than 100 million visits a year from non-U.S. users.
Zillow claims to attract more than 100 million visits a year from non-U.S. users.

He is in Toronto this week meeting with about 75 industry leaders to discuss how they can partner with Zillow and to demonstrate the software that is available to brokers and agents here.

Just as with American listings on Zillow.com, the Canadian posts will display the listing agent’s name and contact details, including links to the brokerage. That information is posted free. Agents here can also post a profile or video with their free listing, something that some Canadian agents have already begun.

Eventually, the Canadian listings on Zillow will evolve to match the company’s U.S. business model, which allows other agents to pay to have their details appear next to a listing in order to harvest leads.

Home buyers can search by city, neighbourhood or a specific address.

The previous selling prices of Canadian homes won’t be available at first, but Samuelson said he hopes that will come in time, depending on the rules.

“In the U.S. in most markets we show the full listing history. Our goal is to show the same information in Canada because consumers find it super useful. Having said that, we will abide by the local customs and laws,” he said.

Read more:

Supreme Court dismisses real estate board’s appeal application on sold data

Canadian listings will be available on the Zillow site and its mobile app.

The company has a mobile-first policy, said Samuelson, adding that, “Mobile may be a way consumers really fall in love.”

“If you look at our market share for mobile users, we’ve got 75 per cent market share because we put so much emphasis on the mobile devices,” said Samuleson.

Zillow claims to attract more than 100 million visits a year from non-U.S. users.

Samuelson described Zillow as “a complement” to the most popular Canadian real estate search site, Realtor.ca.

Tess Kalinowski is a Toronto-based reporter covering real estate. Follow her on Twitter: @tesskalinowski

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