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New MiWay Express Service Boosts Pearson Transit Terminal Plan

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“When my ship comes in…”, the old joke goes, “I’ll be at the airport!”

Joking aside, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) wants to turn that cliche-twister further around so that, one day soon, people will seriously say, “When my bus comes in, I’ll be at Pearson airport.”

The GTAA is developing plans for what it’s dubbing “Union Station West“, a regional transit hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport, which it hopes to open by the late 2020s. The airport authority continues to reach out to, and work with, transit agencies and governments to firm up plans for rapid transit to and from the Pearson area. For example, it is expecting that Metrolinx will consider extending the light rail transit lines along Eglinton and Finch Avenues West and connect the future Highway 407 rapidway to the air terminals and the Mississauga Transitway.

Map illustrating how Pearson could link to LRTs, trains and buswaysA transit hub at Pearson could link several major transit services, image, GTAA

Speaking of the transitway, that’s why the GTAA’s president and chief executive officer Howard Eng joined the federal member of parliament, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, and the City of Mississauga‘s mayor, Bonnie Crombie, to officially launch a new express bus service linking central Mississauga to Pearson Terminals 1 and 3 on Friday, November 23.

Since October 29, MiWay passengers have been able to travel along the entire transitway between Winston Churchill and Renforth stations and then express through mixed-traffic to and from Pearson. MiWay “MiExpress” buses along the new 100 Airport express route stop at all 12 transitway stations, also allowing passengers to connect with the TTC, GO Transit and Brampton Transit buses.

MP Bains and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie beside a MiWay busBains and Crombie pose with a PRESTO farecard before boarding a MiWay bus at Mississauga City Hall, image, City of Mississauga

“Mississauga residents now have better transit options to access the Toronto Pearson International Airport,” said Minister Bains. “Our government is helping create a new route that will serve the growing needs of riders in Mississauga, whether they travel for work or pleasure.” Bains, who is the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, represented the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities at the launch event. But Bains would likely have appeared anyway–his home riding of Mississauga-Malton contains Pearson airport.

Map illustrating MiWay MiExpress route 100 Airport expressMap of MiWay MiExpress route 100 Airport express, image, MiWay

The federal Public Transit Infrastructure Funding program—an equal cost-sharing funding program in which the City of Mississauga and the Government of Canada each contributed $58 million—helped the City to fund the new express bus service. The program is also helping the city improve other transit services, including buying 13 new buses, buying another 80 buses to replace part of the current fleet and rehabilitating another 280 more buses.

Dignitaries pose before MiWay bus at PearsonThe GTAA’s Eng and Mississauga councillors Ron Starr and Dave Cook joined Bains and Crombie at Pearson, image, City of Mississauga

“This new route offers a quick, efficient and more affordable way for residents, visitors and thousands of airport employees to get to and from Toronto Pearson International Airport,” said Mayor Crombie. “It is also good for business because it makes it easier for international companies to move employees from the airport to their offices in Mississauga. By strengthening regionally connected transit, we are helping create jobs and grow our economy.”

MiWay bus at Orbitor Station on the Mississauga TransitwayA MiWay bus leaves Orbitor Station on the Mississauga Transitway, August 7, 2017, photo, James Bow, Transit Toronto

The rationale for a building a major transit terminal at or near the airport is becoming increasingly clear. Pearson welcomes more than 47 million passengers annually and contributes directly or indirectly to 6.3 per cent of Ontario’s gross domestic product. The airport zone now offers jobs to 300,000 people and 49,000 of those jobs are at Pearson itself. The GTAA estimates that “in the future”, the airport would handle 85 million visitors, while the nearby area would supply 700,000 jobs and generate 8.5 per cent of the provincial GDP.

In fact, the airport area is now the second-largest employment centre in Canada–behind downtown Toronto but ahead of Montreal and Vancouver in the list. (And many of the people working there live in Mississauga.) Unlike most major Canadian employment areas, however, this one currently has very poor transit connections.

“We congratulate the City of Mississauga on the launch of [this] service, which will improve transit connectivity to Mississauga for our passengers and employees. Mississauga is home to more than 13,000 airport employees and many global businesses that rely on timely access to the airport,” said Eng. “We look forward to continuing to work with the City and other surrounding municipalities to enhance Toronto Pearson’s regional transit connectivity as we work towards our vision of serving as the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s second major transit hub.”

Representatives of the business community, including David Wojcik, president and chief executive officer of the Mississauga Board of Trade, endorsed the new bus service and supported the goal of improving regional connections to Pearson.

“As a global organization, we frequently travel and welcome a great deal of guests through Toronto’s Pearson International Airport,” said Alok Kanti, President and CEO, Bayer Inc. “We are pleased to see that this expansion has been completed as it will lead to improved accessibility for our employees and those that we do business with.”

Dignitaries pose inside Pearson's Terminal One.GTTA Mississauga officials and business people with the other dignitaries at Pearson’s Terminal 1, image, City of Mississauga

“[Our company] owns and manages an extensive portfolio of commercial real estate, with properties and team members located across North America,” said Tullio Capulli, Vice President, Property Management and Leasing Office and Industrial, Eastern Canada, Morguard Brokerage. “Having a direct transit line between the airport and the Mississauga core, where our head office is located, is a great option for our tenants and our employees.”

The MiExpress buses along route 100 operate every 16 minutes from about 4 AM until 7 PM Mondays to Fridays. But, they also add to the mix of MiWay services along the bus-only roadway, offering passengers frequent service—about every five minutes—during rush hours. GO Transit buses also operate along the transitway linking Hamilton and Pearson to the airport and central Mississauga. Those buses, however, require an extra fare, making them less attractive to Mississauga commuters.

The City of Mississauga has opened the transitway in stages since 2014. In 2014, the shorter route attracted 8,022 riders. In 2017, 15,143 passengers boarded buses along the transitway—an increase, the City of Mississauga says, of 77 percent. End to end, it has reduced bus travel times by about fifteen minutes per trip.

Early rendering of the proposed Pearson transit hubA very early rendering of the proposed Pearson transit hub, image, GTAA

Last February, the GTAA engaged HOK to design the regional transit centre and passenger processing facility. HOK is leading a design team that includes WSP Engineers and Weston Williamson + Partners. It intends to engage with many stakeholder groups, including airport partners, government and local community members.

We will continue to update you on plans for the “Union Station West” terminal at Pearson as they unfold. What do you think of the proposal? Add your comments by filling in the form below this page. Or take part in our Forum by joining one of these discussion threads:

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7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

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Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

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Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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