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Empire wants to pay its homeowner’s holiday bills in the #EmpireShineBright lighting contest

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Empire Communities is making it extra special with the #EmpireShineBright holiday lighting contest. The GTA-based developer is inviting all homeowners in the Riverland, Wyndfield, Lush and Victory, Imagine, Summerlea and Avalon communities to let their inner Clark Griswold out and create a show-stopping holiday display for a chance to win a $1,000 prepaid Visa gift card. As one of Southwestern Ontario’s leading developers of master-planned communities, Empire has also partnered with the United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton and will donate $2.00 for every entry.

So grab your ladders, twinkly lights and giant inflatable Santas and spread some holiday cheer in your neighbourhood!



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The contest closes on December 31, 2018 and winners will be chosen by Empire and contacted in January 2019. One winner from each participating Empire community will be selected.

Here’s how to enter:

1. Follow Empire on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

2. Submit a photo or video of your exterior Christmas lights using the hashtag #EmpireShineBright. Make sure to tag Empire Communities and include the name of the community you live in.

3. Watch your social media account for a message from Empire to see if you’ve won. The homeowner with the most dazzling display in each community will be awarded with $1,000.



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Entries will be judged based on originality, creativity and overall presentation. Want to size up the competition? Visit your nearest participating community and presentation centre today.



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Established in 1993, Empire Communities has built more than 12,000 new homes and high-rise condominiums across the Greater Toronto area, Southwestern Ontario and the southern United States. To learn more about the developer and to experience the quality craftsmanship and design of an Empire home, visit empirecommunities.com.

For full contest details visit empirecommunities.com/empireshinebright-holiday-contest.

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New home? Prepare for the unexpected

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(NC) Buying a house, getting married or having your first baby are all major life events that are likely to affect your finances. But whether you’re in the midst of a major life event or not, it’s important to check in on your finances regularly to maintain good financial health.

Your financial health encompasses things like your spending, savings, borrowing and future financial plans. It also means dedicating a set amount of savings for unexpected future events. It can even include optional credit protection insurance, such as TD protection plans, to help cover your debt balances in case of death, a covered critical illness or total disability.

Even though it can be tough to think about the unexpected, life is unpredictable and it’s important to plan for the unexpected. Find more information at td.com.

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(NC) Throughout life, you may have moments where you’ll make a large purchase or invest in a costly item, like your family home. But whether you’re in the market for your first new property or already have a mortgage, leaving this asset unprotected can be costly.   

Insuring your housing financial debt, as well as debt for other big-ticket items like a new boat for your lakefront cottage or keepsake jewelry like an engagement ring, is a smart investment in your well-being.

To help protect your debt balances like a mortgage, your bank may have optional credit protection insurance products.

“Your home is one of your biggest assets, yet illness can happen at any stage of life. Worrying about your mortgage when the focus should be on health isn’t a situation anyone would wish for,” explains Shirley Malloy, vice president at TD. “Fortunately, we offer mortgage protection to provide coverage for your outstanding balance should you face a covered critical health event.”

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Is your internet too slow? It’s probably not you

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(NC) We all know the aggravation of a school lesson that just won’t stop freezing or the family video call that looks more like a photo montage. And, as we adjust to the impact of COVID-19 on our day-to-day, that slow connection can have frustrating consequences.

Working from home and learning remotely, both need fast, stable internet, something not enough Canadians have yet. Even if you have fast devices in your home, if the infrastructure in your area is not optimal, your connection won’t be either.

Right now, cities have the infrastructure needed to ensure access. But rural and remote communities are hugely underserved, with fewer than half having high-speed internet, and fewer than a third of households on reservations have high-speed connections.

Fortunately, change is coming. The Universal Broadband Fund is backing projects across Canada right now to ensure the reliable, high-speed internet connections families need to work, study, access services online, and safely stay in touch with each other.

The fund existed before COVID, but as a response to the pandemic, its timetable has been moved up by four years to a target of 98 per cent of Canadians with high-speed internet access by 2026. With the faster pace, at least 90 per cent of us should be connected by the end of 2021.

The fund is focused on improvements in rural and remote communities across Canada to fix the disconnect between internet access for urban and rural households.  This means more remote work opportunities, better access to remote learning and safer access to healthcare, no matter where you live.

It’s not just for good connections at home, either. The improvements mean much better access to mobile networks on highways between remote communities. The result is better, safer navigation and access to emergency services for your family, even on the road in the middle of nowhere. Mobile projects will be focused on serving Indigenous communities and the roads leading to them.

The shape these improvements will take in your area will depend on where you live. Canada is huge, and its communities are hugely diverse, with diverse needs. Keep an eye out for local projects — they’re a small part of something much bigger.

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