AI helps hearing aids learn and improve by isolating important environmental sounds

How AI helps your hearing

Hearing loss can be different for everyone.

One of these reasons hearing loss can be difficult and complicated to address is that the extent of hearing loss can be different from individual to individual, which is why it’s vital to visit a trained hearing professional.

A solution that helps you hear better at home may not work the same way in a noisy restaurant. If you have experience with hearing loss, you may know that just making everything louder isn’t always the best solution.

NexGen Hearing is here to help—with locations throughout B.C., the clinic can help improve your quality of life through professional services that are tailored to your personalized hearing needs.

Hearing aid technology is improving all the time, and there is an exciting new technology that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to help hearing aids learn and improve by isolating important environmental sounds.

AI uses data to recognize patterns, which can then be applied to solve problems. With large amounts of data, AI is able to navigate through complex problems involving many variables.

How has AI been used for hearing loss so far, and what potential does it hold to help with hearing loss? Read on to find out.

How AI is currently being used to help with hearing loss

AI is already integrated into our everyday lives, and you may have already experienced it without realizing it. One common use of AI is in speech recognition, which provides automated closed captioning for videos. The ability to read the words being said on the screen is a valuable service for those with hearing loss.

AI is also being used by some audiologists to assist in fitting hearing aids. Software with AI functions can provide suggestions to tune the hearing aid correctly as the audiologist plays sounds.

AI is now increasingly being used in more sophisticated hearing aids to provide a greater impact on correcting hearing loss. For example, an AI-powered hearing aid could have established modes for different environments, such as being out in a crowded place, at home, or watching a movie. The hearing aid would be able to adjust its frequencies depending on where the wearer was to optimize that person’s ability to hear.

Newer hearing aids that are powered with AI can sense the ambient sound in the environment and automatically make changes as needed. Those hearing aids can automatically lower background noise while boosting speech, increasing the volume to improve hearing.


Future uses of AI in hearing loss

Exciting AI technology is helping to propel advancements in hearing loss, working to mimic how the brain hears sounds. Hearing aids that use AI will automatically adjust to best fit a user’s individual needs.

AI is constantly learning, scanning the sounds in your environment and adapting to what is crucial for hearing. Hearing aids outfitted with AI technology could even start to identify voices that are important to the wearer and emphasize those, while filtering out others.

More advanced future uses of AI may include enhancing what has traditionally been one of the more challenging situations for people with hearing loss, including focusing on conversation between multiple people in a noisy setting. AI could track the conversation and prioritize the changing primary voice of the conversation by tracking the brain’s neural activity.

Another exciting future possibility for AI technology applied to hearing loss could include augmented reality glasses, which provide information to the wearer. The glasses could provide automated captions of speech for the wearer to help them better understand the speaker.

The future of AI technology is full of bright possibilities and is making steady progress.

To visit a trained practitioner, such as the professionals at NexGen Hearing, and get a hearing aid expertly adjusted to your individual hearing needs visit nexgenhearing.com.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Industrial gases used in cooling appliances can harm environment if not properly disposed of

How to recycle your fridge

Do you have an old fridge or freezer that is sitting in storage, and you’re unsure of what to do with it?

“It’s really, really important that people don’t just throw it out back,” executive director of the Major Appliance Recycling Roundtable (MARR) Michael Zarbl says.

Many large appliances used for cooling and refrigeration – such as fridges, freezers, and air conditioners – use chemical refrigerants that as a group are classified as ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

These chemicals can be very harmful to the environment so it’s crucial that the gasses are disposed of correctly by a trained professional, before recycling.

Fortunately, MARR makes it easy for everyone to recycle their old appliances safely with zero cost.

“If you have an old stove, fridge, freezer and more, you can bring it back to any of our 200 recycling sites and drop it off for free,” Zarbl says.

“Prior to MARR existing, a lot of sites would take your old fridges and freezers and charge you for the gas removal. People then faced a dilemma because they didn’t want to pay to have the gas removed. So, they were just releasing it instead, which is terrible.”

MARR was established in 2012 as a stewardship agency for end-of-life major household appliances. The recycling fee consumers pay when purchasing a new appliance is directed toward MARR operations.

While the home appliance industry is transitioning away from very high global warming, potential hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants (AKA greenhouse gasses) in refrigerators and freezers, room air conditioners, portable air conditioners and dehumidifiers, there are still generations of units in use today.

Leaving the units to deteriorate or dismantling them for scrap metal before extracting the gases could release harmful pollutants into the environment. All technicians that extract these gases are licensed professionals, which is why it’s crucial to deliver your old appliances to a MARR site for extraction and destruction.

“Prior to MARR, people were obliged to collect the gases and no one was managing the disposal, so it wasn’t being done properly,” Zarbl adds. “Collection agencies now have to provide proof that they have disposed of the gas in an environmentally sound manner.”

This involves burning the gas off at extremely high and controlled temperatures, so the molecules separate and the gas is no longer harmful to the ozone layer.

Zarbl cautions against dropping off old appliances at facilities that are not associated with MARR.

“Don’t dispose of them in another facility because you don’t know if it’s going to be done properly,” Zarbl says. “There are tons of metal recyclers out there who may not be doing it properly.”

For the rural regions of B.C., or wherever it is challenging to find a certified technician, MARR has created a training process.

Once prospective technicians have completed the federally mandated refrigerant course, MARR's experienced field agent visits the collector and offers practical training for the collector to be fully confident, independent, and compliant with the ODS extraction process.

MARR also provides subsidies for First Nations and remote communities to purchase the correct safety equipment.

“We’re not just training to remove gas, we also pay to haul out old equipment,” Zarbl says.

Often, it is cost-prohibitive to remove old appliances from remote communities, where the selling price of scrap metal doesn’t cover the transport costs.

“In those cases, MARR steps in and goes to small communities and pays to have appliances hauled at no cost to the community,” Zarbl says.

To learn where to drop off your large appliances for safe recycling, visit www.marrbc.ca.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Avoid infrastructure damage, personal injury by contacting BC 1 Call to know what’s below before disturbing the ground

Why risk it? Use BC 1 Call

April marks Safe Digging Month, and BC 1 Call is encouraging British Columbians to click or call before they dig.

The start of spring is when homeowners and contractors often begin projects that involve disturbing the ground. But blindly digging without checking what lies below can have dire consequences.

“You need to know what’s in the ground before you can start to dig safely,” president and CEO of BC 1 Call Chris Hyland says. “Otherwise, you could cause severe injury, there could be a major environmental impact, or you might be financially liable.”

Fortunately, getting information about what’s in the ground is a call or click away with respect to 351 infrastructure owners, who are members of BC 1 Call.

One-stop solution

BC 1 Call was formed in 1994 by public and private sector infrastructure owners to make it as easy as possible for anyone planning to break ground to find out how to avoid damaging buried facilities or causing personal injury. BC 1 Call is both a shared damage prevention service and a safe digging service.

“BC 1 Call is your link to safety,” Hyland says.

The free service is easily accessible to homeowners, contractors and member employee field crews. Anyone can request a free locate ticket online 24/7 or via phone during regular business hours, at 1-800-474-6886.

The process is easy. Just submit a ticket to BC 1 Call with details about the excavation project, including location. BC 1 Call immediately notifies all members who have pipes, cables conduits and other buried facilities that are in or near the excavator’s dig site. The process ends with the contractor or homeowner receiving instructions within three business days from BC 1 Call members on how to proceed safely to avoid hitting underground utilities.

“We strongly encourage people to use the online approach. It’s faster,” Hyland says. “You provide the necessary information including the defined work area, and then follow the instructions received directly from our members. It’s just that simple.”

Avoid damage

In 2020, 49% of 1,249 reported damage incidents to underground infrastructure in BC were a direct result of not contracting BC 1 Call before digging.

Some of the hazards of not first contacting BC 1 Call or following instructions include damaging a gas line, taking out a phone or internet line, disrupting community water supply and causing environmental damage by creating spillage.

It’s estimated that the annual cross-country tally of infrastructure damage and such related consequences is over $1-billion.

Avoid financial liability

“Whether you’re a homeowner working on a small outdoor project, or a professional contractor responsible for a large construction project, it’s always important to think of BC 1 Call before you start disturbing the ground,” Hyland says.

Contractors who damage underground infrastructure could see their job sites put on pause for a few hours or even a few days while they wait for the owner of the damaged utility to arrive to inspect and undertake repairs that are billed to the contractor.

Homeowners could find themselves financially responsible for all infrastructure repair costs related to damage on their property. For those on a tight home improvement project budget, this could be a particularly costly, unwanted and unexpected expense.

Avoid disruption of critical services

Contacting BC 1 Call is a year-round best practice that prevents avoidable damages to infrastructure carrying drinking water, internet, heat, air conditioning, telecommunication and other critical services.

“You could be taking out your elderly neighbour’s ability to call 911. You could end up polluting a stream with chlorinated water. It’s just a risk you don’t want to take,” Hyland says.

Damage incidents and service disruptions can be avoided, and you can help reduce the number of damage incidents by contacting BC 1 Call and following the instructions provided by its members before digging.

Dig safely by first submitting a locate ticket today: visit www.bc1c.ca or call 1-800-474-6886.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

What to know about declaring crypto when you file your tax return

Your guide to crypto tax

Last year, more and more Canadians started investing in cryptocurrencies than ever before, thanks in part to the ease afforded by online crypto trading platforms, such as Netcoins.

Netcoins offers 22 coins to trade (with more to come), no funding fees and free cash withdrawals. They also offer unique features like price alert notifications and limit orders so that you have more control over how you buy crypto. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to get started.

So, if you were one of the many Canadians who invested in crypto last year, Netcoins has created a quick guide to crypto taxes for your last-minute returns. Let’s dive in.

Capital gains

In Canada, most income you earn is taxable, including money earned from trading.

Most Canadians who dabble in crypto will fall under the trading category because they’re buying and selling crypto for profit. This would then be taxed as a capital gain.

A capital gain is an increase in an asset’s value and the profit you make from selling it. You are only taxed when these gains are realized. For example, when crypto is sold at a higher rate than you bought it for.

Let’s say you sold all your bitcoin for $50,000 but originally bought it for $20,000. Your capital gain is $30,000.

In Canada, 50% of your capital gains are taxable. So, out of the $30,000 profit you made from selling, you would have to report $15,000 as part of your income for taxes.

Capital losses

Capital losses are the opposite of capital gains. It’s when the value of your investment decreases from the original price you bought it for. Capital losses can be used to offset any capital gains and may reduce the overall total tax you have to pay.

Transferring crypto

If you buy crypto from Netcoins and transfer it to a crypto wallet or another discount brokerage, that is not considered a taxable event. It’s similar to transferring money from your chequing account to your savings account. You’re still in possession of it therefore you are not required to pay taxes.

Crypto-to-crypto conversions

If you convert one cryptocurrency to another (example: bitcoin to XRP), a transaction has officially been made and you will be taxed on the capital gains. It is your responsibility to track the price you bought each crypto asset at, your conversions, and any realized capital gains.

Using crypto

If you actively use bitcoin as a means of exchange to buy goods, no evaluation is needed. Using bitcoin as money is similar to using Canadian dollars as money to buy goods, like a car.

Buying and holding crypto

Do you have to report crypto if you buy and never touch it? No.

If your crypto grows in value and you do not sell it, that is considered unrealized gain because you haven’t sold it. You do not have to report these for tax purposes.

However, if as a Canadian you hold over $100,000CAD worth of cryptocurrencies in a foreign crypto exchange (example: Coinbase), there is a special T1135 form you must file to declare investments held outside of Canada during the year.

Hopefully, this quick guide was helpful in understanding the basics of how crypto is taxed in Canada. To dive a little deeper, you can read the full guide here (provided by Netcoins).

Note: If you used Netcoins to buy crypto in Canada, getting access to your account history for tax purposes is easy. Users can download their transaction history by logging onto their Netcoins account, clicking the dashboard and selecting “see all transactions.”

To learn more and to buy bitcoin, ether and more easily with Netcoins, visit netcoins.ca.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

B.C. university names its school of business and economics in honour of a man with deep community roots who stands for a strong work ethic and personal integrity

Giving back for the future

Bob Gaglardi is a natural role model for up-and-coming business students. The B.C. entrepreneur founded Northland Properties with a love for building and a dream to be self-employed and has turned it into a global company that represents some of the most recognized hotels, restaurants and sports brands.

When his four children talked about how they could give back to honour their father and all he has accomplished, they came back to the place Gaglardi still considers home: Kamloops, in the heart of the B.C. Interior.

"Kamloops is always going to be a special place for me. It's where I grew up and witnessed my mother and father doing great things for the community," says Gaglardi, Northland’s chairman.

With support from Northland, his children wanted to create a legacy that would make a difference for Kamloops, and they found the perfect opportunity at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).

They are generously donating $10 million to TRU, the largest-ever donation received by the university. These funds will help TRU construct a new building for the business school and support its research and students through innovative projects, programs and financial awards.

It's a perfect fit. Students come in with dreams and drive, and learn how to turn their passion into reality—similar to how the self-made Gaglardi established his own business through perseverance and his deep sense of integrity.

This transformational gift will build spaces for exploration, collaboration and research where thousands of students from more than 100 countries put their minds toward becoming leaders and blazing their own trails. A portion of the donation is also designated for expanded programming, research initiatives and student financial support in business and economics.

In recognition of Gaglardi’s leadership, high standards of business conduct, and his dedication to supporting and empowering communities—all qualities synonymous with TRU—the university is naming its business school the Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics.

“This is the first time in TRU’s history that a school is being named. The impact associated with this donation extends beyond the monetary value and represents leadership for TRU,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Brett Fairbairn. “TRU strives to be a leader in diversity, a leader in community-mindedness, a leader in curiosity and a leader in sustainability. The Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics champions that mission as one of our flagship faculties.”

Gaglardi’s strong sense of values came from his parents. He is the eldest son of Jennie and Phil Gaglardi—both Pentecostal ministers, while Phil was also a high-profile politician serving as B.C.’s highways minister and mayor of Kamloops. They instilled in him an inherent devotion to hard work, integrity, people and community, and they led by example through their dedication to helping others.

The dean of the Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics, Dr. Michael Henry, says Gaglardi was the ideal candidate for the school’s name because of his strong ties to Kamloops and his belief that people are the core of his company’s success.

"Bob cares about people, and he cares about community. He's created a successful business built on the foundation of being an honest and hardworking leader who deeply values people and credits their contribution to his company's success,” says Henry. "This is the type of business leader we want to have as an inspiration for students at the Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics."

Gaglardi’s daughter Andrea Gaglardi, vice-president of corporate development at Northland Properties, says while Kamloops is a special place to the family, the city is particularly significant to her father.

“My father has always led by example, and I hope his story of determination and fortitude inspires generations of business students at TRU as they continue to learn and follow their dreams.”

Thompson Rivers University

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Finalists for 2022 BC housing awards represent impressive range

Georgies salutes finalists

Often considered the “Academy Awards” of building excellence, the 30th Annual Canadian Home Builders Association of BC (CHBA BC) Georgie Awards recognize the outstanding and innovative achievements of the year in new home construction, residential renovation, and interior design.

“The Georgie Awards continue to be a beacon of excellence in the residential construction industry, and, this year, our finalists have built and renovated outstanding homes in communities across B.C.,” says Neil Moody, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC.

Recently, CHBA BC unveiled the finalists in 49 categories, including a few new additions added in 2021, like the Provincial Award for Excellence in Housing Affordability.

In addition to highlighting the spectacular homes in the region, the awards also recognize the changing landscape of housing in the province, with categories including excellence in the environmental initiative, certified home and innovation in design. A panel of industry professionals from across Canada, judged the entries and selected the finalists.

“This year’s awards show will also be a celebration of our industry’s incredible strength and resiliency,” says Moody, adding the association received an 11% increase in award entry submissions this year.

“CHBA members in B.C. have continued to build and upgrade homes for British Columbians during this extremely challenging year, which is a testament to our industry’s commitment to excellence.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s 2022 finalists. Here’s a look at three much-awarded finalists:

Langley’s Vesta Properties

Vesta Properties is a finalist in 11 categories for its multi-family subdivision, Latimer Heights, and its single-family subdivision, Brookswood Mills.

“We are very excited, for us and all of the builders. It feels good to be acknowledged for doing a job we love,” says Julie Sillars of Vesta Properties.

“Many of our trades and suppliers have been with us since 1989, and now we are seeing the next generation working for us. There is so much pride and hard work that goes into this legacy.”

Kelowna’s Bercum Builders

Bercum Builders has been recognized over the years with seven Georgie awards, including Grand Georgie for Custom Home Builder of the Year (2018 and 2019). This year, it’s a finalist in the Best Residential Renovation $1,000,000 and over, with four nods for Vernon’s Cypress Hill Estate.

“A Georgie finalist in any category is a true honour,” president Darren Witt says. “You are competing with the absolute best contractors in the province.”

Comox Valley’s J. Zsiros Contracting

J. Zsiros Contracting won the 2018 Georgie Award winner for Best Production Home and is up for five awards this year for Carriage House Elegance, including The Provincial for Excellence in Housing Affordability.

“I’m honoured to be acknowledged by my peers, and I’d like to thank my employees and sub-trades for their hard work,” J. Zsiros Contracting principal Jim Zsiros says.

“It’s a big accomplishment for myself and our team. We enjoy what we are doing and doing things that matter. The accolades make us all feel proud.”

For the full list of finalists, visit www.georgieawards.ca.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet Kamloops.

Grant Thornton LLP outlines how you can exit your business

How to exit your business

Should you sell your business now?

Any decision about your exit—including its timing—comes down to your unique situation and goals. There are three important questions to ask that can help you assess whether now is the right time to plan an exit.

How much is my business worth today?

Understanding the current market value of your business impacts any decision you make regarding your future and getting a proper estimate can be a complicated task. Working with a professional can help ensure that you don’t overestimate the value of your business or underestimate its potential for future growth.

Is my business in demand?

Consider the demand for businesses in your sector and privately held businesses overall. Market conditions can change quickly, so it’s important to understand how the cyclical nature of the mergers and acquisitions landscape could affect your sale prospects.

What are my personal goals?

Your personal or financial goals help determine when to exit and your best options. Deciding to move on to the next chapter of your life as soon as possible can require more funds upfront, so it’s important to understand the timelines associated with various exit options.

What are the options to exit your business?

Sell your business

There are two ways you can pursue this option:

• Sell to your employees. A management buyout or sale to an existing employee allows individuals familiar with the culture and processes to acquire the company and take control of ownership. This provides continuity in your business and can mean a smoother transition that requires less time to transfer your day-to-day responsibilities. However, selling to your employees can result in a lower sale price and may take longer to fully realize on the funds from the sale.

• Sell your business on the open market. This option requires a process whereby your business is carefully positioned and marketed to a thoughtful purchaser list of strategic and/or financial buyers (ie. private equity, etc.). This encourages a competitive process with the intent of maximizing value and confidentiality for stakeholders.

Transition to a family member

Consider transferring ownership or control of your business to a family member if you want it to continue in its present form but would like some relief from the mantle of responsibility. There is now legislation in effect that, with prudent succession planning, may help you transition your family-owned business to the next generation without the adverse tax consequences that previously impacted some arrangements.

Do you have to pay tax when you sell your business?

The tax implications of stepping away from your business will depend on how you exit. If you choose to hand down your business to a family member, the business is deemed to transfer at fair market value, meaning that you’ll be taxed on capital gains based on the business’ value. There are exemptions and strategies that can help you make the transfer as tax efficient as possible, though it’s crucial to plan these in advance of the transaction.

If you’re opting to sell your business, you’ll want to consider the after-tax return on the proceeds of the transaction. There are also tax considerations associated with liquidating your business assets. Once the proceeds of an asset sale have be used to repay outstanding debts owed to creditors, and the remaining proceeds, depending on your business’s ownership structure, may be distributed to you as taxable dividends.

Exiting a business is a complex matter—but you aren’t alone. It’s important to work with advisors who can help you throughout the transaction’s life cycle to find the right buyer and navigate the tax implications. With offices across Interior B.C., our business advisors at Grant Thornton LLP are available to help you find your way forward. Get in touch with us today.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Here’s where you can invest safely in the next hot cryptocurrency

Should you buy ethereum?

With the recent announcement that NFL superstar Odell Beckham Jr. would be taking 100% of his new salary in Bitcoin, adoption of cryptocurrency continues to move into the mainstream.

While Bitcoin is a name familiar to most people by now, another cryptocurrency is gaining steam as the new top crypto—it’s ether.

Since its launch in 2015, ether has grown 540,000%. This year alone saw a record price for ether, growing to a whopping $5,900.

Part of ether’s success in 2021 boils down to scarcity. Since August, about 30 million ether are being removed from circulation every single day.

New ether will be created by consuming much less energy than Bitcoin (in theory), which makes it a more appealing investment for the environmentally conscious crypto investor.

For these reasons, many people believe ether is poised to compete with bitcoin as the top cryptocurrency, with more and more Canadians looking to invest safely in ether.

What is ethereum?

While ethereum and ether are used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two terms.

Ethereum is a platform where developers can build applications and programs without needing a centralized authority.

In the same way that developers can build music apps, social media apps or work-related apps for a mobile phone, ethereum developers can innovate on top of the ethereum network. From social networks, to loan offers and crypto collectibles, known as non-fungible tokens or NFTs for short, the options for building on top of ethereum are endless.

Ether on the other hand is the currency used to pay for goods, services and applications on the ethereum network. When buying ether, investors will purchase ETH, which is the short form for ether.

With all that said, ethereum is trying to redefine the internet while bitcoin is trying to reinvent the payment system.

Ethereum is helping us reimagine how we play and work together without centralization. This is why many people believe ether will one day outperform bitcoin in what is referred to as “the flippening.”

How to buy ether in Canada

If you’re excited about the future of ethereum, you may want to consider buying ETH today.

Netcoins is an online crypto trading platform that allows you to buy and sell ether in Canada. Buying ETH is easy. You just need to follow five steps:

1. Create a Netcoins account and get verified.
2. Deposit Canadian dollars into your account via e-transfers (or bank wires, online bill payments or crypto deposits)
3. Click BUY, and choose ETHEREUM from the drop down menu.
4. Enter the amount you wish you to buy (as little as $10 or as much as $10 million)
5. Click confirm

The benefits of buying ether with Netcoins are many.

First of all, Netcoins is Canada’s first publicly owned and fully regulated crypto trading platform. This means that everything from how they operate to how they store their customers’ funds and the fees they charge are vetted and approved by Canadian regulators.

The second advantage is that Netcoins offers 0% funding fees, free cash withdrawals and no fees on cancellation for limit orders.

Users can also enjoy limit orders, which are trades that self-execute once specific crypto prices are met. Price alert notifications keep you updated on any significant price movement so you can trade at an optimal time for you. With their mobile app you can buy bitcoin and buy ethereum and more easily.

Netcoins’ online trading platform is easy to use no matter your level of crypto knowledge. Canadians can get started in just a few minutes, with help available to anyone who needs guidance.

With the future of ethereum shining bright, now may be a great time to buy ether with Netcoins.ca.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

These fun outdoor activities will make the most out of the cold

Winter fun in Kamloops

All the most adventurous families know that winter is one of the best seasons for fun activities.

Kamloops is the ideal travel destination during the colder months, with stunning natural scenery, easy proximity to lots of outdoor adventures, and plenty of sunshine.

Booking your next vacation? Here are some fun winter family getaways in Kamloops.

Sun Peaks Resort

The stunning ski resort is the second-largest ski area in Canada, with three skiable peaks. With over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually, there’s a good chance you’ll get a perfect sunny day while you’re on the hill.

Is skiing not your thing? Sun Peaks has several alternate outdoor winter activities, including a skating rink, ski biking, snowmobiling tours and more. With so much to do, there’s something for everyone.

The best part is the easy proximity from Sun Peaks Resort to the Travelodge by Wyndham Kamloops Mountainview and Travelodge by Wyndham Kamloops.

Harper Mountain Ski & Snowboard

This family-owned and operated ski hill is located 20 minutes from Kamloops. Harper Mountain is another great winter location, with lots of activities for the whole family, including snowshoeing and a tube park.

Can’t make it during the day? That’s no problem. The park also offers night skiing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Ice fishing

Try catching your own dinner at one of the best ice fishing lakes in British Columbia. With over 100 lakes within an hour’s drive from Kamloops, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect spot for your fun winter adventure.

Elevate Ice Fishing offers guided fishing trips year-round, with family-friendly ice fishing trips customized to meet your group’s needs.

Winter hiking

Hiking can be enjoyed year-round in beautiful Kamloops. Milder winter temperatures and plenty of sunshine means that you just need to dress in the right gear to have a good time outside.

One of the most popular hikes includes The Benchlands Trail in the Dallas-Barnhartvale Nature Park, an easy three kilometre walk. Traverse through sage brush to silt bluffs overlook the South Thompson River.

Travelodge is one of Canada’s largest hotel chains, with over 100 independently owned hotels and nearly 9,000 rooms. The brand is known for its affordable rates, proximity to many of Canada’s national parks and attractions, free WiFi and complimentary breakfast or an onsite restaurant at every location.

Travelodge is a Wyndham Rewards loyalty program member, allowing guests to earn points for free nights, gift cards, or Aeroplan miles.

To book your winter getaway today, visit www.wyndhamhotels.com/en-ca/travelodge.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Find B.C. small businesses to support in your neighbourhood

Find BC small businesses

We all know the positive impact of spreading our dollars within our local communities. In fact, according to a study done by LOCO BC, for every $100 we spend at a local business, approximately $63 is recirculated back into our local economy, which goes towards providing jobs and essential services in our neighbourhoods.

The question is: How do you keep track of where you can support local businesses, wherever you are?

Answer: The BC Marketplace!

An initiative by Small Business BC, the BC Marketplace is an online hub built to support one-of-a-kind small businesses. Free to list and free to search, the platform effectively connects businesses and consumers in local communities across the province.

Featuring more than 3,300 businesses from more than 230 communities, BC Marketplace enables locals to find specialized services and products they need in their areas. From retail shops and family-run restaurants to marketing consultants and Indigenous businesses, and even very niche categories like dog training academies and virtual pilates workshops, the online marketplace contains listings for everything you need, and then some.

Launched back in April 2020 as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Marketplace provided immediate assistance to small businesses by providing business owners with an easy way to share essential business information and timely updates, such as modified hours and new service offerings like delivery or curbside pickup, with their customers online.

Since then, the Marketplace has expanded to cover several distinct regions across B.C., including Cariboo, Kootenay, Northeast, North Coast and Nechako, Mainland and Southwest, including Sunshine Coast, Thompson Okanagan, including Lake Country, and Vancouver Island.

Within the region of Mainland and Southwest, featured businesses encompass everything from SUVA Beauty, a women of colour-owned, cruelty-free and vegan cosmetic brand based in Vancouver, to Callaghan Country's Journeyman Lodge, a full-service, secluded ski-in-and-out backcountry lodge in Whistler.

To further encourage new local discoveries and support of local small businesses, BC Marketplace profiles entrepreneurs through stories that detail their entrepreneurial journey and their business ventures.

A few of the B.C. businesses featured in the BC Marketplace include:

Leigh Joseph, Skwálwen Botanicals

Based in Brackendale, Skwálwen (skwall-win) is an Indigenous business creating small batch botanical skin care products by harvesting ingredients in a sustainable and respectful manner. Their plant-based beauty products are like medicine for the skin and spirit and make for the perfect gift (and treat for yourself).

Founder Leigh Joseph, an ethnobotanist and a member of the Squamish First Nation, founded her business as part of an effort to offer opportunities for reconnection to Indigenous plant knowledge.

Hunter Johnston, Rain City Dogs

Vancouver’s Rain City Dogs and its sister company on the Sunshine Coast, Rain Coast Dogs, help dogs of all kinds and their people achieve peace through love and leadership.

Founded by Hunter Johnston and now run by Lucian and Nick, Rain City Dogs offers private and group walks along with overnight boarding services within the Vancouver dog community.

Cera Bollo, Summit Tiny Homes

Expand your work from home office setup with Summit Tiny Homes, the Okanagan’s premier tiny home builder.

Founders and husband and wife duo Oliver Stankiewicz and Cera Bollo have combined their years of home building experience and interior design and decorating knowledge to break new ground on the tiny home movement in Vernon and throughout B.C.

Dafne Romero, North Pacific Kelp Wild Foods

North Pacific Kelp Wild Foods offers a delicious range of delicious kelp tastes, with seaweed harvested from the pristine waters of Haida Gwaii.

Owner Dafne Romero is deeply connected to the land and waters that make up her home. Through her small business, she is on a mission to share the benefits of hand-harvested kelp to a wider audience.

Find what you need in your local community on the BC Marketplace at marketplacebc.ca.

Contributed BC Marketplace

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

How to buy bitcoin in Canada? An easy guide for beginners

Best ways to buy bitcoin

Way back in 2011, a leading tech magazine said bitcoin was over—a fad whose time had passed. Yet almost 13 years after it was first introduced, it’s more popular than ever before.

Today, everyone from billionaire investors to huge corporations and even governments are buying bitcoin totalling billions of dollars.

Bitcoin is by far the most popular form of cryptocurrency (or digital currency). Being a digital currency, bitcoin exists only virtually and is uniquely limited to 21 million coins—unlike traditional money that can be printed at an unlimited rate.

This scarcity is why bitcoin’s value has endured (even thrived) during tough economic times. Financial analysts point out that bitcoin has been the best-performing asset of the decade, with a 200% compounding annual growth rate.

It’s for these reasons corporations like Tesla made headlines earlier this year, when it purchased USD$1.5 billion worth of bitcoin, why Visa Inc. began accepting it as a form of payment, and why El Salvador became the first country to make bitcoin legal tender last August.

As bitcoin continues to be widely adopted and grow in value, how can Canadians buy bitcoin?

Ayelen Osorio, content and community manager at Netcoins, a Canadian crypto trading platform, shares what it’s like to buy bitcoin in Canada with Netcoins.

What is Netcoins?

Netcoins is a Canada-based trading platform that makes it easy for Canadians to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (including Ether, Litecoin and more) anywhere, anytime, in as little as two minutes.

Beyond making it easy to buy bitcoin, Netcoins focuses on helping Canadians understand crypto. From a Crypto Academy for Beginners, to a blog post on 6 Things to Consider When Vetting a Crypto Investment and podcasts including why bitcoin matters to your financial future—their mission is to educate Canadians about crypto in an entertaining and informative way.

How can I buy bitcoin?

“It’s super easy,” says Osorio. “You go to the Netcoins website or download our app, create an account and get verified.

“After verification, your first step is to send Canadian dollars into the Netcoins platform via an e-transfer or one of our other funding methods. Once those dollars are in your Netcoins account, you can use them to buy bitcoin or any of the other cryptocurrencies we offer. For example, if you select ‘BUY BITCOIN,’ you’ll be asked how much you’d like to spend and shown how much bitcoin you’ll get in return. Click ‘CONFIRM’ and that’s it. Congratulations–you’ve just bought bitcoin in a couple of minutes!”

Plus, with 0% funding fees, it’s fast and affordable to get started.

How can I sell bitcoin on Netcoins?

Once you’ve purchased bitcoin with Netcoins, you can also sell at any time.

“Selling is just as easy as buying bitcoin,” says Osorio.

“You go to the trade page on the Netcoins platform and click ‘SELL’ to convert your bitcoin back into Canadian dollars.”

The same as with funding, cash withdrawals cost you nothing. You can send the funds straight to your bank account in a couple of minutes at no cost from the Netcoins side.

In addition to selling, users can also choose to hold their bitcoin for as long as they like, either within Netcoins or by transferring it into their own external bitcoin wallet. Whether to sell or hold is entirely up to users.

Is Netcoins safe to use?

Asked why they’re reluctant to buy bitcoin, Canadians often say it’s a question of trust—they don’t know who is behind the trading platforms. Understandably, Canadians want the peace of mind that comes from knowing their investments are secure and being held by a reputable institution.

This is where Netcoins comes in. Netcoins is a fully transparent, safe and compliant crypto trading platform in Canada. (It’s a registered money services business with FINTRAC, an entity of the Federal Government of Canada.)

In addition, Netcoins became the first publicly-owned, fully regulated crypto trading platform in Canada in September of this year. Learn more about what this means for consumer protection, the crypto industry and Canada.

“Another big reason why Canadians like trading with us is because we’re the only Canadian crypto exchange in Canada that’s public,” explains Osorio, adding that Netcoins is publicly traded on the Canadian Stock Exchange (under their parent company BIGG).

“Private exchanges don’t offer Canadians any insight into their operations or how they manage their finances. But because we’re a public company, we publish all our financials every quarter.”

Netcoins has fast become a favourite way to buy bitcoin in Canada because “it allows people to have complete power over their finances,” says Osorio. “Our open-loop system means your dollars and cryptocurrency flow in and out of your Netcoins account anytime you want, no matter where you are. It’s really an easy way to buy bitcoin in Canada.”

To learn more about Netcoins, set up an account, and start buying and selling cryptocurrencies, visit netcoins.ca. The Netcoins app is available for download at the Apple Store and Google Play.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Here is your personal urban explorer itinerary for the West Coast

Fabulous fall getaway awaits

Before you settle into your new seasonal routine, consider a West Coast getaway and experience a fall fling with Vancouver. You’ll not only capture all those glorious autumn feels with various activities and attractions, but endless Instagram-worthy moments, too.

Whether you seek family-friendly experiences or are looking to fulfill your ultimate couples bucket list, the city is buzzing with everything from world-class hotel stays and colourful culture, to an award-winning cosmopolitan culinary scene and outdoor adventures—there’s never been so much to see and do in and around Vancouver.

The city welcomes you to re-connect—safely and responsibly—and rediscover the vibrancy of Vancouver. Getting re-acquainted has never been so much fun.

If you’re wondering what to include in your urban explorer itinerary, Destination Vancouver has unpacked a few of their favourites.

Leisure activities and adventure

Discover some of Vancouver’s most spectacular scenery and exhilarating outings, with vantage points that will take your breath away and take you to great heights.

On Grouse Mountain, the Skyride aerial tram will whisk you 1,130 metres (3,700 feet) above Vancouver. You can also visit grizzly viewing at the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, Kids Tree Canopy Adventure, Peak Chairlift ride, mountain ziplines, and the challenging vertical 2.9-kilometre trail—the Grouse Grind. (Check trail schedule for open/closures).

On Mt Seymour, a leisurely 2-kilometre, hour-long trek along the Goldie Lake Interpretive Trail takes you through temperate rainforest and wildlife viewing opportunities. Ride the Eagle Coaster on Cypress Mountain down a winding track with forested vistas and exciting bends.

Enjoy a sensory delight as you cross the easy sway of the Capilano Suspension Bridge, 70 metres (230 feet) above the Capilano River. At Treetops Adventure, seven suspension bridges in the trees take you high above the forest floor. Raise your adrenaline on the Cliffwalk, a series of narrow suspended stairs, bridges and walkways.

The Sea to Sky Gondola provides an awe-inspiring adventure. Ride to the summit for sweeping views of Howe Sound, Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief, the world’s second-largest granite monolith and climbing mecca.

Attractions, arts and culture

Continue your adventure from great heights, but here, from a virtual perch. Fly Over Canada transforms Sept. 27 to Oct. 31 to HowlOver Canada. Feel the sensation of soaring over the nation’s most iconic sites with a band of spooky sidekicks.

Hockey action returns! See the puck drop live and be one of the first fans back to Rogers Arena to cheer on the Vancouver Canucks. Regular season starts Oct. 26 for their home opener against Minnesota. Visit BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and bring any Canucks, Whitecaps, Lions, or concert/event ticket from BC Place or Rogers Arena to receive 50% off admission.

In Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium’s 65,000 amazing animals have been waiting to see you. There’re more than 30 unique exhibits, including a new Marine Mammal Rescue exhibit and new 4D experience movie, Octopus: Blue Planet II. You’ll be cheek to fin exploring our planet’s oceans.

Achieve your culture quotient with visits to: Vancouver Art Gallery, tours and family programs; improv comedy at Improv Centre on Granville Island; the Stanley Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Arts Club Theatre for plays, musicals and more. East Vans’ The Cultch, for cutting edge professional performances, community arts and educational initiatives.

Dining al fresco and dreamy digs

There’s not a definitive end to patio season in Vancouver, but a chill in the air is no reason to give patios the cold shoulder—most have heaters, otherwise, pair your favourite meal with a cozy sweater. Choose from tranquil or lively views.

Waterfront: award-winning Dockside Restaurant overlooking False Creek in the Granville Island Hotel; marina-side Cardero’s in Coal Harbour; Miku overlooking Burrard Inlet, pioneer of flame-seared sushi (Aburi) in Canada; Sylvia’s Restaurant, beachside English Bay dining at historic Sylvia Hotel. Shop more than 50 independent food purveyors at Granville Island Public Market and head outdoors.

Rooftop: Vancouver Art Gallery’s 1931 Gallery Bistro, overlooking Robson Square. Reflections: Garden Terrace at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia; LIFT in Coal Harbour with two-level terrace; Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House, with 50-plus kinds of fresh fish.

Streetscape: Gastown’s Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar, 100% craft beer offerings; Flying Pig, farm/sea-to-table product at Olympic Village; Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, Yaletown with caviar menu; Yaletown Brewing Company, Vancouver’s original brewpub.

Pamper yourself with a hotel stay and spa retreat. It’s nothing but sweet deals and sweet dreams when you bed down within any of these top spots: the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa (Stay and Get Rewarded); Shangri-La Hotel and CHI, The Spa (Member Exclusive, 20% off stays); Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Absolute Spa (Take your Time offer); The Sutton Place Hotel and Vita Spa (Fall into Savings, up to 50%); Rosewood Hotel Georgia and Sense, A Rosewood Spa (Suite Sojourn, 25% off select suites).

For more information, visit destinationvancouver.com, email [email protected] or call 604.682.2222.

More StandOUT articles