Information Security Awareness Training – E-Commerce And Security

More and more peoples in there daily life use computer to make things that previously they do without computer, for example, buy and sell! Of course, its takes less time and can be done from home, but not so offten peoples thinking about: how safe it is! And from other side seller invent, that he want to start e-commerce, but he not sure what it is and how its works!

This article is for both side…For understanding, how e-commerce mechanism works and how do this cooperation safer!

What is E-commerce?

Electronic commerce or ecommerce is a term for any type of business, or commercial transaction, that involves the transfer of information across the Internet or other network.(monstercommerce.com)

Different types of E-commerce.

*B2B (Business-to-Business) is a from of electronic commerce in which companies doing business with each other such as manufacturers selling to distributors and wholesalers selling to retailers. Pricing is based on quantity of order and is often negotiable.

*B2C (Business-to-Consumer) is a form of electronic commerce in which products or services are sold from a firm or company to a consumer. This selling usually happened through catalogs, e-shops!

*B2E (Business to Employee) is a form of electronic commerce which is more commonly known as an “Intranet”. A basic focus of business is the employee, rather than the consumer! Usually it is some kind of portal for everyone within an organization. This portal is designed to include not only everything that an employee might hope to find on an intranet, but also any personal information and links that the employee might want.

*C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer) is a form of electronic commerce in which involves the electronically-facilitated transactions between consumers through some third party. A common example is the online auctio, in which a consumer posts an item for sale and other consumers bid to purchase it; the third party generally charges a flat fee or commission.

There are also other types of E-commerce, for example, G2G (Goverment-to-Goverment), G2B (Goverment-to-Bussines) and other which are connected to government, but these four are the main.

E-commerce and security

How we already know that to make e-commerce we need computer and of course – systems. Any system which provide any type of e-commerce need to answer four requirements:

*privacy: information must be kept from unauthorized parties.

*integrity: message must not be altered or tampered with.

*authentication: sender and recipient must prove their identities to each other.

*non-repudiation: proof is needed that the message was indeed received.

These requirements is needed to make safe cooperation between service provider and customer, and, of course, prevent third side interference!

How execute these requirements?

To execute these requirements you can choose one or some of the different suggestions:

*PKI – Public Key Infrastructure – to provide privacy and authentication.

*Digital Signature – to provide authentication and integrity.

*SSL – Secure Socket Layer – to provide privacy and authentication.

*Time Stamp and others.

For now, most popular solution in e-commerce security is Secure Socket Layer or SSL. It is so because its merge the best attributes from PKI. SSL uses PKI and Digital Certificates to ensure privacy and authentication.

The procedure is something like this: the client sends a message to the server, which replies with a digital certificate. Using PKI, server and client negotiate to create session keys, which are symmetrical secret keys specially created for that particular transmission. Once the session keys are agreed, communication continues with these session keys and the digital certificates. (ecommerce-digest.com)

To known that this page is secure with SSL, you need just look to the address bar: if the address begins with “https” and there is padlock icon at the bottom of the page, than you can be sure that this page is safer than other! Why safer,but not totally safe? Because totally safe web pages didn’t exist!

Most of e-commerce provider leave the mechanics of security to hosting company or IT staff, but for each who want to start e-commerce, is important known how it works and whats responsibilities are asked from this side!

Conference Bridge For Better Networking System

If you and your business need frequent conference calls to clients, professionals, agencies or offices in the city or around the world to coordinate, then having access to audio conference bridge can save time and effort in connecting all people in your conference call together.

There are a number of enterprises and service providers that plan and manage your conference calls for the price, but if you regularly need to use this service then, perhaps, you want to purchase your own conference bridge, so that all conference planning and coordination can occur in your house. Of course, before you decide to organize a conference bridge for your company, it is very important that you realize what conference bridge is and how it can help your business. Thus, you know what to look for when it’s time to buy your own.

A conference bridge is a telephone system that allows the telephone conference. It is connected to a phone line and also has an administrative software package that allows the operator, the account or the conference program in the system. Conference service providers offer their service to you and if you buy their conference bridge, you will always be your own service provider.

As the name implies, an audio conference bridge is designed to allow audio conference takes place between a numbers of individuals. The bridge itself works in a similar way to the Internet server, in a number of different locations can all call in and connect to the bridge at the same time and get their connections simultaneously. The user can freely interact with each other than with a standard telephone conference, and there is no need for a single user to initiate the call and call the others, they all connect only to the central bridge and from there able to conduct an audio conference behavior as they would with any other such call.

Before purchasing your own conference bridge, it is important that you shop around and compare the various options for a bridge that will best meet the needs of your company at a price related to the excessively. Consider the size of an average call of your company and whether the participants of the conference are offices, freelancers and agents or customers. This will help you to consider the number of connections your bridge need to handle and whether you are better served with the basic bridge that users can determine, or if you yourself need to buy a car with features dialer and scheduling software. You should also ensure that the bridge you are considering compatible with both the public standard telephone systems and Voice Over Internet Protocol system, such as VOIP systems that are much more frequently used in business. Be sure that the bridge you purchase will give you benefits for a long-term.

Everything Will Work Out Fine With Debt Consolidation Loans

Consolidation loans provide real help for people who are going through financial troubles. Dealing with debt may seem difficult, but with the right kind and dosage of both help and advice everything will work out just fine. People who have debt and do not know what to do about it, should resort to the advice of a debt help line team. What such a person should be looking for is professionalism and seriousness.

What are consolidation loans?

Consolidation loans aim at covering the debts people might have. That is financial experts take a look at a customer’s bank accounts. Then they take all the debts the customer has and provide a loan which should cover them up. This is done after the specialists analyse the customer’s financial situation. They look at the debts the customer has. They see how the customer manages his or her income, as well as budget.

Only advantages

Consolidation loans enable the possibility for people to pay off all of their existing debts. Instead of trying to pay off the minimum amount for each and every debt they have, they could reduce their debt to one manageable payment. That is people take one loan to pay off many others. Usually this is done to get a lower interest rate. At the same time, customers also receive a fixed interest rate. They can get a discount of the loan, if they are in danger of bankruptcy.

The advantage presented by these loans is made out of two sides. On the one hand if all debts are united, the customer has a lowered rate of interest. On the other hand, he or she has only one payment each month. This is manageable, as the goal of these loans is providing help for customers. This is the exact reasons why Blessington Steven recommends this company which provides consolidation loans.

Unsecured Consolidation Loans for Everybody

Unsecured consolidation loans are the result which a set of financial techniques comes to. These kinds of loans are meant to help those people who need to find a solution for getting out of debt. All the measures financial experts take are supervised and corroborated by a debt assistance team. This is made out of very well trained specialists. These are people dedicated to their jobs and persevering in their fields of work.

How does this work?

Financial affairs work as a whole. Loans imply an analysis of the customer’s financial situation. Experts take a look at people’s debts and decide what the next step is. They examine the customer’s income and his or her budget. Afterwards they search for the proper solution, for people who want to get out of debt. It is important to make sure each customer receives something matching his or her needs.

Unsecured consolidation loans are meant for all the people who have debts. These loans are just like other loans, with the difference that they are unsecured, meaning that they do not require collateral. Lenders are willing to provide loans for people with debts, so that customers can pay all the debts they have and remain with one reasonable monthly payment.

The solutions debt consolidation companies are providing have proven useful to all many customers. Basically what financial experts do is take all debts, calculate what a person owes and give that person a loan to cover the debt up. Hence the customer will have one single reduced payment each month, with a reduced rate of interest. This is why Blessington Steven recommends this company which provides unsecured consolidation loans.

The Best Consolidation Loans From the Best in the Field

The best consolidation loans are the ones which represent a solution, the best solution for people with debts. What makes these loans the best, is their ability to fold themselves around the customer’s needs. Financial debt consolidation is helpful for people who want to overcome problems. The way to do it is to get a low interest debt consolidation loan; in one word finding the right solution for the right customer.

What are the best consolidation loans all about?

These loans are what people who have debts need to get in order to put their lives back on the right track and live a worry free life. Financial debt consolidation makes reference to a reorganization of debts. That is taking all the debts a persons has and put them into one loan. This way that person only has a monthly payment. This payment is reasonable and significantly reduced that all the other debts previously accumulated.

What is the aim of this matter?

Financial experts aim at embellishing people’s lives and bring them closer to happiness. That is what a person should be able to find along with the best consolidation loans. Nowadays happiness is the synonym of both comfort, as well as safety. People will be able to reach these goals, after they have paid all their debts.

In order to take advantage of these kinds of loans, people should go talk to a financial expert. He or she will transfer the money owed into one loan with a reasonable monthly payment. This way they receive a lower rate of interest, improved credit rating, as well as reduced monthly payments. These are the precise reasons why Blessington Steven recommends this company which provides the best consolidation loans.

Presenting – The Beach Rotary Club – Service Above Self in the Beach

One of the areas I really set out to focus on in my Beach neighbourhood portrait was the local spirit of charity and community assistance. One of the organizations that I interviewed, the Pegasus Community Project for Adults with Special Needs, left a deep impression on me. This is a day-time program for adults with developmental disabilities that also runs a local thrift store on Kingston Road to generate funding and to provide practical work experiences for the participants in the program.

Marie Perrotta, the founder and executive director of this organization, explained to me that one organization has been tremendously supportive of her initiative over the last few years: The Toronto Beach Rotary Club. So she connected me with the President, Barbara Dingle, who had also been mentioned to me by Sandra Bussin in connection with the restoration of the Gardener’s Cottage. But more about that project in a little bit.

On a frigid February day Barbara welcomed me to her home and we sat down to chat for a couple of hours. Barbara started off by giving me some general information about the Rotary Club. Rotary International is the oldest service club in the world. It was founded in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, by an attorney by the name of Paul P. Harris who wanted to recreate the friendly spirit of his small town upbringing. The concept spread throughout the United States and by 1921, Rotary Clubs had formed on six continents. A 1943 London Rotary conference promoting international cultural and educational exchanges was part of the inspiration for the formation of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) in 1946, illustrating Rotary International’s impact on a global scale.

The Rotary Club’s principal motto is “Service Above Self”, and its 1.2 million members worldwide in more than 200 countries provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build peace and goodwill in the world. The organization is non-political, non-religious and open to men and women of all cultures, races and creeds. Rotary’s main objective is to serve the community and throughout the world, taking up issues such as children at risk, poverty, hunger, the environment, illiteracy and violence. Youth programs and international exchange opportunities are also supported.

Rotary International is organized in local chapters, and the Toronto Beach Rotary Club is a fairly recent addition to the Rotary family. The club was chartered in 1999, originally as an offshoot of the East York Rotary Club which has been in existence for more than 60 years. Barb explained that the Toronto Beach Rotary Club is a breakfast club, and that members meet once a week on Tuesdays nice and early at 7:15 am at the Balmy Beach Club which generously makes their facilities available.

Barb herself got connected with the Rotary Club about 4 years ago when a friend introduced her to the club. About a half a year into her membership she went to approach various retail stores during a fundraising drive, and from her interactions with the merchants she realized the amount of respect and cache that membership in the Rotary Club conveyed. All of a sudden doors started to open easily, and people started to listen to her fundraising proposals.

Barb explains that she wanted to become involved in the community, but
was not sure where to start. A few visits to the Beach Rotary meetings
opened doors to the kind of opportunities she was looking for. Barb says
that the club meets once a week for one hour, not a very huge time
commitment, and added that many people might initially be scared of
committing to volunteer work. Barb feels strongly that an hour a week is
feasible for most of us and clarified that you can get involved as
little or as much as you want in the club’s activities. Time restraints
on our lives change from month to month, year to year. Barb adds that “if you have the desire to give back to your community and to play a small part in
helping humanity on an international level, Rotary Clubs have the
infrastructure to make it happen”.

When she first joined she had no idea what the Rotary Club was all about, and she learned that every Rotary Club world-wide works on two levels: to raise funds for and help local community organizations, and to become involved on a global level to support serious international causes.

On an international level, Rotary Clubs support a broad range of humanitarian, intercultural, and educational programs and activities designed to improve the human condition and advance the organization’s ultimate goal of global understanding and peace. The Toronto Beach Rotary Club’s international initiatives include the removal of landmines, the worldwide eradication of polio and leprosy, as well as AIDS orphans in South Africa.

Barb explained that to support the landmines program, the “Night of a 1000 Dinners” was held last November at Quigley’s Pub and Bistro, a popular restaurant in the Beach and a strong supporter of local charities. Quigley’s generously donated a gourmet four-course dinner for 50 guests that was accompanied by local guitarist Tom Price. A keynote speech was given by Scott Fairweather, the CEO of The Canadian Landmine Foundation who is also a Rotarian. A Clear-a-Landmine Raffle was held, and the top prizes, a watercolour painting donated by generous community supporter Ann Francis Oakes, and a day of golfing fun at the Toronto Hunt donated by Graham Sanborn went to two lucky winners. In total $2500 were raised from this event and presented to the Canadian Landmine Foundation.

In addition to international causes the Toronto Beach Rotary Club
is very involved in supporting the local Beach neighbourhood. The Club’s annual
“Bowl for the Beach” Bowl-A-Thon provides funding to the Pegasus Community Project , as well as scholarships to local high school students and after school programs, and The Haig Family Resource Program. This year the Bowl-A-Thon will be held on April 21 at the Thorncliffe Bowlerama, and Barb indicated that the event is always great fun, and many different groups from the community participate.

Another popular initiative is the Free Movie for Seniors, a weekly free
movie night at the Fox Theatre, a real landmark in the Beach and the
oldest continuously running movie theatre in Toronto. In addition, a
Christmas lunch donated by Quigley’s Pub and Bistro was held for the
seniors at St. Aidan’s Church. More than 300 seniors enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner, and Quigley’s generosity was much appreciated

Barb also explained a major community effort that has left a lasting legacy in the Beach: during the late summer / early fall of 2005, renovations to the Gardener’s Cottage (the historic Kew Williams House) were undertaken as a joint project by the City of Toronto, spearheaded by City Councillor Sandra Bussin, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Toronto Beach Rotary Club. The Gardener’s Cottage is a treasured landmark at the foot of Lee Avenue, and was in need of repair.

One of the major strengths of Rotary is that each club is comprised of a
cross-section of vocations. By drawing on the club members’ wide variety
of skills and connections, amazing good work is accomplished. As a
long-term collaborator with Canadian home décor queen Debbie Travis, and
a past associate editor for House and Home Magazine, Barbara Dingle had
the perfect idea: to restore this treasured Beach icon together with a
group of talented local designers who each took over one section of the
building. The verandah, the entrance hall, the parlour, the dining room,
the kitchen, the upper hallway, the girl’s and boy’s bedrooms, the
bathroom and the master bedroom were all authentically restored and
decorated by different designers to reflect the Queen Anne period. A
large number of merchants and business people donated everything from
labour, paint and lumber to fabrics, draperies, lighting, plants,
accessories and furniture for the project. More than $70,000 worth of
goods and services were donated, and the entire Beach community came
together to restore a beloved neighbourhood icon. The results are
stunning.

For three weeks in September and October of 2005, Barbara and her team put together the “Dream Tour” which provided the public with an exceptional opportunity to view the designs and the contributions of the local designers and merchants. A beautiful full-colour magazine was put together to showcase the project, the history of the Kew Williams House and each section of the building that had been so lovingly restored. Funds from tour ticket sales were donated to Toronto East General Hospital’s Mental Health Program for Children and Adolescents. In total a donation of $15,000 was raised and passed along to the Mental Health Crisis Unit at Toronto East General Hospital – a true demonstration of an entire community coming together to make positive things happen.

Another big event in the works is an Annual Rotary Lobsterfest in the Beach. The Toronto Beach Rotary Club together with the East York Rotary Club is planning a fundraiser where people can feast on a fresh lobster dinner with all the fixings, listen to some great music and play games. The event will be fun for the whole family. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be donated to the Woodgreen Community Services Homeward Bound Program – a program dedicated toward helping women acquire life skills, computer skills, a community college education and employment training so they can learn to provide for themselves and their children.

Barbara added that the Toronto Beach Rotary Club is a small club, but it has done huge things for the entire neighbourhood. The club has many volunteers, loosely referred to as “Friends of Rotary” who are not full-fledged members, but who love to donate their time to help out. At the moment the club is looking for new members and has started advertisements with the headline “Do you need Rotary? Rotary needs you.” Barbara describes her volunteer work with the Rotary Club as an extremely rewarding experience.

She explained that joining is quite simple: a prospective member would come out to the breakfast meetings for several weeks in a row to assess the fit with the Rotary organization. At the end of this trial period they can officially join and become a regular member. The reasons for joining are many: not only does the Rotary Club provide the opportunity to serve and support local and international causes; it also provides a great realm for friendships and business development. The special events run by the club offer an opportunity for personal growth, leadership and ethics development. In addition, exposure to community and global programs provides learning opportunities for greater cultural awareness. All in all it’s a win-win situation, for the individual, for the club and for the communities, locally and abroad, that are supported by the Rotary Club.

Naturally I also needed to inquire into Barbara Dingle’s connection with the Beach. Together with her husband John she moved into this area in the fall of 1975 because they saw the Beach as a great place to bring up children. Their children Geremy and Emily attended local schools where their love for music and drama was fostered along with strong academics. She added that the Beach today is an area on the move, similar to 30 years ago. Everyone is renovating and “a spurt of youth” is being injected into the neighbourhood. The Beach is an eclectic mix of teachers, artists, professionals and people from all other walks of life, “a great tapestry of people and a very egalitarian place”, to use Barb’s words.

Information Security Awareness Training – External Storage Formats

Backup copies recently are very important to make your bussines successful an safe. There are many different ways how to store backup copies.

The safest way from information security awareness viewpoint, of course, is save these copies on external storage devices and put it as far as possible away from your office.

Here are some devices from which you can choose the best for your backup copies!

*Floppy Disc

A floppy disc is a data storage device that is composed of a disc of thin, flexible (“floppy”) magnetic storage medium encased in a square or rectangular plastic shell. Floppy discs are read and written by a floppy disk drive or FDD.

Capacity: 1,44 MB (3½-inch disc), 1.2 MB (5¼-inch disc)

Problems: There can be saved only low capacity files! To make backups for all files you need hundreds of floppy discs! Sometimes they just broken and all information on them lost!

*Zip Disc

Similar to a floppy disc, but slightly larger. Cannot be used in the same slot that is used for floppies, and also higher capacity Zip discs must be used in a drive with at least the same capacity ability.

Capacity: 100MB – 750MB

Problems: Discs are inconvenient for use because there are different size of discs and also different size of disc drive! They also not so diffuse as other storage devices!

*CD-RW

Short for CD-ReWritable disc, a type of CD disc that enables you to write onto it in multiple sessions. CD-RW media can only be written in a CD-RW recorder, not in a simple CD recorder, though a CD-RW recorder can also record standard CD-R discs.

Capacity: up to 700MB

Problems: You need to buy a CD-RW drive if your computer doesn’t come with one, but in nowadays most of computers include this drive! CD discs is easy to damage!

*DVD-RW

Short for DVD-ReWritable, a re-recordable DVD format similar to DVD+RW. The data on a DVD-RW disc can be erased and recorded over numerous times without damaging the medium.

Capacity: up to 4,7GB

Problems:You need to buy a DVD-RW drive if your computer doesn’t come with one! DVD discs is easy to damage!

*USB Flash

A small, portable flash memory card that plugs into a computer’s USB port and functions as a portable hard drive. USB flash drives are touted as being easy-to-use as they are small enough to be carried in a pocket and can plug into any computer with a USB drive – you don’t need special recorder device.

Capacity: 128MB – 8GB

Problems: Because of there size USB flash is easy to misplace! Keep this device with backup copies in safe and, for you, well known place.

*Removable Hard Disc

A type of disc drive system in which hard disc are enclosed in plastic or metal cartridges so that they can be removed like floppy discs. Removable disc drives combine the best aspects of hard and floppy discs. They are nearly as capacious and fast as hard discs and have the portability of floppy discs.

Capacity: up to 20GB

Problems: All information are saved to one device, so if something bad happen with this one device, all information also is endangered! So better make more than one backup copy.

Presenting – Tasty Caribbean Treats and a Neighbourhood Tour Through the Beach With Sandra Bussin

In my neighbourhood portrait about the Beach I definitely wanted to include Sandra Bussin, City Councillor for Beaches / East York, who has represented the Beach for the last 18 years. After my January 25 interview with Carole Stimmell and Sheila Blinoff from the Beach Metro Community News and a wonderful tasty lunch at Konditor I headed downtown towards Toronto City Hall, where I had an opportunity to meet Sandra Bussin, City Councillor and Deputy Mayor of the City of Toronto.

I don’t usually get a chance to interact with senior city officials and I asked Sandra what the proper way of addressing her would be. She simply said “just call me Sandra”, and the ice was broken. We sat down and Sandra was ready to tell me her life story.

Sandra Bussin grew up just north of the Beaches, near Woodbine and Danforth, in the Dawes Road area. At that time the area was mostly Scottish, Irish and English. She attended a tiny primary school: Coleman Avenue Public School, a 6 room school house which functioned as a hospital during WWII. As a child she played in a series of parks: little and big Dentonia Park, where she also learned to play tennis. Some of her friends even went on to become provincial tennis champions. Recently she had a chance to meet some of those friends again at the 30 year anniversary of the Dentonia Park Tennis Club. When Sandra grew up there was no Crescent Town yet, the area of residential highrises just northwest of the Danforth / Victoria Park intersection. The entire area here was part of the Massey Estate, and Victoria Park Avenue did not even continue all the way through and dead ended at Dentonia Park. Sandra recalls construction work on the subway in the 1960s.

Her father and mother were both born in Toronto, while her grandparents came from Scotland. Her maternal grandfather had 13 children and owned his own business near Gerrard and Broadview. Two of her uncles were jockeys and had a race horse in their back yard. Sandra fondly recalls her mom’s stories, talking about her grandfather riding his horse along Gerrard Street.

As a child she displayed artistic talents and enjoyed drawing. Her father would take her to the ROM (the Royal Ontario Museum) on Saturday mornings where she studied civilization and drawing. By grade 4 Sandra would take the street car and go to the ROM all by herself. This exposure shaped her interest in the world and allowed her to interact with other people in a structured educational environment.

During the summer Sandra attended art programs at Central Tech High School and participating in these activities helped her develop a sense of independence. Sandra was supposed to attend Monarch Park Collegiate once that newly built school opened. For some reason she had always wanted to go to Malvern Collegiate which had traditionally been the feeder school for this area. But Monarch Park Collegiate Institute had just been built, and Sandra was supposed to be sent there. Instead she decided that Eastern Commerce would be a good option. In later years, when Sandra herself became a school trustee, she tried to facilitate her constituents’ school choices when they presented a good reason for wanting to attend a particular school.

After high school Sandra went to York University where she studied fine arts. To get there she had to take the subway and a bus. During university she got involved in film and TV production. In her third year of university she took a summer job with then City Councillor Ann Johnston and got introduced to the dynamics at City Hall. Sandra got to run Ann’s constituency office as a volunteer. Leveraging this experience allowed her to get a job at Queens Park, Ontario’s provincial parliament, a year later. She had an interview with Morton Shulman, the former provincial coroner who had then become a Provincial Member of Parliament representing the Toronto area of High Park / Swansea.

At that time the CBC was running a TV series called “Wojeck” that was based on Morton Shulman’s character and John Vernon, a tall good-looking actor, was playing the lead role. When Sandra first met the real Morton Shulman she said “you don’t look like John Vernon”. (Morton Shulman was a short slight man). Morton broke out laughing, and Sandra had the job.

Right away Sandra felt at home at Queen’s Park. Originally she did not plan to stay in Morton’s office, she had planned to go back to university and take another degree. But she was impressed by Morton Shulman, “a fighter for the little guy” as she calls him. Dozens of people would line up to see him on a daily basis, and Sandra was there to assist them with their needs and inquiries.

Before the Ontario government had an ombudsman, Morton Shulman would represent people that were wronged. Sandra’s role was to be “Shulman’s sleuth”, to research people’s inquiries and prepare him for the legislature. People with concerns and worries would come in from far and wide, and Morton would help them. Later Sandra worked on a TV show called “The Shulman File”, a show where Morton would take up cases of people who had been unfairly treated and help them. She did a lot of research and investigative work and really enjoyed this opportunity.

When Morton Shulman retired he asked her to come work with him at his TV Show at City TV, but Sandra chose to stay at Queen’s Park, and worked on various politician’s campaigns until she decided to run herself. Somewhere in between Sandra got married and had a daughter. As her daughter got older she became interested in the school system and ran for school trustee. That was the start of her political career, and Sandra Bussin spent 9 years as a school trustee representing the Beaches and part of Riverdale.

Her next step was a decision to run for city Councillor in Toronto and for the last 9 years Sandra Bussin has been the city councillor, representing the Beaches/ East York area. To her long list of achievements Sandra Bussin has also added the titles of Deputy Mayor of Toronto as well as that of the first Speaker of Toronto’s City Council, a newly minted role which will streamline the operations of city council starting with the first meeting next Monday, February 5.

Among many other roles, Sandra Bussin is also a commissioner for the Toronto Transit Commission and the Chair of the Roundtable for a Clean and Beautiful City which promotes Toronto ‘s beautification and citizen engagement to achieve community improvements. One of her proudest achievements is the renovation of the Beaches Library, a historic building on Queen Street East. The tasteful architecturally compatible renovation and expansion was completed in 2005 and has made the Beaches Library one of the busiest and most used libraries in all of Toronto.

Sandra explained that there had been an earlier small glass-enclosed addition to the library which was not very functional. Librarians were required to carry heavy books throughout the library and the overall design was not very ergonomic. One of the main goals of the renovation was to create a highly functional yet visually pleasing building, and that goal was definitely achieved.

Another local community project in the Beach was the renovation of the “Gardener’s Cottage” (the Kew Williams House). A group of local female artists had approached Sandra and asked to be able to access the building to put on some art shows. When the last gardener, who had been living in the cottage, retired, Sandra approached city council to secure the historic building as a community resource. In order to furnish and redecorate the building, Sandra partnered with the Beach Rotary Club – Barbara Dingle, the club’s president was a producer on the popular “Debbie Travis” decorating television series. The Rotary Club went to work and was able to furnish the Gardener’s Cottage with unique locally designed pieces. The city contributed $40,000 while the rest was raised by the Rotary Club and the entire building underwent an amazing facelift.

Architectural preservation and restoration has long been a concern of Sandra Bussin. She also got involved with the rehabilitation of the “Maple Cottage” a bit further west on Lang Street. In a local legend about Alexander Muir, a songwriter, poet and school headmaster in Scarborough, a maple leaf that had fallen on his shoulder is said to have inspired the song “The Maple Leaf Forever”, Canada’s first anthem. In collaboration with people such as Carole Stimmell from the Beach Metro Community News, Sandra created a committee to rehabilitate the Maple Cottage. The group succeeded and the historic building was preserved and is also used today as the location for a gardening club. A building that was awaiting certain destruction is now a beautiful addition to the neighbourhood.

One project that is currently underway in the Beach is the Skateboard Park at the corner of Lakeshore and Coxwell. Formerly a baseball diamond and sports field, construction has started to turn this area into a recreational facility for skateboards. The first of three phases has started, and Sandra has managed to augment the city’s funding with donations from local cement companies. Their contributions in the form of donated materials and labour are valued at $1 million. Sandra was hoping that the facility would open last fall, but the fill continued to settle on the low land, and another layer of fill will be required before applying the cement cap. Sandra likes being at the vanguard of community developments, engage the community and bring different stakeholders together to facilitate a successful outcome that works for everyone.

We also briefly talked about the Toronto International Beaches Jazz Festival, the premier entertainment event in the Beach. Issues such as lack of parking, extended hours of noise and garbage collection were addressed. Measures such as private garbage collection were introduced, festival hours were reduced to close at 11 pm, allowing the local residents a good night’s sleep. Over the years Sandra has worked with the community, the merchants and the festival organizers to find a solution that will benefit everyone and facilitate an event that is one of Toronto’s most popular summer festivals and draws tourists from all over the world.

I also asked Sandra to give me a general overview of the Beach neighbourhood. She explained that the residents are on average well educated and really value their quality of life. They also pitch in to keep their area nicely maintained. On issues that are important to them they can be rather vocal in making their views known. Sometimes there are competing interests, particularly when you mix dog owners, seniors and families with young children together. That’s where Sandra’s talent as a mediator and compromise-seeker comes into play.

The Beach also has a strong commitment to the environment and Sandra was instrumental in closing down the local garbage incinerator. Other local environmental issues include the Ashbridges Bay Sewage Treatment Plant. Sandra added that local residents are very keen to get engaged, and they become experts on topics that are important to them.

We had just gotten into a really interesting conversation when Sandra’s 2:30 appointment arrived. That meant I had to reschedule for another time, and February 2 was going to be the date when both Sandra and I would be able to reconnect again. So I arrived shortly after 1 pm today at the lunch spot that Sandra suggested: “Cool Runnings”, a small neighbourhood Jamaican restaurant near Gerrard and Main Streets, just across from the Main Street Library.

Sandra had already arrived, her executive assistant Dave joined us for a bit, and we were ready to order. Caribbean food is one of my favourites, and this place certainly has it all: Oxtail, Curry Chicken, Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat and many other Caribbean delicacies, at extremely reasonable prices I might add. Sandra and Dave started off with a hearty looking stew and I ordered Fried Plantain as an appetizer. We continued our culinary samplings – I had a very filling Veggie Roti while Sandra ordered the Jerk Chicken and Dave had some Fried Salted Cod.

The food was definitely hitting the spot, and a perfect backgrop for our conversation. Sandra mentioned that the Main Street Library was the one that she would go to as a child. She explained that there are a lot of new developments going in on Gerrard Street just east of Main, and that some of the older residents in the area felt a little nervous about all the new homes going in. On the other hand, the area was going through a transition , and it was important to redevelop it.

Sandra and Dave shared some of their experiences about political campaigning, and that both of them together probably have about 50 or 60 years of campaigning experience between them. What I did not know was that at the municipal level all the candidates have to use their own funds for campaigning. There is no party support for candidates as there would be on the provincial or federal level. Sandra laughed and said when you run for politics you learn to be a “tinker – tailor, soldier – sailor”. Due to the absence of external funding, municipal politics apparently requires a jack of all trades to succeed. Sandra went through many years of campaigns by herself, and to this day she creates her own election signs. Many election pamphlets are printed on someone’s personal copier in a basement somewhere. I learned that it often takes a kind of apprenticeship to become successful in politics; Sandra for example worked with other politicians before running herself, and she learned some of the important ropes. She said “The press sometimes implies that it’s easy to throw your hat in the ring”, but based on the fact that candidates have to invest their own funds to run campaigns, it is not as easy as one might think.

For the last 9 years Sandra Bussin has been representing the Beaches / East York area at Toronto City Council, and she says that development issues, i.e. new real estate developments, additions, any type of construction, have increased enormously. When she started at City Council there was relatively little redevelopment going on in the Beach. Today, this has become one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Toronto, and to mention one example, a 400-unit infill subdivision is being built as we speak in the area north of Gerrard and east of Main Street. Much to the chagrin of the neighbours, old historic homes are sometimes torn down and replaced with larger “monster homes”. Sandra explained that short of designating the entire area a protected heritage district, the hands of the planning department are often tied, and the city is not able to prevent a new project from going in.

Continuing our discussions about the changes in the neighbourhood, Sandra remarked that redevelopments along Kingston Road have revitalized that entire area and brought new retailers, galleries and cafes to the area. Sandra added that a local business owner by the name of Chris Papadatos, owner of the Fade In Café, has done much to revitalize the area around Main and Gerrard. Often one individual can make a large difference in a city.

The owner of “Cool Runnings” had entered the building, and this was our chance to get to know a local hospitality entrepreneur. Kiplin – “KC” – Cooper hails from the Port Antonio parish in Jamaica, an area where a famous Erroll Flynn movie was filmed. Since he was 18 years of age he has worked in the hospitality industry. After his move to the United States he completed a program in food and beverage management at Howard University. He decided to start a new life in Canada and arrived in Toronto in 1997 and settled in the Warden and Danforth area.

KC had a hard time adjusting to the climate and decided to return to Jamaica. After three weeks in his home country he reversed his decision and came back to Canada and has been in Toronto ever since. He became a chef in a variety of well-known bar-restaurants and started his first business, a Caribbean takeout, in the Danforth and Danforth area.

The key event happened in 2005 when he was delivering a catering order for a local restaurant to a nursing home in the Beach. He realized he is working so hard for someone else, and for a while he had been eyeing a local property just south of Main and Gerrard. When it became available for lease, KC had one look at it and signed the lease the same day. He completely redecorated the place and on July 23, 2005 “Cool Runnings” opened its doors for the first time.

“Cool runnings”, by the way is a Jamaican phrase, meaning “it’s going well, everything is cool”. For example: How is it going?” – “Cool runnings, man.” His friends said he was crazy, opening a Caribbean restaurant in this area, but KC had a dream and went for it.

He loves this little place and plans to open up the south wall of the building and build an addition that will hold an additional six to seven tables. Retractable doors will be able to open completely, adding an outdoor patio feel to the new section. At the moment, Cool Runnings is open six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, but when the new addition opens, KC plans to open seven days a week. In addition to all sorts of mixed drinks in this licensed establishment, he also plans to introduce a variety of exotic juices, for example a cucumber / ginger juice. KC is one example of the diverse entrepreneurs that make up the landscape of this multi-ethnic city. He has grabbed the opportunity to chart his own life as an independent business owner.

Meeting the owner of Cool Runnings provided a nice ending to our lunch, and Sandra was ready to head off with me on a personal introduction to her neighbourhood. As we walked to her car, she pointed out the Main Street Library where she went as a child. We started driving and passed by the Ted Reeve Arena, a popular skating rink in the area and the place where Sandra herself learned to skate. We drove down on a street called Kimberley, and Sandra pointed out a vacant lot where a new real estate development composed of several townhouses is going to go in. Sandra managed to get the neighbouring property designated as a historic property.

Lyall Avenue, an east-west connection north of Kingston Road, features a row of pretty historic homes, dating back to the early 20th century. Sandra pointed out two new homes that stood out from the visually homogeneous streetscape: in the last few years a developer had come in, taken down two historic homes and built two new larger homes that do not quite fit into the street scene. Again, unless a residential area is designated a protected historic heritage district, it is very difficult to impose restrictions on the design of new properties going in.

Our drive continued past Malvern Collegiate Institute, a local alma mater for many Beach residents. Back out on Kingston Road we drove by the northern end of the Glen Steward Ravine and turned left onto Glen Manor Drive, a curvy road that hugs the ravine on one side and is fronted with beautiful well-kept historic Edwardian homes on the other. Sandra’s residence is located right in this neighbourhood, just steps away from the ravine, which makes her a bona fide Beacher who enjoys walks on the Boardwalk and strolls along Queen Street East.

We stopped near Pine Crescent and Pine Glen Street, one of the few areas in Toronto that still features cobble-stoned streets. One of the local homes has salvaged some local paving stones and integrated them in their garden design.

A few steps further west is a wooden footbridge that connects Glen Manor Drive East and West across the ravine. Sandra explained that she is holding consultations for a new ravine management program in order to stabilize and improve the ravine. Natural and man-made erosion are creating significant stress in this nature area, and consultations with local residents include school age children and adults. A new footbridge will be built soon whose substructure will feature some rounded arches and an attractive design. Despite Toronto’s budget issues, Sandra was able to get some money set aside for the rebuilding of this bridge.

Back to School – Back to Business!

I don’t know about you, but my social media feed has been filled with back to school photos from family and friends. My kids are older, and back to school has lost the fun it used to have, but I love seeing my friends reach the milestones I did! Nothing like smiling faces and new backpacks!

With the kids starting a new school year, our focus shifts back to business and doing away with the summer slowdown. Back to school is the perfect time to review your goals and refresh your business!

Here are our top 10 Back to Business Essentials!

1. Has your business grown or changed structure over the last year – speak with a tax professional to be sure that you’re meeting the requirements and filing the appropriate paperwork.

2. Take a good look at your schedule, are you overextending yourself? Are you meeting your personal and professional commitments? How are you spending your time, and could you be spending your time more efficiently?

3. Is it time for some support? Maybe it’s an in-house personal assistant, a copywriter, social media guru, or just someone to lean on – don’t wait until its too late and you’re missing commitments!

4. Is your website up to date? When was the last time you re-vamped your copy and images? Do all of your links work the way they should? Is your site mobile friendly and GDPR compliant? Not sure where to start? Send us an email with a link to your site; we’re happy to take a quick peek around and provide feedback to get you back on track.

5. When was the last time you increased your rates? September is the perfect time to consider raising your rates and provide notice to your existing clients of a rate change for the coming year.

6. Have you been keeping up with social media? Do you post regularly (text, video or pictures)? Is your blog up to date? Not sure what to write, check out our blog about creating a content calendar for ideas.

7. When was the last time you launched a new product service? Do you have some custom programs that you currently offer clients, that would have a wider appeal? Maybe its time to do an official launch and reach a wider audience?

8. Speaking of a wider audience – what tools are you using to bring in new leads? Are you looking for some fresh ideas? Download our lead magnet whitepaper, or email us to brainstorm the best lead magnets for your business!

9. Research your competition – what products and services are they offering, and at what price point? Are you in line with their offerings?

10. Get out and network! Summer slowdown is over! Networking is fantastic for business, not just to generate leads, and foster connections, but networking is great for practicing your elevator pitch and staying current with trends. You never know what you’ll learn!

Presenting – The Beaches Library – A Centre of Learning and Community Interaction

Right in the heart of the Beach, just a few steps from the intersection of Queen Street and Lee Avenue is the Beaches Library, a stunning building designed by architect Eden Smith in the 17th Century English Collegiate Grammar School Style. A $50,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York City to the Toronto Public Library facilitated the construction. The current building replaced a storefront library and was opened in December of 1916.

Two other nearly identical libraries (the Wychwood and High Park Branch) were opened around the same time, and George Locke, the chief librarian wanted the three buildings to “bring to the minds of the people of the outlying districts some recollection of the Scottish and English village type architecture. The design was actually considered to be a “decided revolt” from the Classical styling of other Carnegie libraries.

The building is impressive and features a soaring hammer-beamed ceiling, a plain stone fireplace, lead-glass casement windows, and a minstrel gallery. In 2004, the western section of the Library was renovated and restored and reopened to the public in January of 2005. The new two-level wing represents a harmonious architectural addition to the existing building that integrates extremely well into the design. Since 1979 the Toronto Beaches Library has been included in the Inventory of Toronto Heritage Properties.

I had had several opportunities to visit the Beaches Library: as a meeting place for historic tours with Gene Domagala, when Barbara Weissmann, the Branch Head of the library, provided me with historical background information about the Beach, and as a special stop in my Beach tour with Sandra Bussin, who considers the Beaches Library her favourite building in the Beach.

One evening I dropped by and talked to Eniko Szabo, the children’s librarian, and she informed me about the various programs that are being offered to children and adults at the Beaches Library. Eniko herself is also a puppeteer who puts on a variety of animated shows for children throughout the year.

Both Barbara and Eniko directed me to a variety of special places in the building: the main floor multi-purpose room with the fireplace, the comfortable sitting areas on both levels of the west wing which according to Eniko provide some of the best sunset views in Toronto; a majestic view from the gallery over the Reading Hall; a historic tapestry that was created as a community project, and the original water fountain that has been preserved throughout the years.

The Beaches Library primarily features English print material, fiction and non-fiction for adults, teens and children as well as videos, DVDs and CDs. In addition, it also has an extensive local history collection as well as a wide selection of audio books, a career information collection, English as a Second Language materials, language learning kits, a large print collection and French language collections for both adults and children. The Beaches Library is one of the most active libraries in the Toronto Public Library system, one of the largest and busiest library systems in the world. Public usage has increased dramatically since the 2005 reopening after the renovation, attesting to the popularity of this library branch.

A variety of special events are also held at the Beaches Library, including a weekly “Wednesday Afternoon at the Movies” featuring classic and contemporary feature films every Wednesday at 2 pm. Beaches Book Lovers is a monthly drop-in for book discussions. The Teen Programs at the Beaches Library include Anime Films for March Break and a Knitting Circle that teaches basic stitches and how to knit a funky scarf. The Knitting Circle is also offered for children ages 7 and up. The popular Storytimes programs are offered for children of different ages including Babytime, Toddler Time and Preschool Storytime.