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Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on December 28, 2017

December 28th, 2017

Toronto, Ontario: We are pleased to announce our new Toronto Community and Latest Activity page at https://classii.com/activity/. Check it out, contribute and enjoy!

Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on December 23, 2017

Over the last four centuries, Canada’s entrepreneurs have helped to drive our economy forward, but how many of us can actually name who these individuals are or what they did?

In a new book, Canada’s Entrepreneurs: From the Fur Trade to the 1929 Stock Market Crash, editors J. Andrew Ross and Andrew D. Smith, provide a stimulating overview on the history of Canadian entrepreneurship. We talk to postdoctoral fellow at the University of Guelph, J. Andrew Ross, about some of the characters that have shaped Canadian business.

What inspired you to produce a book about Canadian entrepreneurs?
Canada’s Entrepreneurs was born from a desire by my co-editor (Andrew D. Smith) and I to highlight the stories of individual entrepreneurs that are contained in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. After much debate, we eventually decided to include 61 entrepreneurs in the book. Their stories highlight the immense risks taken, the importance of networks among entrepreneurs, and also the international connections that have allowed Canadians (and their predecessor peoples) to create and innovate.  We hope that readers will appreciate that while entrepreneurs have experienced historically-specific challenges in doing business in North America, many of the challenges remain the same: overcoming distance, lack of capital and communication hurdles, to name just a few.

What sparked the rise of entrepreneurialism in Canada?
Entrepreneurs have been important in Canada long before there was a Canada in the modern sense. First Nations, the French and British traded and pursued new markets and began exploiting natural resources like furs and fish, and developed transportation and communication networks that eventually laid the groundwork for Canada to become a world-leading industrial economy.

How well does Toronto produce successful entrepreneurs? Can you give us examples of some noteworthy entrepreneurs to come out of Toronto?
Many of the entrepreneurs featured in the book are from Toronto, particularly from the last half of the nineteenth century, when the city began to challenge Montreal’s dominance over the Canadian economy. In this era, we see the creation of businesses that would dominate the Canadian business landscape, like Timothy Eaton’s department stores, Peter Larkin’s Salada Tea Company and George Cox’ Canada Life Insurance, to name only a few. The Dictionarycarries many more articles on Toronto entrepreneurs, and if we had moved beyond 1929 we could have included others like George Gooderham, whose legacy stretches into the 21stcentury — through his mansion at Bloor and St George that houses the York Club, and through his business, which is gone but is the foundation for the 21st century revitalization of the Distillery District.

In the book, you mention the conspicuous role that the government played in Canadian entrepreneurial activity. Can you expand on this point and perhaps provide an example?
Government and the state have always been important to Canadian business. Under the French regime, individual entrepreneurs were actually discouraged in favour of state-sponsored monopolies. The English followed the same model, giving the Hudson Bay Company exclusive rights to trade furs in Rupert’s Land (much of what became northern and western Canada). This became a point of friction with those individuals who tried to operate independently. As the British North American colonies became more independent, their governments saw the importance of spurring economic development to compete with the United States, they rewarded entrepreneurial endeavor with subsidies and state support, especially to build transportation infrastructure like railways and canals.

Canadian governments were also in the forefront of using arm’s length agencies like crown corporations to achieve social and economic goals. One of the best examples was Ontario Hydro, which we see as a wonderful example of so-called “public” entrepreneurship by Sir Adam Beck, who promoted a public ownership business model for wider social gain, and not just personal or corporate profit.

Do you think the story of Canadian entrepreneurship is a story of success, particularly when compared to other countries?
Yes, we do. Canadians evince the insecurities of the small nation and feel that we are not innovative enough, but there has been no shortage of entrepreneurial spirit. And we are of course small in comparison to the largest economy the world has ever seen, right next door. Creating a global top-ten economy required a lot of enterprise, and is nothing to feel insecure about! That said, there have been persistent issues that Canadians have been right to pay attention to, including our dependence on natural resources, the extensive international ownership of our businesses and our lack of national champions. These are issues we have to keep foremost in mind in continuing innovation into the 21st century.

Which Canadian entrepreneur do you admire most and why?
It’s hard to pick any one person, of course, and there is much to admire (and also to dislike!) about many entrepreneurs, but the kind of person we were keen to include was not just the household names, like the Labatts or Eatons, but also some of the smaller entrepreneurs and those who had special challenges: men like Chang Toy, a Chinese immigrant who started as a contract labourer but eventually ran a successful wholesale business in Vancouver in an era in which anti-Chinese sentiment was rampant; or women like Ellen Cashman (“Irish Nellie”), who had a serious case of mining fever and traveled the continent from Tombstone, Arizona, to the Klondike setting up all manner of businesses — boarding houses, restaurants, a grocery, a boot and shoe store — to give her the resources to pan for gold. Her energy extended beyond business, and she helped establish hospitals, churches and schools in every town she did business in. Aside from their enterprise, this concern for community and country was quite typical of Canadian entrepreneurs and shows how Canadian entrepreneurship was not just about profits, but also about people.

Join J. Andrew Ross in a discussion about his book “Canada’s Entrepreneurs: From the Fur Trade to the 1929 Stock Market Crash” on Thursday, 26th January from 5 -7p.m. at the Rotman School of Management on 105 St. George Street.

Síle Cleary writes about architecture for the Toronto Standard.

Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on December 23, 2017

AN EVENT DESIGNED TO ELEVATE TORONTO AREA BUSINESS LEADERS!

The Toronto Entrepreneurs Conference & Tradeshow (#TECONF) has been designed to provide Toronto Area Entrepreneurs, whether budding or experienced, with the opportunity to expand their professional network, hear from experienced and successful entrepreneurs on tips and opportunities and learn what it takes to become successful and stay thriving.

> 2,500+ BUSINESS LEADERS
>> 20+ SPEAKERS
>> 60+ TRADESHOW EXHIBITORS

https://www.torontoentrepreneurs.ca/

Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on December 22, 2017

The program supports low-income women who are seeking to start their own business by providing financial literacy training, entrepreneurial mentoring and skills development and life skills support. These skills will ensure women’s success in starting and growing their businesses.

Women who become business ready within these programs will be eligible to receive small loans (microloans) to start their businesses. Through the Microlending for Women in Ontario program, over 800 low-income women will receive business readiness supports and financial skills training to help them on a successful path as entrepreneurs.

Current Programs:

Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office of Toronto: Toronto
Thorncliffe is expanding its existing microlending program for newcomer women in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park and surrounding areas to help grow or start their home-based businesses.

Contact:
Catherine McNeely
Manager, Settlement, Language and Employment Programs
cmcneely@thorncliffe.org
416-275-9363

Welland Heritage Council: Niagara Region
The Welland Heritage Council is delivering a new microlending program for immigrant and Francophone women in the Niagara Region.

Contact:
Lori Webster
Program Manager
lwebster@wellandheritagecouncil.com
905-732-5337 ext.128

Women’s Centre of York Region: York Region
The Women’s Centre of York Region is delivering a new microlending program in York Region by providing graduates of their business training program with microloans in a business start-up environment.

Contact:
Karen McConvey
Coordinator/Facilitator
Microlending Program
kmcconvey@wcyr.ca
905-853-9270 ext.221

YWCA Hamilton: Hamilton and area
YWCA of Hamilton is delivering a new microlending program that will allow women in the Hamilton region to access start-up investments.

Contact:
Medora Uppal
Director of Operations, YWCA Hamilton
muppal@ywcahamilton.org
905-522-9922

The Business Centre Nipissing Parry Sound: Thunder Bay and area
The Business Centre Nipissing Parry Sound Inc. is delivering a new microlending program that will allow diverse women to access startup investments in the North Bay-Parry Sound Area.

Contact:
Denise Sherritt
Manager
denise.sherritt@cityofnorthbay.ca
705-474-0626 x 2425

Connect Legal: Toronto
Connect Legal is providing women in microlending programs with tailored workshops to address important legal issues related to microenterprises.

Contact:
Janice Wiggins
Director of Programs
jwiggins@connectlegal.ca
416-964-3933

Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund: Northern Ontario
Business training and microloans to assist low-income Aboriginal women, on and off reserve, to start a small business in Northern Ontario and to establish or rebuild credit.

Contact:
Kimberley Bird
Loans Manager
kbird@nadf.org
1-800-465-6821

Oasis Centre des femmes : Toronto
Oasis centre des femmes will establish a new microlending program for Francophone women entrepreneurs in the Greater Toronto Area.

Contact:
Dada Gasirabo
Directrice générale
dadag@oasisfemmes.org
416-591-6565, ext. 223

PARO: Northeastern Ontario
PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise is establishing its existing microlending program into remote communities in northeastern Ontario for Aboriginal, Francophone and rural women.

Contact:
Maria Talarico
Program Developer
mariat@paro.ca
807-625-0328

Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on November 21, 2017

By Christine Wong

Toronto program teaches young entrepreneurs about love and Web development

Sunny Verma is used to tossing ideas around with other would-be CEOs over drinks at a local bar, but a new 10-week boot camp for startups recently had him dining at the Bridle Path mansion of a Canadian trucking tycoon.

The home is owned by Lorne Swartz, who founded Gallop Logistics Corp. and built it into a refrigerated trucking conglomerate that transported over half a billion dollars in goods per year before it was acquired by a U.S. firm in 2006. Verma, 27, was invited to dinner there along with nine other lucky participants in the Young Entrepreneurs’ Club (YEC), a 10-week program that pairs 10 aspiring CEOs with 10 successful businesspeople for – you guessed it – 10 weeks.

“The range of advice we’re getting is unbelievable,” says Verma, who was impressed by Swartz’s swanky digs in Toronto’s exclusive Bridle Path neighbourhood, where the average house went for $4.6 million in 2007 and whose residents have included singers Prince and Celine Dion and media barons Conrad Black and Moses Znaimer.

Related Story: Canadian start-ups get helping hand from Silicon Valley Canucks

Even more valuable for Verma, however, was the chance to get personal access to such a successful entrepreneur in an incredibly intimate setting.

“(It’s) having the opportunity to speak to them in a one-to-one setting and even follow up with conversations afterward (so) they can give guidance to people,” says Verma, founder and president of the educational tutoring company TutorBright.

Dinner chez Swartz was — so far — the most extravagant of the 10-week sessions in the YEC program, where most have featured guest speakers at a pub just west of Toronto’s theatre district. The program wraps on Aug. 24 when all 10 entrepreneurs under 30 pitch their business plans to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors. About five investors are lined up for the panel but organizers are still trying to nail down a total of about 10 for that night.

It’s the first year for YEC, which was launched by four Toronto entrepreneurs who, like the 10 YEC participants, are all under 30. The final 10 were whittled down from about 45 applicants, with some of the final 10 participants trekking to Toronto each week from Waterloo, Ont. and Kingston, Ont. for the program. Since interest in YEC has come from as far as Vancouver, Manitoba and the U.S., in future the program may include a digital distance learning aspect or actually expand to other cities, says organizer Jennifer Turliuk.

While there are similar programs already out there, from business plan competitions to pitch contests, this one tries to be unique in being open to young entrepreneurs from any industry (not just tech), and in offering ongoing one-on-one sessions rather than just a one-time event, Turliuk says.

“We’ve found some of our participants are involved in other support programs but also joined ours because they felt something was missing from theirs,” says Turliuk. “And we noticed a lot of (entrepreneurial) talent in Canada was defecting to either corporations or the States when they noticed a lot of their peers weren’t pursuing entrepreneurship in Canada. So we want to show it’s possible to do it (in Canada).”

Besides Swartz, other speakers and mentors at this year’s inaugural YEC camp include branding whiz Jamie Salter (the matchmaker behind Lady Gaga’s celebrity endorsement deal with Polaroid Corp. and Sarah Jessica Parker’s teaming with fashion label Halston), and Michele Romanow, co-founder of the group buying site Buytopia.

YEC features sessions on everything from marketing to Web development to “romantic relationships and how to balance those as an entrepreneur,” Turliuk says. Verma has actually shifted his business plan after advice from one of the YEC mentors, who told him not to expand too quickly through a recent deal to franchise TutorBright, which started in 2008 and now has 80 employees.

“They said ‘You’re going to be cannibalizing yourself, you’re growing a little too quickly and that can (need) overhauling.’ And that really re-evaluated everything for us. So we’re taking a lot slower and methodological approach,” Verma explains.

Even if he walks away after 10 weeks with no money from angel investors on Aug. 24, Verma feels he’s already learned a lesson that’s even more valuable.

“Make sure it’s the right strategic partner. Make sure they’re not just a source of capital but a right fit,” Verma cautions. “Money means nothing at the end of the day if you don’t have the right person assisting you.”

Christine Wong is a Staff Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow her on Twitter, and join in the conversation on the ITBusiness Facebook Page.

Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on November 9, 2017

Pilot program for newcomers launching companies in Canada to be made permanent

Canadians are welcoming to people and ideas from around the globe. Welcoming entrepreneurs who have the expertise to turn their ideas into successful companies is one way that Canada’s openness can help build a world-class innovation economy.

The Start-up Visa Program, a pathway to permanent residence for cutting-edge entrepreneurs launching a start-up company in Canada, will become a regular feature of Canada’s immigration landscape in 2018.

As part of the five-year pilot, launched in 2013, innovative entrepreneurs can apply to become permanent residents after a Canadian venture capital fund or angel investor group has made a significant financial commitment in their business idea, or after a business incubator has accepted them into their program.

A recent evaluation of the Start-up Visa Program found that it is delivering on its goals; immigrant entrepreneurs are actively developing innovative companies in Canada that are beginning to show positive results for Canada’s economy and creating middle-class jobs across a range of industries.

Making the program permanent supports the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, which seeks to attract investment and support the growth of a diverse range of companies, creating well-paying jobs for Canadians.

In the months ahead, IRCC will work to finalize regulations for the permanent program in order to have a seamless transition when the pilot expires on March 31, 2018.

Quotes

“Every company launched in Canada with the help of the Start-up Visa Program has the potential to be a big win for Canadians by providing middle-class jobs and strengthening our economy. Our Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan has identified the nurturing of entrepreneurship and the growth of start-ups as vitally important to Canada’s present and future economy. Making the Start-up Visa Program permanent supports that agenda.”

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Canadians benefit through the jobs that are created when entrepreneurs come from all corners of the globe to start businesses in this country. By making the Start-up Visa Program permanent, Canada will attract more innovative entrepreneurs who generate new business opportunities, create jobs and equip Canadians with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Quick Facts

  • As of July 15, 2017, 117 principal applicants have been approved for permanent residence. These entrepreneurs represent 68 start-ups launched in Canada with the help of the Start-up Visa Program.
  • More than 50 Canadian venture capital funds, angel investor groups and business incubators are now designated to participate in the program.
  • During the first three years of the pilot program, Start-up Visa Program entrepreneurs received over $3.7 million in investment capital from designated entities to get their companies established and making contributions to the growth and innovation of the Canadian economy.
Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on October 30, 2017

Toronto led the pack of North American cities in The Economist’s 2017 Safe Cities index, which evaluates and ranks 60 global cities across four categories of security: digital, health, infrastructure and personal. While the Safe Cities Index measures relative rather than absolute safety, there does not appear to have been a vast improvement in overall levels of safety since the 2015 report. However, Toronto’s ranking jumped from 8th in 2015 to 4th in 2017, highlighting how the Canadian city has provided some stability in a rapidly changing world.

The report also touched upon how developments in smart city and green technology help cities address infrastructure safety concerns such as climate change and natural disasters. For example, a simulation study in Toronto predicted that if half the city’s roof surfaces were green, irrigated roofs, it would reduce temperatures across the entire city by 1-2 degrees Celsius.

Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on October 23, 2017

I’ve spent more and more time in Toronto over the past few years and learned there’s more to this city than Drake calling it home and the recent successes of their professional sports teams. We made one investment there in 2015 and the experience — with the company specifically and the city generally — has been overwhelmingly positive.

It’s been so positive, in fact, that we’re actively looking for more high-caliber Toronto founders to fund. The city has all the markings of a world-class hub for technology startups and reminds me a lot of how New York City felt in the early 2000s when I moved back from the Bay Area — simmering with entrepreneurial talent, opportunity and a strong foundation to support it. I think Toronto is poised to contend as one of the biggest North American hubs for technology startup activity over the next five-10 years.

On a recent visit, a native Toronto entrepreneur explained why she thought I may be picking up on these undertones: “Toronto always had the talent, but it was historically recruited away. Today, the city is recapturing more of those people who left to work in the Valley or elsewhere, and they’re coming back to build businesses back home.”

Here are few reasons why Toronto is well positioned to make this transition.

Creative engineering-focused talent pool in a Top 5 North American city

Most people don’t realize Toronto is the fourth-largest city in North America (only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are larger) and produces the most engineering-focused university graduates each year. There are 150,000 full-time students enrolled in universities throughout the Greater Toronto Area, all within 90 minutes of the city center.

Toronto is, in fact, the center of Canada.

Two schools — the University of Toronto (which has a world-class technology and engineering program) and Ryerson (a dedicated technical university) — are located in the heart of downtown and boast 80,000 students between them. There’s also nearby York University with another 65,000 students, Queens College with more than 16,000 students and, of course, the widely acclaimed University of Waterloo (which in many ways, launched the local movement), with a few thousand highly sought-after students 90 minutes west.

Supportive local government

Both the Canadian federal government and Ontario’s provincial government offer strong support, encouraging technology innovation in many ways. The two government bodies have set up several grants, matching contributions and financial assistance programs specifically designed to encourage and support technological development. Some of these include:

■ Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SRED): This federal tax incentive program was developed to encourage Canadian businesses of any size to conduct R&D that will result in new, improved or technologically advanced processes or products.

■ FedDev Ontario: FedDev Ontario delivers programming to help create, retain and grow businesses, cultivate partnerships and build strong communities. Financial support is available through 14 programs and initiatives. Some are delivered directly by FedDev Ontario, while others are delivered by organizations that have received funding through FedDev Ontario.

■ International Science and Technology Partnerships Program: Small and medium-sized businesses with R&D programs in science and tech can receive additional financial support to partner with foreign researchers.

■ Conservation Fund: This is a program designed to fund new energy conservation technology and programs for businesses.

Affordable healthcare

This could be grouped under the “supportive local government” heading, but the Canadian universal healthcare system means that everyone is entitled to free healthcare benefits, lifting the financial burden for employers. Because everyone gets equal free healthcare, workers don’t feel pressured to settle for jobs solely to secure coveted benefits, but instead feel encouraged to take risks and follow an entrepreneurial path. Without the burden of paying for healthcare, startups can operate more leanly and reinvest those dollars into growing their businesses.

Attractive leverage/favorable currency exchange

With government support programs and universal healthcare, dollars invested in Toronto businesses provide the possibility of going much further. Taking into account the benefits described above and the typical benefit package afforded a Toronto startup, investment there has the opportunity to extend 1.2X-1.4X further versus investment in American companies.

What’s more, for the past three years, the U.S. dollar has enjoyed strength versus the Canadian dollar. The exchange rate (at the time of writing) is 1.30 CA to 1.00 U.S., a 30 percent change from where rates were as recently as 2012. For financings denominated in Canadian dollars — as they often are for seed-stage Canadian companies — U.S. investors enjoy a 30 percent advantage (for the time being).

The RIM diaspora

With RIM‘s (BlackBerry) continual transition from a large technology leader of approximately 10,000 employees to a significantly smaller outfit, many talented engineers and technologists in the Toronto area have begun to disperse and launch businesses of their own or team up with local entrepreneurs. As a result of “the RIM diaspora,” significant talent has been unleashed on the Greater Toronto ecosystem.

Strong startup foundation

Torontonians are a creative and entrepreneurial people. The culture of the city lends itself to the tech field, particularly with the backstop of the Canadian government behind them. Toronto is already home to a number of successful venture-backed businesses, such as Shopify, KIK, FreshBooks, 500px, Assurex Health, Influitive, Wattpad, SoapBox, Figure 1 and Vidyard.

There’s also a strong network of emerging local venture capital supporting the ecosystem, firms such as Golden Venture Partners, OMERS, Georgian Partners and Relay Ventures. Finally, there are more incubators and accelerators hatching every month, including Ryerson’s DMZ, MaRS, Highline, The Next 36 and Communitech.

There’s also a strong community developing with lots of weekly events; the TechTO Meetup is one of the largest, with more than 11,000 members, playing a role very similar to the one the NY Tech Meetup served for New York City five-10 years ago.

Vibrant and growing city center

Similar to the way some New Yorkers think we’re the center of the universe, Toronto is, in fact, the center of Canada. Not only is the city the center of commerce and industry in the country, but it has an exciting and diverse urban core that’s focused and invested on development and infrastructure. Toronto is the epicenter of Canada’s construction boom, claiming the most high-rise construction projects (and cranes) of any North American city with 130 projects underway.

Toronto is poised to contend as one of the biggest North American hubs for technology startup activity over the next five-10 years.

The city itself exudes creativity, especially the Queen West neighborhood, which serves as the de facto center of startup activity with its abundant restaurants, cafes and flexible creative workspaces (it reminds me a lot of the east village of New York in the 1990s). The neighborhood was recognized by Vogue as having the second-best street style in the world. The proximity of Queen West from the downtown core — a five-minute taxi ride or 20-minute walk — means startups have easy access to large corporations, enabling natural collaboration.

Friendly and entrepreneurial people

The international community has long regarded Canadians as being a kinder, friendlier and a more accepting culture; in my experience, it’s true. Softer and less aggressive both socially and in business, Canadians are pleasurable to work with, which is worth a lot in my book.

Toronto is also ranked one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, with half the population being foreign-born. In addition to making for a diverse and interesting population, it sets a good precedent for the birth of startup businesses, because we know there’s a strong correlation between immigrants with the sense of adventure to relocate and entrepreneurial activity.

Josh Guttman

Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on October 23, 2017

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, will be developing 3.3 million acres along the waterfront of Lake Ontario for its Sidewalk Labs initiative.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday in Toronto that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, will develop a portion of the waterfront along Lake Ontario. The development will house Sidewalk Labs, a unit of Alphabet focused on innovation in urban environments.

“This project offers unprecedented opportunities for Canadian innovators and will create thousands of good, middle class jobs,” Trudeau said during the announcement alongside Toronto Mayor John Tory and Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

According to The Globe and Mail, Google’s Canadian headquarters will be relocating to the 12-acre site.

Schmidt said that “we are making a bold bet that innovation technology and forward-thinking urban design can make fundamental improvements in city life.”

Written by: Classii Toronto Classifieds on October 11, 2017

St. Joseph Media has introduced what one of its senior executives believes is a possible antidote to the FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome so common in the age of information overload.

The Toronto media company quietly launched a daily email newsletter called Twelve Thirty Six – also represented as 12:36 – about two months ago.

The digital product, which delivers what Toronto Life publisher Ken Hunt describes as an “interesting take” on the day’s events, is delivered to subscribers’ inboxes at 12:36 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Hunt describes Twelve Thirty Six as a “daily lunchtime tabloid” covering an eclectic mix of stories, all with a Toronto focus. “Hopefully it’s things readers haven’t heard 10 times already,” he said. “It’s not a general news update or the top headlines of the day – it’s an eclectic news product.”

Headlines in a recent edition included a story about the ongoing gentrification of The Galleria Mall in Toronto’s west end, and Toronto councillor Norm Kelly surpassing 100,000 followers on Twitter.

Twelve Thirty Six is overseen by Marc Weisblott, a former correspondent for now-defunct alternative paper Eye Weekly who has also written for Yahoo and Canada.com. Last year PR firm Hill+Knowlton named him one of the 10 voices to follow in Canadian media.