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Blogs

06
Aug

Top Seven Provincial Parks in Ontario

We're in the midst of summer and hitting the start of fall! Now is the time to be outside in the  provincial parks that Ontario has to offer! With great beaches for the hot summer weather and awesome hiking trails for the breezy fall weather, Ontario has something for everybody! If you’re looking for a chance to spend some time with nature, here are 7 great campgrounds in Ontario that are perfect for the summer or fall!

  1. Algonquin Park – Ontario’s most well-known provincial park is several hours north of Toronto. It is home to thousands of lakes with eight major campgrounds, each of which are nearly the size of a provincial park. Algonquin has an informative visitor centre, providing natural heritage education programs, a logging museum and an art centre, among other things. And don’t be surprised if you spot a fair bit of wildlife. 
  2. Presqu’ile Park – Just off Brighton, Presqui’ile Park juts out into Lake Ontario. It’s known for its one kilometre boardwalk trail, spanning over one of the largest marshes in Lake Ontario, and for having the second oldest working lighthouse on Lake Ontario. Furthermore, sixteen kilometres worth of trails allows one to ride/walk through the entirety of the park.
  3. Balsam Lake Park – Located North of Peterborough on Balsam Lake, this park offers a variety of aquatic activities from swimming, canoeing, boating, and fishing. For those who get sick of camping in a tent, rental cottages by the water are also an option for the posh campers.
  4. Longpoint Park – The fourth oldest provincial park in Ontario, Longpoint, is located on a piece of land jutting out into Northern Lake Erie. It is a great location for bird watching with more than 300 species of birds that migrate to and from Longpoint every year.
  5. Killbear Park – Just off Parry Sound, Killbear Park is known for its 30,000 islands. It also has a diverse landscape with rock outcroppings, a variety of forest types, and sandy beaches. It is the ideal location to explore Canada’s geological history through trail walks or just kicking back and relaxing on one of its many beaches.
  6. Sandbank Park – Sandbanks is near Presqui’ille Park, located south of Belleville in Prince Edward County. Like Balsam Lake, Sandbank is well known for its beaches and camping grounds, but is also a great place to explore the dune habitat in Ontario. Furthermore, there is a great educational program on the park, that the whole family can take part in.
  7. Pinery Park – Located on Lake Huron between London and Sarnia, Pinery Park deserves distinction for being ranked as one of the top ten best places in the world to watch the sunset, by National Geographic. While you’re waiting for the sun to set, there are also several trails which wind through a variety of forests and dunes, or you can pitch a tent, sit back, relax, and watch the sun go down.

All park listings and any further information can be found at www.ontarioparks.com, as well as cool hints and beginner guides to camping.

 

30
Jul

Top Five Rooftop Patios in Toronto

It's the middle of the summer and you're probably looking for a way to cool off on those hot nights. Well, you're in luck because we've piled up our favorite rooftop patios in Toronto! They're perfect if you're looking to catch some rays or if you want to feel the nighttime breeze when the sun sets. So sit back, relax, and grab a cold one... because this rooftop patio list has you covered.

Drake SkyYard - 1150 Queen Street West: This celebrated rooftop is a must-see. With tents, blankets, and cushions to get cozy in, this is a great place to snuggle up with someone special and relax with a few drinks. They even have marshmallow roasting when it gets a bit cooler. Make sure you don't leave without trying their famous Drake Mojitos!

Pauper's Pub - 539 Bloor Street West: This cozy rooftop patio is situated right in the heart of the Annex, meaning it’s a popular hangout for summer students taking a break from their thesis to enjoy the good weather. Not to mention the great view of the city!

The Pilot - 22 Cumberland Street: With it's location in the heart of Yorkville, this large rooftop patio gives an inclusive vibe, bringing in people from all over Toronto and summer tourists alike. The steel tables and chairs give it an industrial charm and lots of space to bring friends.

Hemingway's - 142 Cumberland Street: Another popular Yorkville spot which plays host to the after-work crowd. The patio provides a relaxing view of Yorkville for people looking to enjoy the summer sun and unwind after a stressful day at work. Run with a New Zealand vibe, the staff is always friendly and outgoing.

The Madison - 14 Madison Ave: A former Victorian mansion attached to the Madison Boutique Hotel, this is a popular spot for students young and old. Offering a maze of different rooms, including an adorable rooftop patio, a piano room, and a dance floor, this is the place to be any night of the week. The Madision is a great place- even after the summer is over!

04
Aug

Anker Types Up Some Great Customer Service

Through the eyes of Kogul...

Recently, I decided to replace my old, outdated keyboard with a new Bluetooth keyboard. I browsed online and found a company called Anker, which sold affordable Bluetooth keyboards. I purchased one of the keyboards and upon arrival, everything looked good. It seemed to connect flawlessly with my computer and I was satisfied with the purchase. However, I spoke too soon. Though it did connect to my computer, it was constantly unresponsive and wasn’t registering any of the letters I was typing.

After exhausting my searching abilities to find a solution, I decided to contact Anker support where I met Sunny, who was happy to help to shed a ray of light on my troubles. After various attempts of diagnosing the initial problem and offering many solutions, nothing seemed to be able to solve the problem. Sunny and I hung up, unfortunately, leaving me with an unresponsive keyboard. However, over the next few days, Sunny sent me a number of emails suggesting new solutions to my problem until finally, after a week of playing email tag, we stumbled upon a solution.

Sunny told me this was an issue they had never seen before and was very sorry on behalf of Anker for taking so long to solve the issue. To show how apologetic he was for the inconvenience, Anker refunded my order in order to reimburse me for the trouble.

All in all, I got a free keyboard that works flawlessly thanks to Anker’s customer service.

23
Jul

Top Five Anticipated Summer Movies

Through the eyes of Amy...

Nothing gets us more excited than watching good looking people perform some mind-blowing action scenes. With summer blockbusters just around the corner, we won't have to wait long. Here are our five most anticipated movies this summer:

  1. Godzilla: The giant Japanese reptile got a reboot early in the season in May with Gareth Edward's latest installment. Wreaking havoc from Japan to the United States, this movie looks worth seeing for the special effects alone.
  2. 22 Jump Street: Following the unexpected success of 21 Jump Street, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum returned in June as wildly entertaining and slightly incompetent undercover cops, only this time they're going to college! The two actors fluid chemistry surprised audiences and we can only hope they find that spark again.
  3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo are once again hitting the big screen. With Megan Fox playing April O'Neil, we can only hope she's able to keep up the humorous and witty rapport which defined the four mutant ninja turtle brothers in their earlier appearances. The movie is being directed by Jonathan Liebesman and is slated for release in August.
  4. X-Men: Days of Future Past: Released just in May, X-Men: Days of Future Past came as the sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class. This X-men film is the seventh installment in the series and is being directed by Bryan Singer. Uniting both the old and new cast, with the help of some Academy heavy actors, it's tough to believe this film won't hit its mark.
  5. Transformers: Age of Extinction: After three movies, Shia Labeouf has been replaced in this June release, and by none other than Marky Mark Wahlberg- adding a much needed shot of adrenaline to the series. Directed by Michael Bay, it will be the fourth live-action Transformers film and also the sequel to Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

 

21
Jul

A Novel-ty Customer Service Experience

Through the eyes of Amy...

The musty décor of an old bookstore always makes you want to settle in and read, sometimes to the chagrin of the owner. However, it can be a tiresome task searching through all those rows of shelves only to discover that they don't have the book you're looking for in stock. Even if you search the stores website beforehand it can sometimes be dicey whether the store actually has a copy. Recently, I had a similar experience. Despite the let-down of not being able to find the book I was looking for, the excellent customer service certainly made up for it. 

Unable to find the novel that I was looking for, I browsed through the stacks to try and find something similar. There were other novels that were part of the series I was reading and I began to mentally check off which ones I had read, when I was approached by an employee. The employee asked if I needed any help. I admitted that I had come for a particular novel from my favorite series, but was unable to find it. The employee apologized for the inconvenience, and, to my surprise, began to talk with me about the series. At first I thought the employee was merely being friendly, feeling obliged to engage me as a customer. However, after conversing with the employee for a few minutes, I realized they too were a genuine fan.

By the end of our conversation, the employee had recommended an e-book novella which was part of the series, as well as a new series which followed a similar science fiction strain. The accommodating and sincere interaction made me feel like a person rather than just another sale and contributed to a truly novel-ty costumer service experience.

16
Jul

Top Five Freebies at Your Local Library

Through the eyes of Joshua...

In our world of flashing images and constant adrenaline-fueled stimulation, our libraries have grown quiet and lonely. But we're here to tell you that the library is more than just a place to read books, it's a source for many of the entertainments you're looking for... and it's free!

  1. Borrowing Entertainment: We all know that your local library lend books, but did you know that libraries also have music, movies, and magazines that can be borrowed? Check out some new releases and current tunes at no cost!
  2. E-Entertainment: Magazine issues, movies, TV shows, music, and especially books are now all available online and provided by the library for free. Even better, you can rent them without leaving your home!
  3. Classes: Sometimes it's nice to connect and learn with other people, rather than being hunched over a book or computer all day. Some library branches offer free classes to the public, from how to start your own business to how to write your own memoir.
  4. Events: People often see books and the library as an isolating environment, where the solemn librarian holds a bony finger to her lips, silencing any attempts to talk. However, like community centers, the library is a place to bring people together. Many libraries host public events such as author readings and poetry nights and they're all free!
  5. Research: The bulk of a library’s budget goes into subscription fees to databases. There is a vast array of knowledge at your fingertips and all you need to access it is your library card number. Whether you're looking for career hunting resources or accredited scholarly journals, the library is the place to start. And even better, all of it can be accessed online for free!

 

14
Jul

Pleased to Meat this Burrito Joint

Through the eyes of Joshua...

While popular chains, such as Chipotle, have started to take over the restaurant business, I happened to stumble across a great self-owned and run burrito place close to my house. Looking for a snack closer to midnight, I saw the lights of this little restaurant still on. Inside, the joint was quiet- a few TTC employees huddled over some burritos in the corner. I approached the counter and ordered a steak burrito. I was amazed by their meat selection as they also had chicken, pork and, oddly enough, haddock and shrimp. They also offered beans (I chose black instead of pinto), rice, and, to my delight, free guacamole! Now, if free guacamole doesn't scream A+ customer service, then I don't know what does.

I watched as the floury tortilla was wrapped around the yummy filling and tossed on the grille to fry. As I waited, the owner talked to me from behind the grille. He explained that the meat he served was fresh and several grades above the processed meat found at the chain burrito places. I really appreciated the amount of care that he took in choosing where his meats come from.

While I did have to wait for my burrito, the wait was well worth it. The heartiness of the guacamole, rice, and lettuce was most excellent and I was well sated by the last bite. Not to mention, it was made to order- unlike some of the other burrito places that I have visited. I also decided to add some hot sauce served in a little cup. Wondering why the hot sauce serving was so small, I put a dab on my tongue – ouch! Hot was certainly the right word to describe it! 

The convenient hours, taste of the freshly grilled burrito, and excellent customer service will definitely have me coming back. I think I may have found my new favorite burrito joint!

07
Jul

The Music Store that Rocks On

Through the eyes of Amy…

Located in the core of downtown Toronto is a music shop that values both its music-related products and music-loving customers. Whether it's punk, rock, metal, pop, or a mix of everything that you're into, the shop provides products for all types of music-lovers, including the newest designs of band t-shirts, albums, and accessories. The excellent products, coupled with friendly and accommodating sales associates, plays a tune that's hard to beat.

Recently, I went to the shop looking for one of my favorite band's t-shirts. As I entered the store I was immediately greeted by a friendly employee and hit with a wave of nostalgia as some music from my childhood was playing in the background. A large section of the store is dedicated to mainstream music, but there are sections commemorative to the influential movements of punk and rock.

The employee who greeted me was accommodating and friendly, taking the time to help me decide on the best design for the t-shirt, find the correct size, and inform me about their current sales and offers. Along with his attentiveness and great customer service, the employee revealed their music chops by speaking with me about my favorite band and giving me music recommendations.

I left the shop with a new top, an album featuring the nu-metal genre, and the unwavering decision to make all future music purchases here.

30
Jun

Happy Canada Day!!!

Here at SQM, would like to wish all our Canadian readers a very Happy Canada Day!!! And for our American counterparts, we would like to wish you all a very Happy (early) Fourth of July!
 
Today is a day to celebrate, so wake up and pour some fresh maple syrup over your pancakes, grab a cup of Timmies (or a Molson, if you prefer), and don't forget to end the night off with an epic show of fireworks, eh! With the Canada Day festivities upon us, we would like to remind everyone to stay safe. Remember to put some extra cash away because it's not worth picking up your car keys when you know you have had a bit too much to drink. A taxi cab is only a phone call away. And just remember to party your little heart out because...
YOU. ARE. CANADIAN!...eh! 
 
We want to know how you're celebrating Canada Day, so send us a message and some pictures to our social media accounts!
 
We can be found on Facebook as Sally Sensors and Sensors Quality Management – Mystery Shopping.  We can also be found on Twitter as @SQMInc and @Evaluate_It
 
Happy Canada Day!

09
Jul

Top Ten Ways to Stay Cool During the Summer

Through the eyes of Joshua…

Summer is here and you can expect the temperature to rise and the humidity to settle in. Here are a few tips to stay cool without relying too much on electricity:

  1. Drink plenty of water: Our body is composed of about 60% water. We sweat more when the temperature is hot - especially if you’re working or exercising in the heat. Drinking water helps replenish the fluids lost by excessive sweating.
  2. Keep still and quiet: It is important to maintain a calm and relaxed posture. Save the exercising and kinetic activities for the evening when the sun goes down and the air becomes cooler.
  3. Stay in the shade: You can read a book, sit down, or take a nap. When you move around, it makes your body temperature rise.
  4. Open the windows to let in a breeze: This allows the air inside to circulate and cool down. If insects are a problem, use screens to keep them out.
  5. Go swimming: Going swimming on a hot day is a great way to cool off. Head over to your nearest public swimming pool for a cool splash.
  6. Have a cold shower or bath: A cold shower or bath will instantly cool you off. You can also wrap damp towels around your body to help bring your temperature down.
  7. Use fans: Fans keep the air circulating and don't use as much energy as air conditioners. You can also produce a mini air-conditioning effect by placing a wet face cloth over the outer cage of the fan.
  8. Chew on ice cubes: It’s just like drinking water, only colder!
  9. Use a bag of ice: Place the bag on your forehead for approximately 30 minutes.
  10. Water spray bottle: If you go outside frequently, spray yourself with cold water from a spray bottle. It helps you stay cool and it feels good.