Christmas Kettle Campaign: CSG Donates President Jim Malner

Jim Malner Rings The Kettle Bells

On December 17, Jim Malner put down his laptop computer and picked up a set of jingle bells to support the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign as an official Bell Ringer at Southgate Shopping Centre. The Christmas Kettle Campaign runs from mid-November to December 24. This year, the Salvation Army set a goal to raise $21 million. As of December 16, the campaign has accumulated $11 million.

What Is A Bell Ringer?

A Bell Ringer is a volunteer that can be found next to the Salvation Army’s iconic Christmas Kettles. Bell Ringers shake the bells as a subtle reminder for everyone to give generously during the Holiday Season. Today, there are over 2,000 Kettle locations nationwide that require Bell Ringers to spread awareness. Kettles are usually found at malls and other populated areas around your local community.

History Of The Christmas Kettle Campaign

Captain Joseph McFee started the Christmas Kettle Campaign in 1891 to help provide meals for the poor in San Francisco. The first Christmas Kettle was a “Simpson’s Pot,” which was originally used in England to collect donations for the needy. Canada’s first Christmas Kettle was used in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1906. Over a century later, the tradition continues with Kettles across North America and Bell Ringers standing close by.

Where Do All The Donations Go

Christmas is the busiest season for the Salvation Army. Each year, the Kettle Campaign provides assistance to roughly 1.8 million Canadians that stand in need. Donations collected from the Christmas Kettle Campaign provide food, shelter, counselling, toys and financial assistance throughout the year to those less fortunate.

“The Salvation Army does its best to ensure that no family goes without food, no child is without presents under the tree and that Christmas is a time of hope and healing.” – The Salvation Army

You Can Be A Bell Ringer, Too

Each year, the Salvation Army needs volunteers to help ring the Christmas bells and collect donations for the local community. Find out how to give your time to the Christmas Kettle Campaign visiting the Salvation Army website or contacting them directly at the number listed below. But if you are unable to become a Bell Ringer, you can still donate to the Kettle Campaign online or even host an online Kettle.

The Salvation Army Edmonton

Phone: 780-412-2736

CSG Sponsors The Festival Of Lights

Consumer Strategies Group (CSG) is proud to announce our sponsorship of the 2014 Festival of Lights hosted by the Edmonton Valley Zoo. All sponsorships support animal population growth around the world. The festival runs from December 5 to 14, and features exciting, outdoor winter activities for everyone. Gates open from 5 to 9 pm. 

A Display Of Local Talent

The Festival of Lights’ vision is to celebrate Edmonton’s winter spirit through breath-taking lighting exhibitions supported by local artists in many different disciplines. In addition to lighting displays, the event also features ice sculptures, fire dancers, airbrush tattoo artists, an outdoor skating rink, a photo booth, scavenger hunt, winter crafts, FREE Hot Chocolate and a visit from special guest, Santa Clause.

Lucy The Elephant

A feature artist at this year’s Festival of Lights is Lucy the elephant. Lucy paints pictures by holding a brush with her trunk and putting images to canvas. Her paintings are sold by silent auction each night with all proceeds from their sale supporting the 96 Elephant Initiative. Each day, 96 elephants are killed illegally in Africa as part of the criminal ivory trade. In an attempt to end this brutal practice, the 96 Elephant Initiative is raising awareness and money through one of its own, Lucy.

Valley Zoo Revitalization Project

The Festival of Lights is a way to draw new visitors to the Edmonton Zoo and raise awareness that it's a year-round facility. In association with the City of Edmonton, the festival is also a means to raise money to support the multi-million dollar Valley Zoo Revitalization Project. Over the next 10 years, the Edmonton Zoo will undergo an amazing transformation that will enhance the guest experience and animal habitats. The project includes a new entry plaza, phase I & II of the Polar Extreme arctic replica facility and Nature’s Wild Backyard, an area specifically for children and young families to interact with some friendly animals. 

Community Commitment

Consumer Strategies Group is proud be an official sponsor of the Festival of Lights and Edmonton Valley Zoo. During past holiday seasons we have sponsored Santa’s Anonymous, another worthwhile local charity. We wish all the best during this holiday season to all our followers and clients.  

For more information about the festival of lights, visit for details.

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The total number of new housing starts in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) is expected to moderate in 2014, 2015 and 2016 after two years of double-digit increases. In 2012, the Edmonton CMA saw 12,837 new housing starts, a 37.6% year-over-year increase from 9,332 starts in 2011. In 2013, the CMA experienced another increase of 14,689, up 14.4% from 2012. There are 13,300 new starts forecast for 2014, a decrease of 9.5% from 2013. This trend will continue into 2015 with 13,000 new starts projected, a 2.3% decrease from the present year. And in 2016, the number of starts will decrease to 12,300, a 5.4% reduction from 2015.    

Factors Affecting Housing Growth


The Edmonton CMA experienced consistent year-over-year growth in net migration from 2010 (11,000 new residents) to 2013 (38,000 new residents). Forecasts for 2014, 2015 and 2016 indicate a decrease in year-over-year increases. However, the projections remain high with 30,000 migrants anticipated for 2014, 24,000 in 2015 and 22,000 in 2016.

The net increase in population between 2010 and 2013 created a demand for housing that Edmonton’s resale market could not sustain. As a result, the demand for new homes increased with the number of new migrants. As population growth moderates in years to come, the number of new housing starts will decrease accordingly. 


Edmonton’s employment growth rate will decline in 2015 and 2016. In 2011, the Edmonton CMA growth rate hit 6%, the highest since 2007. In the following years, employment grew at 3.2% and 3.5% in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Between 2014 and 2016, the Edmonton CMA employment rate is expected to average 2.5%. Moderating employment growth will moderate wage increases and act as a drag on new home purchasing.

Eastern Canada’s improving economy is a primary factor behind Alberta’s declining migration. Ontario’s provincial economic outlook indicates over the next three years, provincial employment is expected to grow an average of 1.5% per year and real GDP at 2.5%. Compared to Ontario’s average rate of growth from 2011 to 2013, that is a 15.4% increase in employment and a 56.2% increase in real GDP.

Mortgage Rates

Interest rates are expected to remain steady until mid-2015. 2015 one-year rates are forecast at 3.20% - 4.00%, while five-year rates are 5.25% - 6.0%. The 2016 one-year rates are at 3.70% - 4.60% and five-year rates are 5.55% - 6.45%. The gradual increase in mortgage rates will not significantly impact Edmonton’s housing demand.

The real dark cloud on the horizon is the “price floor” destruction on oil prices that has always been managed by OPEC. With OPEC’s share of the world’s oil supply dropping from over 60% in the late 90’s  to 32% today, its ability to sustain prices by cutting production has been greatly diminished. This could get ugly before it gets better. Russia, the United States and Canada are addicted to high oil prices to support their growing economies and unlikely to curb their production unless it becomes unprofitable. But with prices below $65/barrel, it’s unprofitable for everyone. Interesting to see who blinks first. 

Forecasts for migration, employment and mortgage rates in the coming years suggest moderation in housing starts for 2015 and 2016. While these forecasts are lower than current levels, the Edmonton CMA is coming down from record levels, so that is great. The real issue will be energy prices and Alberta’s ability to keep producing those high paying, migration-worthy jobs for people around the world. Stay tuned, but you may expect to see a “significantly moderating” housing market in Edmonton in 2015. 

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Source: Canadian Mortgage And Housing Corporation 2014.