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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

The latest COVID-19 developments: Peel Region closing schools, Filipino Canadians bear disproportionate burden during pandemic and more

Schools in Ontario’s Peel Region will close for two weeks starting tomorrow until April 18 because of surging COVID-19 cases, its top doctor revealed today. Students in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga will move to online learning only.

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The news comes as authorities in both Ontario and Quebec express concern that the spike in cases is putting renewed strain on the health-care system. Ontario today reported nearly 6,000 new COVID-19 cases over a two-day span. Quebec is reporting 1,252 new cases and has added five municipalities south of Quebec City to its strict lockdown list.

Meanwhile, health data in Manitoba - the only province to track and publish race-based numbers for infections - indicate that the pandemic is hitting the Filipino Canadian community disproportionately hard. Physicians, labour unions and community advocates say it’s also happening in many other parts of the country.

Canada is on track to receive this week more than two million doses of vaccines, including vials from Pfizer and Moderna as well as AstraZeneca from the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as the COVAX Facility.

Opinion: “Quantity matters, but so does using vaccines as effectively as possible. That means not only getting shots into arms, but into the right arms at the right time.” - André Picard

Read more:

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Rapid increase in home prices puts buyers in bind when appraisals don’t match sale price

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Home prices are running up so fast in some parts of Canada that valuations set by appraisers are not keeping pace, putting some buyers and mortgage lenders in a bind.

An appraisal is a key factor when a bank or credit union decides how much it can lend against a particular home.

But with one record sale price after another in many communities, especially in smaller cities outside the largest urban centres, valuations are increasingly falling short of the prices paid. That can leave a financing gap for buyers who are relying on mortgages to fund a large share of the purchase, forcing them to come up with extra cash quickly to close a deal.

Brookfield under pressure to boost takeover bid after Inter Pipeline lands $408-million grant for petrochemical complex

Inter Pipeline has secured a substantial Alberta government grant for its $4-billion petrochemical plant, making the Heartland project more appealing to a potential partner and putting pressure on Brookfield Infrastructure Partners to raise its hostile takeover bid for the company.

Inter Pipeline will receive $408-million in cash over three years once the complex is up and running in 2022. The new grant replaces the $200-million of royalty credits the company was set to receive under a different government program.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Chauvin broke rules, trial told: Former officer Derek Chauvin broke Minneapolis police department rules and its ethics code in his deadly arrest of George Floyd last May, Chief Medaria Arradondo testified at Chauvin’s murder trial today.

Jordanian prince pledges allegiance to king: Jordan’s Prince Hamza pledged allegiance to King Abdullah today after mediation by the royal family, two days after he was placed under house arrest and accused of trying to destabilize the country.

Air Transat’s failed deal: Transat AT shares plunged as much as 22.6 per cent in the first day of trading after Air Canada pulled the plug on its takeover of the tour operator over Europe’s unwillingness to approve the deal.

LG exiting smartphone market: South Korea’s LG Electronics says it will wind down its money-losing mobile division – a move that is set to make it the first major smartphone brand to completely withdraw from the market.

More accolades for Schitt’s Creek: Cast members of Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek won two categories at the Screen Actors Guild awards last night: outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series and outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series for Catherine O’Hara.

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Schitt's Creek cast members react as they win the Screen Actors Guild Award as an ensemble in a Comedy Series. Clockwise from upper left: Jennifer Robertson, Karen Robinson, Emily Hampshire, Eugene Levy, Dan Levy, Sarah Levy and Catherine O'Hara.

SAG AWARDS HANDOUT/Reuters

NCAA hoops action: In the women’s final last night, the Stanford Cardinal beat the Arizona Wildcats 54-53 to give the team their first national championship in 29 years. Two No. 1 seeds will battle tonight in the men’s final, as the Baylor Bears take on the unbeaten Gonzaga Bulldogs, who advanced on a thrilling buzzer-beater in overtime Saturday night. Check back later tonight at GlobeSports.com for the score and highlights.

MARKET WATCH

U.S. stocks rallied today with the Dow and S&P 500 closing at record levels, as a round of strong economic data buoyed investor optimism for the economic reopening and a muted climb in the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield kept inflation worries in check. Canada’s main stock exchange advanced more modestly, but it was enough for its first close above 19,000.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 373.98 points or 1.13 per cent to 33,527.19, the S&P 500 gained 58.04 points or 1.44 per cent to 4,077.91 and the Nasdaq Composite added 225.49 points or 1.67 per cent to end at 13,705.59.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index advanced 36.47 points or 0.19 per cent to 19,026.79.

Looking for investing ideas? Check out The Globe’s weekly digest of the latest insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and what investors need to know for the week ahead. This week’s edition includes preferred share advantage, ‘real assets’ frenzy and when bank dividends could rise.

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Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.

TALKING POINTS

Canada’s housing frenzy is a problem that won’t fix itself

“In this unhinged market, there are many dangers, from overindebted buyers to a broader economy that is overreliant on real estate and would be shaken by a sudden fall in prices or jump in interest rates.” - Globe editorial

Bianca Andreescu’s new role in tennis may be to redefine the sport’s status quo

“You were beginning to get a quasi-Milos Raonic feeling about Andreescu. Was she one of those pros gifted with oodles of talent, but cursed by brittleness? Were the most epic showdowns of her career going to be with a physiotherapist?” - Cathal Kelly

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It’s time for Trudeau to reopen the border

“There is no shortage of good ideas, from schemes to co-operate on ‘vaccine passports’ for cross-border travel to integrating advanced health screenings into trusted-traveller documents such as Nexus.” - Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

TODAY’S LONG READ

Southern Alberta town mourns loss of historic hotel to fire

Carmangay Historical Society/Handout

The Grange Hotel’s Christmas dinner in 1910 started with celery and salted almonds. Then came oyster soup and lobster salad. There was fried salmon, sugar cured ham with Champagne sauce, chicken tarts, cream puffs, prime rib of beef, roast milk pig, spring turkey and cream sauce, and spring goose with apple sauce.

Peter McNaughton opened the Grange in Carmangay, Alta., a year prior, and his 1910 holiday menu sported fancy Gothic script and a poem. He later sold the joint and come Prohibition, a local paper lamented how things could have been different if only others emulated the elegance of the Grange’s early days.

The Grange survived Prohibition and established itself as a small-town icon. Back in the day, it advertised its steam-heated rooms. Locals tell stories of visitors riding their horses to – and in – the bar. Now the Grange is gone. The two-storey wooden building burned down in the early hours of March 28.

While the Grange is specific to Carmangay – population: 242 – the idea of an old hotel serving as a local institution is familiar in small towns across Western Canada. Some, like the Grange, have actual names. Others are known just as “the bar” or “the hotel,” regardless of whether rooms are available for rent. You know who is there by the vehicles parked outside. Read Carrie Tait’s full story here.

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