All posts by Dave Gray

Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection: New Homeowners Have Spoken

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Consumer Protection: New Homeowners Have Spoken

New home owners have spoken.

They’ve told us how their builders measure up, and they’ve chosen a select few who they believe should be recognized for excellent customer service.

Yes, once again it’s that time of year when Tarion presents the Homeowners’ Choice Awards — the only awards that give Ontario’s new home owners the power to have their builder recognized for outstanding performance.

I’ve certainly seen over the years how the experiences of new home buyers have had a powerful impact on the new home buying experience. Award winners set the industry standard for customer service, and that benefits home buyers across the province who rightly expect the same from their builder.

The Homeowners’ Choice Awards are an important way to acknowledge that important relationship between consumer and home builder and to celebrate those builders who drive higher standards for customer service in Ontario and have such a positive impact on the building industry reputation generally.

While our experience is that most builders take tremendous pride in their contribution to building healthy and vibrant communities, we know that there are a few builders who make this an extraordinary commitment year after year. In the process, they set a tremendously high bar for customer service.This year, Tarion has added a new award to help recognize these accomplished builders.

With the inaugural Ernest Assaly Award, Tarion recognizes a few builders who not only receive high marks from their customers, but have also established a long and stellar building record, and demonstrated a commitment to building innovation and community involvement.

This new award is named after Mr. Ernest Assaly, Tarion’s first Board Chair from 1976 to 1988. Assaly was also a leader in Ontario’s residential construction industry and a highly respected, award-winning builder who was a passionate voice for the builder’s warranty program.

Ontario has more than 5,000 registered builders. Thirty-eight met our challenging eligibility criteria and were invited to make a full submission to Tarion. The finalists and recipient will be honoured in April this year alongside those builders recognized by their own customers for a Homeowners’ Choice Award.

Both of these awards celebrate excellence in the industry and raise the bar for all builders.They showcase industry leaders who pour their heart and soul into the customer experience and the communities in which they build and live.

The finalists for the Homeowner’s Choice Awards are:

Small Volume Category (5-20 possessions per year):

  • Davenport Homes, Peterborough
  • Greene Homes, Kingston
  • JF Homes Construction Ltd., Strathroy
  • Lockwood Brothers Construction, Oxford Station
  • Luxart Homes Inc., Carleton Place
  • Macgregor Enterprises Ltd., Kincardine

Medium Volume Category (21-100 possessions per year):

  • Hayhoe Homes, St. Thomas
  • Klemencic Homes, Trenton
  • Neilcorp Homes, Almonte
  • Opus Homes, Vaughan
  • Talos Custom Homes Ltd., Richmond
  • Wrighthaven Homes Limited, Elora

Large Volume Category (More than 100 possessions per year):

  • Arista Homes Ltd., Vaughan
  • Mountainview Homes, Thorold
  • Tamarack Development Corp., Ottawa
  • Tartan Homes, Ottawa
  • The Daniels Corporation, Toronto
  • Tribute Communities, Pickering

High-Rise Category (More than 100 high-rise possessions per year):

  • Menkes Developments Ltd., Toronto
  • Onni Group, Toronto
  • Pratt Homes Barrie, Barrie
  • The Conservatory Group, Markham
  • The Daniels Corporation, Toronto
  • Tridel, Toronto

The finalists for the Ernest Assaly Award are:

  • Granite Homes, Guelph
  • Lockwood Brothers Construction, Oxford Station
  • Pinnacle Quality Homes, Mitchell

HOWARD BOGACH is president and CEO of Tarion Warranty Corp., a private corporation established to protect the rights of new homebuyers and to regulate new home builders.


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Condo Market

Condo Market: Wood Is Good

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Condo Market: Wood Is Good

Spring is in full bloom.

The temperatures are surpassing the teens, and the ground is thawed nicely. Having said that, the For Sale signs that usually find their way onto everyone’s front lawns don’t seem to be showing up as in the past.

The market is great; everything is selling, but there’s not a lot of ‘everything’ out there. Both the new and resale market is aching for new product. The condo world remains brisk, with record breaking sales, hundreds of suites at a time. I’ve noticed recent launches in downtown, North York, Vaughan, Scarborough and lots more around our great city. The apartment style condos remain a great option in this market, with average new homes in sometimes less than average locations fetching over a million, effectively twice as much as the new condos that are gracing our market.

Affordability remains key. And supply is low. With the ongoing growth of our city, the shortage of available product is very much a ‘now’ phenomenon. And, despite all the great condo choices out there, many of the new launches will bring product to the market a few years down the road anyways.

Great for the future but not for those who need their new digs now. There are 100,000 new Torontonians yearly, yet new homes and condos are built for one out of every three or so. It just doesn’t add up. So, despite the harsh realities of supply and demand, there is a trend towards lowrise housing. Single family homes are expensive to build and service. And there is a growing need for density to accommodate would-be buyers.

Shared walls, lawns and parking facilities can lead to more affordable housing as construction costs are lower. Energy consumption and everything green often improves in these scenarios, helping our green initiatives and mandates. So, the world of semi detached homes and townhomes expand to the next level. Back to back towhhomes are popular and appearing everywhere. Back yards move to the front, helping people orient to their neighbours if they wish, yet preserving the ability to build larger inside their four walls.

Stacked townhomes are popping up everywhere. Parking is usually underground, and outdoor space is often in the form of a balcony or deck. Some really great outdoor spaces are appearing on the rooftops of some of these great new offerings, allowing people to enjoy their ‘view from the top’; often a nice 30 or 40 feet above grade.

Multiple higher density projects offer larger spaces than many of the typical highrises we find in our market. And as they’re often build with wood, they rise faster and become new homes much sooner. Common areas tend to be simplistic, keeping maintenance fees low while maintaining beautiful surrounds for the residents. And, with all of today’s enhancements in construction, soundproofing in particular, combined with the energy efficiencies these boast, buyers often find ‘more for less’, something that is very rare in our current market environment. This is why, in many ways, it’s quite clear that ‘wood is good’ and, more importantly, here to stay…Happy home hunting!

MARK COHEN is a founding partner of The Condo Store Marketing Systems, a firm specializing in the design, marketing and sales of condo and new home communities in and outside of the GTA.


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Motivating The Chronic Painting Procrastinators (You Know Who You Are)

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Motivating The Chronic Painting Procrastinators (You Know Who You Are)

Dulux Paints is challenging homeowners to stop putting off painting projects. The company’s latest campaign hopes to convince chronic painting procrastinators to finally tackle projects that have been ignored for far too long. With its bold and humorous take on why people wait so long to paint, Dulux is reminding all of us to: Stop. Putting. It. Off.

“Not all homeowners are Pinterest junkies or do-it-yourself aficionados,” said Martin Tustin-Fuchs, brand manager, Dulux Paints by PPG. “The immediate satisfaction provided by a fresh paint job is often overshadowed by the prospect of preparation and decision-making related to painting, so people live with patchy paint jobs and regrettable colour choices for months, even years. It can become a real source of frustration and conflict in some households. For this reason, Dulux Paints wants to provide support, encouragement and a real sense of excitement about improving one’s living environment.”

A television campaign highlights the hilarious “non-excuses” procrastinators use to get out of painting. Dulux stores across the country will be at the heart of the “Procrastinators Anonymous” movement, offering expert advice and irresistible incentives, such as its ever-popular “Buy One Get One Free” promotion, throughout the year. “Our hope for this campaign is that it will make people laugh, but more importantly, it will position Dulux Paints as a resource to motivate and assist do-it-yourself painters with their painting needs,” Tustin-Fuchs said. “Our in-store experts often double as coaches, and we encourage Canadians to take advantage of the support and expertise we offer in our stores.”

The campaign launched April 10, and the “Buy One Get One Free” promotional sale that began April 17. Customers can look forward to seeing fun “Procrastinators Anonymous” merchandise in all Dulux stores across the country. Canadians are invited to join the “Procrastinators Anonymous” movement online using hashtags #StopPuttingItOff. To learn more about the campaign, visit


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How To Get Your Kids Out Of The House And Into The Garden

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How To Get Your Kids Out Of The House And Into The Garden

By News Canada

Look up the positive effects of gardening and you’ll find a wealth of studies from educational and government institutions that support its impact on your physical and mental well being. But it’s not just adults who benefit from time in the garden. It’s a great way to spend time with your kids while teaching them about biology, food and geology.

Here, garden guru Frank Ferragine, aka Frankie Flowers (http://www.frankieflowers. com/), shares his tested and true techniques to get your kids in the garden.

Give them a plot of edibles: Your backyard garden can be a fantastic source of delicious fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and berries. “Letting the kids pick out and maintain edible plants or grow them from seed in their own plot will help foster ownership in the garden,” said Ferragine. “If you’re looking for something that will really get the kids and their tastebuds excited, the geniuses at President’s Choice have put together a strawberry trio that contains framberries, pineberries and seaburst strawberries.”

Give them their own tools: “A watering can, trowel, gloves and kneeling pad may be all it takes to get your son or daughter in the garden with you,” said Ferragine. “Their own set of tools will make them feel more grown up and more responsible.”

Create a miniature garden: Condo or apartment living shouldn’t keep your kids from learning about gardening. “PC Garden Centres have tons of fun planters and colourful pots for the balcony. Planting some microgreens or seasonal flowers in them is a wonderful way to teach your young ones about planting and watering,” said Ferragine. “Hanging baskets are another great choice for these smaller spaces, and the bright colours that are trendy this year will captivate your kids.”

Get connected: For younger generations who engage each other on social media, showing them gardening has its place online can go a long way. “Kids love taking photos, so why not give your little ones an assignment to take some gardening photos to share with you or their friends? It’s likely to spark more interest in the work you’re doing out there and you’ll make some memories to last a lifetime.”


With warm weather on its way, there’s never been a better time to start planning your garden. To help you get started this season, Ferragine has some thoughts on top gardening trends this year.

Big pops of colour: Last year we saw some contrast with loud hues married to more muted, pastel tones, but this year is all about bright colours. Calibrachoas will be this year’s showstoppers with brilliant purples and beaming yellows. Not only do they require little maintenance, but they’ll last from spring until first frost with masses of cascading branches full of petunia-like flowers. Expect to see a rainbow of vibrant impatiens with brighter reds, pinks and oranges in hanging baskets across the country.

Urban planting: This year, condo and apartment dwellers aren’t likely to miss out on the gardening fun. “Urban gardening is going to be bigger than ever,” said Ferragine. “Hanging baskets will be popular spring purchases and many gardeners are already excited about the wide selection of colourful pots from brands like President’s Choice to make a statement in their yards or on their balconies.”

Tough meets tender: A great way to keep your garden looking lush throughout the year is by mixing tough plants with tender ones. While softer, less hardy varieties like peonies, salvia and verbena look lovely, it’s a good idea to intermingle them with lower- maintenance resilient varieties like echinacea, roses and succulents that will keep your garden full in spite of harsher, dryer conditions.

Climate consciousness: Canada is huge and our climate is varied, therefore it stands to reason that a plant that grows well in Victoria may not fare so well in Winnipeg. Plant tags contain key information on plant hardiness zones and what type of plant will do best in specific zones or regions. Still, Ferragine says that “Canadians are more informed than ever about the role our climate can play in growing a successful garden.”

Patriotic plants: Red and white plants are already gaining a lot of attention in the gardening world. “Without a doubt, this year’s hottest flower is the Canadian Shield Rose,” says Ferragine. Made in Canada, this choice is a perfect way to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday. Named as 2017’s Flower of the Year by Canada Blooms, the Canadian Shield Rose (pictures) is is able to survive our rigorous winters from coast to coast. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Canada in your garden this summer.


We don’t all have a green thumb, but a beautiful flower garden doesn’t have to be difficult. Planting a little patch of colour can be easy and rewarding, not just for us, but also for pollinators like honeybees. By following these tips, anyone can turn their outdoor space into an area that looks beautiful and helps feed hungry honey bees all summer long.

Your garden is like a buffet for honeybees. Plants reproduce through pollination. This occurs when pollen is transferred from one flowering plant to another. Moving the pollen is where honeybees come in. They use nectar and pollen as food for their hives, but in their travels they can also spread the pollen. Make sure you plant bee-attractive flowering plants that will bloom in your garden at different times throughout the summer.

Plant wherever you can. It doesn’t matter if you live in a house or an apartment — whether it’s on your balcony, on a rooftop or in your backyard — a small patch of flowers can help feed honeybees in your community. Consider plants native to Canada like lance-leaved coreopsis, sneezeweed, New England asters, dense blazing stars and golden tickseed.

Choose the right seeds. Researching the best plants for your area doesn’t have to be a long and cumbersome process. Bees Matter offers free pollinator-friendly seeds with an online sign-up at Using pre-packaged Buzzing Gardens seed kits can help make planting your garden quick and easy.


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Take Back Your Backyard Privacy

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Take Back Your Backyard Privacy

By Chris Palmer

This is the year to bring back privacy to your outdoor spaces. With neighbourhoods getting denser, and Ontario’s population growing, backyard privacy is becoming more important and hard to achieve for homeowners. Good news is there are easy solutions to enhance backyard privacy so that everyone can create their dream outdoor living space.

Spring is the perfect time to create an outdoor living room to escape to with lush planters, rich jewel tones and eco-friendly privacy solutions to create a visual outline for your backyard.

Whether you’re working with a large or small budget, the trick is to get creative with your existing surroundings to provide a natural aesthetic that creates privacy.

Plants: Regardless of whether you’re working with a small or large backyard, adding some low-maintenance greenery can optimize privacy while adding some visual appeal. Alternatively, you can plant tall grass in raised planters, which creates a nice blind while allowing the wind to pass through easily. If greenery isn’t enough, buy fast-growing trees that work with your backyard location, which can offer privacy and shade.

Pergola: Overhead privacy structures and pergolas provide endless possibilities to add style, privacy and shade to your backyard. A great outdoor investment that also increases the value of your property, much like a deck would. It also creates the sense of an outdoor room. To add personality, plant climbing vines to gradually colonize the structure for a natural, soothing canopy. And try trailing fashionable vintage lights or lanterns to bring a touch of the indoors outside.

Horizontal privacy: Horizontal or woven privacy screens are also a great aesthetic addition that can help create that separation in your backyard from neighbours. They also provide a cool lounge feel to any outdoor space. Many of my clients are always looking to build more sustainably and are more aware of the ecological impact of certain materials. An industry secret is MicroPro Sienna, which is an eco-friendly pressure- treated wood that’s affordable and at about half the price of cedar.

Upcycling: I’m a big fan of transforming unwanted old furniture or doors into unique outdoor accents. You can easily make over a vintage door into a privacy wall to add a personal and vintage touch. A fun and affordable project that also reduces our carbon footprint!

Furniture and accessories: Brighten up shady corners with vivid jewel tones, shades and vibrant patterns. If your backyard feels like you’re on vacation, then every time you step outside will be invigorating. Feel refreshed with sunshine yellow bistro chairs, bright blue accessories and modern white tables to entertain your family and friends this spring behind colourful and multi-tasking privacy curtains.

Often billed as Canada’s Favourite Handyman, Chris Palmer has quickly become a household name through his thoughtful and creative DIYs. With a strong focus on handcrafted woodwork, Chris has turned his passion into a career creating custom projects through his company Handcrafted by Chris Palmer. He made his national debut on the hit HGTV show Canada’s Handyman Challenge.


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Taking A Gamble In Las Vegas

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Taking A Gamble In Las Vegas

By Marc Atchison
Travelife Editor In Chief

Skeptics think the National Hockey League rolled the dice and took a big gamble by putting a franchise — the Golden Knights — in this town where betting was the only contact sport in the past. Locals, however, disagree. In fact, many say the NHL’s success in Las Vegas is a sure bet.

“I can’t wait for the NHL games to begin,” says Darren, a security guard at the T-Mobile Arena where the Golden Knights will play their home games.

“We’re all so excited about the NHL coming. Even people from other cities are excited. I had four couples from Canada come up to me today and tell me they’ll plan their next visit to Vegas when their NHL teams come to town to play the Knights.”

Another security guard I meet stationed at an open-air ice-skating rink in front of T-Mobile Arena agrees with Darren. “I’m originally from Chicago and can’t wait until the Black Hawks come to town,” says the man, adding that “over 14,000 people have committed to buying season tickets. That shows you how serious the people of Vegas are about the NHL.”

Even though the Golden Knights are expected to field a competitive team thanks to a more equal expansion draft — that’s what you get when you pay $500 million U.S. in franchise fees — the Knights still won’t do very well in their first few years of operation. Get ready for lots of “Last Vegas” headlines!

Suffice it to say, the only star of this franchise for the moment is the T-Mobile Arena. In fact, the glitzy state-of-the-art facility, located just a few steps off Las Vegas’ iconic Strip, is already the “Most Valuable Arena” in the NHL.

Built by MGM Resorts International, which owns and operates 45 per cent of the hotels and casinos along the Vegas Strip, the 650,000-square-foot, $500 million T-Mobile Arena is the most technically advanced in the world and, since opening in April 2016, has become one of the most lucrative.

In the first few months of operation, for instance, the fabulous T-Mobile, which can seat 17,500 for hockey and 20,000 for concerts, turned over the highest revenue for a venue of its type in the world.

While MGM has no financial stake in the hockey team, the company has invested heavily in developing an area surrounding the arena known as The Park. A spillover casino parking lot was used to create the lovely six-acre Park, which separates T-Mobile Arena from a 5,000-seat limited-engagement theatre — The Park Theatre — and a plaza featuring five upscale restaurants.

Known as “The Neighbourhood” by some locals, The Park has become a great place for people living in Vegas to chill out.

While primarily built for hockey and basketball, T-Mobile will also be used for large concerts and big shows like Cirque du Soleil.

One thing for sure, there will be no gambling in T-Mobile, according to officials. However, there will be many other attractions to keep fans entertained.

For instance, do you know of any other arena in the world that has it’s own mixologist? Well, T-Mobile does. And not just any mixologist. T-Mobile adult beverages will be designed by Tony Abou-Ganim, Mandalay Bay’s top mixologist who’s gained global fame for his creative cocktails.

Tony designed one special cocktail for T-Mobile Arena that he’s called Atomic Fizz. The colour? Magenta, just like T-Mobile’s corporate logo. You can bet this drink will be served over ice.

Locals seemed most thrilled that T-Mobile will also be the first arena in North America with a Shake Shack, the New York City burger bar that is one of the most talked about chains in the fast-food world.

While T-Mobile features 44 luxury and party suites and eight ice-level party suites, the most coveted seats will be the ones located high above ice level in an area known as Hyde Park, which will be open before and after games. However, if you want to sit there, you’ll have to purchase a ticket, pending the event. The upper bowl club-style lounge can hold up to 800 people — mostly high rollers and celebrities.

There will never be a dull moment during Knights’ game — that’s because fans will be treated to lots of Vegas-style bling thanks to the arena’s state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. There are giant LED screens inside and outside T-Mobile and there’s lots of light shows being planned, as well.

With so many showgirls in Las Vegas, you can bet the Knights will have the best cheerleaders in the NHL. The Knights better hope they keep visiting teams distracted. Because T-Mobile is sandwiched between New York, New York and Aria, two of the biggest casino hotels on the Strip, one might think that the hockey team is counting heavily on visitors to buy tickets. Think again.

“The arena will be a place for locals to get away from their casino jobs and escape to the normal world of sports,” says Rupert King, a Vermont transplant and manager of the Beerhaus, one of the five restaurants in The Park.

“And besides, things have really changed in Las Vegas over the past five years,” says King.

The manager is right. According to data released by the casinos, gambling now accounts for just 30 per cent of Vegas’ revenues — down from 70 per cent five years ago.

“Trends have completely flipped and now 70 per cent of visitors to Vegas come for experiences like fine dining, shows or shopping while just 30 per cent come to gamble. Now they can add hockey to their Vegas experience,” he says.

Toshiba Plaza, just outside T-Mobile, is where hockey fans will gather for tailgate-type parties before and after games. There will be food trucks to feed them and lots of entertainment on the big (LED) screen to keep them happy.

The centrepiece of The Park is a massive 15-metre-high sculpture known as Bliss Dance, which celebrates the strength of women. Over 200 natural trees were also planted in The Park, making it a true desert oasis.

“As soon as the Knights were named, I featured their logo on all the TVs in our restaurant,” says King, who, despite being from the Northeast, admits he’s not a big hockey fan. “But I’m really anxious for the Golden Knights to start playing because Las Vegas is overdue for a professional sports franchise.”

Maybe, despite all the skeptics, the NHL really has hit the jackpot by coming to Las Vegas.


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Real Insight – Modernizing The Home Inspection Industry Could Help To Further Protect Consumers In Ontario

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Real Insight – Modernizing The Home Inspection Industry Could Help To Further Protect Consumers In Ontario

Ontario has recently introduced legislation under the Putting Consumers First Act that proposes to regulate inspection service companies.

Currently, home inspectors are the only real estate-related professionals in Ontario that are not regulated.

If the bill is passed, home inspectors would require a license and an administrative authority to oversee home inspectors would also be created. The administrative authority would establish a code of ethics, and a standard for home inspection reports and contracts. They would also be responsible for handling complaints, as well as the enforcement processes through discipline and appeal committees.

The Toronto Real Estate Board, along with various industry partners, including the Ontario Real Estate Association, has long advocated for the licensing of home inspectors and the standardization of the industry.

I believe it is critical for the home inspection industry to be regulated in Ontario, if not to raise the bar and increase the credibility of the home inspector profession, but to provide added protection for consumers.

Realtors are not home inspectors and most real estate professionals will advise their clients to conduct a home inspection. In fact, the home inspection is useful to both buyers and sellers and can help increase consumer confidence in the real estate transaction. From a seller’s point of view, conducting a home inspection in advance has the added advantage of enhancing their home’s selling potential and can help close the real estate transaction faster. From a buyer’s point of view, knowing their new home has been given the seal of approval by a credible home inspection professional may add to the confidence of their purchase decision.

This legislation, if passed, would augment the value of a home inspection as part of the real estate transaction as home inspectors will be increasingly able to offer, according to a standardized process, a knowledgeable, accountable and credible assessment of your home.

If you have questions about home inspections, talk to a Toronto Real Estate Board Professional Member Realtor. For updates on the real estate market, visit If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB Commercial Professional Member Realtor by visiting

LARRY CERQUA is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 45,000 professional realtor members in the Greater Toronto Area. You can contact him at

For updates on the real estate market, visit If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB Commercial Professional Member Realtor by visiting


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In Conversation With… Larry Blankenstein

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In Conversation With… Larry Blankenstein


It’s full circle as the president of the Lash Group redevelops an area where his father built rental stock in the 1950s

Larry Blankenstein is a trendsetter who walks where others fear to tread.

Take Cloud9, for example, a midrise condo building on Esther Lorrie Drive and Kipling Avenue with views of the Humber River valley in an area of Rexdale that hasn’t seen new development for over 60 years. Here, the Lash Group took a chance and it paid off. The 260-unit building sold out quickly and what was once a great family community is now looking hopefully to the future.

In 2002, the Lash Group was one of the first developers in the King Street West and Bathurst Street neighbourhood, which is now part of the trendy Entertainment District.

“It was hard selling that first building, but it was the beginning of that neighbourhood’s transition from industrial to residential. This is what I love doing,” Blankenstein said during a wide-ranging interview at the company’s Downsview offices.

“Bathurst and St. Clair was another tough sell. We were building west of Bathurst on St. Clair, which was considered a rough area even though it was just the other side of Bathurst. But we’re now on our fourth building there and the neighbourhood has blossomed.

And now Blankenstein is taking on Scarborough.

Blankenstein, who helms the company his father founded in 1955, says that ME Living is at the forefront of a renaissance that is reinvigorating the long depressed area of Woburn. Located at Markham Road and Ellesmere Avenue, when complete, ME Living will include condominiums, townhomes, shops and parks.

“We are really trying to be innovative,” Blankenstein said. “Over 60 years ago my father built rental buildings at Markham and Ellesmere.

“ And now we’re tearing down the old and building the new. It truly is a full circle.”

Q: Tell me about the history of the Lash Group.

A: My father, Abe, came to Canada in 1955 from Eastern Europe with nothing. On the boat to Canada, he met his future partner, who was an electrical engineer, and my father was a master electrician.

Together they founded Falco Electric, which evolved into Falco Properties. Falco continued to grow, building commercial and industrial space and building rental apartment buildings, and then moved into residential houses under the name of Marble Arch Homes. In 2000, it was decided to sell the industrial portfolio as the two families decided to go there own way and we became the Lash Group.

My father, who is 86, still comes into the office every day. He’s pretty amazing.

Q: Did you always know you would work for the family business, or did you have other interests?

A: I was always destined for this and I love it. As a kid, I worked at the job sites, doing everything from manual labour, cleaning, servicing and then I became an assistant supervisor.

I went on to York University after high school and studied urban planning. Then I came into the family business and did sales and marketing and land acquisition. I was out in the field for 15 years and all that experience — from the bottom up — has given me a greater appreciation for everything our team does on a daily basis.

When we started Marble Arch Homes, we were building approximately 200 houses a year in the GTA. But in the early 2000s, with the lack of available land to develop, I was able to realize my passion for building highrise condominiums in tough-to-sell neighbourhoods. Cloud9, for instance, really stands out and now other developers are looking to follow our lead. And our first condo, at 66 Portland in West King West, was a hard sell at first.

Q: What drew you to Markham Road and Ellesmere?

A: It was the rental buildings that my father built. Nothing had been developed in that neighbourhood for 50 or 60 years and the time had come to take down the old buildings and replace them with something new and modern.

I am especially proud of ME Living, a master-planned community that will include not only the four condo towers, but also townhomes. We’re building well beyond what the city requires and the project will include multi-million dollar parks, a pond with a bridge that converts into a skating rink in the winter, a tree-lined courtyard and a rooftop swimming pool.

ME Living in Scarborough

Q: What’s on the drawing board right now?

A: Well, we just had our grand opening of the second phase of ME Living and we’re currently selling Distinction Condos at Lillina Street and Soudan Avenue, south of Eglinton Avenue and just east of Yonge Street. It’s a terrific location, within walking distance of the subway and the future Eglinton LRT.

Distinction Condos, Toronto

Q: What makes you proud?

A: My staff, everyone who contributes to the team. We try to make things as seamless as possible, to create complete communities. My goal is to make our customers happy, to make their dreams come true.

We really are one big happy family!

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I love to travel and golf. We have a cottage and I really enjoy spending time at the lake with my wife and four children (aged 17, 19, 21 and 23).


  • ME Living
  • Barrington
  • Distinction


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Renovation Contractor – Apr/May2017

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Renovation Contractor – Apr/May2017

Renovation Contractor is a trusted trade publication written by and for Canada’s small to medium-sized home renovators.


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From the Archives: Helical piles/ground screws

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From the Archives: Helical piles/ground screws

This is an excerpt from “The Durable Dozen: Exterior Building Products That Battle The Elements,” written by Martin Zibauer for our June/July 2016 issue.

Helical piles, also known as ground screws and screw piles, look like oversized wood screws or ice-fishing augers. As a replacement for conventional concrete footings, especially sonotube-style footings, helical piles have one standout advantage: they’re faster. In most applications, hydraulic equipment screws them into the ground in minutes. Once in place, there’s no waiting for concrete to set or cure; the screws are ready to support structures as small as fence posts and mailboxes to decks and outbuildings and structures as large as multi-unit buildings.

In tight quarters, helical piles can be installed easily where digging a conventional footing would be difficult, time-consuming, and perhaps impossible. Techno Metal Post, for example, has an installation machine that’s only 29 inches wide – narrow enough to fit through a doorway – and it can install piles inches away from an existing structure without damage. Bayo-S ground screws can even be screwed into the ground by hand; a convenient option when you’re working in tight spaces or only need to install a small number of screws.

Helical piles are also effective in wetlands or lakebed applications for docks, boathouses, or footbridges; they can be installed in winter through the ice or in summer from a barge. For many projects, good footings and foundations are the first and most critical step to durable construction; where the footings are a challenge, helical piles could well provide the best solution.

For more information, visit:


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