All posts by Regina Gadacz

SOFA rebrands as Toronto International Design Centre

SOFA rebrands as Toronto International Design Centre

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SOFA rebrands as Toronto International Design Centre


New brand for Canada’s premier design centre will enhance services for industry professionals

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, May 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SOFA: Source of Furniture + Accessories, Canada’s premier design centre, unveils today its new brand identity as Toronto International Design Centre (TIDC). The rebrand signifies a fresh direction for Canada’s only design centre, created exclusively for trade professionals. It will focus on enhancing service directly for the design community by providing a one-stop shop for design professionals to support and flourish their business.

TIDC’s rebrand will renew its commitment to the design community by expanding its suite of offerings with new resources, education and networking services. TIDC will introduce the following new amenities:

  • A Designer Services Kiosk where designers can expect a warm, personal welcome and up-to-date information.
  • Increased hours of operations to accommodate designers and their clients, at their convenience, to source product from TIDC’s showrooms.
  • A new membership program with improved services for members’ needs.
  • An expanded education series to offer sessions of interest facilitated by renowned industry professionals.

“TIDC’s rebrand marks our continued dedication to our tenants, the furniture manufacturing sector and the design community,” said Debra McVeety, General Manager and Director of Leasing, Toronto International Design Centre. “We have spent the last year understanding the evolving needs of the design community and we believe TIDC’s new amenities respond to many of these areas.”

The new services come in addition to TIDC’s ever increasing mix of quality showrooms, which include the latest and trendiest Canadian and global manufacturers of home furnishings and accessories, along with top appliance, commercial and hospitality manufacturers.

“We take our position as Canada’s only Trade-Only Design Centre to heart and are excited to create a hub where all members of the trade community can come together to create truly extraordinary spaces,” said McVeety.

TIDC’s mandate covers the full spectrum of the design industry, including commercial and residential projects, and welcomes seasoned, new and aspiring designers, architects, home stagers, home builders, and retail buyers.

About Toronto International Design Centre

TIDC is a one-stop shop for design professionals and the interior furnishings industry to bring their visions to life and create extraordinary spaces. As Canada’s only Trade-Only Design Centre, it houses over 150,000 sqft of elegantly appointed Canadian and international manufacturer showrooms. With more than 30 stunning showrooms, a designer services kiosk and inspiring speakers, events and education, TIDC is the place for interior designers, architects, builders, buyers, specifiers or design enthusiasts to connect, inspire and prosper at home and abroad. Explore TIDC, where design is personal.

Media Contacts:              

Lindsay Holstein
Director of Marketing, TIDC

Jessica Patriquin
416-640-5525 ex 230


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Canadian Furniture Show - Poetry in Motion

Renwil at the Canadian Furniture Show – Poetry in Motion

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Renwil at the Canadian Furniture Show – Poetry in Motion


May 25 – 27, 2018

Delicious Catered Lunch | Strong Cocktails | Live Painting

Come Join Us:

International Centre
2900 Airport Road, Suite 101
Mississuaga, ON L4V 1E8

On behalf of:


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DESIGN: From the Ground Up

DESIGN: From the Ground Up

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DESIGN: From the Ground Up

by Linda Mazur

Start your design story with your floors

As small space dwellers, the reality is that sometimes our renovation options may differ a little because we live in a condo. Although condo living can come with its own set of design challenges, there should be no reason that these restrictions should hold us back from creating a magazine-worthy look in our home. Sometimes, the biggest design inspiration for your home can lie right under your nose… or rather, your feet! Instead of searching for inspiration in fabrics and colours, why not look down and get inspired by your flooring? With the multitude of possibilities in today’s flooring, designing your space from the ground up can be simpler than you may believe.

Whether you are renovating a charming vintage walk-up or a modern new build, it’s no secret that condo restrictions can sometimes be the biggest challenge when choosing flooring that is both beautiful and practical. Recently though, we have seen a surge in beautiful floorings like luxury vinyl, vinyl composite core, and laminate flooring that will not only meet the requirements of your condo but will spark your design creativity and serve as a great kick off to the remainder of your project.

Laminate flooring is a hard surface flooring that has been around for quite a while. It is manufactured using material like medium or high-density fiberboard, which forms the core. Luxury vinyl is a soft surface flooring product that is flexible, and comes in a variety of installation options, providing a great look as well as comfort. Luxury vinyl has a multitude of options that have the look of wood, stone, or other natural materials. Vinyl composite core is a newcomer to the manufactured flooring world. This flooring combines the best features of laminate and luxury vinyl. The boards are rigid planks that click together like laminate but are constructed from a water-resistant vinyl composite material that gives them the flexibility of vinyl flooring that can be installed anywhere.

Flooring can be inspirational, it has the ability to set the tone for your entire design. Envision a beautifully distressed floor in a weathered shade of brown with accents of ashen greys, reminiscent of aged vintage flooring found in an old Parisian apartment. Add in some wonderful custom millwork, an elegant plaster ceiling with moulding detail, and a charming old chandelier. Play off this vintage look by adding a simple tailored sofa, Scandi-inspired chairs, and perhaps a rustic coffee table and finish it with colourful accessories. Top this all off with beautiful soft billowy linen sheer drapes, and you’ve creating for yourself an elevated yet relaxed living space, all inspired by your flooring!

However, flooring can tell more than just one story. This same flooring could also inspire a typical urban kitchen to have a more relaxed, country-chic feel. Blend in some warm mixed metals, a fusion of soft grey and wood toned cabinetry, a vintage looking quartz countertop, and you are well on your way to creating for yourself a fantastic kitchen space to be enjoyed with family and friends.

This year’s design trends are all about bold colours, beautiful textures and patterns, so it can feel natural to look to paint, fabric, or cabinetry when searching for direction on your next renovation. Keep in mind that inspiration can be found in many different forms. When embarking on your next project, try looking down to see what’s underfoot… you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find!

Linda Mazur is a nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.



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HOME FINDS: Frolic Al Fresco

HOME FINDS: Frolic Al Fresco

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HOME FINDS: Frolic Al Fresco

by Silvana Longo

After what seemed like an interminable winter, finally we can lose the layers and revel in the sweet summer open air. Whether you do that lakeside, or in the comfort of your own backyard, make the most of the fair season with our favourite product picks that will make the outdoor living even sweeter.

This season, move your living room outdoors to make impromptu entertaining easy with playful, painterly printed outdoor pillows that can easily function as extra seating, inviting lanterns, vintage-inspired barware and outdoor furniture that is as sleek and comfortable as your indoor furniture.

Corded Weave Outdoor Collection:

SMALL LOUNGE CHAIR from the Huron collection $768,
Metal Square LANTERNS $34 to $209,
Outdoor Concrete Pedestal COFFEE TABLE $699,
Outdoor Graphic Triangles PILLOW $53
Pick + Pick INDOOR/OUTDOOR RUG $40-$979

Slender fish peer down this white ceramic bowl as ocean-inspired stripes. Made in Portugal, this glazed terracotta handpainted bowl coordinates with the matching Harborside platter.

Harborside OVAL PLATTER, $44.95;
Harborside BOWL, $13.95;

Valencia GLASS

SET of 4, pink $32US

Rose Gold Enamel SERVERS, $14.99

Add some flare to your outdoor look or for a convenient serving solution for summer entertaining.

CANVAS Galvanized PARTY TUB, $19.99

Add a little art to your outdoor space with the Mosaic Tiled Bistro Table. Its ceramic tiles are carefully inlaid by hand onto an FSC-certified hardwood base for a unique look both indoors and out.

Mosaic Tiled TABLE, $657

Mesa Melamine PLATE, blue & pink $12US each

Serve up drinks in rustic style with this Portside Bar Cart. Made for al fresco entertaining, it’s equipped with a bottle opener and a hidden stainless steel bucket to keep drinks cool.

Portside BAR CART in Weathered Café, $979

Integrating a bowl into a larger serving bowl, the Paros chip and dip is handpainted with a Mediterranean-influenced tile motif, then parts of the decoration are wiped away to give the piece a distressed look. Each chip and dip will exhibit its own unique artisanal character.

Paros Chip and Dip SERVER. $44.95

Brass Glass CADDY Holder $39 & Patterned Glassware $12

Designed by Louis Ho, Havana mixes contrasting materials for a modern, minimalist take on outdoor furniture. Distinguished by clean lines and graceful curves, the collection is crafted with vertical, all-weather wicker cording that creates a dramatic interplay of light and shadow. The airy frame is grounded by a base of enduring teak.

Havana Swivel LOUNGER CHAIR, from $881US;

Restoration Hardware,

Vintage CROQUET SET, $183US;

Restoration Hardware,

Wooden LAWN BOWLING SET, $29.99

Outdoor Zoe Bios Outdoor Road PILLOW $53

Prescott Toss CUSHION, Aruba 20×20, $49

CUSHION with Pom Pom Trim, $24.99

All decked out! The Miami Rug is inspired by the indoor/outdoor lifestyle of Southern Florida. Add square footage to your living space by bringing home comforts outside. With a large-scale stripe pattern in indigo hues, this durable polypropylene rug will take your patio to the next level.

Miami OUTDOOR RUG, stripe indigo, $49.99

Bring the warmth of Acapulco style to your home. Synthetic cord handwoven over a steel powder-coated frame makes the Frenso Collection safe for outdoors and stylish enough to bring indoors. Sit back and relax. Pair this chair with the Fresno side table, and a margarita.

Fresno CHAIR Granite, $249

Hang around and indulge in unparalled relaxation in this classic, oatmealcoloured hammock outfitted with its own navy blue pillow. Handwoven of DuraCord, the most fade-resistant rope on the market, the roomy hammock can be suspended between two trees, between a tree and a post, or on the secure hammock stand of tubular steel with a durable taupe powder-coat finish.

DuraCord Oatmeal HAMMOCK with Pillow and Stand, $524.25

Those Summer Nights

The only drawback of summer is shorter days after the summer solstice… fortunately the beautiful array of lighting choices help keep the good times going way into the wee hours


Paradise Plug-In Gazebo LED Metal PENDANT LIGHT, $89.99

CANVAS Oslo Outdoor Solar CHANDELIER, $89.99

Fusion Solar-Powered Brown Rattan Gazebo PENDANT LIGHT, $99.99

— Sil’s Pick–

Silvana Longo, Editor
Silvana Longo, Editor

Angled Mercury Glass Lantern, small $28US, medium $58US, large $98US

Mid-Century Wood LANTERN, small $39, large $111

CANVAS Black Rope Solar-Powered LANTERN, $39.99

Normandy LANTERN, from $281US

Restoration Hardware,

— Em’s Pick —

Emilie Simpson, Art Director
Emilie Simpson, Art Director

Saturno Lantern, small $88US, medium $118US

Moroccan LANTERN, $39.99

Wood Rope LANTERN Brass, small $69, tall $181

Asura Metal LANTERN with LED Flameless Candle, two sizes available, $79.95 & $119.95


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RENO EXPERT: Septic Smarts

RENO EXPERT: Septic Smarts

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RENO EXPERT: Septic Smarts

by Jim Caruk

How to prolong the life of your private sewage treatment plant

If you have a cottage or live in a rural area, chances are you use a septic system to deal with your sewage. But how well do you know how it works? And, more importantly, do you know how to prolong its life?

If you’re reading this over your lunch hour, you might want to set the article aside until later. Good to, ahem, go then?!?


A modern septic tank has two chambers, separated by a partition wall. The idea is that the solids will sink to the bottom of the first chamber to be partially digested by bacteria in the tank. The liquid continues its journey over the partition to the other side. After a second period of “settling,” the partially treated liquid eventually flows out of the tank into what’s known as the weeping tile bed where more bacteria complete the treatment process.


The number one reason for septic system failures is too much water flowing into the system at once, flushing the solids out of the tank and clogging the weeping tile bed. Conserving water is always a good idea. But septic system owners, more than anyone, should invest in water-conserving kitchen and bathroom fixtures, such as dual-flush toilets, and low-flow faucets and showerheads. You should also look for water-conserving dishwashers, and front-loading, high-efficiency washing machines.


On that note, septic owners should never have “laundry day.” Stagger the loads out over the course of the week. Similarly, if you can, try to avoid everyone in the house starting the day with a long shower.

You should also be careful about what gets flushed into the tank. It’s only designed to break down biodegradable items, so no flushing feminine hygiene products or other plastics.


Remember that the system relies on bacteria to break the sewage down. Unless you need them for medical reasons, you’re best to avoid using antibacterial soaps and cleaning products in a building on a septic system. Antibacterial products—and harsh chemical cleaners—can kill the bacteria in your tank, rendering it useless. Use vinegar, baking soda, and other natural cleaning products instead.


The leftover material at the bottom of the tank that’s not digested by bacteria, known by the aptly descriptive name of sludge, needs to be periodically pumped out. How often depends on the size of the tank and number of people using it, but every five years is a good ballpark number.


You also need to properly maintain the septic bed. For one, do not drive vehicles across it. That will compact the soil and crush the weeping tiles. You also need to be very careful about what sort of vegetation you plant near the septic field. Deep-rooted plants will be drawn to the nutrient-rich liquid and their roots can clog the system.


There are a couple ways to tell if your system is failing. One is a tell-tale sewage odour emanating from the tank or septic field. Pooling water or bright green strips of grass above the bed also indicate something’s wrong. There is also a test you can do that involves flushing a dye pellet into the system and monitoring how quickly dye is released on the other side. A blue or orange plume along the shoreline a couple of hours after flushing the pellet tells you that you need to have your system inspected.

A septic system isn’t something to be feared. When operating properly, it’s an effective way to safely manage your household waste. But owning one is definitely a case where ignorance will lead to the exact opposite of bliss.

Photography courtesy of Margaret Mulligan
Photography courtesy of Margaret Mulligan
Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. Do you have a reno or decor question for our team of experts?



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by Rise Levy

Air Registers To Match Your Floors!

A super stylish way to finish the look of your hardwood floors is to install matching wood floor air registers. These vents are available in various sizes, to suit the size of your ducts. Available through Aspen Wood Floors.


Versatile & Affordable

Using materials that truly stand the test of time, these floors are easily cleaned and are scuff resistant, keeping the new-flooring look for years after its installation. One of the largest advantages of vinyl is waterproof, unlike many other materials. Vinyl plank flooring is an increasingly popular option for the home because of its versatility, flexibility, affordability, and durability.


Match Your Style & Budget

Any season is the right season to renew and refresh with beautiful new flooring. Carpet One Floor & Home’s expert consultants will help you choose the right floor that matches your style with your budget. From hardwood and tile to carpet, luxury vinyl tile and more, you can expect more without paying more.


Express Unique Style

X-Tile is sure to have whatever you need to express your unique individual style. They offer you an exceptional variety of wall and flooring options in ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, glass, mosaic and much more, from leading suppliers around the world. Open seven days a week at three spacious showrooms located conveniently near you. Let their knowledgeable and friendly staff help you in your dream renovation or building project.



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by Brendan Charters
Photography by Valerie Wilcox

Architect, Designer or Builder—who gets retained and why

Unless you are a confident DIYer with lots of spare time, a home improvement project is usually born when someone puts pen to paper to retain the services of a professional. But who do you hire and in what order? Well, it’s neither an easy nor a one-size-fits-all answer.

ASSEMBLY REQUIRED - Architectural, interior design and building execution are all required to bring a project like this to reality.
ASSEMBLY REQUIRED – Architectural, interior design and building execution are all required to bring a project like this to reality.


The duty does fall upon you as the homeowner to take this first crucial step. Regardless of your experience or knowledge of construction or design, if you will be retaining the services of someone else to assist with the project, it is essential that you detail your wish list. Start high level, with the must-have items; for instance, a two-storey rear addition of a specific size, or the gut renovation of an existing kitchen or basement, or a 3,500-sq.-ft. custom home—whatever the high-level description of the project may be. Then figure out your realistic budget, and don’t be afraid to share it with those who will be helping you with the project. This will help people understand quickly if your goals match your pocketbook. Sure, retain a contingency for the unforeseen or unknown items that can come about in a project, and for items that the build may not include, such as furniture or appliances, but sharing the budget will help avoid both the homeowner and the professionals from wasting their time.

WISH LIST - Decide what the end goals are and your true budget to see if there is a fit.
WISH LIST – Decide what the end goals are and your true budget to see if there is a fit.


The second step is to meet with people—at least a couple from each discipline (architect or designer, interior designer and builder), and two to three firms that may roll all those services into one (i.e. Design-Build). We recommend meeting at the proposed project site, as it will allow the professionals to identify any potential obstacles to undertaking your wish list, such as trees, neighbours or other potential structure or site conditions. Get an understanding for their rough costs in a project like the one you are planning, and also use the time to get to know them and their process. Take notes, as different people will give you different advice and all of it could come in handy down the road, no matter who you ultimately retain to help. Designing and building a home or large addition/renovation project is unlike most other transactions. This service arrangement can involve working together daily for a year or more, and attitudes, egos and personalities need to mesh as well as the scope and budget do for the project to be a successful undertaking.

FINISH LINE - Touring finish suppliers early in design can help determine budget needs for finishes.
FINISH LINE – Touring finish suppliers early in design can help determine budget needs for finishes.


The third step is to retain services to commence the project development. This is the scariest, we know, but is the only step that thaws the project freeze we discussed before, and is required to convert the project into something real. If you are hiring someone for architectural design, as well as interior design, and a third person to build the project, we recommend bringing them all on-board simultaneously. It may only involve a minor commitment at the outset to buy some time, but will help ensure that the architectural design and interior design stays in line with the budget, and most importantly what it will ultimately cost to build. If you have a single source design-build firm retained, getting updated budgets upon crystallizing the basic floorplan will ensure budget constraints are adhered to if design changes are needed. It can be done early in the design phase, and thus be cheaper. Likewise, if you are selecting your own interior finishes, or retaining professional interior design help, we recommend touring suppliers to get a sense of tastes for finishes, and how those costs fit in against the initial budget. A high and low(er) type selection in the early stages will help your designer and your builder understand where your goals are esthetically, and will also help you to learn the cost impacts of your decisions related to finishes, and what compromises you may have to make to keep the project within the budget.

SERENITY NOW - The right budget, the right team and the right attitude ensure a dream home come true.
SERENITY NOW – The right budget, the right team and the right attitude ensure a dream home come true.


The final verdict is that while some may say you should start with a builder first, others will suggest the architect or designer needs to come first. We feel that ultimately the homeowner or project initiator comes first, and that upon the first project idea development, the other three disciplines should quickly follow, but in unison as soon as possible to ensure an accurate and successful outcome. It is ultimately up to you, the property owner, to decide how you bring them together, either by way of building your own team of designers and builders, or reaching out to a single source design-build provider. Neither option is right for all projects, nor for all consumers, and we urge you to meet with all options to see which people and process will work best for you and your specific project.


When planning your own addition, renovation, or custom home, remember there is real value in working with a professional to design and build the space. Remember, the process is as important as the final product here, not just the price. We recommend you start your search at the relevant professional associations to explore your options, including the OAA (Architects), AATO (Architecture Technologists), ARIDO (Interior Designers) and BILD or RenoMark, the home of the professional builder and renovator, to find the true industry professionals. Best of luck with your next exciting project!

Brendan Charters is Partner at Toronto Design-Build Firm Eurodale Developments Inc. – 2017 OHBA Renovator of the Year.


(416) 782-5690


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Guglietti family spearheads research into children’s brain cancer

Guglietti family spearheads research into children’s brain cancer

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Guglietti family spearheads research into children’s brain cancer

The fight against childhood brain cancer has a new ally in the We Love You Connie Foundation founded by Marco and Michela Guglietti.

The fight against cancer has a new ally in the We Love You Connie Foundation. After losing their daughter to pediatric brain cancer diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG), Marco Guglietti, president of Rosehaven Homes, along with his wife Michela knew that more had to be done to prevent this tragedy from touching others.

Marco Guglietti, president of Rosehaven Homes, with his daughter, Connie, who died of brain cancer when she was 8 years old.
Marco Guglietti, president of Rosehaven Homes, with his daughter, Connie, who died of brain cancer when she was 8 years old.

In 2017, they founded the We Love You Connie Foundation along with Marco’s brothers, Silvio, Riccardo and Johnny Guglietti. To date, more than $1.1 million has been raised for SickKids Hospital in Toronto and Montreal Children’s Hospital so both can continue in their efforts to research and eliminate DPIG once an for all. Marco and his brothers have committed to donate an additional $1 million-plus over five years.

The leading cause of brain tumour death in children, DIPG is a rare brainstem tumor. This inoperable and terminal condition is almost exclusively found in children, mainly between the ages of 5 and 9 years, but can occur at any age in childhood and rarely in adults.

The Gugliettis lost their extraordinary daughter, Connie Monica Guglietti, aged 8, to DIPG in 2016. She was a bright star of the family and the foundation is created in loving memory of this special little girl – in the hope that other children can recover from DIPG.

You can help as well with a donation. For more information and to donate, visit


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INDUSTRY EXPERT: Smart & Selective

INDUSTRY EXPERT: Smart & Selective

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INDUSTRY EXPERT: Smart & Selective

by David Wilkes

Partner with a Pro for your Reno

I am a proud Torontonian who is fiercely connected to my neighbourhood. I’ve lived in this great region my entire life and, for the last 25 years, raised my family in the east-end of Toronto. We’ve done more than one renovation to our house, which added value and made it our home. Like many Torontonians, my neighbourhood is a part of my identity.

In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), we celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of our neighbourhoods. They are what make our region great. We value them and recognize the importance of creating livable communities through their development and revitalization.

Increasingly, GTA homeowners are choosing to stay in their neighbourhoods because, like me, they love them. They are renovating rather than selling and creating the home they want in the area they want to live.



There are more than 200 RenoMark renovators in the GTA. All of them agree to abide by the BILD Code of Ethics and a renovation-specific RenoMark Code of Conduct. They understand the value of customer service, provide warranties and continually educate themselves on trends, materials and new regulations.


Unfortunately, the introduction of the HST in 2010 accelerated the growth of an underground economy in the renovation industry. A report released by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) in November 2017, shows the amount of residential renovation spending through contractors that leaked underground fluctuated between 38 and 40 percent between 2010 and 2016.

The underground “cash” economy in home renovation and repair poses significant risks, including worker safety liability risks for the homeowner if workers are not covered by the WSIB, no warranties, unfair competition with reputable contractors and loss of tax revenues.

This underground industry also undermines the integrity of the HST system. The report suggested that provincial and federal governments lost $16 billion in potential tax revenues through residential renovations undertaken by illicit contractors in Ontario during the same period.


Instead of fostering an underground economy, which encourages the avoidance of paying taxes, the OHBA has recommended the Ontario government consider introducing a tax rebate that would incent homeowners to document properly, and report their contractor renovation projects as well as a Home Renovation Tax Credit for energy-efficient upgrades.

Our colleagues at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association are also active partners with the Minister’s Underground Economy Advisory Committee, sharing industry information and recommendations with the Canada Revenue Agency on how to best address the impact of working around the system.

BILD has written its own renovation Service Standard of Excellence that was presented to the City of Toronto, outlining a practical system that would put the consumer first. The Service Standard of Excellence would speed up approvals and make Toronto City Hall more efficient. This would ease consumer frustrations and steer them away from using the underground economy.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? If you’re considering a renovation, your first step is to go to There you will find the RenoGuide (Five Steps to a Worry-Free Renovation), the RenoMark Code of Conduct and you can use the Find a Renovator tool to find a participating renovator near you. If you’re a renovator in the GTA looking to get involved with the RenoMark program, email us at

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog, and


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Aging in Place

Aging in Place

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Aging in Place

by Michael Moskowitz

To prepare for the impending wave of seniors Canada needs to rethink how it supports the aging population.

Aging is a complex topic. And where much of the debate is often spent focused on the healthcare spending implications, there are many other elements that need to be explored. For example, isolation of seniors has real implications for our society. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, social connection should be a public health priority. As our population continues to age, the result will be a dramatic greying of Canada’s demography – one that has implications for housing, the healthcare system, national economy and government policy.

To prepare for this impending wave of seniors – the largest cohort ever according to Statistics Canada – Canada needs to rethink how it supports the aging population through the implementation of functional housing and care solutions that will allow them to thrive within their communities.

By 2031, nearly one in four Canadians will be over the age of 65. Thankfully we can look to other nations who are grappling with this situation. In Japan this demographic shift will happen over next 10 to 20 years. Because Japan’s government, businesses and society are facing these challenges earlier than North American countries, we can learn and benefit from their innovations and technology and start considering how we can better serve our seniors.

In fact, as the Japanese recognized isolation would have a negative impact on its large senior population, a steady increase in retirement communities emerged throughout the country. Not simply homes, communities. City planning and design has a focus on senior support, which better enables elders and healthcare workers to lead healthier lives.

A recent report from Senior Care Canada examined senior care in Japan, highlighting how the government has worked hard to quickly problem solve and create solutions as demand for senior care services has grown. In addition to implementing innovative products to assist the elderly and their caregivers, they have also restructured resources, such as schools that were no longer required, to convert them to care and community centres for seniors. This has translated into a better quality of life.

How can Canada learn from this model?

As a society we need to learn how to design for purpose and function, not just the lowest cost. By investing in innovative solutions that will enable our seniors to thrive, we are providing a strong foundation for them to maintain their health, lifestyle and independence.

Panasonic recognized the importance of merging the various aspects of caregiver services with housing solutions and the positive impact it could have on Japanese senior citizens and healthcare workers, and created a functional facility in Owada called Age-Free Life.

Uniquely, Age-Free Life was designed by “living environment planners” who fully understand both architecture and nursing care. By employing this level of expertise, Panasonic has built long-term relationships of trust by providing home remodeling services for nursing care based on construction circumstances and the physical conditions of the individual.

By increasing the synergistic effect, Age-Free Life better enables Japan’s seniors to thrive and lead healthy lives in their golden years while decreasing the strain on social and healthcare services.

While the example in Japan is on a large scale, there are smaller scale things we can look at as we prepare for the pending wave of seniors in our nation. We can look at how homes are designed and built to ensure that seniors can live at home longer – from storage to accessibility support. Looking at residential care, can we invest in products that help our healthcare workers provide care that will not harm their bodies as well?

What Canadians can extract from Japan’s model is the duty private industries and the government have to prepare for changes in our demographics.

It is more important than ever to invest in infrastructure, products and services that will help seniors remain independent, while ensuring healthcare workers are supported. Architects and builders need to evaluate and anticipate the needs of Canadian seniors, to ensure sustainable housing is in place.

We need to rethink our approach to support the aging population by implementing functional housing and care solutions that will allow seniors to thrive, before senior care becomes a healthcare or financial crisis.

Michael Moskowitz is president of Panasonic Canada.


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