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LOCAL FOCUS: Clarington

LOCAL FOCUS: Clarington

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LOCAL FOCUS: Clarington

by Gale Beeby

Bowmanville, Courtice & Newcastle

LIVING HISTORY

Clarington is the most easterly municipality in the GTA, located along the north shore of Lake Ontario. It is the amalgamation of the former townships of Darlington, Clarke, Bowmanville, the Village of Newcastle and the Village of Orono, as well as a number of rural villages, some of which are Bond Head, Enniskillen, Hampton, Kendal, Maple Grove, Mitchell Corners, New Park, Newtonville, Port Darlington, Port Granby, Salem, Starkville, Taunton and Wilmot Creek.

There are heritage buildings and structures scattered throughout the rural countryside and in clusters of heritage homes within the towns and hamlets. But Clarington is full of new housing tracts and condominium buildings in the denser areas.

Click here for a list of homes for sale.

LEISURE PURSUITS

The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport International Raceway) in Bowmanville hosts both minor grand prix races and major racing events. Clarington is home to five Christmas parades, more than any other municipality in Canada. The parades are held in Bowmanville, Newcastle, Courtice, Orono, and Enniskillen/Tyrone. Docville Wild West Park is a mock Wild West town that offers tours and is also used as a film set. Bowmanville is also home to Camp 30, a POW camp for German troops during the Second World War and the last surviving POW camp in Canada.

PARKS & REC

The largest park in the area is the Darlington Provincial Park, located south of Highway 401 near Courtice. The park borders the shore of Lake Ontario and McLaughlin Bay, which is shallow and was closed off from the lake sometime in the 1990s by natural wave action. It offers lots of recreational activities, including camping, picnic facilities, nature trails and a long strip of sandy beach.

The Samuel Wilmot Nature Area in Newcastle is a 77-hectare park that contains trails, viewing platforms and interpretive signs. The Port of Newcastle Park offers spectacular view of the lake from its kilometre of paved trail located on the top of a bluff.

Clarington also offers a large range of recreational facilities at its many parks. There are a host of country-style fairs in many of the rural communities that make up Clarington including AppleFest in Bowmanville, the annual Orono Fair — one of the oldest fairs in Ontario — every September, the BluesBERRY Festival in Bowmanville, which celebrates the best of blues music and fresh berries, and the Wooden Boat Festival at the Port of Newcastle Marina.

RETAIL THERAPY

The small towns and hamlets that make up Clarington are full of lovely boutiques, cafés, bistros, gift and craft shops and, of course, there are plenty of farmers’ markets. Although the area doesn’t have a large indoor shopping mall, you don’t have to go far to fulfill your need to shop until you drop; there are great indoor malls and big box stores in Oshawa and, a little further afield, Peterborough.

EASY ACCESS

Highway 401 runs throughout the region, with Highway 35 and Highway 115 bisecting Newcastle and taking commuters north into cottage country. Durham Region Transit offers some bus routes throughout Clarington, taking commuters west, and GO Transit offers train and bus service in and out of the region.

BY THE NUMBERS

Population: 92,100

Walk Score: 9

Motto: Wisdom Knowledge and Trust

Clarington.net


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National Homes

Cover Story: Editor’s Choice: National Homes

Latest News


Cover Story: Editor’s Choice: National Homes

Blueprint Workshop revolutionizes new home consumer research

As its slogan “You are the Blueprint” attests, National Homes takes homebuyer feedback seriously when planning its homes and communities.

Always an industry innovator, the company has now revolutionized the concept of traditional focus groups and consumer research with the National Homes Blueprint Workshop, a ground-breaking event that explored how homeowners feel about their homes, how they live in them, and what type of design, features and technology they believe will improve their lives.

The January Blueprint Workshop brought together creative design thinkers with dozens of past and potential future National Homes buyers of varied ages and demographics. They gathered in the IBM Innovation Space at Venture Labs in Markham, along with National Homes staff, designers, architects, engineers and partner leaders for a THINKTANK dedicated to new homes. Students from York University’s Schulich School of Business real estate master’s program also participated.

They broke into four small groups with partner leaders to engage in discussions, presentations and interviews. IBM helped to design and facilitate the workshop.

When IBM’s expertise in human-centred design indicates that the conversation is less about features and functions, and more about users and outcomes, businesses are more successful. It’s about understanding what matters to clients, how they see the world and getting to know them.

“With a typical focus group, people are sitting behind a screen or mirror with a facilitator and it’s structured,” says Deena Pantalone, director of marketing innovation and managing partner for National Homes. “This was more relaxed and comfortable. Rather than asking things such as, ‘Which interior finish do you like,’ we discussed generally how it feels to live in a house.”

The workshop’s purpose was to provide in-depth insight into homebuyers’ needs and desires, to further research and development efforts to position National Homes as a builder that values innovation and is responsive to its customers.

The day delved into the homeowner experience beyond bricks and mortar, explored new technology and time-saving solutions, as well as how to make the homebuying experience unique. It explored the idea of community, looking not just solely at homeowners’ needs, but what their parents and children might need as well.

Participants were selected based on responses to a survey sent to registrants from National Homes’ communities, along with current homeowners.

Partner leaders included Karl Vredenburg, Director IBM Design Worldwide Client Programs and head of IBM Studios Canada; Professor James McKellar, Associate Dean External Relations and Director of the Brookfield Centre in Real Estate and Infrastructure at the Schulich School of Business; Raphael Wong and Matt Lennan of ThoughtWire, a leading Canadian digital intelligence company; Jenna Zaza of The Interactive Abode, a technology company that allows purchasers to virtually decorate their new homes and make finishing selections online; Jason Disher, Logan Stewart, Tyler Balding and Yonnas Tecle of Panasonic, a company that makes state-of-theart home products; and Bob Storey, Andreas C. Leuth and Greg Jefferies of Sto Canada Ltd., a leader in high-performance building cladding options.

“Innovation has always been a staple of our corporate foundation,” says Pantalone. “I’ve travelled to leading international cities where this type of research is being carried out. We want to anticipate homeowner problems and provide solutions by thinking ahead. We want to provide futuristic homes that are affordable.”

Workshop participants got a glimpse into some of the future possibilities. For example, ThoughtWire has changed the way people act with their built environment with its software. It has played a transformative role in digitizing healthcare facilities, speeding up workflow and improving patient experience with automation and real-time interactions between medical staff, systems and devices. For instance, patients can control the temperature in their rooms, medical personnel get real-time patient information on their devices and elevators can be programmed so food carts delivering patient meals won’t be delayed. Some of this technology can be adapted for residential use.

Panasonic might be best known for home entertainment products in Canada, but the company has a comprehensive lineup of home-related products and builds entire new home communities in Japan. Participants learned about the Shimau Principle – the art of space and harmony where everything is in its rightful place. Panasonic offers comprehensive storage and organization solutions. Developed in Japan, where people live in smaller spaces, the solutions are a great fit for condos — or any home — as many homeowners do not utilize space to its best advantage.

Attendees got to see, touch and feel EcoShapes from Sto Canada, a product that has been used in Europe for more than 30 years but is new to Canada. It reduces energy costs, provides a higher R-value and reduces the home’s carbon footprint. Sto’s forward-thinking products contribute to creating a superior energy-efficient home.

Zaza, founder of The Interactive Abode, explained how pop culture, online sites and TV shows inspired development of her interactive software that allows purchasers the time to research and make decisions about their new home selections from the comfort of their own homes. It uses photo-realistic renderings to take the guesswork out of decisions between standard or upgrade options and allows buyers to visualize how colour selections and finishes will look in their new residence. Zaza says in the last five years, sales centres have incorporated software that helps with homebuying, but the process was lacking in the design studio. Zaza brought four laptops for workshop participants to try the online design studio for themselves.

Pantalone is excited about the possibilities the Blueprint Workshop offered and sees this as the springboard for more collaborative sessions with homeowners and other partners to transform the builder-buyer relationship.

“Our slogan, ‘You Are the Blueprint,’ means something to us as a company,” she said. “This will allow us to take our relationship with our purchasers to a whole new level and create a more meaningful buying and living experience for them.”

National Homes looks forward to offering some of their latest “bright ideas” at upcoming new home communities in 2018 and 2019 including Markham, Bradford, Brampton, Courtice and Burlington.

National Homes returns to Bradford with Phase 2 of The Forest, featuring elegant homes and stunning architecture.
National Homes returns to Bradford with Phase 2 of The Forest, featuring elegant homes and stunning architecture.

NATIONAL HOMES

Visit National Homes online for more information and to register for previews before the public openings in communities in Markham, Bradford, Brampton, Courtice and Burlington.

NationalHomes.com


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