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Editor's Choice: Pratt Homes

Cover Story: Editor’s Choice: Pratt Homes

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Cover Story: Editor’s Choice: Pratt Homes

The story behind the builder of Bear Creek Ridge in Barrie

Don Pratt is a Barrie boy, born and raised. Barrie is a thriving real estate market located 45 minutes north of Toronto. Much like the previous generations of his family, Don spent the majority of his life in construction in the Barrie area then passed the family building legacy on to his daughter Karen Pratt-Hansen and son-in-law Heljar Hansen.

Don recounts a grade school memory of being surrounded by peers as his teacher asked questions about career dreams. As the teacher went through the questions, Don didn’t raise his hand. The teacher asked him directly, “What do you want to do Don?” He simply responded “I want to build homes.”

The Pratt family has been building homes in Barrie since 1890 but Pratt Homes was founded by Don in the early 1970s. At the heart of the company is building attractive and affordable homes to help people achieve homeownership.

Heljar Hansen and Karen Pratt-Hansen with their children.
Heljar Hansen and Karen Pratt-Hansen with their children.

The Pratt family legacy began when Stephen Pratt emigrated from England in 1890 and constructed two houses in the Cundles Heights area of Barrie. Don was inspired by his family history and when he took over the family business in the mid 1970s, he evolved from building houses to creating communities.

Don and his wife Chris started Pratt Homes in their basement. They created a logo and began a new legacy and now Pratt Homes is the largest homebuilder in Barrie. To this day, Pratt Homes continues to be a family business that creates meaningful communities while supporting industries, families, charities and organizations.

Karen and Heljar sit in the boardroom at Pratt Homes’ Head Office. The entire office is meticulously designed including photography from Peter Lik in every room. There is a gorgeous reclaimed barn wood table; wood acquired from the Pratt family farm. As you enter the boardroom you’re greeted by a picture called “Sacred Sunrise” taken of Cayonlands National Park in Utah. The photograph commands your attention.

The pair are positioned beside each other prepared to recollect memories of the pinnacle moments that built the foundation for The Pratt Hansen Group.


Karen Pratt-Hansen has a proud demeanor when discussing her childhood in construction. “The family has always been in construction. It’s been my life. It’s what I know,” she says.

Karen remembers her mom as the chief cook and bottle washer who kept things on track.

“My mom was an integral part of Pratt Homes as well as teaching me about business,” says Karen. “She showed me how to dress professionally because a Pratt Homes representative must care about their presentation.”

When Karen and her brother were younger, they asked for a withdrawal from the bank of dad. The result was different than anticipated. “Mom and dad gathered up cleaning materials, put us in the car, stopped at one of our model homes and said they’d be back once it was clean.”

The Pratts had a family tradition: they children were first to view new model homes. They proudly they walked through the home their dad built, praised the gorgeous decorating their mom did and then played in the kids room.

Karen remembers her parents steering her towards the family business. “Even when I was thinking about practicing law, my parents encouraged me to be a real estate lawyer.”


Karen embarked upon a journey most students can only dream of and attended university in Australia, majoring in law. During her schooling Karen met her future husband, Heljar Hansen, a Norwegian descendant who obtained his Australian residency to get his MBA and minor in computer sciences.

Unfortunately, in early 2002 Heljar lost his mother and Heljar and Karen went to Norway for the funeral. “It was a very sad time for my family. We honoured and celebrated my mother’s life.” says Heljar.

While in Norway, Karen received a call from her parents sending their condolences and asking if they could stop in Barrie on their way back to Australia; Karen and Heljar agreed. It was during the stopover that Don and Chris Pratt announced that retirement was on the horizon and Karen, Heljar and Karen’s brother should be their successors.

“We were both thinking about living in Australia. Karen had applied for her residency and I already had mine. We weren’t considering moving to Barrie and running the business.” says Hansen.

“I loved living overseas but I missed my family,” Karen says. “I missed Barrie. It was my home.”

Karen wanted to put down roots where her family created a legacy. Karen and Heljar made the decision together; they would take the risk and return to Canada.


Heljar and Karen moved to Barrie in November, 2002. Heljar remembers it well — it snowed for five straight months. They returned home on Friday and Monday started at Pratt Homes. Don drove Heljar to the construction site and introduced him to the site superintendent. “Meet my son-in-law, teach him about building,” Don said. Judging by the look on the super’s face, Heljar was positive Don hadn’t informed him until that moment.

“When we came back from Australia, we were learning the business. Dad was still running things. The goal was to take over but we didn’t want the learning curve to be too much,” recalls Pratt- Hansen. Karen and Heljar wanted to ensure the ownership transition didn’t have a negative impact on the business.

“We jumped into the deep end of the pool,” Heljar continues. “We knew we could handle the challenge, we’re not afraid of hard work but to be honest, we felt overwhelmed.” The family worked together to make the transition as seamless as possible.”

Karen learned to manage the business while Heljar was learning construction. They then worked with the sales manager, learning the system that drives the entire machine.

“In the early years we did everything,” notes Karen. “During the week we were at head office, on the weekend at the sales office handing out brochures.”

“We even cleaned houses before predelivery inspections,” Heljar adds.

It took under two years for the Pratt-Hansens to transition ownership of the family business to the Pratt Hansen Group.


Karen and Heljar are leading Pratt Homes during exciting times. The company is designing a new product line, preparing to launch new communities and just released their new brand.

“The fact that the brand has evolved says something about the business because we’ve changed,” Heljar says.

Karen had a great attachment to the previous logo because her dad created it, but she has confidence. “The way the community has embraced our new direction has given me great comfort.”

Karen and Heljar are doing things the Pratt-Hansen way. “We love change. We love doing things new, different and better,” Karen says. “That has been a philosophy of ours but it was different when we evolved the brand. The logo was a foundation of what previous generations built before us.”

“But just because the logo changes doesn’t mean the foundation changes. We’re an innovative company that makes fresh new changes but we also believe in tradition,” Heljar adds.

The Pratt family legacy has become the Pratt-Hansen family legacy. Karen and Heljar hope their kids will continue the family business. Both kids attend community opening and closing events as well as clean homes before predelivery inspections. When it comes to the next generation of Pratt Homes, the preparation work is happening with mom and dad’s help.

“We can only hope. We’re not going to force them, but hopefully they’ve seen what we do and what we’ve done,” says Heljar. “We’ll support them in whatever they want to do but hopefully they want to build.”

Karen feels similarly. “I think, like us, they may go off in their own directions and pursue their own paths, but if, one day, they get a feeling in their gut and remember what it was like to be a part of what we’ve done, we hope they come home to the family business.”


Pratt Homes has just released for sale Bear Creek Ridge, a family neighbourhood in southwest Barrie. This release of freehold towns, freehold detached and condominiums — priced from the mid $200,000s — is the first look at Pratt Homes’ newly designed floorplans and exteriors. In Bear Creek Ridge, Pratt Homes has blended together traditional, modern and hybrid exterior designs creating Barrie’s most visually stunning community. So far, purchasers are thrilled to see the fresh new look and are quickly buying up the new homes.

Visit BearCreekRidge.ca for floor plans and prices.

Coming in 2018, Pratt Homes will be releasing an incredibly innovative community called Bistro 6, Culinary Inspired Condo Living. Bistro 6 will be located inside Pratt Homes’ newest neighbourhood, Hewitt’s Gate.


Go online to register and to find out more about all of Pratt Homes’ communities.



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Cover Story: Bower Condos

Cover Story: Bower Condos by Mattamy Homes

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Cover Story: Bower Condos by Mattamy Homes

Mattamy expanding The Preserve with affordable boutique condos

Coming soon to The Preserve — Mattamy’s desirable master-planned community in Oakville — are new, affordable boutique condominiums: Bower Condos. Located alongside all that makes Oakville one of the most desired addresses in Ontario, living in these stunning condos will provide a life of style and possibilities.

Steel and concrete construction, Bower Condos, Oakville
Steel and concrete construction, Bower Condos, Oakville

These suites themselves will boast a gorgeous, contemporary design, and will be available in a variety of floorplans that are perfect for all stages of life. Featuring 9-foot standard ceilings and 10-foot on the top floor, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, laminate floors, and much more, every moment spent at home will be one worth savouring.

You’ll also have the ability to personalize the interior of your new condo through Mattamy’s state-of-the-art Design Studio. With the help of their Design Consultants, you’ll be guided through the countless options of fixtures and finishes available to you. From decorative moldings, to a stunning backsplash, Mattamy’s Design Studio ensures your new condo will already start to feel like home before you’ve even moved in.

Social Lounge
Social Lounge

These six-storey buildings – constructed of steel and concrete – will feature a variety of amenities you’ll quickly come to love. Be welcomed by a stunning lobby every time you come home. Entertain friends and family in the beautifully decorated party room. Work up a sweat (and lose all excuses to not workout) in the convenient, well-equipped fitness centre. Outside, you’ll find cozy, convenient parkettes that are a perfect place to take a stroll or to catch some sun while reading a good book.

Hampshire Suite 1 Bedroom + Den, 685 sq. ft.
Hampshire Suite 1 Bedroom + Den, 685 sq. ft.

As these condos are being constructed on either side of a boulevard that stretches back to the original master-planned community, you’ll be able to experience the many features that have helped make The Preserve such a sought-after place to live. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the web of hiking trails just beyond their backyard, with Bronte Provincial Park being nearby as well. You’ll also surely enjoy having modern necessities such as grocery stores, schools, recreational facilities, and more, all within a short distance of your front door.

Hampshire Suite 1 Bedroom + Den, 685 sq. ft.
Hampshire Suite 1 Bedroom + Den, 685 sq. ft.

The location of these condos — on the north side of Dundas, just west of Trafalgar — also ensures getting around town couldn’t be easier. Nearby locations like Oakville Place Mall, restaurants in Oakville’s renowned downtown, the brand new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, and more, can all be easily reached by driving a short distance down one of these main Oakville roads. And with convenient access to the QEW nearby as well, any trip to Toronto or elsewhere in the GTA will start off on the right foot.

Fitness Studio
Fitness Studio

These condos are not only being constructed by North America’s largest privately-owned builder — with over 90,000 homes in hundreds of communities across the continent — but also by a company that has called Oakville ‘home’ for nearly 40 years.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to join this desirable community. Experience stylish, affordable condo-living in an incredible location.

Inviting Lobby
Inviting Lobby

To see all the ways Bower Condos are right for you, register for updates at MattamyHomes.com.


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Cover Story: All Dressed Up

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Cover Story: All Dressed Up

By Linda Mazur • Photography By Jason Hartog

Host a memorable affair with flair

The end of the year is fast approaching—the start of what I like to call the “season of soirées.” Holiday parties this year are taking on a more luxurious tone, welcoming the return of indulgence, glamour and colour that leaves guests begging for more. Here’s my guide to creating a formal, festive ambiance for an affair to remember.


Rich jewel tones must be in attendance at your formal get-together. Pretty amethyst, lush plum tones bordering on black, saturated pinks and potent pops of bright yellowygreen— a nod to 2017’s colour of the year—are a highlight of the upcoming holiday palette. Add these opulent hues to your fireplace mantel, centrepiece, coloured glassware and textiles, lending your soirée a lush, layered look.


Amp up the luxury by adding texture to your decor; this is a great way to express your own style and personality, in a tactile way. Sumptuous velvets, silks and coarsely textured linens are a mainstay for the cool fall and winter nights, adding warmth and welcome to your home as your guests cosy up, relax and digest after a splendid meal.

As a designer, I’ve seen texture, pattern-play and mixed metals dominate the design scene through 2017, and indeed, these will see us through the final countdown of the year. Well-appointed, well thought-out decor reflects a more minimalistic approach to design, highlighting the beauty of each carefully selected piece or custom finish, and bringing balance and harmony to the room.


This featured dining room showcases a mix of patterns carefully selected to complement the beautiful wallpaper—the focal point of this room. The sheen and texture of the dupioni silk drapery and the velvet dining chairs help create a sense of tactile luxury, while lending the perfect backdrop for the glamorous chandelier. We combined several different metallic finishes in this space to bring dimension to the design esthetic, and bring character and personality to the room.


  1. Nothing sets the stage for a swanky soirée like a formal invitation! Send invites a month ahead of time, to give guests time to plan and RSVP.
  2. Glam up your tables with beautiful china, crystal and silver. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your serving dishes. It’s a great way to add personality and unique charm.
  3. Lay down freshly cut greens on top of serving trays for a quick and festive touch.
  4. Lighting is an important element not to be overlooked. Opt for dim, romantic lighting from multiple sources: chandelier, table lamps, sconces, candles. A layered lighting plan will help set the right mood.
  5. To ensure the right ambiance, communicate a dress code to your guests. They’ll appreciate getting the heads-up on what to wear (a sure distress for some!) but this will ensure the theme of your soirée is carried through from the decor, to the menu, to the guests.


Another trending element making an appearance at this season’s formal affairs is the curated and customized. Nothing screams “exclusive” like a little personalization—a relatively easy way to make your guests feel truly special. From colour that complements the occasion, to signature cocktails, and customized menu items with wine pairings, this highly stylized affair exudes elegance at every turn. This year, the design scene and the party scene run hand-in-hand, so your decor shouldn’t be an afterthought. Think personalized place-card holders, wine charms and party favours, and an elegant centrepiece to make your dining table the focal point.

Expect the best parties this season to be thoughtful, intentional and carefully crafted, to reflect individual style while indulging guests in a night they won’t soon forget.


DESIGNER: Linda Mazur Design Group DINING CHAIR UPHOLSTERY FABRIC by Robert Allen Manufactured by Silva Custom Furniture, CUSTOM DRAPERY FABRIC by Alendel, MANUFACTURING is Model Space Designs, WALLPAPER: JF Fabrics, LIGHT FIXTURE: Prima Lighting, BAR CART: Artage, FLORAL DESIGN by Opening Night Flowers, DESSERTS from Pusateri’s Fine Foods, AREA RUG: Stevens Omni

Linda Mazur, Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group, has almost two decade of experience running her multi-disciplinary design firm. Known for creating relaxed, stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada, her work has been published nationally in various publications. lindamazurdesign.com @LindaMazurGroup


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The Mirabelle Luxury Condominiums

Cover Story: The Mirabella Luxury Condominiums

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Cover Story: The Mirabella Luxury Condominiums

Diamante’s latest exquisite development offers one of the last opportunities to live exclusively on the Lake Shore

Standing at 38-storeys, Diamante’s latest development, The Mirabella Luxury Condominiums — composed of a pair of stunning towers brought together by an elegant classically inspired podium — offers one of the last opportunities to live exclusively on the Lake Shore. The building will have a classical limestone look with timeless proportions, accents of bay windows, and tapered columns. The architecture, the luxurious irreplaceable views in all directions, and the exclusive unprecedented amenity floor which contains over 20,000 ft2 of indoor and outdoor amenities, define Mirabella.

Diamante brought together a remarkable team of architects who together designed a building that is enduring and rich in both texture and detail, while also taking cues from the legacy of waterfront exhibition architecture. The lead architect is Andrew Shields of Scott Shields Architects, collaborating with David Winterton of ERA Architects. Shields first worked for Hariri Pontarini, a highly-respected firm where he worked on an enviable list of high profile award winning Toronto highrise condominium projects, including One Park Place, and Shangri-La Toronto. In 2013, Shields started his own firm and then merged with Deborah Scott in the beginning of 2016 to form Scott Shields Architects where they combined Shield’s 10-plus years of experience in highrise residential design with Scott’s 35 years of experience working in the architectural industry. Scott Shields Architects has designed other Diamante projects, including The Diamond on Yonge and 100 Davenport.

David Winterton first worked in Toronto for a decade in commercial firms and then for ERA Architects, who’s projects include such iconic Toronto sites as the Distillery District and the Brick Works, before leaving to New York where he eventually joined Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA). While with RAMSA, Winterton worked on a number of different projects such as 15 Central park West, a building that is emblematic of modern traditionalism. After hearing about Winterton’s return to Toronto and ERA, Diamante president Julie Di Lorenzo seized on the opportunity and put Winterton together with Shields to work on the design for Mirabella.

“It’s been a great collaboration,” says Shields. “We have two very different skill sets coming together. I work very closely with Diamante in developing a building that addresses the site and creates great options for future residents. I know what the client is looking for and I deliver it. David brought fantastic experience to the team that allowed us to really focus in on the finer grain details of the building. We make a good team.”

Spacious and elegant in design, Mirabella offers many suite types, including one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den, two-bedroom, two-bedroom plus den, and three-bedroom suites, ranging in size from 457 to 1,510 square feet. Most suites have awe-inspiring views of the lake or park. All suites include state of the art features and finishes with layouts that have been meticulously and intelligently designed for spacious comfortable living. Dining areas flow seamlessly with living spaces, and the suites are equipped with sleek and efficient kitchens layouts with premium countertops and stainless steel appliances. All suites have well-sized balconies.

All suite owners share in a sumptuous 11th floor dedicated to quality of life with forever spectacular views. The amenity floor features an array of social, wellness, and recreational amenities, including an indoor pool with an unobstructed view of the lake and city skyline and a fully-equipped exercise room with stunning views of High Park. Additionally, residents can relax and experience a serene oasis overlooking the lake and park through Mirabella’s outdoor terrace which is framed by greenery and features comfortable lounge and outdoor dining areas, barbecues, and a reflecting pool with waterfall.

Mirabella is in a parkland sanctuary that is minutes from everywhere. Residents are a short walk away from the verdant High Park as well as the Sunnyside Boardwalk, which offer a multitude of different activities. With many local neighbourhoods nearby, including Bloor West Village, Roncesvalles Village, and High Park-Swansea, homeowners have close access to an exceptional variety of shops and restaurants. From local bakers and cheese shops to traditional coffee shops and clothiers, all your needs are met living at Mirabella.

“The site is rare,” says Di Lorenzo. “There are few, if any, unobstructed waterfront sites available within minutes of everything and we wanted a timeless and exceptional internationally recognized style, expressing luxury and permanence and cladding that was environmentally conscience. The suites are larger than the micro suites found in the downtown core.

“We designed the buildings so that most suites experience the “wondrous beauty” of the natural landscape,” Di Lorenzo adds, “and that all the amenities starting on the 11th floor have stunning views of the lake and park. Suites do not start until the 12th floor which makes this exceptionally exclusive.”

Suites are currently priced from the high $300,000s. Occupancy is slated for January 2021.

For further information or to register call or visit the website.



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Cover Story: TRUE Canadian Gems – Murray McLauchlan & Denise Donlon

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Cover Story: TRUE Canadian Gems – Murray McLauchlan & Denise Donlon

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

At the age of 69, Murray McLauchlan is affectionately referred to as Murray Many Heads. His wife, Denise Donlon, agrees. The recipient of 11 Juno Awards, including Country Male Vocalist of the Year for a total of five times, McLauchlan may be best known as a musician and an award-winning song writer, but he is also a painter, a pilot, a husband and a father – and possesses a wonderful sense of humour.

McLauchlan’s song catalogue includes Farmer’s Song (1972), Down by the Henry Moore (1975), On the Boulevard (1976) and Whispering Rain (1971) – all of which have stood the test of time.

Denise Donlon, now 61, is a Broadcast Hall of Fame inductee, and a Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music. She was the anchor for Much’s (formerly MuchMusic) Rockflash News (CityTv,1985), as well as the host and producer of The New Music (1986 to 1993) on the same network. Donlon has witnessed, firsthand, the changing face of pop culture through music videos, and has done more than 1,000 interviews with the likes of Keith Richards, Joni Mitchell, Sting and Leonard Cohen – to name a few.

Donlon’s 2016 book, Fearless As Possible (Under the Circumstances), chronicles her impressive, and storied career, on the front lines of the media and music industries. Donlon toured as a publicist with popular bands like Headpins, Whitesnake, and Doug and the Slugs. In the book, she also goes into detail about her business, and personal, relationships as the first female president of Sony Music Canada, and as the general manager and executive director of CBC English Radio.

McLauchlan the pilot; son, Duncan, McLauchlan and Donlon; Bruce Cockburn and McLauchlan.

Both McLauchlan (1993) and Donlon (2004) have received the Order of Canada, which recognizes their outstanding achievements, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

McLauchlan’s and Donlon’s home property abuts the Don Valley ravine in the east end of Toronto. During the interview, a coyote saunters into the backyard. As a child, McLauchlan dreamed of being a wildlife illustrator and a painter. “I had this wildly romantic idea of doing covers for Sports Illustrated magazine, as well as studying under the preeminent landscape painter, Doris McCarthy.”

McLauchlan did study with McCarthy, and also attended lectures given by Canadian naturalist and wildlife painter, Robert Bateman. “I went to Central Tech and studied and studied, and then realized that I didn’t want to be a commercial artist.”

Stevie Wonder and Donlon, 1982; Donlon and Leonard Cohen, 1981; McLauchlan and Donlon in Tuscany, 2013.

It was around this time, that the-then 17-year-old McLauchlan headed for the hippie haunts of Yorkville and started performing at various coffee houses. In 1966 he performed at the Mariposa Folk Festival, followed by stints in New York’s Greenwich Village. McLaughlan’s songs have been performed by the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Tom Rush.

Donlon and McLauchlan met in the late 80s, married two years later and then welcomed their son, Duncan, into the world in 1992. Mclauchlan admits to feelings of angst when he calculated how old he’d be when his son would be in his teens. “I was worried about becoming a father at 43, because somewhere in my mind I had an idea of my golden years,” says McLauchlan. “But then, there comes the realization that you are no longer the centre of your own life. I was in the love bubble.”

After Duncan’s birth, McLaulan took time off, and Donlon went back to work after three months. Donlon’s career continued on an upward trajectory, and she became the first female president of Sony Music Canada in 2000. Soon after, Napster (a filesharing, internet service that emphasized sharing audio files) was launched. It wasn’t long before Napster ran into legal difficulties, but the damage was done.

It changed the landscape of the music industry, and, as a result, Donlon’s lack of confidence was triggered. She admits that she suffered from Imposter’s Syndrome. “In my private moments it was really tough sledding, but in my public moments it was about leadership and inspiration – I had to be there for my artists.”

Upon the completion of her book, Donlon reassessed her perspective on life. “I’m taking a deep breath and putting it out to the universe to see what comes back,” says Donlon. “My tendency has always been to put the pedal to the metal, and to try and fill everything up with busyness. So, I am trying to spend more time in the moment, fill my life with things that give me pleasure, and not be as frantic as I once was.”

Morning Stoney Lake, by Murray McLauchlan.

Donlon never shied away from much – in both her professional, and personal, life. She’s rappelled down the side of a building, driven a 40-ton German tank and has tried bungee jumping. These days, she’s keeping closer to the ground, and is spending a great deal of time on her yoga mat. “The things on my list are now more about endurance. I’m trying, desperately, to keep my yearly, one-mile swim to under 30 minutes.”

Involved in the martial arts when he was younger, McLauchlan no longer practices combat training. “Basically, the body can’t take it anymore. Life, in general, is extremely active between keeping up the house and the cottage. And, of course, there’s the keeping up with Denise.”

When in his 40s, McLauchlan’s agent suggested to him (jokingly) that he was getting too old for the market. “I felt the whole idea was appalling and colossally stupid. I still do,” says McLauchlan. “There is a weird phenomenon in the music industry that ridicules old rockers – like the Rolling Stones. The media doesn’t talk about their music, just how wrinkled and prunelike they are.”

McLauchlan has performed at many concerts and benefits over the course of the past year, and has additional shows booked in 2018. “It has always been about reinvention for me – finding new ways to make contact with my music.”

Storm Stoney Lake, by Murray McLauchlan.

“My best days are ahead of me,
even if I do hurt in the mornings.” – Murray McLauchlan

Giving back, in many different ways, is important to both of them. Donlon is currently involved with War Child Canada, MusiCounts and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, amongst others. “As I look at my third act, the fundamental priority, for me, is that I must make a contribution,” says Donlon. “It would be a waste if you didn’t make a positive contribution based on the wisdom acquired throughout your life.”

McLauchlan strongly believes that music has a profound effect on memory. He is on the board of the Room 217 Foundation, which trains medical professionals to utilize music in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Traveling, wine, laughter, nature and time are all high priorities for Donlon. “And don’t forget the seniors’ discount,” says McLauchlan.



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Cover Story: Ken Welsh

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Cover Story: Ken Welsh

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Acting is in his blood.

Just as I am about to knock on the white door of Ken Welsh’s country home, my eyes spot a sign that epitomizes his wry sense of humour – Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

Photography by Jake Martella

At the age of 75, Welsh’s career has spanned a half century. He’s played countless roles, onstage and on screen, and is the recipient of many awards, including fi ve Geminis, a Genie for the best supporting actor in Margaret’s Museum, the Earle Grey Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2004 Welsh received the Order of Canada.

Photography by Jake Martella

Born and raised in Edmonton, Welsh graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in drama, and then attended Montreal’s National Theatre School. Not many actors can claim that they spent the first seven years of their career at the Stratford Festival. Following this stint, Welsh left in 1973 and went on to appear at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and then spent many years on Broadway.

At the age of 26, while at Stratford, Welsh was cast as Hamlet. Other plum roles include starring in Piaf on Broadway, and the 1987 production of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune with Kathy Bates.

Touted as one of the hardest working actors in Canada, Welsh wrote and performed the celebrated off-Broadway cabaret musical Standup Shakespeare. “My favourite characters are ones that have heart and play to a complicated range of emotions. I like to find the soul of the character, where the sensitivities lie,” says Welsh. “Humour is definitely an important element in any role I play. If you can’t have a good laugh, what’s the point? I laugh out loud to myself all the time – of course that could be senility.”

In 1989, Welsh’s performance in Love and Hate: The Story of Colin and Joanne Thatcher, about a former Alberta rancher and politician who is convicted of killing his wife, won him a Gemini.

Welsh’s favourite Hollywood movies were all made in Canada, and include Loyalties, 1987; Margaret’s Museum with Helena Bonham Carter in 1995; and a hilarious flick about opera and hockey with Robbie Coltrane called Perfectly Normal, 1991. A compilation of Welsh’s work wouldn’t be complete without highlighting one of his favourite parts, the villainous Windom Earle in the 1980s hit series Twin Peaks. “Windom was one of my favourite television roles,” says Welsh. “People remember the character because he was so evil.”

(CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Corrine Farago, (Devon’s mother), Ken and Devon, 1988. -Cyrano de Bergerac, 1980, Goodman Theatre, Chicago. -Paul Benedict, Ken Welsh, Kathy Bates, Terrence McNally, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, 1988. – Doctor Watson in The Hound of the Baskervilles, TV movie, 2000.

During his illustrious career, Welsh has performed alongside many well-known actors, but especially enjoyed working with Stockard Channing, Kathy Bates, Olympia Dukakis, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep and the late Ron Silver.

In his 50s and 60s Welsh says that he was still in top form when it came to memorizing his lines, but concedes that he’s finding it a bit more challenging in his 70s. When it comes to physical endurance on stage, he says that it hasn’t been a problem, because the audience’s energy gives him the adrenaline charge that he thrives on to outperform himself.

“There aren’t as many roles available for actors my age, and what roles do come up are being filled quickly. Guys my age are dying off, but not quick enough,” says Welsh drolly. “Whenever I am asked, I will act. I just did an episode of The Blacklist in New York. It really only took me a couple of days to learn the lines.”

Welsh is also committed to helping out young directors, and those who are up and coming – often appearing in independent films for very little gratuity.

The pride and joy of Welsh’s life is his son Devon, now 28. With his then wife, Corinne Farago, they moved to the rural Ontario property where he has lived for the last 28 years. It was here that he brought up his son, often on his own.

After living in New York for 12 years, a small community appealed to Welsh. “My neighbours are all really great people. I like watching the kids play as the generations roll out. Certainly, I enjoy being a part of it all. I read poetry with the choir and sometimes I perform Shakespeare,” says Welsh. “In fact, ever since 1974 when I was in Chicago, I’ve done exclusive Shakespearean performances. I have a big sign that has 30 characters on it and I let the audience choose. Sometimes I do a soliloquy. Sometimes I do the entire first scene with all the characters in it.”

Welsh is an avid gardener and has planted more than one hundred trees of assorted varieties on his pastoral property. This year, his vegetable garden is expected to yield beans, potatoes tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli and herbs. “I have always loved gardening,” says Welsh. “I need to have things growing around me.”

Welsh has no plans on slowing down. Part of his ongoing regime includes going to the gym on a regular basis, walking 5,000 steps a day, practicing yoga, eating properly and meditating. “I’m in pretty good shape for a guy my age. I don’t ever plan to quit.”

He also has a few things that he still wants to check off of his bucket list, which have to do with singing and playing the trumpet. “When people have a birthday, I play Happy Birthday on my trumpet. It’s become a tradition,” says Welsh with that mischievous twinkle in his eye.

Photo By Jake Martella

The minute I got on stage and got a few laughs, I knew that acting was my destiny. – Ken Welsh

Welsh would love to make an album of jazz songs that feature the melodies of his favourite musical icons like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney. At the top of his list would be the opportunity to sing the anthems at a major league baseball game. “I love sports and I go to the batting cage. And, yes, I hit the ball. I’ve still got it.”

Good health, good friends and, in particular, his son, Devon, are the things that Welsh cherishes. Devon is a musician and currently lives in Montreal. His hit song, Downtown, won him a Juno. Regular visits, which include the odd Raptors’ game, keep them connected. “I love my son very much. We maintain close contact and I see him as often as I can. He has a beautiful voice and works very hard. He is a lovely man,” says Welsh in his melodious Shakespearean cadence.

(LEFT) Standup Shakespeare, created by Ken Welsh and Ray Leslee at Theatre 890, NY, 1987. Photo by Jake Martella (RIGHT) Ken and his dog Zoltan. Photo by Charles Dennis.

Welsh appreciates all that life has bestowed upon him and spends no time bemoaning his youth. “I don’t miss anything about my youth – youth was youth. I did a lot when I was young, so there is nothing to regret. My youth was fabulous, but I certainly enjoy what I do now.”

In one of his more serious moments, Welsh says that spirituality is a key component in his life. “It gives a great respect as to why we are here. I’m not a philosopher – I just live life.”

And with that he turns to the photographer and agrees that a photo shoot in the backyard would definitely work. “It’s breezy out there, and my hair looks good blowing in the wind.”


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Cover Story: Editor's Choice: Remington Homes

Cover Story: Editor’s Choice: Remington Homes

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Cover Story: Editor’s Choice: Remington Homes

It’s all about choice

Homebuyers can choose from an endless list of builders and developers, communities and home styles. So why do so many choose Remington Homes? What is it about this homegrown Canadian company that makes it stand out from the pack?

As Canada celebrates its milestone birthday, Remington Homes is celebrating another year of providing homeowners with outstanding homes in the GTA’s most desirable communities. In almost three decades, Remington has build more than 10,000 homes and with vast land holdings the company will continue to build exceptional communities well into the future.

This true-blue Canadian company has roots deep in the Canadian soil. As part of the Remington Group, Remington Homes has built distinctive and dynamic communities from Oakville to Markham and throughout the GTA.

Remington communities share innovative home designs, superior craftsmanship and unparalleled service. This is why so many new home purchasers consider Remington Homes to be among the very best homebuilders in the GTA.

What distinguishes Remington is their commitment to functional home designs and their reputation for constructing exceptional communities in amenity-rich locations. These two factors have been the hallmark of their success from the very beginning. But this is not the only thing that makes Remington Homes the builder of choice for so many. The company provides award-winning customer service that gives homeowners extra peace of mind from purchase to move-in and beyond. Remington recognizes that happy homeowners build great communities. Perhaps this attitude is one of the reasons that Remington Homes has consistently earned a rating of Excellence from Tarion.

Remington Homes is committed to balancing design and construction with environmentally friendly considerations to create greener living environments. The company is deeply committed to reducing its impact on the environment. They have been at the forefront of building Energy Star qualified homes that offer healthier and more comfortable living environments while reducing both energy consumption and household carrying costs.

The company has grown to include extensive residential, retail, commercial and condominium developments. Presently, the company has many fine communities at various stages of sales and construction.


Remington Homes is getting ready to launch its newest community, The Brightside in Brampton. The Brightside is a family community within the beautiful Mayfield Village neighbourhood. Here Remington is building a spectacular collection of towns, semis and singles on 32-, 38- and 43-foot lots.

This perfect setting, located at Countryside Drive and Bramalea Road, is surrounded by glorious nature and is close to all of the conveniences of Brampton. Here homeowners will enjoy beautiful parks, fabulous places to hike, bike, skate, swim and explore as well as shop and dine. Excellent schools and a wonderful selection of cultural amenities make The Brightside in Brampton the perfect new community. The Brightside joins an illustrious group of prime communities developed by Remington Homes.


Located in the heart of Markham Centre, Remington’s Downtown Markham is expected to be the largest collection of LEED-certified buildings in North America. When completed, the community will include 15,000 residents, 3.4 million square feet of premium office space and 2 million square feet of retail.

Part of this incredible community is a $25 million public art program spearheaded by The Remington Group. The signature piece of the collection is the Pride of Canada Carousel, which features 44 rideable sculptures made by Canadian artist Patrick Amiot. Each piece is cleverly crafted from reclaimed materials as a tribute to Canada and a nod to sustainability.


Remington Homes’ Captain’s Cove in Midland is a community of 50- and 75-foot bungalows along the shores of Georgian Bay. Here residents can escape the hustle and bustle of big city life filled with traffic and noise.

Captain’s Cove offers a relaxed, serene vacation lifestyle with four seasons of stimulating activity. From boating, swimming, walking and birding in the summer to cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and community sports in the winter. Captain’s Cove’s will soon be releasing a new phase of charming bungalows in this picturesque waterside community.


Remington will soon be releasing an outstanding collection of 45- and 50-foot detached home lots in Oakville’s highly sought-after Preserve community. When Remington Homes started developing plans for The Preserve, it was an opportunity to take decades of insight and create new home designs that would not only be functional and liveable but also offer 360 degrees of beautiful design. The results reflect the superior quality that defines the Remington brand. The finishes at The Preserve provide a level of luxury that sets these homes apart.


Hello Georgetown, Remington Homes’ family-friendly community in Georgetown builds on the company’ long history of home building in this ever-growing neighbourhood.

Remington is getting ready to release their next collection of 40-foot detached homes this fall. The first two phases of this popular community sold out quickly and given the continued demand, this next release will undoubtedly follow suit.


At Wigston Green Estates in Thornhill, Remington Homes has a limited selection of beautifully crafted homes remaining on 60-and 80-foot lots, priced from $3.2 million. This magnificent community of estate homes is located in Thornhill’s most desirable neighbourhood off Bathurst Street south of Highway 7.

One of the remarkable things about Remington Homes is the variety of residential communities it offers. From estate lots to charming townhomes and a wide variety of home and condo styles in between, Remington truly offers something for every life stage and lifestyle.


Go online to find out more and to register for the community of your choice.



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Cover Story: Waves Of Colour

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Cover Story: Waves Of Colour

Designer Anne Hepfer turns a grand, old Muskokan cottage into a fun, vibrant family retreat

Photography By Virginia MacDonald

Muskoka cottages conjure images of wood, classic colour schemes, Canadiana inspired accessories and, often, all-out luxury. Vibrant hues are rarely part of the picture. But for one Connecticut family that summers in Ontario each year, their cottage is whimsical and fun, making for a truly unique destination. “One of my first questions to the client was ‘what is your favourite colour?’ says interior designer Anne Hepfer. “She said lime green and raspberry.”

The Toronto designer was thrilled with that unexpected answer, excited to match her client’s enthusiasm for something bold and a little bit different. Hepfer herself is known to love colour, her projects have graced several magazine pages and won many hearts on Pinterest with their bold mix of colour and pattern. And, as luck would have it, Hepfer had just returned from a trip to India where bold colour combinations are de rigeur.

A playful mix of highly saturated colours adds a cool, summery vibe to the wood-panelled sitting area.


The setting for the project is beyond reproach; a six-bedroom island cottage in a prime location. “It’s one of those truly special places,” says Hepfer. The cottage is the only one on the 10-acre island and has sweeping views of the lake from the wraparound porch. It’s also a heritage building, rife with history and character that the family was keen not to erase, and in fact, spent four years restoring it. “There’s so much incredible history in these old cottages. There are stories coming out of the walls.

You don’t want to mess with that,” says Hepfer. She rescued much of the 19th-century cottage’s original character including all the fretwork in the living and dining room. “We layered geometrics and florals for a casual, fun, and whimsical style. It fits in with the age and style of the home.”

The covered veranda pairs bold green Forest chairs by Janus + Cie and a custom pedestal table complete with a built-in lazy Susan. An organic chandelier made of grapevines hangs from a ceiling painted in a light-blue tone to mimic the sky.


Fun details are everywhere. In the entryway, bright pink ottomans tuck under a whimsical console table with animal legs.

And while the past was preserved, the project was very much about the future and creating new memories for the owners, a lively family who arrives each summer, with cats and dogs in tow, for two blissful months on the water. Hepfer used the owner’s favourite lime green for mod, tree-inspired chairs on the veranda, and on full-height drapes in the sitting area. Mixed with hot-pink cushions and bold, juicy prints, the rooms exude joy. It’s hard not to feel happy surrounded by all the summery colours. Hepfer used it to revive old furniture, too. The cottage came with several old rattan and wicker pieces, which she painted in watermelon pinks and watery blues. She left some natural, too, but livened them up with fresh prints on the seat cushions.

Unexpected hot pink weaves its way through this busy, family cottage. In the living area, multiple seating zones ensure everyone has a cosy spot to land.

“This was a family who really wanted something unique and curated and layered. They love pattern and colour, a real joie de vivre style,” says the designer. And, why not? It is a vacation home after all. The dining room is where this effect really takes hold. A vintage dining set in aquamarine blue anchors the space, while an eye-popping chevron print on the curtains adds a layer of interest to the wall of tall windows. A similar zigzag shape reappears on the custom light fixture designed by Hepfer that uses porcupine quills to achieve its two-tone look. A plain, light-toned rug anchors the room. “We have a lot of pattern on the walls and textiles, so we didn’t need it on the floor. It lightens it up and acts as a clean canvas and landscape.”

In the master bedroom, Hepfer used a soft water-blue colour scheme to conjure a luxurious resort feeling by layering patterns and textiles.


The historic cottage’s original woodwork shines paired with eye-popping curtains and a lively, blue-painted dining set.

The look is very decorated but it’s also practical, something Hepfer and her team thought a lot about in this busy, family cottage. Area rugs in the dining and living rooms, for example, are actually large rubber mats by Bolon, which can handle a whole glass of spilled wine that can easily be soaked up with a sponge. The seat cushions are covered in easy-to-clean ultrasuede, and with large, loud family dinners in mind, the round, dining table on the porch has a built-in lazy Susan—small things that are true game-changers.

Mirrored seating areas define the cottage’s wraparound veranda. Vintage wicker pieces were given new life with paint and bright, casual fabrics.

It’s hard to deny the almost retro feel of some of the spaces where the original wood panelling and wicker mixes with vintage hues and floor-to-ceiling drapes. It conjures up those great spaces of years gone by where every detail was considered—a nod to the past but with its feet firmly planted in the here and now. A bold mix of prints lends a layered yet uncluttered look, and the mix of custom, vintage and new furnishings blends into the spaces, as if they’ve always been there.

Most people wouldn’t take such risks when decorating a Muskokan cottage, but the result is one of those effortlessly cool spaces that, hopefully, inspires us all to think outside the box in our own homes to make them truly special backdrops to the better things in life.


Catherine Sweeney is a Toronto-based writer and editor who focuses on art, design and architecture. She has worked for numerous publications including House & Home, Designlines and Azure.


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Cover Story: Concord Canada House

Cover Story: Concord Canada House

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Cover Story: Concord Canada House

Concord Adex unveils its final piece of the Concord CityPlace community – an iconic tribute to Canada

Concord has revealed the crowning jewel of its Concord CityPlace community.

Concord Canada House features two Canadian-themed residential towers that will stand on the existing Presentation Centre location, completing Concord’s commitment to the CityPlace community. As the final development, Concord Canada House will redefine the Toronto skyline, and will complete the 45-acre masterplan community that began over 20 years ago.

“In 1997, we began transforming Toronto’s former railway lands and the CN Tower area into the vibrant community you see today,” said Dennis Au-Yeung, Chief Financial Officer at Concord. “This year marks Concord CityPlace’s 20th Anniversary and we’re proud to have played a part in the spectacular change that has taken place in this neighbourhood in the last two decades.”

Today, Concord CityPlace is a vibrant and mature community, with parks, restaurants, libraries, day care, a future community centre and school, and other services. With the addition of Concord Canada House, Concord CityPlace will be the largest residential development created in the City of Toronto, consisting of 31 residential towers, 10,000 homes, and more than 20,000 residents.

Concord Canada House is a celebration of Concord’s commitment to redeveloping Toronto’s downtown. To represent this, each of the towers of Concord Canada House will feature a signature maple leaf motif, which will be illuminated at night to showcase the iconic Canadian theme. Along with the illuminated towers, various elements throughout the project have also been meticulously designed and incorporated into the project to pay tribute to Canada, its culture and incredible landscape.

Located at 23 Spadina Avenue and Bremner Boulevard in the heart of Downtown Toronto, Concord Canada House will include 1,400 condominium residences, 26,000 sq. ft. of office space, and 21,000 sq. ft. of dynamic shopping, dining and entertainment that will wrap around the entire base of the project. The two iconic residential towers will reach 68- and 79-storeys, providing residents with unmatched views of Lake Ontario, Toronto Island and the city, and create two new landmarks in the Toronto skyline.

“Understanding the significance of its location, history and the vibrant Concord CityPlace community, we decided to build our crown jewel as a tribute to Canada, Toronto, and the neighbourhood we’ve spent the last 20 years growing,” says Gabriel Leung, Vice President, Development at Concord. “We decided to take this condo development one step further and set out to bring iconic Canadian elements to life.”

Along with a community that is already within walking distance of Canoe Landing Park, the Rogers Centre, restaurants and the entertainment district, Concord Canada House will add a significant collection of amenities. Building on the underlying Canadian theme, this community will add 60,000 sq. ft. of amenity space that will include a resort-style spa and indoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness gym, and a spectacular rooftop lounge. Concord Canada House will set new heights in its amenity design — the roof top level will be the highest residential amenity in Canada. Concord Canada House’s SkyGym and SkyLounge on the 68th and 79th floors will give residents panoramic views of the city and Lake Ontario. Whether it’s taking in the views from the hot tub, watching the sun rise during your morning workout, or watching the sunset with your friends in the banquet lounge, residents will have exclusive access to one of Canada’s truly unique amenities.

Along with the SkyGym and SkyLounge, Concord Canada House will have another one-of-a-kind amenity for its residents to enjoy, an iconic outdoor space above the 10-storey podium that will include a Rideau Canal-inspired ice skating rink that will transform into an outdoor pond in the summer. With amazing views in every direction, Concord Canada House will also feature oversized outdoor living rooms with wood grain decks and built-in heaters so residents can enjoy the great outdoors all year round.

With a host of luxurious amenities that will make Concord Canada House a remarkable and dynamic place to live, there is also a collection of features that make it effortlessly practical. There’s an automatic touchless car wash system and a wheelwash station to ensure your car and the parkade always look their best, and in keeping with Concord Green Initiatives and commitment to the environment, the parkade will also feature electric vehicle charging.

From its distinctly Canadian-themed architecture and design, incredible amenities, luxurious residences and iconic location, Concord Canada House will be a spectacular tribute to Canada, and is destined to redefine luxury living in Downtown Toronto.

For more information, visit ConcordCanadaHouse.ca.


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Cover Story : Jamie Kennedy – There is Life After Restaurants

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Cover Story : Jamie Kennedy – There is Life After Restaurants

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Touted as one of Canada’s first celebrity chefs, Jamie Kennedy is also a member of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the 2010 Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table.

Kennedy’s appetite for gastronomy was sparked some 50 years ago at the age of 10 when his father moved his family to Connecticut. In his senior year, Kennedy was the the president of the cooking club.

Photo, Jo Dickins

Following his high school graduation, and the family’s return to Canada, Kennedy was at a crossroads. He hadn’t applied for post-secondary education, so decided to work in order to fund his desire to travel. Cooking was something that he was genuinely interested in, so it might be said that it wasn’t a coincidence that he wandered into the legendary Windsor Arms Hotel at exactly the right time on that specific day. “I was fortunate to have arrived at the hotel between the lunch and dinner service,” says Kennedy. “Had I arrived closer to noon or the dinner service, it would have been a different reception. There was time to look at a young candidate. Ultimately I accepted a job offer as apprentice cook, which determined my life for the next three years.”

Photos courtesy Jamie Kennedy

Once Kennedy earned his certificate as a cook through his apprenticeship and in-school training at George Brown College, he pursued his dream and travelled throughout Asia and Europe. After returning to Toronto, Kennedy started working at Scaramouche in 1980 with partner chef, Michael Stadtländer. “It was an incredible experience for one so young,” says Kennedy. “It was the foundation for my career in Toronto.”

Kennedy’s entrepreneurial trajectory began in earnest after he left Scaramouche in 1982. He opened a series of eating establishments that Torontonians from every walk of life enjoyed for decades.

One of Kennedy’s greatest fans, Toronto criminal lawyer Clayton Ruby, once stated that Kennedy was the heart of Canada’s food movement – a nod to Kennedy’s dedication to the sourcing of local and sustainable ingredients. It was Ruby who successfully nominated Kennedy for the Order of Canada in 2010. “It has been my life’s work to create regional dishes and encourage others to do the same thing in their areas,” says Kennedy.

Serving at the Summer Dinner Series in PEC – Photo, Jo Dickins

Known for his culinary innovation, Kennedy’s creativity flourished. He opened a series of restaurants, which included Jamie Kennedy Menus Gastronomiques, as owner and chef. He did two stints as a partner and chef at Palmerston Restaurant, and was the Chef de Cuisine at the Founder’s Club. At J.K. ROM he was the owner and executive chef, and the owner and president of Jamie Kennedy Kitchens. He was also the owner and executive chef of Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner, as well as the owner and executive chef at Gilead Cafe & Wine Bar.

During this period Kennedy was also authoring several cookbooks, which included Jamie Kennedy’s Seasons, Whitecap Books, 2000; Great Soup Empty Bowls, Whitecap Books, 2002; J. K. The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook, HarperCollins, 2014. Kennedy also dedicated his time to many causes within the industry, including co-founding Slow Food Toronto, 2003. In 2011, Kennedy received the Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Gold Award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute.

I approach each day with an attitude of – what am I going to achieve today? -Jamie Kennedy

Kennedy’s culinary stardom rose to such a height that at one time he had three active restaurants, a booming catering business and 100 people on the payroll – all of which were pulling him in a myriad of directions. “It didn’t really work for me,” says Kennedy. “It was a tough go. I made a couple of classic entrepreneurial mistakes and it threw me into a tailspin.”

Photography by Jo Dickins

In 2014, Kennedy handed over control of Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner. “It took a lot out of me, but I was determined to keep going,” says Kennedy. “And I did. The solution for me was to get back to a business model that I was comfortable with.”

Jamie Kennedy’s Summer Dinner Series Photography by Jo Dickins

For Kennedy, it wasn’t that he lost his passion for his craft, it was more about the financial challenges that he was facing. After a quiet year of recovery, Kennedy was back with a more reasonable framework that included a small restaurant and a catering sideline. “I really strove to find a comfortable work model – one, in which, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or drained by – rather, that I could flourish in.”

After 40 years in business and a lifestyle that had come to define him, Kennedy closed the Gilead Cafe & Wine Bar on March 31st, 2015 and transitioned to his 115-acre rural property in Prince Edward County. “After Gilead closed, I moved all of my pots and pans to the farm,” says Kennedy. “Having this property has helped me to decompress and relax. My farm projects keep me busy and happy, and give me more balance.”

Photography by Jo Dickins

That balanced lifestyle includes more hobbies. Kennedy planted an acre of vines to familiarize himself with the process of growing grapes and making wine. “Taking the grapes and transforming them into wine through fermentation is a magical process. I have a whole other appreciation for wine now because I know what it took to grow the grapes. It is something that occupies my time and gives me physical work. I get right in there and cultivate the vines. I would encourage others to find something that turns them on.”

Retirement is not attached to an arbitrary age for Kennedy. He recognizes the struggles and limitations that other people have, and appreciates that he’s in good health. “I don’t regret not being young, but I do understand the expression – youth is wasted on the young – more than I did when I was young,” says Kennedy. “At this age, what we yearn for the most is that level of energy and flexibility that youth had.”

When the work week is over, Kennedy enjoys returning to the city of Toronto with his Aussie Shepherd/Border Collie, and taking in cultural events that have nothing to do with cooking. “I want to stay working as long as possible,” says Kennedy. “It’s good for your mind and your sense of self and well-being. And, because there is a physicality to cooking, like any craftsman, the longer you do it, the better you become. I have a more confident approach and calmness about my cooking now, as opposed to 20 years ago.”

Kennedy admits that his biggest challenge was finding a balance between his work and his private life. These days he spends more time with his children who range from 21 to 33. One daughter lives in Los Angeles, and the other three are within reasonable proximity.

As an avid supporter of environmental issues and involved in a wide variety of community work, Kennedy was a pioneer in the nationwide farm-to-table movement. Once again, he will be hosting his five-course Summer Dinner Series at Hillier Farm, which is held in a rustic barn setting and features a feast of local organic delights. “I look around and I see a future here,” says Kennedy. “I feel incredibly lucky to have stewardship of this place.”

Niçoise-Style Salad with Local Smoked Whitefish

Photography by Jo Dickins

Giving classic French dishes a new regional Canadian flavour is something that has interested me for many years. Salade niçoise is a beautiful creation, full of sunny reminders of the south of France, where it originated in the sun-drenched city of Nice. Although the dish itself is arguably already perfect and I have great respect for tradition, in the interest of creating a local version that reflects our terroir, I have used the original to inspire this version. It uses one of my favourite ingredients, local smoked whitefish. It is especially delicious using fresh eggs, tomatoes, herbs and greens from my farm.


  • 1 head of butter lettuce
  • 100 grams fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 4 new potatoes
  • 4 small field tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 30 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into thin rounds
  • 20 niçoise-style onions
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 350 – 400 grams of smoked whitefish, skin removed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 60 ml fine olive oil


  • Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Cook the beans in a pot of boiling water until tender. Remove the beans, refresh under cold water, drain and reserve. Add salt to the water and cook the potatoes until just tender; drain and cut into slices.
  • Cut the tomatoes into quarters and season with salt and pepper. Stir together the shallots and white wine vinegar.
  • Divide the lettuce among four plates. Arrange the prepared vegetables, onion slices, olives and eggs in a pleasing pattern on the plates. Top with the smoked whitefish. Sprinkle each plate with the shallot vinegar mixture and basil. Drizzle the olive oil over each plate. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.




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