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Mel Gibson's jungle paradise

Mel Gibson’s jungle paradise

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Mel Gibson’s jungle paradise

With its year-round tropical weather, democratic government since the 1940s and proximity to the U.S., Costa Rica was one of the first getaway outposts for semi-expat Americans when having an off-shore home — a practical alternative to Florida and California.

Consistently rated by the Happy Planet Index as the happiest country in the world with safe streets, a cheap cost of living, beautiful parks, dozens of sandy beaches, excellent medical care, a thriving economy and only a 2.5 hour flight to the U.S., about 70,000 Americans have moved to Costa Rica and thousands more have purchased vacation homes, including Mel Gibson.

Gibson, whose paternal grandparents were an Australian opera star and American tobacco millionaire, was born in Peekskill, New York in 1956. His family moved to Australia when Gibson was 12, where he studied acting. After he became an international movie star in the 1980s, Gibson began buying a string of luxury homes in California, Montana, Connecticut, Australia and Fiji.

While scouting locations for his 2006 film Apocalypto, Gibson went a bit further than most Americans — who tend to buy Costa Rican beach condos — and purchased an entire 403-acre beachfront jungle on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula.

Gibson’s Costa Rican estate includes three homes that are separated from each other by an extensive canopy of trees stretching across the entire property. Each of the two smaller single-story homes have two bedrooms, vaulted ceilings, kitchens, verandas and their own swimming pool, barbecue area and are fully air conditioned. Of the two, Casa Barrigona has its own poolside cottage and Casa Dorada has a loft, giving each additional sleeping space. The main two-story hacienda-style residence, Casa Guanacaste, overlooks the long, wide beach and has seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a large courtyard and pool and multiple terraces affording both ocean and jungle views. All three villas have been constructed of Costa Rican wood with Spanish and Italian tiles with red-barrel tile roofs that create a tropical ambiance. Located on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific Coast, beach lovers will find white-sandy beaches along with nearby steep cliffs. Animal lovers will enjoy the howler monkeys, get an occasional glimpse of an ocelot and watch sea turtles lay eggs on Gibson’s private beach.

The nearby villages of Samara and Nosara offer quaint restaurants and shops, but peace and quiet are the hallmarks of this stunning estate.

The listing is held by Robert Davey of Plantacion Properties and Rick Moeser of Christie’s International Real Estate.

Braveheart Oscar winning director and actor, Mel Gibson, whose most recent critically acclaimed film is Hacksaw Ridge, is selling his romantic, ultimate getaway, Playa Barrigona, now reduced from $35 million to $29.75 million (U.S.).



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The Daniels Corporation

An innovative collaboration in affordable homeownership

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An innovative collaboration in affordable homeownership

Photograpy courtesy of Arthur Mola Photography

In a transformational private/public collaboration of city building in Toronto, The Daniels Corporation, together with their partner Diamond Corp., broke ground on a new 3.6-acre condominium community at 5131 Sheppard Avenue East called Daniels FirstHome Markham Sheppard.

Purchased from Build Toronto, the lands will be transformed into a community of 328 contemporary midrise condominium suites and townhomes designed with first-time buyers in mind. These lands were tendered for sale incorporating a mandate to provide 30 per cent affordable ownership housing within the entire community – demonstrating that significant long-term value can be achieved through intentional disposition of public assets.

At Daniels FirstHome Markham Sheppard, purchasers can take advantage of a unique 5 per cent Gradual Deposit Payment Plan, which involves monthly deposit installments until 5 per cent of the purchase price is achieved before moving in.

In addition, Daniels has drawn on its extensive affordable housing experience to create the First Home BOOST, a down payment assistance program for the 30 per cent of the homes that will be financially accessible. Designed to help first-time buyers with an annual household income that does not exceed $90,500, eligible purchasers may qualify for an interest and payment-free second mortgage for over 10 per cent of the purchase price, boosting their 5 per cent deposit to over a 15 per cent down payment.

The second mortgage will be held by the City of Toronto and will be repaid, along with a percentage of capital appreciation, when the unit is resold, making this a sustainable program. Funds for the First Home BOOST down payment assistance program are provided by the federal and provincial governments and administered through the City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Office.

Build Toronto worked with the Affordable Housing Office collaboratively to assist in securing 30 per cent affordable ownership housing on the property, contributing $1.6 million dollars towards the down payment assistance.

“I applaud both the City of Toronto and Build Toronto for recognizing the opportunity to harness the power of the private sector to create much needed affordable ownership housing in our city,” said Niall Haggart, executive vice president of The Daniels Corporation. “Becoming a homeowner is a big financial step, and we have been working hard for decades to help make this a reality in the communities in which we build. Daniels, together with our partner Diamond Corp., continue to set the bar for this type of community development, and we are proud to partner with the City of Toronto and its agencies to be a part of the solution to help achieve the city’s affordable housing goals.”

From left, Councillors Neethan Shan and Ana Bailo, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Niall Haggart of The Daniels Corporation, Bob Blazevski of Diamond Corp., Councillor David Shiner and and Simona Annibale of The Daniels Corporation.
From left, Councillors Neethan Shan and Ana Bailo, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Niall Haggart of The Daniels Corporation, Bob Blazevski of Diamond Corp., Councillor David Shiner and and Simona Annibale of The Daniels Corporation.

“Through the city’s Open Door program, we are streamlining the process and cutting red tape for developers who want to do business with the city so we can build much needed affordable housing quicker,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “The City invested $7.7 million to provide down-payment assistance loans to nearly 100 eligible families at 5131 Sheppard Avenue.

“I want to thank The Daniels Corporation, Diamond Corp. and Build Toronto for being partners with the City of Toronto to do everything we can to build more affordable housing for people who need it in Toronto.”

“For Build Toronto, this exemplifies our powerful commitment to the City of Toronto and undeniable ability to bring partners together to make things happen,” said Councillor David Shiner (Ward 24 Willowdale), chairman of the board at Build Toronto and chairman of the city’s Planning and Growth Management Committee. “The almost 100 affordable housing units and $7.3 million in development charges and fees created from underutilized city land is made possible not only through a partner that shares a city-building vision, but also through the support of city planning. We are excited to see this development take shape and serve as an example of an effective and integrated affordable housing program for future development.”

Homes at FirstHome Markham Sheppard will be priced from the $290,000s and will include three six-storey condominiums, with a total of 228 suites ranging from 443-square-foot studios to 1,053-square-foot three-bedroom layouts. There will also be 100 one-storey and two-storey townhomes, in one-, two- and three-bedroom designs ranging from 528 to 1,172 square feet.

Changes to the Ontario Building Code in 2016 mean that the three midrise condominiums will be built utilizing wood-frame construction, making this the first community in the GTA to have wood-frame residences, which will provide a more cost-effective construction methodology.

Another innovative way Daniels will be keeping these homes financially attainable is to build them before the launch of sales. This approach has been successful with Daniels’ previous 15 FirstHome communities, which have almost always sold out within hours of going on sale. Building before selling also enables purchasers to walk through a model of each home type before making their decision, and owners can move in as early as 60, 90 and 120 days.

Construction is underway and first move-ins are scheduled for spring 2019. In the summer of 2018, Daniels will release a select number of homes for sale to those who qualify for the BOOST program.

FirstHome Markham Sheppard is located at the southeast corner of Markham Road and Sheppard Avenue East, minutes to Centennial College, Highway 401 and the TTC. It is surrounded by local amenities including parks, shops and dining. Understanding that becoming a homeowner is a big step that requires careful planning, Daniels will be hosting Homeownership 101, a financial planning workshops this fall.



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Aruba is an island of smiles

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Aruba is an island of smiles

by Marc Atchison

TraveLife Editor-in-Chief

ARUBA – Ricardo, the man taking me on a driving tour of this lovely Caribbean nation whose motto is “One Happy Island,” is not happy.

“My wife forgot to put my sunglasses back in the car and now I will be squinting all day,” he moans after picking me up at the exclusive Tierra del Sol Resort, home to the island’s only 18-hole golf course, a Robert Trent Jones Sr. beauty that hugs the coastline of the Caribbean Sea.

Maybe the sun won’t come out today, I suggest. Ricardo frowns.

“My friend, the sun always shines on our island — we get less than 20 inches (50 centimetres) of rain annually, so that means lots of sunny days.” Ricardo says our tour will be short. “Our island is very small (less than 33 kilometres long and about 10 kilometres wide at its widest point). We’ll have plenty of time to see all the highlights and I’ll still get you to the dock for that catamaran sail I promised you later today.”

With that, Ricardo turns his car onto the main highway, which completely encircles this coral island of snow-white beaches, tall cactus and honeycomb rock formations.

The road is lined with candy-coloured homes and Ricardo points to handsome Santa Anna Church where workmen are hurriedly repairing part of its roof, which was torn off when a small tornado touched down the night before.

Because Aruba sits about 25 kilometres off the Venezuelan coast, there’s a distinct Spanish influence in the island’s architecture.

We are heading in the direction of an iconic lighthouse at the northernmost tip of the island, which has become Aruba’s most famous landmark. The 30-metre-high California Lighthouse (named for the steamship California which wrecked on the jagged rocks just offshore in 1891) overlooks the island’s treasured sand dunes and secluded Arashi Beach, which boasts the whitest sand on the island.

The parking lot is filled with buses carrying Latin American tourists, all of who want their photographs taken in front of the lighthouse.

“Most of our tourists come from the United States and Canada, but in recent years, thanks to the economic boom in places like Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and especially Brazil, we are seeing a lot more of our Latin American neighbours,” says Ricardo, who adds, “Aruba boasts an impressive 30 per cent repeat visitor ratio — the highest in the Caribbean.”

Back on the highway, Ricardo points the car in the direction of Oranjestad, the charming capital whose Dutch name reminds us of the influence Holland had on this small nation when it was part of the Dutch West Indies.

Aruba got its independence in 1986 but the Dutch influence remains — while the island has its own parliament, Aruba’s foreign affairs interests are still handled by the Dutch government and King Willem-Alexander remains the island’s head of state.

Just before entering the charming capital, we pass bustling beach areas lined with highrise hotels, casinos and clubs. Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are where most of the tourists gather and where cruise ship passengers come to party while in port. Aruba is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean and each year welcomes 320 ships and over 600,000 passengers.

Over an early lunch of freshly caught fish at a quaint local restaurant in Oranjestad, I hear people talking a lilting, melodic language.

“That’s our local tongue — Papiamento,” says Ricardo. “It’s a combination of many languages, including Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and English.” While we eat, he talks about the 96 different nationalities that live on this tiny bit of land in the Caribbean Sea and about how Aruba has the best drinking water in the world.

“That’s scientific fact, not me boasting,” smiles Ricardo.

The drinking water here is fresh from the tap — no need for bottled water — and its purity comes from the fact that it’s filtered by the island’s sand and coral rock.

Aruba is a diver’s paradise. Coral reefs and wrecks give masked visitors plenty to explore and Ricardo reminds me that our catamaran outing is at 3 p.m., “so eat up because there’s still some things I want to show you before we go snorkelling.”

Ricardo cuts through the centre of the island on some dusty back roads where Aruba’s harsh desert landscape is fully exposed. Here, giant cacti and bulging rock formations dominate the horizon.

At Paradera, my driver stops at the entrance of the Casibari Rock Formations — giant boulders exposed when the sea pulled back millions of years ago.

Visitors climb the rocks where large iguanas lie sun tanning on blistering hot boulders. If you climb all the way to the top, Ricardo tells me, your IQ will increase by 20 per cent “because the rock surface makes people smarter.”

Another scientific fact, I wonder? “No, just a good local legend,” smiles Ricardo.

We see other giant rocks — the Ayo Rock Formation — just before we reach the coastal highway again and the driver turns north, where we come upon a colourful little church known as Alto Vista Chapel, built by settlers in 1750. The iconic little church has become a tourist stop but hymns being sung inside remind us that locals still come here every day to pray.

A short drive south from the church, we visit the Bushiribana Ruins, an old fort-like complex where the early Dutch settlers would bring the gold they extracted from the interior and melt it down before loading it on ships bound for Amsterdam.

In front of the ruins is a beach area known as the Wish Garden where hundreds of tiny inuksuks line the shore — an indication that Canadians have left their mark on this stretch of sand.

The site of the natural bridge Ricardo has been so anxious to show us comes into view as we hit the top of a hill. But where’s the bridge?

“It collapsed — a victim of nature a few years ago,” sighs Ricardo. However, the number of buses in the parking lot indicates that the site, which offers a smaller natural bridge known as Baby Bridge, and a coastal view that’s simply breathtaking, remains a popular tourist stop.

On the drive back to Oranjestad to catch our catamaran, I can’t help noticing some wind-shaped trees that line the roadway.

Ricardo identifies them as diva-diva trees, which owe their shape to the constant trade winds that blow ashore here.

Catamaran tours are one of the most popular activities on Aruba. Visitors pile onto the sleek two-hull sailing vessels and venture just offshore where they snorkel and dive in waters teeming with reefs and wrecks.

Our catamaran captain goes over all the safety instructions before we push off to explore the Antilla, a World War II wreck which her German captain scuttled rather than hand it over to the Allies.

The water surrounding the wreck is teeming with tropical fish and the show is well worth the $40 sailing fee — a three-hour tour that includes snacks and an open bar. While enjoying an Aruban cocktail (lots of spicy rum and a splash of fruit juice) on deck after our dive, a smile breaks across Ricardo’s face as he rummages through his knapsack and pulls out his sunglasses.

“The glasses were here all the time,” he laughs. “I’m happy now.”

It’s not hard to smile when you’re on this One Happy Island called Aruba.


  • Air Canada Vacations, Sunwing and Air Transat offer seasonal service to Aruba.
  • Best times of year to visit Aruba are January to March and especially during Carnival time just before Lent.
  • One of the best places to visit in Aruba is Arikok National Park, home to great hiking and biking trails, natural rock formations and many caves.
  • Aruba has become a preferred honeymoon destination in recent years.
  • Food on Aruba is a blend of Caribbean and South American recipes.
  • One of our favourite restaurants on Aruba is Papiamento, housed in the old Ellis Family home which is still run by the family.
  • For more information on Aruba, go to http://www.aruba.com.


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Taking walls from standard to stunning

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Taking walls from standard to stunning

Alendel Fabrics is turning the wall-covering world on its head with the release of two new, exclusively Canadian, lines accompanied by the new Non-Woven Backed Fabric Wall Covering Program.

“We are always looking for suitable new products to complement our fabric collections and this season we are extremely excited to announce the release of Enigma and Surface, two innovative collections of beautiful, quality wall coverings,” said Allison Shiraga, creative director. “These collections are exclusive to Alendel for the Canadian market.”

“We are definitely getting noticed by our customers — and competitors — as the company to watch,” said Jason Coleman, national sales manager.

Alendel’s latest offerings come in the wake of its long-standing reputation as the go to supplier for sheers, lining and great value basics. The company’s newest release came to market in August.


Every great wall begins as a blank canvas. Surface takes walls from boring builder- grade white to inspired works of art. Forget the overwhelming patterns of walls past — Surface features a subtle “imperfect” artisan texture that is complemented by various finishes, from patinaed neutrals and shimmering silk-inspired shades, to contemporary matte colours. Surface is uncoated, non-woven, easy to clean (spongeable) and is available in 60 fabulous colours.

Suggested retail price per single roll is $79.98. Sold in double rolls only.


Looking to add dimension, depth and a dramatic focal point in a room? Look no further. Enigma wall coverings have an irresistible “touch me” appeal that embraces texture and form. Shades and shadows visually enhance this collection of wall coverings, which features ridges and grooves. Pattern influencers include classic menswear, Georgian paneling, Mediterranean mosaics and modern geometrics. Inspired colours enhance the Enigma line, playing with mixed metals, rich woods, pearls and shells. All Enigma wall coverings are uncoated, non-woven backed vinyl and are easy to clean (spongeable).

Suggested retail price per single roll is $79.98. Sold in double rolls only.

Non-Woven Backed Fabric Wall Covering Program: Alendel is known for its wide-ranging collection of decorative fabrics. The company is now opening the door to endless custom wall-covering possibilities. Easily transform an Alendel fabric into beautiful one-of-a-kind wall coverings. Select from an extensive library of textures, prints, jacquards and embroideries, in an endless array of colours. Alendel’s process is simple, affordable and quick.



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Be kind to your heart

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Be kind to your heart

(News Canada) — With heart failure on the rise, it’s important not to confuse it with other heart conditions.

“Heart failure is not the same as a heart attack,” explains Dr. Gavin Arthur of the Heart & Stroke Foundation. “And it is vital to know the difference.”

Heart failure is an incurable condition that happens when the heart itself is damaged or scarred. Unlike a heart attack, heart failure is not a sudden medical emergency. Instead, over time heart failure causes the heart to become progressively weaker. It can no longer pump adequate blood around the body. The signs are not sudden and can be subtle. There is no cure yet and without medication and careful attention to diet and lifestyle the prognosis is very poor.

Tracy Bawtinheimer, a 51-year-old executive, knows from experience how easy it is to ignore the signs. After months of dizziness, extreme shortness of breath and unexplained weight gain that she attributed to stress and travel, she finally went to the emergency department. She was diagnosed with a heart rhythm disorder that was damaging her heart. Bawtinheimer now lives with heart failure, daily medication and an acceptance that she can’t always be as active as she once was.

“Pay attention to changes in your health and listen to your intuition,” she says. “It’s always better to consult a physician than assume you understand the cause of unexplained changes.”

“Recognizing heart failure early is the key to slowing down the progression so you have the best chance of staying out of hospital and living longer,” says Arthur. The warning signs include shortness of breath, especially when lying flat; sudden weight gain; bloating; cough or cold symptoms that last more than a week; extreme fatigue; loss of appetite; increased urination at night and swelling in the ankles, feet or abdomen.

“If you see any of these signs, talk to your doctor,” notes Arthur.


Heart failure is a growing epidemic in Canada with one in five people developing the condition during their lifetime. But you can easily make some tweaks to your everyday lifestyle to improve your heart health now.

“Each year, 50,000 new patients are diagnosed with heart failure, and depending on the severity of symptoms, age and other factors, half of them will not survive five years,” says Arthur. “There is no cure yet, but if it is caught early, lifestyle changes and appropriate drug treatments can help you lead a normal and active life, stay out of hospital and live longer.”

One reason heart failure it is on the rise is that more people are surviving heart attacks and other acute heart conditions — but not without some lasting damage to their hearts. This damage, over time, makes them more susceptible to heart failure.

“Heart failure can greatly impact quality of life — many people face repeated hospitalizations and are unable to do everyday tasks,” notes Arthur. “Even a walk to the corner can become very difficult for many. However, progression of symptoms can be slowed if it is treated early with appropriate medication and careful attention to diet and lifestyle.”

To stay on top of your heart health, choose nutritious meals with lots of produce, find a fun physical activity to keep you active and work on maintaining a healthy weight. Learn more about heart failure, including the warning signs to watch for, online at heartandstroke.ca/heartfailure.


A diagnosis of heart failure can be devastating, especially for those without a support network. But it turns out dancing — whether it is ballroom, tap or line dance — might be a key to living better and longer.

According to Arthur, keeping active at any age is important, but for people with heart failure, it is even more so. Just be sure to check with your doctor first.

“Choosing physical activity that has a social component is particularly great for people living with heart failure. Often people who are diagnosed with this disease can experience isolation and depression,” he explains. “Being involved in a group activity can help strengthen social and emotional connections, an important aspect of taking control of this condition.”

That’s why heart failure patient Jerry Alfonso has made line dancing his passion. “I started because I wanted to be doing something in the evening. I learned a few dances, then one thing led to another and now I teach several classes every week,” he says. “I reach out to people to get up and exercise and while they come and dance with me I try to talk with them and encourage them to eat a healthy diet.”

Alfonso’s enthusiasm is infectious, and now his classes range from beginners through to advanced line dancers. He knows that having a strong support network can be a safety net for people living with heart failure, and encourages everyone — whether you are living with heart disease or just looking to keep active — to think about joining a class or community group.

Connecting with people who understand can be a great source of information and support. In-person and online support groups can be very helpful to combat social isolation. Connect with others and find more information online at http://www.heartandstroke.ca/



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Monaco comes to Collingwood

Monaco comes to Collingwood

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Monaco comes to Collingwood

Considered by many to be Ontario’s playground thanks to the four-season resort lifestyle provided by the slopes of the Blue Mountains or the waves of Georgian Bay, the fact is that it’s the sophisticated urban renaissance of downtown Collingwood that’s redefining the area.

Once characterized by its quaint heritage buildings and charming small-town feel, downtown Collingwood is undergoing a revitalization of its main streets, transforming the area into a highly desirable destination for those seeking chic boutiques, trendy restaurants and dynamic entertainment venues.

Anyone familiar with real estate trends understands that as communities evolve it’s “usually connected to a residential renaissance,” says Paul Bonwick of Stonebrook Developments.

Bonwick, a long-time resident and civic leader in the Collingwood area, has seen firsthand the evolution of his community. Today, with his partners at Stonebrook, he is leading that transformation with the development of Collingwood’s first luxury condominium, Monaco, which will be located in the downtown heritage district within walking distance to its many restaurants, amenities, and shopping.

“Collingwood has always been a preferred lifestyle community for Ontarians seeking primary or recreational residences,” says Bonwick. “A destination for its luxurious homes along the water and its magnificent chalets has always existed, but urban residential opportunities in the downtown haven’t been available until now.

“With the enhancements and expansion of the downtown district, a new demand for modern urban living has been created, a demand Stonebrook will be satisfying with the residence at Monaco,” adds Bonwick.

Occupying nearly a full city block in Collingwood’s historic downtown district — located at 1 Hume Street — the six-storey complex has been designed by AJT Architects. Together with interior designers MC2 Designs, Stonebrook will integrate the heritage features of the area within a modern building envelope, creating a new landmark.

“While keeping the heritage feel of the neighbourhood, our architects, designers and construction team at YYZed will meet the sophisticated needs of today’s condominium buyers by weaving quality modern design throughout the common areas and suites,” says Ian Wookey, president of Seniority Investments Ltd.

Wookey — an active partner in the Monaco Development — and his father were largely responsible for the redevelopment of Toronto’s Yorkville Village, effectively creating a world-class neighbourhood.

Boasting an intimate collection of just 127 suites in a range of spacious layouts (one-bedroom, one-plus-den, two-bedroom, two-plus den, and three-bedroom designs) sizes range from 645 square feet to 2,400 square feet. Prices will start in the upper $300,000s.

Well-appointed suites, with an exacting attention to detail, each Monaco residence will boast spectacular views, 10-foot ceiling heights, gourmet Italian kitchens, spa-like full baths, high-end appliances and spectacular rooftop amenities. For your chance to experience the new Collingwood, visit the Sales Centre at 25 Huron Street, or register at monacolife.ca


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Muzzo, De Gasperis families make $15M donation to Mackenzie Health

Muzzo, De Gasperis families make $15M donation to Mackenzie Health

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Muzzo, De Gasperis families make $15M donation to Mackenzie Health

Mackenzie Health announced the largest single donation in its history, a $15 million joint gift from the De Gasperis and Muzzo families to help build the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital. The De Gasperis and Muzzo families, separately and together, have a long history of philanthropy, including many contributions to Mackenzie Health.

“We are very grateful for this generosity, which will benefit the people of Vaughan and neighbouring communities for decades to come, providing exceptional health care for patients and families close to home,” said Ingrid Perry, president and CEO of the Mackenzie Health Foundation.

Construction of the new hospital — a 1.2 million-square-foot state-of-the art healthcare facility featuring fully integrated smart technology systems and medical devices — began last fall and is making significant progress toward the scheduled opening in 2020.

Building on generous donations already received, the $15-million gift is a major step in the Mackenzie Health Foundation’s fundraising campaign, which is being spear-headed by a dedicated 33-member cabinet co-chaired by Greg Sorbara and Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua. The foundation has committed to raising $250 million in community contributions toward the total $1.6 billion project cost.

“This gift has been in development for more than three years, and we are extremely pleased to see it come to fruition,” Perry said. “We will continue to reach out to individuals and organizations in our ongoing fundraising drive, and we hope they will follow the examples set by the De Gasperis and Muzzo families, and by all our very generous donors who have made a commitment to our new hospital.”

To recognize these exceptional contributions, the Mackenzie Health Foundation has decided that the west wing of the new hospital building will be named the De Gasperis- Muzzo Tower.

“We are making great progress, both in construction and fundraising,” said Altaf Stationwala, president and CEO of Mackenzie Health. “Thanks to tremendous community support, we are well on our way to completing this exceptional new healthcare facility.”

The De Gasperis and Muzzo names are well-known in the construction, building and development industry. The Muzzos own development giant Pemberton Group while the De Gasperis family operates DG Group (formerly Metrus Developments), ConDrain and Aspen Ridge Homes.



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Condo living for the dogs

Condo living for the dogs

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Condo living for the dogs

by Emily Ward

Condo living may come with smaller square footage and less outdoor space, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be the perfect home for a four-legged family member to enjoy their days. Here are a few tips on how to keep your petite space dog friendly from interior designer and dog owner Alicia Sass of Harrison Fae and Ally Fodero of the downtown Toronto dog walking, boarding and daycare facility Soulmutts.

Durable home fabrics: Make wise choices when it comes to your pillows and sofa in case your fury friend likes to climb on the furniture. Tonic Living, for instance, has great outdoor fabrics that are suitable for indoors and still offer that cozy comfort for unwinding after a long day.

Storage: Cut down on doggy clutter with a dedicated built-in cabinet which can store doggy kibble and treats as well as have a pullout tray for food and water, which will help monitor your pet’s intake and can easily be tucked away when done. Grandin Road’s pet feeder station is a favourite. Soulmutts’ Fodero suggests that a unit from Ikea or Canadian Tire can be easily retrofitted to keep everything organized and out of the way.

Dog walker/daycare: Not everyone’s schedules allow for long walks with your pup or daytime outdoor breaks and some dogs need more socialization and exercise than others. Dog walkers or dog daycare can be the solution. Ensure you are covering all your bases when interviewing pup support by ensuring the vehicles they are transporting the dogs in are secure and safe, leash-walkers aren’t taking on too many dogs on a single walk, and the dog parks are not overcrowded or under supervised. Facilities, such as Soulmutts offer pick-up and drop-off for regular dog daycare clients, as well, making the process seamless.

Multi-purpose dog crates: Many dogs are crate trained and feel safe and secure knowing they have a dedicated space unto their own. Today, there are great furniture design companies who have truly embraced the needs of dogs in small spaces, such as DenHaus, which has designed crates that double as side tables and nightstands in a variety of decor styles to maximize small spaces.

Dogs on vacation: Planned vacations don’t need to be a stressful when it comes to owning a dog. A trip out of town can be a great excuse to indulge your pup as well by sending them to a great dog ranch or boarding facility. Soulmutts, for instance, features a 6,000-square-foot outdoor barnyard space and 5,000-square-foot of indoor “family style” space for boarding. Dogs love socializing with other furry friends and have a change of scenery while their owners are away getting a much needed change of pace as well.



Emily Ward is co-founder of Shine PR. http://www.shinepr.ca/


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Shape your space at the Toronto Fall Home Show

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Shape your space at the Toronto Fall Home Show

Get the inspiration and tips you need to organize your space at Toronto’s 29th annual largest Fall Home Show at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place (100 Princes’ Boulevard, Toronto) beginning Friday, September 15 and running until Sunday, September 17.

Discover ideas and answers to overcome household challenges and find innovative products for your next project — whether big or small — plus shop great deals from over 300 retailers. Everything you need to shape your space is waiting for you at the Toronto Fall Home Show featuring industry pros and experts including Sharon Grech, Carson Arthur, Leigh Ann Allaire Perrault, Jo Alcorn, Yvonne Tremblay and many more.

“Become inspired and informed with helpful advice at the Toronto Fall Home Show,” says Denise Hayward, show manager. “Organizing your space, whether it is big or small, a house or a condo, is everyone’s goal. Visitors come to the Toronto Fall Home Show to get ideas and tips for tackling their reno challenge, discovering small space inspiration and choosing the right technology for their home.”


From home interiors, renovation advice, DIY, small spaces for the home, local experts and celebrities offer insight on all your home projects and challenges. Some of this year’s line-up on the main stage includes:

Carson Arthur: International landscape designer and outdoor expert, featured on Cityline, Critical Listing, Home to Win, presented by Gladiator Garageworks will reveal the 10 biggest landscaping mistakes we make in our homes and how to correct them.

Sharon Grech: Benjamin Moore paint expert will show key looks in home interiors and share her tips to help you navigate through common colour myths to choose the perfect paint colour.

Kate Davidson and Linda Mazur: The designer offer tips on creating the perfect bathroom.

Yvonne Tremblay: Food and Nutrition Specialist from Foodland provides fall recipes using in-season, local Ontario grown and raised ingredients.

Jo Alcorn: Host of HGTV’s Home To Win will show you how to make every inch count in your small space with clever solutions.

Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault: Cityline design and DIY expert gives advice on upcycling without spending a dime.


Inspired by the latest fashion trends, celebrity and DIY experts are taking part in the Sixth Annual Upcycle Challenge with the them: Ultimate Runway to Room. Participants will choose a piece from any of the 10 Habitat for Humanity GTA ReStores and — taking their inspirations from the runway — will use their DIY skills to create an upcycled one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

“The Ultimate Upcycle Challenge: Runway to Room is the perfect way the experts show how easy it is to be creative with upcycling a piece of furniture to give it new life,” says Hayward. “Limited only by their imaginations, they will translate a look from the runway into the perfect accent piece for the home.”

Confirmed participants include: Allaire Perrault, Alcorn, Michelle Mawby, Anne Renshaw, Evelyn Eshun, Nicholas Rosaci, Erica Gelman, Janice Fedak, Lindsey Gerish, David White, Debra Norton, Fiona Debell, Cristina Barbosa and Anna Rocoski. An online voting contest will run from September 8 to 16 to determine the winning project. You can make an offer and can walk away with your favourite piece with all entries on display and for sale at the Toronto Fall Home Show from September 15 to 17, with proceeds going to support Habitat for Humanity GTA.


Do you have a to-do list, but are not sure how to get those projects accomplished? Learn the hands-on skills you need to complete DIY projects alongside experts. From storage and organization to home maintenance, you’ll have the opportunity to get your hands dirty and try something new!


Nowhere to put your designer coffee mugs? Shoes strewn all about? Based on consumer feedback and suggestions, the Toronto Fall Home Show is going to build and solve three of the most common household issues as it relates to storage and organization.


You’ll find plenty of innovative products and great decor solutions to inspire a wide array of projects for your home. Find the latest ideas, trending and new products with Tina’s Favourite Fall Finds. Show manager, Toronto Home Shows, Holmes has selected a few of her favorites. Look for them at the show!


Wondering where to start on a home renovation? Visit RenoMark’s Destination Renovation to get all the tools you need. Complimentary one-on-one advice from expert RenoMark renovators will offer advice on how to select a renovator, insight on what the best renovation would be to deliver maximum ROI, and tips on how to ensure the project gets finished smoothly.


Interior designer Terry Edward Briceland brings decor inspiration and trends to life through vivid displays. Interior designers and decorators will be on hand offering tailored advice through complimentary, one-on-one consults. These consultations provide the opportunity to share design woes — including pictures, samples and floorplans — to get tailored advice on how to restyle your space. Book your free 15-minute consultation with Terry Edward Briceland (booth designer), Elaine Bergen, Glen Peloso, Jamie Alexander, Evelyn Eshun, Paul Semkuley, Kate Davidson, Linda Mazur, Yvonne Whelan, Erica Gelman, Janice Fedak, Karolina Adamska, Rosalia Fazzari, Kristiina Roosimaa or Catherine-Lucie Horber and have your design questions answered on the spot. Check www.renoanddecor.com for updated appearance schedules.


Craving the perfect outdoor space? Want to build a pool, deck or patio? Before you start, ask the experts. If you’ve ever had a burning question about your landscape construction project, they will have the answers. Get all your landscape questions answered with Ask the Certified Landscape Designer presented by Natural Landscape Group and Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine.


Shop, save and walk away with great buys on a huge selection of quality furniture and home furnishings from Stanley Furniture while you shop in support of Canadian HIV/ AIDS.

Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place
100 Princes’ Boulevard, Tloronto
September 15 to 17



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Tips to avoid catching a cold or the flu this fall

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Tips to avoid catching a cold or the flu this fall

(News Canada) — Ever wonder why you often get sick during the transition between fall and winter? Colds and flu are very contagious and can spread quickly and easily, especially as we move indoors and spend more time closer together. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and fight cold and flu this fall:

Get vaccinated: The best thing you can do to prevent the flu is to get your flu vaccine every year. Flu viruses change from year to year and experts create a new vaccine to protect you each flu season. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine.

Hand washing: Washing your hands is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. You can spread certain germs just by touching another person, and catch them when you touch contaminated objects or surfaces and then touch your face. Keep shared surfaces clean. Practice proper hand washing by using an adequate amount of plain soap, rubbing your hands together to create friction and rinsing under running water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

Sleep right: Have you ever gotten sick after a week or two of staying up late only to feel like you have yourself to blame? Sleeping well helps make us healthier and getting your seven to nine hours can do more for your health than you may realize. Sleeping the right amount keeps your immune system healthier, keeps stress levels down and helps your body repair itself.

De-stress: Long-term stress puts extra wear and tear on your body, dampening your immune system and diminishing your ability of fighting off illnesses. Studies show that a few simple behaviours can have amazing results in keeping your stress levels low. Unwinding with a hobby, exercising regularly and spending time with friends may help keep your stress levels in check.

Take antibiotics as directed by your healthcare provider: Remember that antibiotics are only effective in treating bacterial infections and not cold and flu viruses. Taking antibiotics for a cold or the flu won’t help you get better and can contribute to antibiotic resistance. You can also reduce the risks of antibiotic resistance by preventing infection or the spread of infection. Wash your hands often, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, keep your vaccinations up to date and stay at home if you’re sick.

Find more information online at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/flu-influenza.html?utm_source=canada-ca-flu-en&utm_medium=vurl&utm_campaign=flu


Starting your child on a new medication can worry almost any parent. That’s why it’s important to make sure you get all the information you need when you talk to your child’s healthcare provider.

Doctors and nurse practitioners make sure the medicines they prescribe to children are safe and effective. But as a parent, it’s important that you have all the details you need to keep on top of any medical issue.

Here are some useful questions to ask when your child is starting a new medication:

  • Why did you choose this medication for my child?
  • If this medication works, how will it help my child?
  • Will we need to adjust the dose?
  • How soon can we expect to see improvement in my child’s symptoms?
  • Are there possible side effects? If so, what are they?
  • How long should my child continue to take this medication?

While it’s natural to be concerned when your child is starting a new medication, you shouldn’t have to think about whether you can afford it. Starting January 1, 2018, Ontario will cover the cost of over 4,400 medications for all children and youth aged 24 and under.

Enrolment in OHIP+ will be automatic based on age. Prescriptions can be filled free of charge at any Ontario pharmacy – all that’s needed is a health card number. OHIP+ represents the biggest expansion of Medicare in Ontario in more than a generation.

For more information, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/learn-about-ohip-plus



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