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Waterfront Toronto, Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs to create new neighbourhood

Waterfront Toronto, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to create new neighbourhood

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Waterfront Toronto, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to create new neighbourhood

Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto announced Sidewalk Toronto, their joint effort to design a new kind of mixed-use, complete community on Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront.

Sidewalk Toronto will combine forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create people-centred neighbourhoods that achieve precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.

The announcement of Sidewalk Toronto was made at Corus Quay on the Eastern Waterfront by Will Fleissig and Dan Doctoroff, CEOs of Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, respectively, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, Inc.

After exploring opportunities all over the world, Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company, responded to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued in March 2017 by Waterfront Toronto that sought an innovation and funding partner for the Eastern Waterfront, beginning with the creation of a new neighbourhood called Quaside, located at the Parliament Slip.

Following a rigorous procurement process involving a number of local and international firms, Waterfront Toronto selected Sidewalk Labs as its partner. The company has committed $50 million (U.S.) to an initial phase of joint planning and pilot project testing. To initiate a public conversation about what might be possible on the Eastern Waterfront, Sidewalk Labs has released the vision laid out in its RFP response, which can be found on their website.

Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto will work with the city to bring urban innovations advanced at Quayside to scale in the Port Lands, the primarily publicly-owned area of more than 325 hectares (800 acres), one of North America’s largest areas of underdeveloped urban land.

A recent $1.25 billion (CAD) investment by federal, provincial and municipal governments will enable Waterfront Toronto to provide the flood protection and critical infrastructure necessary to revitalize the area.

Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs will devote the next year to extensive community and stakeholder consultation and long-range planning, focused on improving infrastructure and transportation systems, creating new models of affordable housing and flexible retail uses and establishing clear governance policies related to data protection and privacy. This critical public engagement will culminate in a Master Innovation and Development Plan that, if adopted by the Board of Directors of Waterfront Toronto and by Sidewalk Labs, will form the basis for the Quayside development and any subsequent revitalization of city-owned lands in the Eastern Waterfront. This process will kick off with a community Town Hall on November 1, 2017.

Knowing that great neighbourhoods aren’t planned from the top down, Sidewalk Toronto will create the conditions for a community to be built — and innovations launched — by people, companies, startups, academic centres and local organizations over many years. Sidewalk Toronto aims to make the Eastern Waterfront the global hub of a new industry focused on urban innovation to improve the quality of city life, tapping into Toronto’s already-thriving tech sector and developing innovations that could benefit communities and neighbourhoods elsewhere in the city. To help get started, Alphabet plans to move Google’s Canadian headquarters to the Eastern Waterfront.

The district will become a place for tens of thousands of people to live, work, learn, and play and to create and advance new ideas that improve city life, from climate-positive energy systems that can deliver a new standard in sustainability, to self-driving transit that makes streets safer, to new construction techniques that can lower housing costs. It will also reflect the cultural diversity and openness of Toronto and help connect all Torontonians to waterfront beaches, parks, and communities.

Working together with the local community, Sidewalk Toronto aspires to create a place that encourages innovation around energy, waste and other environmental challenges to protect the planet; a place that provides a range of transportation options that are more affordable, safe and convenient than the private car; a place that embraces adaptable buildings and new construction methods to reduce the cost of housing and retail space; a place where public spaces welcome families to enjoy the outdoors day and night in all seasons; a place that is enhanced by digital technology and data without giving up the privacy and security that everyone deserves.

What They Said

“Waterfront Toronto has made remarkable strides in revitalizing the waterfront with forward- looking new neighbourhoods and reconnecting Torontonians to their waterfront. Today, we are expanding our know-how by partnering with Sidewalk Labs to create a progressive, innovative community; one that addresses significant challenges and sets new standards around sustainability, affordable housing and community engagement.” — Will Fleissig, CEO of Waterfront Toronto.

“Successful cities around the world are wrestling with the same challenges of growth, from rising costs of living that price out the middle class, to congestion and ever-longer commutes, to the challenges of climate change. Sidewalk Labs scoured the globe for the perfect place to create a district focused on solutions to these pressing challenges, and we found it on Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront — along with the perfect public-sector partner, Waterfront Toronto. This will not be a place where we deploy technology for its own sake, but rather one where we use emerging digital tools and the latest in urban design to solve big urban challenges in ways that we hope will inspire cities around the world.” — Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs.

“Ontario is already known as a world leader when it comes to innovation and for having the highly skilled, educated people that can bring game-changing ideas to life. This is an opportunity to apply all of that talent to one of the biggest challenges faced by cities here and the world — how to build urban spaces that are inclusive, sustainable and responsive to the needs of the people who call them home. This project will be a true collaboration between the community and some of the brightest minds in urban development, generating thousands of new jobs and new opportunities for the people of this province.” — Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“Today’s announcement is about creating a new type of neighbourhood that puts people first. Sidewalk Toronto will transform Quayside into a thriving hub for innovation and a community of tens of thousands of people to live, work and play. This project offers unprecedented opportunities for Canadian innovators and create thousands of good, middle-class jobs. The new technologies that emerge from Quayside have the potential to improve city living — making housing more affordable and public transit more convenient for Canadians and their families. I have no doubt Quayside will become a mode for cities around the world and make all of our communities even better places to call home.” — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“On Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront, we are making a bold bet that innovative technology and forward thinking urban design can make fundamental improvements in city life. Toronto is the ideal place for Alphabet and Sidewalk Labs to do something impactful that we hope will foster new ideas that can be applied by cities around the world.” — Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet.

About Waterfront Toronto

With over 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of underutilized land along Lake Ontario, Waterfront Toronto is responsible for the largest waterfront revitalization in North America. Projects include the West Don Lands, Corktown Common, Underpass Park, Sugar Beach, Sherbourne Common, Queens Quay, the Port Lands, Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and The Bentway.

Waterfront Toronto was established in 2001 by the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto to unlock the social and economic potential of the waterfront by using best practices in urban revitalization, including the most innovative approaches to sustainable development, excellence in urban design, real estate development and leading technology infrastructure.

About Sidewalk Labs

Sidewalk Labs was created to explore how new technologies can solve big urban challenges and improve quality of life in cities. Its unique team combines the urbanists who led New York City’s post-9/11 revival with the technologists who made Google one of the world’s most innovative companies.

It believes in the power of emerging digital tools to help enhance social interaction and create people-centred cities, but it also bring a deep belief in the power of community plans, public input and open collaboration — values forged by decades of experience working in local government.

Before forming Sidewalk, members of its team created an ambitious economic plan that helped catalyze New York City’s comeback, creating new neighborhoods, parks and public spaces, including the High Line. It designed PlaNYC, the pioneering citywide sustainability plan that made New York City a leader in fighting climate change. It also helped jump-start New York City’s now booming tech ecosystem by opening Google’s first engineering office outside Silicon Valley and leading the creation of Cornell Tech, a new academic campus focused on technology and entrepreneurship. Since Sidewalk’s launch in 2015, its portfolio company Intersection has created the world’s fastest and largest free public Wi-Fi network, LinkNYC, bringing super-fast connectivity to millions of New Yorkers and visitors. The Link system has since spread to London and will come to other U.K. cities. Sidewalk has also incubated Flow, a company that uses data to enable new urban mobility services and solutions; Cityblock, a company that aims to improve healthcare services for under-served urban populations; as well as initiatives focused on planning data, intersection safety, and park improvements.

About Sidewalk Toronto

Sidewalk Toronto is a joint effort by Waterfront Toronto and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to design a new kind of mixed-use complete community on Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront.


Sidewalk Toronto will begin with a new neighbourhood, called Quayside, located at the Parliament Slip, just southeast of downtown Toronto. Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto aim to bring the innovations advanced at Quayside to scale across the Eastern Waterfront, more than 325 hectares (800 acres) that represent one of North America’s largest areas of underdeveloped urban land.



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GTA's most expensive (and least expensive) home

GTA’s most expensive (and least expensive) home

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GTA’s most expensive (and least expensive) home

A search of the Multiple Listing Service at realtor.ca found the most expensive and least expensive homes in the GTA.


68 THE BRIDLE PATH: $35 million
MLS number: C3910864

Quintessential gated French chateau-style home and preeminent country estate located on the highly sought-after Bridle Path. The home features nine above-grade bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a games room and library.

The home offers spectacular grandeur on a four-acre ravine lot enhanced by manicured gardens, a stately fountain and a magnificent arboriculture paradise of privacy. Stone mansion exudes elegance, majesty and authenticity. The home features a 50-foot indoor swimming pool and an exquisite 18th-century period French onyx and marble fireplace mantles. Extras include custom granite, cobblestone driveway, formal granite and stone entrance, aged Italian marble floors, crown moulding, French doors, Downsview kitchen, elevator, Dectron pool system, tennis court, gazebo, potting cabin and golf cart.

Re/Max Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc.
183 Willowdale Avenue, Unit 6, Toronto, 416-222-8600
Patricia Sun, salesperson, 416-930-6920
Toll Free: 416-930-6920


4673 JANE STREET, UNIT 1006: $58,000
MLS number: W3878963

A one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo with underground parking and locker and ceramic floors throughout. The bath has a mirrored sliding door and there is a sliding glass door to an enclosed balcony with a fabulous view. Large storage spaces and large hallway closet. Close to all amenities with a plaza across the street with supermarket, drug store, gas station, bank, restaurant, laundromat, doctor and dental offices, churches, schools and TTC at door. Walk to York University, Canada’s Wonderland is five minutes away, Black Creek Pioneer Village is walking distance. Extras: Fridge, stove, blinds (window coverings). Pets allowed, playground at back of building and 24-hour security. Maintenance fees are $566.43 a month.

Homelife Woodbine Realty Inc.
680 Rexdale Boulevard, Unit 202, 416-741-4443
Danny Tulshi, salesperson, 416-741-4443

Data provided by Toronto Real Estate Board. All information displayed is believed to be accurate but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. No warranties or representations are made of any kind.

As of October 22, 2017


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Mark Twain's farmhouse priced at $1.7 million

Mark Twain’s farmhouse priced at $1.7 million

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Mark Twain’s farmhouse priced at $1.7 million

Most Americans picture Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) as the author of, and the boy in, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which is of course true. But his unending curiosity sprinkled with genius, were always leading Clemens in unexpected directions. He was a man always on the move, absorbing the intricate and humorous strangeness of the human condition from coast to coast and shore to shore.

When in his youth his adventures took him beyond the Mississippi River, he began producing other works based on his experiences such as The Innocents Abroad, taken from his world tour, Roughing It, about his failed experience as a miner, and the multitude of short stories that were printed in newspapers and magazines worldwide between the writing of his books.

Family was of primary importance to Clemens. He married Olivia Langdon from a wealthy New York family, who was the sister of a good friend. He and “Livy” had four children: a boy who died at 19 months, and three girls.

As a provider, Clemens had made today’s equivalent of $8 million (U.S.) from his writing and touring while his children were still young. Unfortunately due to some bad investments, he lost everything, including most of his wife’s inheritance. Unable to support the expense of their large home in Hartford, Connecticut, the family moved to Europe until an American friend and financier came to his aid and helped him file bankruptcy and set up a plan for paying off his debts and rebuilding his personal finances.

With this accomplished and the sad death of his beloved wife in Europe, Clemens returned to Connecticut with his daughters to begin anew.

Clemens faced a great deal of adversity in his life including the death of his youngest brother, Henry, in a steamboat explosion that he had foreseen in a dream a month before the tragedy. Clemen’s oldest daughter, Susy, died of spinal meningitis at the age of 24 and the middle daughter, Clara, married a Russian concert pianist and moved back to Europe.

By the early 1900s, only he and his youngest daughter, Jean, were the last of the family unit. He worried about Jean. She had been beset with severe epilepsy at the age of 15 and had been placed in an epilepsy colony in New York as soon as they returned to Connecticut.

Clemens settled down at his country home, Stormfield, outside of Redding, and bought the farm next door — Jean’s Farm — for his daughter in the hope that someday she would be in permanent remission.

By 1909, Jean had been in remission long enough to return to her father’s house where she would become his companion, secretary and housekeeper. This worked out well and she made daily trips to her farm by horseback.

On the morning of December 24, while taking her morning bath, Jean had a seizure and drowned in the bath water. From shock and heartbreak, Clemens escaped into penning a manuscript about Jean and how he was the only one left at home and he was so alone.

Five months later, Clemens died — possibly from a broken heart. Only his daughter Clara outlived him, and with no children of her own, the Clemens bloodline was irretrievably broken when she died in 1962.

The farm Clemens bought for Jean, next door to his own country home, is now for sale. Although she never had the chance to live there full time, when Jean returned from the sanatorium to her father’s house, she would ride over daily to tend the animals she kept there and enjoyed spending time exploring the property.

Jean’s Farm is a storybook farm dating back to the mid 1800s spread across its pastoral 18.7 acres. Well sized for a gentleman’s farm, it still retains the romance of its original roots on the exterior. The interiors of the buildings have been completely refurbished from the studs out and repurposed for today’s lifestyle. The farmhouse has lost none of its country charm and the 1860 barn is now devoted to a movie theater, games and indoor sports with the bonus of a full apartment.

There are also a separate studio and a saltwater swimming pool, children’s play area and plenty of room to roam. With approximately 3,645 square feet, the main house has five bedrooms and four baths, hickory floors and antiqued ceiling beams. Windows and doors are all new and the eat-in kitchen has been outfitted with marble counters, custom cabinetry and Gaggenau appliances. All rooms are spacious and filled with sunlight, including the large upstairs landing. Grounds include meadows, stone walls, steps and bridges, a fish pond, mature trees, a shaded drive and cheerful flowerbeds. The listing agent is Lois Lehman of William Raveis Luxury Properties in Southport, Connecticut.

Although New York claims his grave, the entire world claimed Mark Twain and he claimed Connecticut. Mark Twain was an American writer who William Faulkner referred to as “the father of American literature.”

Jean’s Farm was purchased by Samuel Clemens for his cherished youngest daughter, next door to his own Stormfield. Originally priced at $1.85 million, the price has been reduced $1.699 million (U.S.).




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Mattamy's Gilgan honours roots and parents with $10M donation to St. Joseph's

Mattamy’s Gilgan honours roots and parents with $10M donation to St. Joseph’s

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Mattamy’s Gilgan honours roots and parents with $10M donation to St. Joseph’s

Peter Gilgan, founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, is paying tribute to his parents and his childhood in the west end of Toronto with a $10 million donation to the Promise Campaign at St. Joseph’s Health Centre. Gilgan, who was born at St. Joseph’s, is making one of the largest donations in the hospital’s history.

One of Canada’s most generous philanthropists, Gilgan has donated more than $175 million to support life-changing causes. This donation to the $70 million Promise Campaign has sentimental value for Gilgan and his six siblings. The gift will name the Gilgan Family Wing in honour of his parents and the family’s strong ties to the community.

Peter Gilgan hugs his 95-year-old-mother, Mary, outside of St. Joseph's Health Centre.
Peter Gilgan hugs his 95-year-old-mother, Mary, outside of St. Joseph’s Health Centre.

“The importance of community care, and supporting St. Joe’s half-a-million neighbours who rely on this valuable community hospital, cannot be overstated,” said Gilgan. “My parents started our family in this community and I was born here along with my siblings. I want to make sure that St. Joe’s remains a vital community resource for all of the new families starting out here today and am proud to connect my family name to this fine health centre.”

Gilgan’s donation will have immediate impact and advance the campaign’s goal to modernize and enhance spaces for patients, purchase new equipment and technology, and create specialized areas to meet the community’s unique health needs. “Peter Gilgan’s gift is transformative for St. Joseph’s. It’s one of the largest in our history and will help us improve our facilities to support our west end neighbours,” said Maria Dyck, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation. “We’ll be a better health centre thanks to him and are grateful that he has remembered where he and his brothers and sisters were born.

“Beyond dollars and cents, it marks the continued commitment of Gilgan to supporting community hospitals and great local care.”

Gilgan will join forces with co-chairs of the Promise campaign, Victor Dodig, CEO and president of CIBC, and Brendan Shanahan, president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, in the promise to make Toronto’s west end one of the healthiest community in Canada. Dodig and Shanahan both have strong community ties and have committed to transform care at St. Joseph’s.

“Peter’s business has always been about building communities,” said Dodig. “This transformative gift is pivotal to supporting this community, for the people who call it home today and for future generations to come.”

St. Joe’s sees over 500,000 visits every year and its teams provide the full spectrum of care from paediatric to specialized services for seniors, supporting people and families through all of life’s important moments.

“St. Joe’s has been serving the west end for almost 100 years and significant donations like these help the hospital to advance its vision to make this community one of the healthiest in Canada,” said Dr. Bob Howard, interim president and CEO of the newly integrated health network which includes Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital. “We are thankful for the generosity of the Gilgan family.”




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Get ready for cold and flu season

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Get ready for cold and flu season

(News Canada) — Influenza, or the flu, is a very contagious infection caused by viruses. We all know it can cause a mild to severe infection in the nose, sinuses, throat and lungs. But there are some misconceptions on what the flu is, how you can catch it and how to treat and prevent it. With the risk of infections increasing in the fall and peaking in the winter, The Lung Association shares some essential information on this seasonal headache.

It is estimated that between 10 to 20 per cent of Canadians are infected with the flu each year, causing 175,000 emergency room visits, 12,200 influenza-related hospitalizations and even 3,500 influenza-related deaths. That’s why now is a good time to consider how a simple shot could go a long way with your health. In Ontario alone, every year the flu shot eliminates approximately 30,000 visits to hospital emergency departments and prevents approximately 300 deaths.

For people aged 65 years and over, the risk for influenza-attributed death is 12 times greater among those with chronic lung diseases like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and 20 times greater among those with both chronic heart and lung conditions.

After stroke and congestive heart failure, influenza and pneumonia (a complication of influenza) are the leading causes of catastrophic disability — a devastating illness or accident that can leave you requiring extra assistance that you didn’t need before. The flu shot is highly recommended for high-risk groups with the highest influenza rates, including children ages five to nine, adults 65 years and older, and those with underlying medical conditions. Different vaccination options are available for seniors. Here are common ways you can get infected with the flu virus, so you know what to avoid:

  • When someone infected with the flu talks, sneezes or coughs, tiny droplets of secretions become airborne. These droplets can land in your nose, mouth, sinuses or lungs and cause an infection.
  • Touching a surface that is infected with the flu virus (door handles, light switches, hand rails) and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes.
  • Sharing infected objects (utensils, cups) with someone who has the flu infection. Find more information online at lungontario.ca/vaccines. Coughing, fever, sweats, chills and feeling unwell are all symptoms of the flu. They should not be taken lightly.

Although flu infections can occur at any time throughout the year, the risk increases in the fall and peaks in the winter. Two or three strains make the rounds every year. Not only is the viral infection vicious, it can be lethal in otherwise healthy people. Experts say the best way to guard against the seasonal scourge and influenza-related pneumonia is to get the flu shot. But it isn’t a one-and-done deal. Influenza is cunning and constantly mutates, potentially dodging last year’s vaccine. That’s why anyone over six months old who lives, works or attends school in Ontario should get an up-todate shot each year.

The Lung Association especially recommends the flu vaccination for people who are at higher risk and those who have regular contact with people at higher risk. Those at higher risk from the flu include very young children, seniors, pregnant women, Indigenous peoples, residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities, and people with health conditions such as lung diseases.

Getting the flu vaccination also helps reduce the risk that you will spread the flu to others in your family and community who may be at a higher risk of serious complications. The more people who get the shot in your community, the less risk to everyone of getting the flu. This is called “herd immunity” or “community immunity.”

In individuals aged 65 and older, the immune system response to the flu vaccine is not as strong as it is in younger people. If you’re in that age group, you may get more benefit from the high-dose flu vaccination, which has four times the usual dose.


With flu season upon us, the question of whether to get vaccinated or not is one many people are trying to answer. Here, The Lung Association clears up some myths to help you make an informed decision.

  • Even if you had the flu shot once, you need it again. The viruses that cause the infection can change slightly each year, so the vaccine must also change to match them. A person’s immune protection from vaccination also declines over time.
  • There’s more than one flu shot available. Those 65 and older should speak with their healthcare provider to find out which vaccine is right for them, as this age group typically doesn’t respond to vaccines as well as younger adults.
  • Getting the flu shot will not give you the flu. The vaccine you receive either has an inactivated virus or does not contain one at all and therefore cannot give you the flu. If you develop influenza within two weeks of getting your shot, it is likely that you already had the virus prior to vaccination. It can also be a result of your body’s immune response to a foreign substance. However, the most common reactions to the vaccine itself are less severe than symptoms of the actual flu.
  • You need the shot even if you are healthy. If you’re 65 or older, your immune system is weakening naturally, making you more susceptible to the virus. If you’re younger than 65, getting the shot also helps protect more vulnerable populations like pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses from contracting the flu from you.
  • The flu shot is 50 to 60 per cent effective in preventing the flu in healthy adults. Although some people who get the vaccination may still get sick, the flu tends to be milder than if they didn’t, which reduces the risk of serious complications. Find out more information online at http://lungontario.ca/protect-your-breathing/vaccines/



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2018 Colours of the Year are bold and beautiful

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2018 Colours of the Year are bold and beautiful

Benjamin Moore and Sico Paints both announced their 2018 Colour of the Year this month and both leading paint companies have a bold vision for the coming year. Benjamin Moore declared its Colour of the Year 2018 as Caliente, a vibrant, charismatic shade of red, while Sico choose Cast Iron, an elegant and sophisticated black shade.

Benjamin Moore made their announcement to leading interior designers, architects and influencers at an exclusive event held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

“Strong, radiant and full of energy, Caliente is total confidence,” said Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore director of strategic design intelligence. “It is pleasing, passionate and makes people feel special, like ‘red carpet treatment.’ Whether used as one note or on four walls, the spirited personality of red turns heads, signalling surprise and adventure. The eye can’t help but follow its bold strokes.”

Benjamin Moore also unveiled Colour Trends 2018, a curated palette of 23 highly influential hues that enliven any room by adding depth and energy. The palette incorporates a full spectrum of reds, from hints of blush to deep oxbloods, while ensuring seamless pairings with a carefully selected range of whites, neutrals, and complementary bold hues. The Benjamin Moore Colour Trends 2018 palette includes: Caliente AF-290, Deep Poinsettia 2091-30, Cherry Wine 2080-30, Cranberry Cocktail 2083-20, Texas Rose 2092-40, Pleasant Pink 2094-60, Saddle Soap 2110-30, Incense Stick 2115-20, Smoked Oyster 2109-40, Excalibur Gray 2118-50, Wolf Gray 2127-40, Stone 2112-40, Black Beauty 2128-10, Silver Marlin 2139-50, Carolina Gull 2138-40, Dreamy Cloud 2117-70, Moonshine 2140-60, Sharkskin 2139-30, Elk Horn AF-105, Peau de Soie AF-60, Golden Retriever 2165-30, White Opulence OC- 69 and Coastal Path AF-380

The Benjamin Moore Colour & Design team annually forecasts colour trends following a year-long research journey to 30 cities across 12 countries, travelling nearly 160,000 kilometres. The team attended more than 20 industry shows capturing more than 42,200 photos that illustrate points of inspiration from the arts, design, architecture, pop culture, fashion, home furnishings and more. Their collective findings demonstrated an emergence of red hues, embodying the change, strength, confidence and vitality that permeates cultural movements around the world.

According to Sico colour experts, black paint highlights a perfect mix of modern yet timeless sophistication and offers a flexibility in design that is often overlooked. Similar to your favourite black handbag, Cast Iron pairs beautifully with almost any design style.

“Cast Iron is a perfect choice for do-it-yourselfers who crave a grounded room that is enveloped in comfort and coziness, beginning with their paint colour selection,” said Mylène Gévry, senior marketing manager, Sico paint brand by PPG. “This colour is hard to ignore and provides a certain grandeur or simplicity to a space because of its flexibility.”

While black commands attention on its own, Sico colour experts recommend pairing it with a variety of other tones. Layer this deep, rich midnight hue with a variety of trending softer neutrals, such as Vanilla Orchid (6188-21), a nutmeg-tone like Roma Antiqua (6231-63), a brown-grey like Flawless Grey (6212-31) and a warm white like Zen (6222-11) for a tranquil and minimal look.

To make a dramatic statement, pair Cast Iron with a dark burgundy like Venetian Wine (6082-85), a mid-tone grey like Industrial Grey (6212-52), a soft beige like Gobi Dunes (6194-42) and an off-white like Ground Coriander (6218-21). Combined with brass or gold accents, this colour palette will give the appearance of elegance and luxury.

The colour was unanimously selected by PPG’s more than 20 global colour stylists, who specialize in industries that include consumer electronics, architectural, automotive and aerospace. These experts study consumer insights, building material trends, decor trends and more to select a colour forecast that resonates and is reflective of current consumer attitudes.

“Sico paint’s Cast Iron perfectly complements the various trending black building materials and home accessories that we’re seeing in the marketplace. From timeless black windows to matte black kitchen appliances, this hue will fit in perfectly with modern or traditional design elements,” Gévry noted.

“Black is often overlooked and underappreciated when choosing paint colours for the home, but its ability to refine, subdue and add strength to a space makes it a perfect choice,” said Misty Yeomans, colour marketing manager. “It brings solace and a peacefulness to any space, creating a haven in which to retreat from our always-connected, high-pressure society. Its versatility in pairing with other colours adds to its allure in home decorating.”




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Values of the Olympic movement revealed in architecture

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Values of the Olympic movement revealed in architecture

Copenhagen-based 3XN Architects have released new visuals showing the new home of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The images show the circular staircase, which echoes the Olympic rings, as well as the sinuous facade structure rising at the construction site. In 2014, 3XN won the competition to design IOC’s new headquarters, Olympic House. The building is designed around three key values/objectives: movement, flexibility and sustainability. Its interior is designed with as few structural constraints as possible, and has an eightmetre- high column-free zone from the facade into the building.

3XN Architects have also designed Toronto’s Aquabella Bayside by Tridel and Church & Wellesley by One Properties.

A transparent double glass facade is the hallmark of the design for Olympic House. Comprising a straight inner layer and a curving, faceted outer layer, the result is a dynamic form that evokes the movement of an Olympic athlete.

By optimizing the “facade to floor plate” ratio, and creating a fully glazed facade from floor to ceiling, 3XN’s design draws daylight deep into the building. The inner layer features an integrated sunscreen, which enables the outer later to maintain its fully glazed and transparent appearance. A cavity between the facade layers enables easy maintenance while allowing for the dynamic and elegant skin.

“With its dynamic, undulating facade, the building will appear different from all angles and convey the energy of an athlete in motion,” said Jan Ammundsen, senior partner and head of design at 3XN Architects. “Its interior is designed with as few structural constraints as possible. This open and flexible environment is meant to adapt for multiple work styles now and in the future.”

The new IOC headquarters will be a one of the most energy efficient glass buildings and aims to achieve the highest sustainable development standards. Solar panels on the roof (and out of sight) will produce an amount of electricity equivalent to the consumption of 60 Swiss households. This electricity will allow the building to be self-sufficient in terms of its heating, ventilation, cooling and hot water systems.

The aim for the design has been to minimize the environmental footprint while not compromising the quality of the working environment. Through the green roof, terraces and fitness centre, the building and natural environment is rich with the opportunity for employees to participate in sport and leisure activities. Sustainable features such as low-flow taps, toilets and rainwater harvesting significantly reduce the building’s use of water.

To achieve a sustainable development, the IOC recycled all of the concrete used in its former administration buildings for use in the construction of the new Olympic House. A concrete mixer and all the other machines needed to sort and crush the concrete were installed on the site.

The new headquarters of the International Olympic Committee will bring together 600 employees, currently working in offices throughout the city and is expected to be inaugurated in early 2019.



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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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