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Neil Crone, Feeling funny

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Neil Crone, Feeling funny

By Cece M. Scott cecescott.com

You may know him best as the irascible, redneck radio host, Fred Tupper, on CBC’s long-running comedy sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie. Neil Crone, actor, comedian, columnist and author, says that he loved playing the character of Tupper because it reminded him a little of his dad, and also of himself. “I like to play characters who are close to home,” says Crone. “Fred was a kind person with a really big heart, but he was a little rough around the edges.”

When in an Indian curry restaurant in Toronto, Crone was approached by a young girl, whose mom was wearing a hijab. “She was shy and said, ‘I really like you on your television show.’ Wow, I said, you know who Fred Tupper is, and you still like him? That felt really great, like we were making a difference, bringing people together, as opposed to being divisive,” says Crone. “If this girl, who couldn’t have been more than eight or nine years old, could see the humanity in my goofy, rednecked character, then clearly we were doing something right – something good.”

As Fred Tupper, Little Mosque on the Prairie. Photo by Peter Stranks

At the age of 59, Crone subscribes to the theory of radiating happiness outwards, in order to attract the same back. He’s a nature buff, and is very conscientious of his impact on the planet. “I meditate quite often and am a big believer in affirmations,” says Crone. “I visualize my day every morning to make sure that I am clear about what I want to have happen, and then go forward to attract that.”

Crone began his career as a high school teacher, where he taught English and drama for three years at King City Secondary School. However, deep down, he knew that he really wanted to be an actor. “At that time, though,” laughs Crone, “the thinking around being an actor leaned towards getting a real job.”

As Bad Santa on Derringer in the Morning Q107 for which he won a Canadian Comedy Award. Photo by Peter Stranks

After nighttime stints at Theatresports and Big City Improv, Crone accepted a role at Toronto’s famed Second City Touring Company before moving on to the prestigious Second City Mainstage. Recurring roles on The Red Green Show, Wind at my Back, Goosebumps and Power Play heightened Crone’s visibility. Feature films followed, which included Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy (1998), American Psycho II: All American Girl (2002), Against the Ropes (2004), and Hollywoodland (2006).

Working alongside Burt Reynolds and James Garner are memories that will always resonate with Crone. “The minute I walked onto the set, James approached me and introduced himself. He was as big as you get, but he still had the graciousness to treat me like a peer,” says Crone. “That stuck with me. I try to do my best to extend the same kind of warmth to young actors working with me now.”

THE Yes MEN (an improv comedy show) with Patrick McKenna, Neil Crone and Kevin Frank. Photo by Jonathon Van Bilsen

For all the inherent acting ups-and-downs, Crone says it provided him with the flexibility, along with a positive environment, in which to raise his kids – Duncan, now 28, and Connor, 25. As a stay-at-home dad, Crone drew on his experiences with his boys in the creation of a number of children’s books. “I had this huge well of kids’ stuff to draw inspiration from.”

Crack a Smile Colorectal Cancer fundraiser. Photo by Jonathon Van Bilsen

These imaginings resulted in the writing of four books: Who Farted – Stories in Verse for Big and Little Kids; The Farmers Secret Midnight Dance; I Am Dead at Recess and Coby Builds a House.

Crone has also published a collection of his award winning columns (as appeared in Metroland papers) titled Enter Laughing – The Early Years. A spokesperson for the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada and Colon Cancer Canada, Crone also wrote Semi-Colon: A Writer’s Cheeky Journey Through Colorectal Cancer. “I had already had a scope and a resultant diagnosis,” says Crone. “I went for surgery to remove the lesion but when the surgeon opened me up he found a peach-sized tumour on the outside of my colon, eating its way in. I was only 43 at the time. Nobody saw it coming. It worked for, and against, me. I was healthy enough that they could give me massive doses of radiation and chemotherapy. But it was quite scary, especially with two young boys at home. It was a definite reset button.”

Crone believes that his ability to laugh, along with his positive attitude, were contributing factors in his recovery. At the time, he was living in an old Victorian home with his-then wife, Suzanne Crone, and their two sons. He says that he’d wile away the hours on their screened-in porch, and imagine all the things that he was going to do when he got better.

His perspective has changed, and he says that he has a better appreciation for what’s important, and what should be prioritized. “I have relaxed my attitude on life, completely understanding the bullet that I dodged,” says Crone. “I do my best to keep my body supple by riding my bike, canoeing, golfing and hiking with my fiancée, Kathryn.”

Moving into his sixth decade, Crone is dealing with an arthritic knee and soft tissue damage, a direct result of his chemotherapy. “It’s a challenge to maintain an active lifestyle with a body that can’t keep up. Trying to find ways to carry on, and wrestle with the pain, is ongoing. But, really, I still feel very young.”

Photography, Suzanne Crone

“As my footprint – I want to leave people feeling good.” – Neil Crone

Currently, Crone is working on a series called Endlings, which is now in its second season. He plays the part of Mr. Leopold, who runs a foster home. “I’m one hundred per cent behind the show’s message, which is about embracing differences and loving people – even broken people,” says Crone.

In 2008, Crone won the Canadian Comedy Award for his radio work as Bad Santa on Q107. He’s been a finalist on numerous occasions for his humour column, and placed second and third for Humour Columnist of the Year, from the Ontario Community Newspaper Awards, in 2001, 2002 and 2012.

Crone says that he absolutely loves acting, as a job, but admits that the types of roles he’s now getting are changing as the years go by. “I am auditioning for grandparent roles now. But I still feel like I’m 18 years old – that is, until I pass a mirror. But, I am content with my life now,” says Crone. “When all is said and done, I don’t think I will ever grow up.”


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Andrin Homes

Andrin Homes has 30 years of homebuilding excellence – with more to come

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Andrin Homes has 30 years of homebuilding excellence – with more to come

It’s not every day that a company gets to celebrate a milestone as significant as 30 years in business. But as 2020 approaches, Andrin Homes prepares to do just that.

And not just 30 years of building homes, but 30 years of developing new communities – with many of the homes and developments award-winning, and themselves worthy of celebrating.

“Andrin does more than just build homes,” says President Peter Smith. “We build communities. We are proud of our past accomplishments and look forward to the future, confident that we have the skills to create quality developments that will stand the test of time.”

Indeed, just imagine how homebuilding – like any industry – has evolved over three decades. Andrin Homes has not only kept pace with changing consumer demands and construction techniques, it continues to deliver – with excellence.

The company’s commitment to detail extends well beyond the completion of its new homes. It focuses on sourcing the best products, providing the best value in the best locations, and wants to provide its homebuyers with the best customer service – before and after the sale.

“We must be doing something right,” Smith says. “As we approach the 30th anniversary of Andrin in 2020, we continue to build one outstanding community after another, with thousands of homes completed across the GTA and beyond. Our commitment to deliver excellence in design, craftsmanship and customer service will never change – this is the foundation of our success.”

Timed with the 30th anniversary, Andrin has four outstanding newhomebuying opportunities for GTA residents.

Boatworks at Victoria and Dufferin in Whitby

Launch a new chapter in your life in Whitby, where Boatworks offers beautiful townhomes and semi-detached homes, just minutes from the waterfront to the south, downtown to the north, and easy access to the GO station, the 401 and the 412. Why Whitby? The town was ranked as one of the 2019 Best Communities in Canada by Maclean’s Magazine, citing strong amenities and culture, among other features. With more than 90 parks, including year-round trails at Cullen Central Park, a popular farmers’ market from May to October and other highlight community features, there’s no doubt Whitby is one of the best places to connect with nature and enjoy life.

Country Lane at Taunton and Country Lane in Whitby

Whitby is all about family living. Country Lane – a master-planned community of freehold towns and 26-ft. single-detached homes boasting traffic-calming roundabouts, walking and cycling trails, a park splashpad and playground – is perfect for families of all sizes. And with the recent expansion of Hwy. 407, connecting Whitby with Hwys. 401 and 412, heading out into surrounding communities or into downtown Toronto has never been easier.

Glenway Urban Towns at Yonge and Davis Drive in Newmarket

Newmarket last year was named one of the Best Places to Live in Canada by MoneySense Magazine. This sentiment matches perfectly with Glenway Urban Towns, with a collection of urban townhomes and live/work towns with distinguished architecture and luxurious interiors, located adjacent to the Newmarket GO station. With sprawling parks and trails, and easy access to Hwys. 404 and 400, Glenway Urban Towns is perfectly suited for young families and professionals alike.

Village Homes at McCowan and 16th in Markham

Markham has been a hotbed for growth and development for years, with a booming local economy and employment growth. Combine this with cultural diversity, countless recreational amenities, natural attractions such as Toogood Pond, and proximity to Hwys. 407 and 404, and it all makes Markham a great choice for a new home location. At Village Homes, with townhomes and semis in a convenient location, residents are close to everything that makes Markham so popular.

Andrin’s new-home communities offer a wide range of styles to meet buyers’ ever-changing needs in the GTA. These communities include urban towns, traditional condominium towns, semi-detached and single-family homes.

Combine this range of product types with excellent locations, centrally and conveniently positioned close to amenities, transit, and lifestyle choices that Andrin offers in Whitby, Newmarket and Markham, and you have the very kind of affordable housing supply the GTA so desperately needs more of.

All of this, of course, delivered with the usual excellence Andrin, its homes and its communities have become known for.

What else do you expect from a company about to celebrate 30 award-winning years in the business? All of this and more of the same in 2020, its milestone year in homebuilding, and more in future years to come.



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Fleur is a beacon of fashion, art and culture

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Fleur is a beacon of fashion, art and culture

Toronto’s downtown core is vibrant, diverse and lively, appealing to a variety of people and lifestyles. With the downtown population expected to double to more than 500,000 over the next 25 years, the city is poised to continue its upward trajectory as a destination for investment.

One area in particular that’s attracting both retailers and developers alike is the City’s Garden District, located just east of Yonge, from College to Queen Street. The area has really “blossomed” over the last few years, and at the heart of it you’ll find Menkes‘ Fleur Residences.

With a Walk Score of 99 and a perfect Transit Score of 100, Fleur offers residents seamless access to the city’s premier dining, shopping and cultural destinations. In a city where traffic congestion is a growing frustration, everyone wants the luxury of living close to public transit, and Fleur is set between two major subway station stations, Queen and Dundas. In fact, the building neighbours the lively Dundas Square, a magnet for musical acts, cultural events and entertainment.

Yonge & Dundas
Yonge & Dundas

Set at the epicentre of retail and style, Fleur is every shopaholic’s dream come true. The building is located just steps away from North America’s most popular mall, CF Toronto Eaton Centre, home to world-renowned retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. The popular tourist destination underwent a massive revitalization, and over the last several years, introduced a number of new high-end international retailers to its eclectic mix. There has been an influx of foreign retailers to the area, further confirmation of the neighbourhood’s international appeal. The east side of Yonge Street is cast with a remarkable range of independent shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes.

Suite Interior
Suite Interior

The sleek 32-storey tower puts you within a five-minute walk to the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatres, stacked, magnificently restored treasures, and a four-minute walk to the historic Massey Hall. Toronto consistently ranks among the top three cities in the world for live theatre.

Dining Room
Dining Room

Living at Fleur will also be a foodie’s paradise, close to some of the best cuisine the city has to offer, such as popular dining spots like Canoe, Cactus Club and Hy’s Steakhouse, all within 10 minutes of the building. Also, a short 10-minute stroll south, is Toronto’s world-famous St. Lawrence Market, where you will find an overwhelming array of fresh produce, meats, seafood, and delicacies offered by countless vendors, bakers, and artisans.

CF Toronto Eaton Centre
CF Toronto Eaton Centre

To add to the long list of things to see and do in this interesting and diverse neighbourhood, Nathan Phillips Square, at the foot of Toronto’s iconic City Hall, is also minutes away. The Square is home to some of Toronto’s best farmers markets, concerts, art exhibits, holiday celebrations, and more. In winter, the reflecting pool transforms into a public skating rink.

Co-Work Lounge
Co-Work Lounge

Close to the action on Yonge Street, yet quietly sheltered, Fleur’s tower ascends from a unique three-storey glass and stone podium. Designed by the talented local firm architectsAlliance, a subtle garden theme welcomes residents as they approach the striking tower, which much like its community, stands as a symbol of fashion and art. Inspired by the surrounding Garden District, the architects designed a stone element in the tower’s base along Church Street to imitate the monolithic stone of the neighbourhood’s nearby cathedrals.

Urban Torontonians with busy lifestyles desire a home where they can relax and unwind, but also enjoy the best the city has to offer. Fleur is unique in that it’s at the centre of the excitement of the downtown core, yet nestled in the Garden District, which also retains a more peaceful vibe.

For anyone looking for all the conveniences of downtown living wrapped into one phenomenal location, Fleur Residences is your ideal home. For more information visit the Menkes Store, located at 110 Harbour St, Unit 106, call 416.591.7700 or visit the website.


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National Homes

Bright ideas come out of National Homes’ Blueprint Design Lab

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Bright ideas come out of National Homes’ Blueprint Design Lab

Society is undergoing a time of groundbreaking change. Advanced technology, Green initiatives, smart cities, robotics; it’s all taking place as the largest single demographic, Baby Boomers, are handing the reins to Millennials, a group with very different perspectives and needs.

The Forest Phase 2 Model Home.
The Forest Phase 2 Model Home.

To steer a successful course and to thrive, the team at National Homes has deeply leaned into their core philosophy and longtime tagline: You are the Blueprint. One of the GTA’s most celebrated names, National Homes is renowned for its customer focus, as the company designs, builds, markets and sells homes based entirely on their understanding of clients’ needs.

This promise inspired the company to create a new and experiential concept, The Blueprint Workshop. National Homes wanted to re-imagine the way the company listened to its customers and design their homes. Having employed traditional focus groups and online survey methodologies for more than 20 years, National’s goal in creating the Blueprint Workshop series was to find a new way to engage participants far beyond the standard notions.

The vision was to revolutionize the way new home consumer research is accomplished, thereby raising the bar for innovative thinking around home design, with a particular focus on the fast-developing “smart home” connectivity technology of the future.

National’s inaugural Blueprint Workshop event was held at the IBM Innovation Space, welcoming globally recognized leaders in the fields of technology, product development, and design, who participated in group interactions and the co-creation process. Also taking part were dozens of past and potential National buyers of varied ages and demographics: National staff architects, designers and engineers; and students from York University’s Schulich School of Business real estate master’s program. The group then rolled up their sleeves and held deep discussions, presentations, interviews and educational sessions, all in a thinktank format.

Many groundbreaking ideas from that first Blueprint Workshop are already working their way into homes of new National communities. For example, when new-home buyers indicated that they want more input into the building of their homes than just choosing cabinets and countertops, the builder responded by launching a new customer service initiative that combines the best use of technology, with hands-on involvement.

At National’s new forward-looking Blueprint Design Lab, customers can personalize their new home to reflect their style using the Virtual Interior Design Tool that makes the decor selection process more fun, creative, and efficient. National’s R&D Department regularly tests products, materials and techniques in the Blueprint Design Lab, particularly with sustainability in mind, and this is where future Blueprint Workshops will also be held.

To provide blueprint-to-welcome mat updates for customers, another innovative use of technology by National is The Homeowner Portal that connects buyers to the design and construction of their home from the moment they decide to buy until long after they move in.

The builder is constantly pushing the envelope to source the latest and the best, with a commitment to use advanced thinking to make a real difference in the way people live in their home. National calls these Bright Ideas. Things such as smart thermostats to keep costs low, smart locks and cameras to keep residents safe, and built-in recycling areas to make responsible waste sorting easy. Incorporating these Bright Ideas and others make National homes smarter, more responsive and energy-efficient, a very Bright Idea in itself.

New-home buyers care about energy efficiency, sustainability, carbon footprint, smart home products and much more. They also care about functionality, convenience and comfort. Many Bright Ideas take comfort to a whole new level. Imagine a closet organizer with revolving shoe rack in the dressing room, pulldown cupboards and motion sensor faucets in the kitchen, a voice-activated smart shower in the spa ensuite that controls on/off, water temperature and flow, and a convenient pull-down drying rack in the laundry room. Simplifying life is a Bright Idea, too.

It’s already happening for National buyers at The Forest Phase 2, who will enjoy many Bright Ideas as standard features. Residents will benefit from a main door smart lock and Wi-Fi video doorbell, and the ultimate help to stay uncluttered: a drop zone with storage, shelves and hanging hooks, and a family centre with desk. This is fitted with a whiteboard and shelving to display and store messages, school forms, family calendar and various other odds and ends with no place to go in a typical home, this exciting Bright Idea also has a hidden charging station for multiple smart devices.

IBM Blueprint Workshop.
IBM Blueprint Workshop.

Involving buyers in the process, National aims to provide innovative new solutions by thinking ahead and designing the homes of the future, today. Interested potential purchasers can sign up online to participate in scheduled Blueprint Workshops related to upcoming new National communities in the early planning stages.


For more on National’s Bright Ideas, Blueprint Workshops, Blueprint Design Lab, current and upcoming communities, visit the website.


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Thirty Six Zorra

Thirty Six Zorra – Altree Developments and EllisDon Capital come together to set a new standard

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Thirty Six Zorra – Altree Developments and EllisDon Capital come together to set a new standard

Thirty-six storeys of colourful and contemporary condominium living – that’s the vision for Altree Developments‘ latest project with EllisDon Capital, Thirty Six Zorra, set to make its debut to Toronto’s Queensway in Etobicoke this fall. Encompassing a series of modern condominium suites ranging from 440 to 1,306 sq. ft., Thirty Six Zorra promises to expand the condominium offerings currently available within this rich Toronto locale, all while bringing a splash of colour to residents looking for the same lifestyle they know and love in the city.

Thirty Six Zorra invites you to get your colour on. This dynamic residence is positioned to provide a robust offering of more than 9,500 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor amenities, giving residents more than enough opportunities to express themselves and explore entertainment and ingenuity in their on- and off-hours. For those who like to stay close to home, Thirty Six Zorra will act as more of a lifestyle destination than just a residence.

For its indoor amenities, residents can choose from a series of offerings catering to any type of pastime, including a bright and spacious rec room with games and tabletop sports that will keep them on their toes in friendly competition. For options to work from home or host friends, a robust co-working space and social club are perfect for solo lounging or group gatherings. Offered alongside the location’s TV lounge and hobby room, residents of Thirty Six Zorra can also entertain their families in play in a fun-filled kids club, conveniently groom their pets in the pet wash area, or engage in an invigorating workout in the expansive gym and weight room. With its full demo kitchen, residents can also host exciting dinner parties with friends and family, all while surrounded by options for group seating or one-on-one dates.

The outdoor amenities are equally as engaging, featuring a luxurious rooftop pool with sun loungers and cabanas primed for relaxation, cosy fire pits, quaint barbecue dining areas, a vibrant on-site park, and a robust pet run for animal lovers. When they’re done basking in the sun and taking a dip in the pool, residents can head to any of the local parks in the area to enjoy Etobicoke’s many greenspaces and trails.

When it’s time to get out into the city for work or errands, residents of Thirty Six Zorra will also enjoy the benefits of a direct shuttlebus service to Kipling station offered in the morning and evening, for convenient and exclusive access to those living at this one-of-a-kind address. Known as a main artery between the downtown core and Toronto west, The Queensway provides high connectivity to downtown Toronto via local bus routes, as well as Islington and Kipling TTC stations and GO Transit. Prefer to drive? Get to downtown Toronto in 15 minutes with quick hop on the Gardiner Expressway.

Beyond its multitude of transit options, The Queensway is home to popular retail destinations such as Sherway Gardens Mall, IKEA, HomeSense, as well as local cafes, restaurants, and entertainment. Mainstays such as the local Cineplex Theatre and Bouldlerz Climbing Club offer faithful weekend activities within six minutes of Thirty Six Zorra. Other community hot spots include Tom’s Dairy Freeze, Sanremo Bakery, and California Sandwiches. A beacon for cyclists, runners, and park enthusiasts, Toronto’s expansive waterfront and Humber Bay are 10 minutes away by car.

Seasoned Torontonians or newcomers to the city will appreciate the lifestyle opportunity growing in Etobicoke. Thirty Six Zorra invites buyers to live larger when it comes to the financial perks of purchasing a suite in this burgeoning west end neighbourhood. That’s right: Residents get more square footage than their downtown neighbours while still reaping the many benefits of living in “the 416.” Etobicoke boasts prices of $850 per sq. ft., making costs for this area comparatively low against $1,200 per sq. ft. in the downtown core.

Backed by two of Canada’s leading highrise residential builders, third-generation developer Altree Developments and the visionary team at EllisDon Capital, Thirty Six Zorra is sure to be an iconic project, poised to set a new standard for The Queensway and Etobicoke living alike.

Learn more about how you can get your colour on at Thirty Six Zorra. Register today.


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Keep calm & carry on, unify an open-concept main floor

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Keep calm & carry on, unify an open-concept main floor

• Photography By Stephani Buchman

When creating an open-concept floor plan, continuity is key. How I achieve this is by incorporating a common theme throughout. For example, in this lakeside home, I went with a crisp, white-and-blue colour palette and added the warmth of reclaimed wood for balance. This combination evokes an understated nautical vibe, which echoes throughout the main floor of the home.


The blue-and-white palette also evokes a serene feeling in the space, which can be achieved even when these colours are added in small doses. In the dining area, the look is richly layered from the navy-blue hue of the rug underfoot to the dining chairs and artwork on the walls. The eye is also drawn to the large and plentiful windows framed by the white walls, which serve to amplify the natural light and lake views in this bright corner. Hanging overhead, is a staggered cluster of simple, clear, Edison bulb-inspired pendants, which do not interfere with the daylight views.


If you’re blessed with an abundance of natural light, a dark colour palette can be your best friend. A rich, deep shade of blue, burgundy or green can lend a wonderfully rich, dramatic ambience, without leaving your home feeling “closed in,” as dark colours are known to do.

TIP: Any designer worth their salt will tell you that a great piece of art is equal parts canvas and frame. You need something to complement the art and draw attention to it, without detracting from it. This same principle was applied to the windows in this dining area. The dark-painted window trim becomes a dramatic punctuation point in this space, highlighting the abundant windows, their composition and the views.


This notable shade of blue is subtly carried into the kitchen with the striking blue-upholstered breakfast bar counter stools. Behind them, the crisp white cabinetry and backsplash are perfectly on trend, with simple detailing and an overall clean, serene look. Grey-toned, reclaimed barn-board walls and hardwood floors envelop the space and are reminiscent of driftwood, contributing to the overall nautical theme of the space. A thoughtful collection of curios adds visual interest and a feeling of home.

The reclaimed wood panelling extends into the adjoining living area, cladding the chimney and rear wall with its rustic, warm esthetic. Flanking the fireplace, a pair of custom, soft-grey sideboards in a distressed finish, echo the texture of the reclaimed wood wall. An industrial-style, wood-and-steel coffee table and an oversized iron chandelier overhead complete the look of the great room.


When selecting pieces to fit within your chosen theme, avoid overtly obvious displays – for instance, in this nautical theme, I didn’t go overboard by adding fishing rods and anchors at every turn. Instead, try adding different materials, textures, colours and shapes, which can be a more subtle and tasteful way to repeat the motif. In this home, I accentuated the nautical theme with the addition of wood furniture, rope, woven accents and easy living fabrics.

This stunning open-concept dining/kitchen/living area is exactly what my clients had hoped to achieve. The space is relaxed yet refined, and invites its residents and guests to sit, eat and enjoy.

SOURCES DINING CHAIRS: Shelter Furniture PAINT: Chantilly Lace 2121-70, Benjamin Moore VINYL FLOORING: French Oak, Peppercorn from Mannington Restorations ART: Homeowners’ collection DINING TABLE, LIGHTING: Nuevo

Sara Bederman, Principal Designer for Sara Bederman Design, is known for creating stylish, thoughtfully curated and livable interiors for over a decade. The Toronto-based firm provides residential design services for projects of all sizes. Sara Bederman Design works throughout Toronto, GTA and beyond. For more information, sarabedermandesign.com, follow her on Instagram: sarabstudio


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Democrat Homes

Democrat Homes’ Forest Heights Estates is truly one of a kind

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Democrat Homes’ Forest Heights Estates is truly one of a kind

Picture it. Towering pines and maples, oak trees and white birch dotting the landscape. Breathe in the clean, fresh air as you listen to the sound of serenity – quiet interrupted only by the gentle chirping of birds. Now picture the home of your dreams framed against the greens and reds and browns of the Simcoe County Forest. This isn’t a fantasy or a pipe dream. This is the reality Democrat Homes is building for a fortunate few in the brand new Forest Heights Estates community in Horseshoe Valley.

More than 30 years in the business has taught the Palumbo family (Democrat Homes) the real differences between a house and a home. A house is a shell, four walls and a roof with no personal attachments. A home is that special somewhere you choose to live – a place where you feel safe and where you spend time with those you love. It’s the setting for your biggest moments and celebrations. Democrat wants Forest Heights to be the place you choose, a community of homes, luxurious, affordable and situated amid rolling hills and green tree tops. It’s like no other community and the limited 80 lots truly make it one of a kind. It is a special place that will remain a jewel in the heart of Oro-Medonte for years to come. This is your chance to be part of this most exclusive neighbourhood.

To match the stunning natural beauty of the nature all around, Democrat has raised the bar by offering exceptional standard features – bringing elegance and luxury inside every home they build. Incredible standards include engineered hardwood floors, nine-ft. ceilings, oak stairs, insulated steel garage doors, upgraded trim and kitchen cabinets, 200-amp service, pot lights, tankless water heaters and more. Democrat wants to set every house apart with a uniqueness and individuality that will speak to your refined taste.

Bold brick and brick with stone elevations are dramatically silhouetted against the verdant greenery just outside your back door. Democrat Homes’ custom-style elevations feature architecturally refined exteriors, which include: high-pitched roofs, classic masonry, decorative columns, and pre-cast detailing (such as key-stones banding and sills) giving each model a regal stature.

Each lot is special, ranging from a minimum half acre to private cul-de-sacs boasting premium lots that approach three acres of treed beauty. There is something for everyone. Each home is given the space it deserves, instead of the “sardines in a can” look and feel of so many other subdivisions.

Located in Oro-Medonte within the beautiful Horseshoe Valley, Forest Heights Estates feels like a private resort, yet is just 15 minutes from the neighbouring cities of Barrie and Orillia. Toronto is just an hour’s drive away. More important, you’re minutes away from world class golfing, skiing at Mount St. Louis Moonstone, canoeing on Bass Lake, walking the countless trails and wildlife preserve, or enjoying the many restaurants and boutique art shops tucked into the surrounding towns. There is so much to do and see whenever you wish; all you have to do is walk out the front door. Whether it’s the peace and quiet tranquility of your backyard or a day filled with adventure, it’s all at your fingertips in Forest Heights Estates.

Beyond the natural beauty of the surroundings, every Democrat home is Built to Appreciate. Not only will the thoughtful design and attention to detail provide you with an incredible living experience for years to come, but your valuable purchase will appreciate in so many ways… and remain a source of pride for your family and the surrounding community.

Forest Heights Estates checks all the boxes, an incredible location that will continue as one of the most desirable luxury communities in the Horseshoe Valley and GTA. Curb appeal with curated designs and layouts that will please everyone. Architectural beauty that will stand the test of time. Quality construction with the peace of mind that only a new build can provide. Yes, you can rest assured that every Democrat home is built to the Ontario building code with only high quality materials and finishings that will last a lifetime. Hundreds of options and customizable premium upgrades will add that personal touch all your very own.

Sales Manager, Mark Palumbo, handles every purchase personally and will help you navigate your newhomebuying experience with ease. From the initial purchase to colour charts, electrical layouts and kitchen design, Palumbo will assist you with every aspect of your new home.

Forest Heights Estates

For further information and to register, visit the Democrat Homes website or e-mail Mark Palumbo directly.


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Gallery Condos + Lofts

Carriage Gate introduces Gallery Condos + Lofts – an exciting new community

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Carriage Gate introduces Gallery Condos + Lofts – an exciting new community

Picture yourself living in the heart of Burlington’s downtown core right across from City Hall at Gallery Condos + Lofts by Carriage Gate Homes. This exciting and vibrant community introduces Burlington’s most anticipated lifestyle opportunity.

Residents will be able to enjoy music, dance and theatre performances at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre and take in the exhibits at the Art Gallery of Burlington. They can walk to fine eateries and bistros, and stroll to Spencer Smith Park, with its scenic waterfront promenade. The park is the site of numerous events throughout the year – the Sound of Music Festival and Ribfest are just two of the many festivals that take place in beautiful downtown Burlington. The Brant St. Pier, extending 132 metres into Lake Ontario, provides breathtaking views of the lake and the city’s shoreline.

At Gallery Condos + Lofts, it’s the details that make the difference. The suites are modern with luxury finishes, open-concept layouts and chef style kitchens to bring together family and friends over the art of food. The custom cabinets, vanities, and quartz countertops add a sophisticated touch to the suites. The oversized terraces with barbecue connections in the tower suites maximize usable space, making them a pleasure to live in. Suites range in size from 500 to more than 1,600 sq. ft., with most of the tower units averaging a little less than 1,000 sq. ft.

“The soft lofts on the gallery level are a first for Burlington,” says Nick Carnicelli, president of Carriage Gate. They will feature soaring ceilings, barn style doors, and concrete accent walls. The master ensuites offer a one-of-a-kind four-piece spa experience. The signature feature places the tub in a five-by-five-ft. rain room which has been meticulously curated by award-winning Tomas Pearce Interior Design. There are units that will appeal to everyone from young buyers looking to buy their first home, to mature adults seeking to downsize, but who still want space for entertaining family and friends.

When it comes to a great lifestyle, you don’t have to venture far from your home at Gallery Condos + Lofts, thanks to an impressive list of onsite amenities, including a magnificent indoor pool, a private yoga room, fully-equipped fitness facilities, pet spa, party room with private dining area, and billiards lounge. From the top of the 22nd floor, residents and their guests will enjoy spectacular lake views in every direction from the rooftop oasis, with a fire feature, lounge areas, and barbecues for alfresco dining.

Burlington offers excellent value for buyers looking for urban amenities and a great location. Gallery Condos + Lofts has 159 units, with prices starting from the $400,000s to more than $1 million. Perfectly positioned at Brant and James St., the building is adding to the colourful palette of the downtown core with its pedestrian-friendly urban location. The wide streetscapes on three sides of the building offer the perfect place for plenty of new trees, street furniture and outdoor patio space. As the city of Burlington undergoes a revitalization, these streetscapes will go a long way to improve the downtown core, while still offering a quaint yet hip feel that residents will revel in.

Demolition is scheduled to start this summer, with an official groundbreaking for Gallery Condos + Lofts anticipated in the early fall, and move-ins projected for spring of 2021.

There is no doubt that the city exudes an electric vibe, a place full of life and energy, which Gallery Condos + Lofts is pleased to be right in the centre of.

About Carriage Gate

Carriage Gate has been building in Southwestern Ontario areas for more than 30 years. It has created award-winning communities in Hamilton, Ancaster, Stoney Creek and Oakville. As a visionary company specializing in the construction of high-quality homes, modern condominiums, commercial developments and urban highrise communities, Carriage Gate celebrates the past and ensures its commitment to being “Home to New Living.”

For further information, including preconstruction sales opportunities, visit the sales office, located at 2107 Old Lakeshore Rd. The sales office is open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and from noon to 5 p.m. weekends; closed Fridays.



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Lucchetta Homes

Lucchetta Homes the only builder with five nominations and three wins at CHBA National Awards

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Lucchetta Homes the only builder with five nominations and three wins at CHBA National Awards

Davis Heights is one of Niagara’s finest new addresses. This luxury development, features a limited selection of bungalow/bungaloft luxury custom towns, backing onto the Niagara escarpment.

At Davis Heights, the Luxe Collection is custom curated by the renowned interior design firm Raphael Gomes Interiors. The Versailles model home features a vertical glass wine-cellar embedded in the staircase filled with local wines, an elegant paneled library, convenient and practical double, main floor masters with ensuites, each meticulously designed with individual masculine and feminine forward touches.

Relax in the sumptuous living room with 15-ft. vaulted ceiling, gourmet chef’s kitchen with two-tone cabinets, and oversized island perfect for entertaining. Lower level features a spacious guest suite, games room, wet-bar, Great Room with home theatre and your own personal gym. Homes are priced from the $700,000s with floorplans ranging from 1,530 to 2600 sq. ft. Occupancy is scheduled for fall of 2019 or early 2020. Stop in to see the award-winning models. Hurry in to own your luxurious piece of tranquility with private terraces overlooking a ravine.


As part of Riverside‘s Grand Opening Special at Hunter’s Pointe, new-home buyers will receive $20,000 in designer upgrades upon the purchase of a single-detached home! Riverside features perfectly aligned bungalow homes with waterfront lots, single-detached lots and award-winning bungalow towns. Towns are available from $499,900, with occupancy in May 2020. Move-in-ready homes are available with 30-, 60- and 90-day closings.

The contemporary Lancaster, now open, is an award-winning NZR model home designed by Wendi Pelfrey. Everything is perfectly designed to address homeowners’ needs, and is conveniently within reach of natural elements in a serene, lush landscape.

The Lancaster was recently nominated for Best Production Home and Best Kitchen in Ontario and Canadian homebuilder association awards, and was recently named Best Kitchen by Niagara Home Builder’s Association. This is a premier, resort-style, Energy-Star certified adult community, with world-class amenities and convenient services right at your fingertips.

“Buying a home here is a fraction of the cost of comparable homes in the GTA,” says Kim Kopyl, director of sales and marketing for Lucchetta Homes. “And the quality of life is far superior.”

Well recognized

Ugo Lucchetta started Lucchetta Homes more than 60 years ago. Today, it is well-known for quality construction, craftsmanship and unparalleled customer service. Sons Robert and Ed carry on the traditions started by their father. Their hard work has paid off with ongoing appreciation, in addition to the loyalty and word-of mouth praise expressed by their customers.

Last year alone, Lucchetta Homes won or was nominated for more than 30 awards by all levels of builders’ associations – local, provincial and national. The company most recently won for Community of the Year in the CHBA Awards, and EnerQuality’s Energy Star Builder of the Year.

Lucchetta Homes was also the only builder in Ontario this year to have been selected as a finalist for the CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence in five categories. From more than 700 entries, each entry was judged by more than 180 CHBA members from across Canada. On May 10th, 2019 in Niagara Falls, Lucchetta Homes achieved being one of the biggest winners of the evening, taking home three CHBA Awards!

  • Best Attached Home – Under 1,500 sq. ft.: Riverside, Hunters Pointe
  • Best Print Ad: Riverside Hunters Pointe
  • Best Brochure: Davis Heights

Lucchetta was also nominated in the coveted CHBA categories of Marketing Excellence and Design Excellence.

“Simply to be nominated amongst the very best in the industry in Canada is a tremendous achievement, and testament to our entire team,” says Kopyl. “Winning these coveted awards truly validates the caliber of excellence that Lucchetta Homes is consistently providing to the real estate industry on a national level.”

“Being a boutique builder, we are proud to have been considered as finalists and honoured to have won such prestigious national awards,” says Robert and Ed Lucchetta, principals of Lucchetta Homes. “We build every home as if we would live in it ourselves, and these achievements further authenticate our focus on homeowner satisfaction.”

Such recognition has inspired the company to keep raising the bar. “Legendary luxury is something everyone at Lucchetta Homes strives to provide – where we not only build homes, but foundations to live your best life.”

Niagara at its finest

There are many perks and benefits to living in this area, which include lower living costs, award-winning restaurants, world-class wineries, organic farmers’ markets, beaches, designer outlet shopping, casinos, the Shaw Festival and a plethora of other attractions and amenities. GO Transit rail service is well on its way to Niagara. And, for those who love to travel, you can easily access the Buffalo and Niagara airports. With an abundance of greenspace, outdoor activities include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, boating, fishing, paddle boarding, cycling, horseback riding, golfing and tennis.


  • Ryans Grove and Davis Heights, Fonthill
  • Hunters Pointe, Welland
  • Lusso, St. Catharines





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Palm Springs style, Vancouver views

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Palm Springs style, Vancouver views

• Photography By Provoke Studios

When the sun beckons, saying no to outdoor living is simply not an option. That’s the unwritten rule here in Canada, where our winters are bitter and the summers are never quite long enough. But a well-designed al fresco living and entertaining area will take you from early spring into late fall without a second thought – and if it’s really well done, it’ll carry you through those lingering winter months as well. That was the goal for the designer and owner of this home, Phyllis Lui, who together with her friend and business partner, Aleem Kassam, founded Vancouver-based design firm Kalu Interiors.

This particular project is especially close to Lui’s heart, being her own private residence. She offers a sneak peek of her always-sunny, Palm Springs-inspired abode.

Killer views

“The views are killer,” admits Lui, who’s steadfast mission to embrace nature seems to be worth every effort. Interestingly, her journey to maximize the outdoors began with her home’s interior.

“I was aiming to achieve a cohesive style between indoors and out, which meant echoing similar elements throughout,” Lui notes, pointing out the continuous colour scheme of cream, coral and royal blue, which pairs beautifully with a palette of soft finishes.

Esthetically speaking, the style is cool and contemporary, yet friendly and fun – the sheer essence of West Coast life. The easygoing, open-concept floor plan ushers you past the kitchen and family room, through stacking glass doors that all but disappear to reveal a breathtaking mountain view, best enjoyed from the adjoining main-floor patio.

Outdoor bliss

“The goal was to make this feel like a fun extension of the indoors,” Lui explains. The uninterrupted indoor-outdoor experience is achieved by taking those traditional “interior” elements outside. A rug underfoot, beautiful quality furnishings, accessories and art deliver comfort and style that invite early mornings and long evenings under the stars.

Warm it up

Lui incorporated wood soffits and pavers layered with rugs, to instantly bring a sense of warmth and welcome to this otherwise contemporary exterior. An oversized barbecue provides all-season cooking and entertaining under the covered outdoor dining and lounging area, complete with integrated heaters mounted overhead for year-round use of the space.

Multi-Level Magnificence

The master bedroom features another walkout and, arguably, a dream come true – a luxurious hot tub steps from the bed and with a breathtaking mountain view. Does it get any better than this? Perhaps it does from the vantage point of the upper-level deck, where a firepit area and lounger seating capture mountains, sea and sky.

Is that artificial turf underfoot? You bet it is! This evergreen landscaping option is gaining popularity, and was an ideal choice for this rooftop patio – and equally appreciated by anyone seeking something that looks lush year-round, is low-maintenance, and likely to induce green-envy glances from the neighbours.

Encircling the upper deck is a frameless glass railing, which maintains the clean and modern esthetic that characterizes this home and provides unobstructed views of the water and the mountains on the horizon.

Outdoor living is certainly top of mind in these weeks leading up to summer, but with a decked-out deck like this, Lui is no slave to Mother Nature. A warm, Palm Springs-style with cosy comforts make this al fresco living space a hot spot, regardless of the weather.

SOURCES LOWER DECK: Navy Blue SOFA, COFFEE TABLE & DINING SET, CHAIRS around firepit, Crate & Barrel Gold easy CHAIRS, CB2 Flamingo ART, Leftbank Art RUG, Chilewich PILLOWS, Etsy CHAIRS & COFFEE TABLE beside hot tub, West Elm PLANTERS, Canadian Sunlight HOT TUB, Beachcomber Hot Tubs UPPER DECK: FIREPIT, Dreamcast LOUNGERS, CB2 SIDE TABLES between loungers, Anthropologie UMBRELLA, Ginger Jar

Lydia McNutt is an award-winning writer, editor, journalist pro based in the Greater Toronto Area.


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