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THE INDUSTRY INSIDER: Affordability is a challenge

Affordability is a challenge: The prices of condos have been rising

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Affordability is a challenge: The prices of condos have been rising

The prices of condos, which used to offer homebuyers a more affordable choice, have been rising, reducing the advantage of this option.

Every fall, BILD invites experts on economics and housing to join us for breakfast and speak to our members about what the GTA housing market will look like in the coming year. This fall was no exception and I was heartened by much of what I heard about current and future trends from Patricia Arsenault of Altus Group and Dana Senagama of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). I also saw we have much left to do around housing supply and affordability in our region.

There’s no doubt we have a lot to look forward to in the GTA. Economic conditions are expected to be solid in the short term, with the employment growth rate projected to be 1.8 per cent in 2019, according to Arsenault, who is Altus Group’s executive vice president, data solutions. More GTA households than last year are planning renovations of over $5,000 in the next year, and the percentage of GTA households that currently rent but plan to buy a home in the next year has rebounded after softening last summer, according to Altus Group’s survey.

But these survey results only indicate what homeowners and potential new homebuyers intend to do, not what they are ultimately able to do, and Arsenault noted that households may take longer to save for that first home in the face of new mortgage hurdles and housing affordability challenges. The prices of condo apartments, which used to offer potential homebuyers a more affordable choice than single-family homes, have been rising, reducing the advantage of this option. In September, the benchmark price of new condo apartments was $789,643 and the benchmark price of new single-family homes at $1,119,533.

Despite rapid price gains in both ownership and rental markets, the supply response has been weak or inelastic, said Senagama, who is CMHC’s manager of market analysis. That means our housing supply is not rising in response to increased demand for housing and the corresponding increase in the prices of homes, as the law of supply and demand would lead us to expect. In fact, Senagama showed that Toronto is one of the markets in Canada that are not at the risk of overbuilding.

I was not surprised to hear this. BILD has consistently delivered the same message. We have said that we are not building enough housing to accommodate the 115,000 new residents who are arriving in our region every year. We should be building 50,000 homes every year, and last year we only built 38,000. A big reason for this supply shortfall is the lengthy development process that housing projects face in the GTA, slowed down by outdated regulation and red tape.

We should be updating zoning bylaws and official plans and streamlining the list of conditions for municipal approvals, so that we can build the housing our growing region needs. Only then will potential homebuyers be able to afford to make their dream of owning a home a reality.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of BILD.

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THE ENGINEERING INTERN: Five reasons to cheer highrise development

Five reasons to cheer highrise development — when it’s done right

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Five reasons to cheer highrise development — when it’s done right

Reduced traffic, better commutes, improved streetscapes and more positive impacts that might turn a NIMBY into a YIMBY.

I recently attended my first community information meeting about planning for future development in the downtown core of London, Ont. The meeting helped me understand the negative stigma that residents in lowrise communities often have against highrise development close to their homes.

At this meeting, many attendees spoke out against the concept of highrise development. This inspired me to discuss the topic with other Stantec team members, including one of our planners, Stephanie Bergman. She explained that, unfortunately, this is the reality at these sorts of public meetings. The “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) voices nearly always overpower the “yes in my backyard” (YIMBY) voices. The result is less highrise development.

If highrise developers match the façade of existing buildings in the area, and couple that with new and improved landscaping, it can really improve the streetscape.
If highrise developers match the façade of existing buildings in the area, and couple that with new and improved landscaping, it can really improve the streetscape.

So, what’s the solution? According to Bergman, we need more YIMBYs taking part in the processes that will shape communities and help promote some of the positive impacts of highrise development. If highrise development is done right, there can be many positive effects. Here are five benefits that just might shift you from NIMBY to YIMBY.

Highrise development gives young professionals the opportunity to live downtown: The housing market in London has boomed over the past few years, which makes it difficult for freshly graduated young professionals to find affordable living. I fall into this category. If I want to live close to work — something I value greatly — my only option is to rent. Single-family homes in this location are too expensive. For this reason, highrise condos have become the only available means for a single person to own property downtown and, in general, close to where they work.

More people walking to work means less commuter traffic: I’ve spent my life driving everywhere I need to go in a car. Since I began renting an apartment close to work, I find myself walking rather than driving, not only to the office, but to most of the places I frequently visit. In the community information meeting, one issue that came up was increased traffic due to higher densities of people in a small area. While this makes sense in theory, the reality is if someone is looking for a place downtown, it most often means they work downtown as well. It also means that the downtown resident will likely prefer to avoid driving to work — taking transit, a bike, or walking instead — which would lower overall commuter traffic.

Many new highrise buildings utilize the ground level for commercial, retail, or some other active use.
Many new highrise buildings utilize the ground level for commercial, retail, or some other active use.

The creation of active ground floor uses: Most of the new highrise buildings I have seen developed over recent years utilize the ground level fronting city streets for commercial, retail, or some other active use. This opens new possibilities for retail shops and restaurants to open, where previously there was only a parking lot or old building that had been underutilized. This gives new life to areas that were once bare. If a new café wants to open along my walk to work, count me in!

Improved and updated streetscape: Another hot topic at the information meeting was the look of highrises near residential communities. In my experience, developers want their buildings to stand out in a good way. A lot of effort goes into the look of the building, particularly the first few floors, as these are the only floors people see when walking by. Matching the facade of existing buildings in the area, coupled with new and improved landscaping, makes areas that were once asphalt pads look renewed and become something enjoyable to see on your morning run.

More eyes on the street: Increasing the density of people in an area means more eyes on that area. This creates an artificial “neighbourhood watch,” where more people constantly interact and truly see one another. More people on the street creates an atmosphere of safety and provides informal surveillance of the urban environment. Bergman mentioned this point to me, and I find it very interesting, as it doesn’t seem like something people would think about when looking at a highrise development proposed in their area.

I’m hoping that readers can see what a highrise development done right can do for a community. There’s a value that comes with it. I’ve always seen development as progress, and progress for your city is a good thing. Let’s get more people saying YIMBY instead of NIMBY.

Derrick Rice is an engineering intern at Stantec‘s London, Ont. office.

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THE COUNCIL: Keeping the trades satisfied

Keeping the trades satisfied: Labour crunch leads to survey

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Keeping the trades satisfied: Labour crunch leads to survey

Labour crunch leads to survey to learn how to keep construction workers happy on the job.

Ontario construction is facing a labour crunch in the next 10 years with almost 90,000 trades workers set to retire during that time, according to BuildForce Canada.

Learning about that figure triggered a conversation that led RESCON to join forces with Job Talks, an organization with a strong track record in academia and in construction. Together with the Ontario Residential Council of Construction Associations, they have launched a survey to learn what satisfies trades professionals day-to-day as they build Ontario.

“We’re thinking about the future,” said Andrew Pariser, vice president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON). “We’ve seen labour shortages on and off in different trades for more than a decade. We must prepare for how this will affect all construction sectors including residential and infrastructure and how it will impact our ability to build in the future.

“Our goal is to better understand how we can retain current workers, recruit new workers, and build a labour force to match tomorrow’s needs. If we recruit the right people and provide them with the right opportunities, we can greatly improve all training and apprenticeship initiatives.”

The academically-based survey analysis will be carried out by Job Talks. Recent Job Talks projects include a national survey of workers in Red Seal trades and a complementary interview series on YouTube, as well as a national study that reveals new distinct segments of Canada’s working population.

“It takes at least 20 minutes and is open to any person who works on tools or owns a pair of safety boots in infrastructure and residential trades in Ontario,” said Jon Callegher of Job Talks. It has multiple choice and open-ended questions that “help us understand how construction workers really feel about their jobs and to gauge their happiness on the job.”

The results of the survey will inform a report on retention and job satisfaction of trades workers in construction. It is available here.

For more information, email dibe@rescon.com.

Richard Lyall is the president of RESCON.

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THE DESIGN CONSULTANT: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

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Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

Take the time to evaluate your workplace, align it to the overall business plan and empower it to maximize your most critical asset: the employee.

We have seen a significant change in the nature of work. This has been highly influenced by advances in technology and increased need for mobility, generational and population shifts, diversity and inclusiveness. Cities and buildings are changing in parallel to work and work patterns. Land is becoming scarce and buildings more valuable. To stay competitive, organizations must leverage every opportunity – which includes people, place and technology.

As someone who has been practicing in the design field for over 25 years, one of my favourite pieces of advice is, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” While it applies to a multitude of experiences, such as the use of sound effects in PowerPoint, it also applies to trendy workplace decisions, such as the removal of all walls, un-assigning workstations and the provision of beer kegs in work lounges.

Many organizations are scrambling to create workplaces to attract and retain new generations. The workplace is a significant contributor to employee attraction and retention, productivity and loyalty. These are crucial to an organization’s success.

While competition for talent is driving CEOs and real estate leaders to redesign, relocate and reinvent, it should be a collective goal to view the workplace as an extension of compensation – and just as practical. Rather than focusing on trendy solutions that may be short-lived, take the time to evaluate the workplace, align it to the overall business plan and empower it to maximize your most critical asset: the employee.

This can be accomplished in several ways. First, by leveraging the workplace to drive employee engagement, spaces help define the culture. There are clear benefits to having a strong unified culture and the workplace is an example of visually persistent culture. Ultimately, the workplace is a constant reminder of our values, brand and identity.

While there are many influences on corporate culture, two main drivers at present are the millennial generation and technology.

Millennials are driving the workplace changes. They have high expectations and desire a strong corporate image. Tech companies made the entrepreneurial, incubating culture of their workplaces desirable and have spread trends such as “scrum style” work areas, meditation rooms, ping pong areas and lounges like wildfire throughout offices worldwide.

This demand for cool workplaces has increased greatly in the last decade — but what constitutes cool is not so easily defined. It is decidedly dependent on the vision of the company and requires careful analysis of the brand.

Collaborative work environments are at the core of the modern office. Organizations that are collaborative are also more innovative. Brainstorming brings forward the best ideas and strengthens interpersonal relationships between employees, which makes organizations stronger and more robust. Collaboration between departments provides for more transparency and often results in a more efficient use of resources. While digital collaboration is critical, nothing beats face-to-face collaboration fostered by a wide variety of work settings.

Beyond meeting rooms, employees benefit from lounges, coffee bars, decompression areas and places that foster physical activity. Essentially, learning and sharing occurs best when it can be nurtured in different ways: visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary. Good workspace design accommodates all seven.

A great workplace provides a combination of spaces that foster productivity and accommodates both focused work and collaborative work. Modern work environments should not default to monotonous seas of hoteling, benching or touchdown workstations to maximize capacity and save real estate dollars. Careful thought and planning should go into developing future goals and aspirations.

Aligning the business objectives to the workplace plan to drive innovation, productivity and employee health and happiness should be the first exercise in any workplace redesign. By balancing a variety of space types and projecting the appropriate image with visual cues, workplace design becomes an active part in making an organization successful. When designing for productivity, we must evaluate activity-based work settings, public/private zoning, territoriality, mobility and the continuum of work habits.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Experience per Square Foot (XSF) survey measures employees’ current work experience in their office space and identifies the biggest levers for optimizing the employee experience. XSF analysis consistently has found that ensuring minimal distractions in the workplace is the top driver of employees’ ability to focus on their work. Other common drivers include availability and access to data and information, privacy, and having the types of space needed for various tasks.

Three of these four top levers point to the need to approach densification efforts with a focus on employees’ day-to-day effectiveness and not just on cost savings. This requires a variety of space types throughout the office to support individual and group work.

It is important to note that people are territorial by nature. Objects, spaces, relationships and behavioural roles are areas in which people claim ownership. Territory can help to create social belonging and establish a sense of psychological and physical comfort. How does this affect life at the office and the creation of workspaces? The key to a successful and respectful workplace is balance.

While specific success KPIs may vary, facilities managers, designers, architects and real estate professionals are keenly aware of how environments affect occupants. There is increased scrutiny to determine and measure how the workplace can affect productivity, health, sociability, efficiency and responsiveness to change. At Cushman and Wakefield, we have entitled this balanced approach the The Holistic Workplace.

Each of these categories offers a distinct way of setting goals and measuring successes. It is an established process that allows us to ask the right questions and predict the outcomes.

For example, when designing for productivity, we must evaluate activity-based work settings, public/private zoning, territoriality, mobility and the continuum of work habits. In establishing a healthy workplace, a thorough analysis of individual and group needs must be performed while integrating sustainable, ergonomic, biophilic and wellness-focused initiatives. A social workplace must promote learning and collaboration while making spaces inspirational and aspirational. Efficient workspaces are streamlined and optimized to align to business objectives, occupancy scenarios and utilization strategies. Responsive workspace design recognizes that organizations are living and constantly changing so the work environment should be able to adapt to suit new needs. By future proofing — a.k.a. designing with an eye on the future — as much as possible, we can provide flexibility, save valuable dollars and provide a great workplace that serves as a catalyst for organizational and business success.

Samantha Sannella is managing director, strategic consulting for Cushman and Wakefield.

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THE STRATEGIST: Five rules of customer confidentiality

Five rules of customer confidentiality

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Five rules of customer confidentiality

Customers may not feel comfortable asking you for discretion, but they always appreciate it.

Did you ever have a potential customer who should have been excited about doing business with you but seemed reserved?

It happened in a weird way for me. The senior managers seated around the boardroom table were excited that their new technology would disrupt their market and separate them from every competitor. They had brought me in to help craft their sales message and to eventually train their reps on how to introduce it to their customers.

Along with their excitement, though, I sensed some tension. So after I was introduced, my first remark was: “I know this goes without saying. I just want it known for the record that everything we discuss here will be treated by me as confidential.”

I immediately noticed this huge look of relief on the face of the CEO. From that point on, things went just fine.

Customers may not feel comfortable asking you for discretion, but they always appreciate it. Unfortunately, in today’s world of social media, coffee shops used as offices and cellphones that record anything anywhere, confidentiality seems to be backsliding into a state of dangerous decline. That’s why you can gain tremendous trust with customers by simply following these five unwritten rules of customer confidentiality. Ignore them at your peril.

Rule #1: Know that you are in a position of trust: We’ve all heard of doctor/patient confidentiality and lawyer/client privilege. Doctors and lawyers are sworn to secrecy about their customers’ affairs for good reason. Your customers deserve the same discretion from you. When you talk to others about your customers, assume that the customer is in the room with you, or will read everything you post or write about them. If what you’re sharing isn’t complimentary and publically known, then keep it to yourself.

Rule #2: Starbucks isn’t a confession booth: I once hired a consultant who was based in another city to do some work on our website. We scheduled a conversation about my brand and target market. To my dismay, he logs into the call from a coffee shop. Throughout our conversation, I’m seeing customers come and go in the background. Not only was it distracting, it felt like a violation of my privacy as a client. There are good reasons why lawyers and accountants won’t host you in their office. Instead, meetings are held in a private room. One reason is that you shouldn’t see confidential files lying on their desk from other clients. Another reason is so your meeting will not be seen or overheard by others. Coffee shops are for casual coffee, not for doing business.

Rule #3: There’s a difference between small talk and prying: Ever have this happen to you in a restaurant while you’re paying for the meal: the server is standing by your table waiting for you to input your credit card PIN on the portable device and asks, “So what are your plans for the rest of the day (evening, weekend, whatever)?” Pardon? When did our relationship as patron/server evolve to the intimacy of me needing to share my weekend plans? The key to making small talk sound natural and appropriate is context and relevance. Unless you’ve been chatting about weekend plans with that person, better to stick to safe topics like the weather.

Rule #4: Yes, your cellphone conversation is annoying: People who talk at length on cellphones around other people sound like jackasses. Seriously. It reflects a total lack of self-awareness and distain for basic civility. It also tells people around them they don’t respect the privacy of the person on the other end of the phone. They’re damaging their own reputation and are too oblivious to realize it. Don’t be one of them. Move to a quiet area and lower your voice.

Rule #5: Strong feelings don’t necessitate expressing them: This is perhaps the most important confidentiality lesson at work and in life. We can’t unsay, unpost, or unTweet our opinions and observations. No doubt you can think of numerous examples at work and in the news where a little discretion and self-restraint would have saved significant fallout. While it’s tempting to be drawn into adding our two cents to a discussion, perhaps the greatest contribution we can make to the relationship is remaining silent. We hope in turn that when we say or do something less than brilliant, others won’t share it with the world. Ironically, kindness and maturity are often best reflected — and trust is sometimes most strongly earned — by simply shutting up.

Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist and speaker based in Calgary. This article is based on his bestselling book, Influence with Ease.

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Women In Skilled Trades (WIST)

Women are breaking barriers

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Women are breaking barriers

Tiffany Morin loves to solve puzzles. In fact, the new graduate from the Women In Skilled Trades (WIST) program says she considers every house she works on to be a puzzle.

“If that door isn’t closing right, you have to fix the puzzle – you have to find the missing piece,” said the 21-year-old from Baden (near Kitchener). “You see something that’s not working, you re-evaluate what’s wrong and try the first solution, then the next solution.”

Morin recently graduated from the program at the Centre for Skills Development in Burlington. It is an important cog to train and educate women to join the male-dominated construction trades.

“We’re chipping away every year to change the gender makeup of the trades,” says instructor Lawrence Farrell.

Among 19 women in the 22-week program, Morin was considered one of her class’s top problem-solvers. She has taken those skills and her new education with her to a job in Kitchener with Timeline Journey Renovations.

“It’s going really great. So far, we’ve put in a few doors, bathroom vents and a fence job where we replaced all of the old posts with new ones. Every day, I learn something new,” Morin says.

Farrell was not surprised to learn Morin was hired the Monday following her graduation in September.

“Tiffany is a very capable worker, and is an excellent problem solver with an eye for detail,” Farrell says. “She excelled in theory and was admired for her ability to grasp concepts quickly and apply what she learned for hands-on use. She is a leader, and that will shine through as she develops in her career in the trades.”

Because she excelled in leadership skills, academics and technical ability, Morin joined classmate Nico Varkevisser of Hamilton in being awarded with a $500 bursary from the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON).

Morin describes Varkevisser, a former daycare worker, as a quiet leader. “She was always so patient. All of the students got frustrated at different points but we all understood where people needed to take a second to catch their breath; no one was good at everything,” Morin says.

“Nico was definitely the most patient and understanding of all of us. She was always level-headed and if she ever got frustrated, it didn’t show.”

While she has plenty of patience, Varkevisser says she’s focused on improving her professional qualities. “I have a whole skill set that I didn’t have six months earlier, and I have the confidence that I can learn different skills if I didn’t learn them before.”

Varkevisser, 25, says that while it’s intimidating to be a woman stepping into construction, it shouldn’t be. “I think it needs to be more normalized so that women can be seen as being just as efficient as men in the construction world.” Couldn’t agree more.

Richard Lyall is president of RESCON.


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Green tips for the holidays

Green tips for the holidays

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Green tips for the holidays

Check out the simple tips below to bring some holiday cheer to your home and our environment by thinking green.

DECORATING

(NC) Families are outfitting their homes with the most festive decorations they can find. This year, check out the simple tips below to bring some holiday cheer to your home and our environment by thinking green.

Use a real tree: According to Statistics Canada, $61 million worth of artificial trees were imported into Canada in 2016. While artificial trees last longer, they are not recyclable. Real trees are as green as it gets. They are grown expressly for the holidays and do not contribute to deforestation. Not only do they help to remove carbon from the atmosphere while they are growing, they’re recyclable as well.

Use eco-friendly decorations: Consider stopping at your local thrift store, which is sure to offer a wide variety of unique and vintage decorations. You should also opt for decorations made from wood, burlap, metal or cloth where possible – not only do they last longer, but they give a natural, festive feel to your home. Lastly, get creative at home and use a mix of old decorations, branches or plants to really deck the halls.

Recycle old batteries: Make sure to replace and recycle the old batteries in reusable decorations, such as electronic train sets, snow globes and other figurines, to ensure they don’t wind up in landfills. Call2Recycle Canada (call2recycle.ca) has more than 8,000 drop-off locations across the country, ensuring correct battery recycling is accessible for all Canadians. You can plug in your postal code on their website to find one closest to your home or work.

Use LED lights: The holidays are a peak time for energy consumption. Reducing your carbon footprint can help save you money while saving our environment. It isn’t as hard as you think, either. LED lights use 90 per cent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. LED lights are perfect for indoor and outdoor decorations to brighten up any winter night.

GIFT BUYING

The holidays are all about spending time with family and friends, but we all look forward to opening a gift or two. According to PwC, Canadians plan to spend an average of $1,563 each during the upcoming holiday season. Ensure your dollars don’t waste away in our landfills by following these green tips for gift buying.

Less is more: When shopping, think quality, not quantity – buy one great gift you know your loved one will cherish instead of multiple items. You can also consider donating to a charity or cause in someone’s name. DIY stocking stuffers and homemade treats are always a hit, so don’t forget to reconnect with your creative side.

Charge up your gifts: When purchasing toys and electronic gifts, why not throw in a pack of rechargeable batteries, too? Since you can recharge them over and over, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. This will decrease the number of old batteries that end up in landfills.

Create an experience: Holiday gifts tend to be all about the latest and greatest products, but they don’t always need to be. Create memories for your loved ones by purchasing experiences instead of what’s making the trendy list. Experiences such as concert tickets, movie passes or a ski trip are exciting gifts that will never ever end up in a landfill.

GIVE TO THE ENVIRONMENT

Incorporating these tips into your holiday festivities can make a big difference in keeping our earth clean and green. A little holiday cheer could land you on the environment’s nice list for a long, long time.

That’s a wrap: Make sure you’re disposing of wrapping paper and gift bags properly. Most wrapping paper, gift bags and boxes are recyclable if they don’t contain foil or glitter. Don’t forget to remove any sticky tape and decorations such as ribbons and bows before throwing them into the recycling bin. They are not recyclable and could taint other recyclable materials. If you feel like getting crafty, make your own wrapping paper using old maps, newspaper or your kids’ artwork.

Turn off the lights: Holiday nights are brightened by holiday lights, but think about reducing your carbon footprint by installing a timer or shutting off your indoor and outdoor lights before heading to bed. Timers help ensure your lights are turning on and off at the right times, which will save you money and our environment at the same time.

Out with the old, in with the new: The trendiest new toys and gadgets are great to receive, but don’t leave your old stuff by the wayside. Toys and gadgets make for great donations, so think about giving them to a family in need or dropping them off at a toy drive.

newscanada.com/home


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A Merry Drink for the Holidays

A Merry Drink for the Holidays

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A Merry Drink for the Holidays

Whether mocktail or cocktail, these beverages will add pizzazz to your holiday entertaining.

(NC) Sangria is often relegated to summertime patios, but this make-ahead pitcher drink is equally perfect for winter entertaining. Sweet, tart pomegranate juice and warm winter spices add festive flavour and de-alcoholized red wine makes this a great non-alcoholic option.

“Spruce up this mocktail with sprigs of basil or fresh mint for an extra pop of colour and freshness,” suggests Michelle Pennock, executive chef for the President’s Choice Test Kitchen. “These small touches add bright tasting notes that get your guests’ senses tingling and set the stage for your event.”

Non-Alcoholic Spiced Sangria

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cool time: 2 hours
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each ground allspice and ground cloves
  • Pinch (0.5 mL) ground nutmeg
  • 1 navel orange (peel on), thinly sliced into rounds
  • Half lemon (peel on), thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) PC Red De-Alcoholized Wine with Natural Flavour, chilled
  • 2 cups (500 mL) 100% pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup (250 mL) pulp-free orange juice
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) frozen pomegranate arils

Directions:

Bring sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and 1 cup water to a boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate syrup until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Stir together orange, lemon, 1 cup wine, pomegranate juice, orange juice and ¼ cup syrup in 3L (12 cup) pitcher. Cover and refrigerate one hour or up to 12 hours. Stir in frozen pomegranate arils and remaining wine. Divide among wine glasses filled with ice.

Chef’s tip: You’ll make more of the spiced syrup than you need for one batch of this sangria. Refrigerate the remaining syrup in an airtight container or jar for up to one month and use in your favourite cocktails and mocktails, or as a dressing for fruit salad.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 100, fat 0 g, sodium 10 mg, carbohydrate 24 g, fibre 1 g, sugars 20 g, protein 1 g.

A holiday mule to warm up your guests

This extra-festive twist on a Moscow mule is sure to spice up your holiday party. Flavoured with the zing of ginger beer, notes of caramel and vanilla from bourbon, and balanced by the sweetness of apple cider, it strikes a perfect balance. “To make your drink look as good as it tastes, try garnishing with accents such as crystallized ginger,” suggests Pennock. “This small step brings the drink to the next level.”

Maple Bourbon Cider Mule

Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) honeycrisp sweet apple cider
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) bourbon (1 oz)
  • 4 tsp (20 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) ginger beer
  • 1 slice crystallized ginger (optional)

Directions:

Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add apple cider, bourbon, maple syrup and lime juice. Cover and shake vigorously 15 to 20 seconds.

Strain into stemless red wine glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer. Thread crystallized ginger onto wooden cocktail skewer (if using); place in glass. Chef’s tip: Leave out the bourbon for a non-alcoholic version.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 220, fat 0 g, sodium 10 mg, carbohydrates 39 g, fibre 0 g, sugars 36 g, protein 0 g.

newscanada.com/home


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Trend Spotting at Maison et Objet

Trend spotting at Maison et Objet

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Trend spotting at Maison et Objet

At the Maison et Objet 2018 show this past September, you couldn’t help but feel design all around! The yearning to discover what the trends in home decor and interior design for this year’s Fall-Winter seasons were going to be was palpable. The most special thing to look for was the upholstery fabrics. Not only do they cover all the essential furniture products of a house, but they can be transformed into something brighter and more creative.

Decorative pillows, drapes, bedding…the list is endless, but whether we like it or not, trends follow us everywhere and we can’t totally escape it. However, the fun part of it is that you can always mix things up and create your own trends or even your own styles.

To better understand this environment, here are the Five trends spotted at the best European tradeshow:

Geometric patterned fabrics

Just like people’s attitudes, geometric shapes can also determinate character traits. The ones you choose for the projects in your favourite spaces will tell everyone a lot about you. Give some character to your spaces while still making them feel cozy and homey.

Bright coloured fabrics

Every home needs a splash of colour. Not only to warm up the room and for it to feel lived in, but also to transmit a very light and upbeat atmosphere. With different colourful fabrics, you won’t want to leave the house or the office.

Tropical patterned elements

It is always nice to have some elements that are nature inspired in your home decor whether it is on pillows, throws, drapes, rugs or even furniture. A tropical themed fabric collection is always a good choice as it has nature at the same time that they remind us of spring and summer days.

Peculiar shaped upholstery

Everyone wants their favourite space to have an eye-catching element that will blow everyone away. Why can’t it be a small armchair or a big wall-to-wall sofa? The most important thing is that it has a unique design different from what you are used to seeing.

Fabrics on the wall

Traditional interior design can be modern and chic there is no denying that. However, thinking outside of the box is the way to go to customize your personal preferences just like mismatched dining chairs at a dining table or a rug on the wall.

Maison et Objet has come and gone this year, but its trends will still be among us until next year’s edition in Paris, Jan. 18 to 22, 2019.

Courtesy of upholsteryfabrics.eu


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Remnant Warehouse

How to Save on Smaller Projects!

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How to Save on Smaller Projects!

How you can save money – and help the environment by reducing construction waste.

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Introducing a new program by Latitude Countertops for significant cost saving when renovating smaller surface projects like a small kitchen, island, fireplace or bathroom.

The Remnant Warehouse was born out of the countertop fabrication firm’s goal to reduce waste. The company created an online inventory with easily searchable remnant pieces of stone and quartz for small project needs.

Today, just more than a year later, the Remnant Warehouse (qrw.ca) boasts more than 2,000 pieces of popular quartz brands such as Caesarstone, Silestone and HanStone, as well as natural stone in all shapes and sizes. Hundreds more pieces are added each week.

What exactly is a remnant?

When a typical kitchen countertop is fabricated, it comes from a full slab of either quartz or natural stone ranging in size from 46 to 50 sq. ft. Since all of Latitude’s countertops are made to custom sizes and lengths, there are always leftover pieces of full slabs which can be used in other smaller projects. These remnants then become available for significantly discounted prices.

Searching the Remnant Warehouse is easy. You can search by colour name, size or brand name, and of course purchasing online is easy. You can also get estimates on fabrication projects using Latitude’s fast and easy Webquotes.

To register for designer and contractor pricing, visit qrw.ca

Features and benefits

The benefits of using qrw.ca include:

  • Saves money and helps environment
  • Fast and easy online searching and secure purchasing
  • Instant online project quoting for designer and contractor customers
  • Remnants are ideal for small surfaces such as vanity and island tops and galley kitchens, fireplace surrounds, table tops, furniture accents, shower walls and surrounds

416-638-8586 | 800-435-9083


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