Category Archives: adult lifestyle communities

5 surreal wonders to explore near Toronto

Bruce Peninsula Grotto

Ontario is a province packed with natural wonders and surreal places to explore. Alas, for many of us, the drive way north to Thunder Bay and beyond is too daunting for a mere weekend trip. Fortunately, there are some out-of-this-world places within a reasonable drive of Toronto. From waterfalls to grottos, there’s plenty to astound within a short trip of the city.

Here are five surreal wonders to explore near Toronto.

The Grotto at Bruce Peninsula Park
It takes a bit of work to access the Grotto at Bruce Peninsula Park, but is it ever worth it. Carved out over Millenia by the waves of Georgian Bay, the cave is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Sunlight illuminates the interior water, which takes on an impossibly cerulean tone. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

natural wonders torontoCheltenham Badlands
Access to the Badlands themselves was restricted last spring as a plan is hatched to protect this natural wonder while also allowing the public to enjoy it as much as possible. Even though you can’t walk on them for the foreseeable future, the drive around the Badlands remains breathtaking. At less than an hour from Toronto, it still very much worth the trip.

Tews Falls

Tews Falls
The Hamilton area is blessed with numerous dramatic waterfalls, but my top choice is always Tews Falls. Not only is it just 10 metres shy of the height of Niagara Falls, the dome-like setting makes for a surreal setting that feels more Amazonian than it does Hamiltonian. You can also check out the nearby Webster Falls while in the area.

Bon Echo Park

Bon Echo Provincal Park
The Mazinaw Pictographs are located on a soaring 100 metre cliff at Bon Echo Provinicial park that’s stunning enough in its own right. Close exploration reveals over 260 pictographs spread across the rock face, which make it one of the largest collections of its kind in Ontario. There’s also a dedication to Walt Whitman carved into the rock almost a century ago.

Bonnechere cavesBonnechere Caves
Ontario isn’t exactly short on caves, but few match Bonnechere for pure aesthetics. This is a photographer’s playground, with layered rock walls shaped by millions of years of erosion. The cave system is quite extensive, which allows you to explore the fossilized passageways for hours.

Source: BlogTo.com Derek Flack / FEBRUARY 26, 2016

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Tax implications for selling a U.S. property

I’m considering selling my property in the U.S. I know I’ll need to pay capital gains on the appreciated value but do I claim the gains in U.S. or Canadian currency?

—Paul and Barb, Fort McMurray, Alta.

Timing is everything, in both comedy and taxes. According to Philippe Brideau, spokesperson for the CRA, both the cost of the property to buy and the proceeds of the sale must be converted into Canadian dollars using the exchange rate at the time of each transaction. You then report the capital gain, or loss, on your tax return based on “the difference between those two Canadian dollar amounts.” But the CRA isn’t the only tax collector to consider. The U.S. also cares about that property sale, explains Kim Moody of Calgary-based Moodys Gartner Tax Law. “A Canadian needs to first report a gain or loss in the U.S. by filing a U.S. tax return—form 1040NR—and paying any applicable U.S. taxes.” Expect to pay a withholding tax to the Internal Revenue Service, which you claim as a foreign tax credit on your Canadian tax return. Now, if this is a place in the sunny south, I hope you get to enjoy one last season down there.

Source: MoneySense.ca – Bruce Sellery February 2016

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Benefits of volunteering

Angela Sayler, from Williamsburg, MI, helps set a wall during the ‘A Decade of Dedication’ build in Mandeville, LA.

Giving our time and effort to help others can feel wonderful. We get to see the immediate impact of our work. We watch a wall go up, we clear a field of litter, we enjoy the smiles of the people we help and work beside.

While each of those seems like reason enough to volunteer, there are additional benefits to giving your time. The people you help might not be the only ones to gain from the experience!

Here are just some of the great benefits of volunteering, proof that even more good comes from doing good.

Get a new job.

Volunteering can help you make the transition to a new field. Giving your time and talent in support of a nonprofit’s day-to-day work or serving on a board can lead to a new career, according to Next Avenue, a public media service for the 50-plus population. That kind of involvement also is a great tool for younger workers. Volunteer experience strengthens any resume, and professional networking website LinkedIn even includes a section for highlighting your volunteer work.

Get a better job.

Seeking a promotion? Corporate volunteering programs give employees an opportunity to shine. As the Stanford Social Innovation Review has reported, “Through service learning, today’s corporate volunteers are becoming tomorrow’s corporate leaders — with great potential to impact the decisions they make on behalf of their company.” Interested in that kind of personal and professional growth? Encourage your employer to explore team building through an organization like Habitat for Humanity, or broaden your network through participation in a Habitat Young Professionals group.

Live longer.

A recent article in the Guardian asked the question “Is it time for doctors to prescribe volunteering?” The answer might be yes! Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that “people who volunteered spent 38 percent fewer nights in the hospital” than non-volunteers, and this Atlantic article citesadditional findings that volunteers of all ages enjoy better health, more stamina and lower stress levels. With Habitat, you’ll find plenty of those satisfying moments that make volunteering such a spiritual lift. And swinging a hammer or mixing cement is good exercise!

Learn something new.

Every volunteer opportunity offers a chance to stretch your skill set. With Habitat, you’ll always have the chance to learn something different, sometimes in as little as a single day. Help a family make repairs and improvements to their existing home or get instruction on how to use a new-to-you tool on a build site. Learn how to raise awareness of housing issues. Serve on a committee that helps coordinate future homeowner selection, financial education or build-site snacks! No matter how you choose to get involved, if you ever wanted to change the world and see the impact of your efforts, we have a place for you.

See your neighborhood in a new light — or see the world.

Most people think of volunteering somewhere close to home, and there are always ample chances to help make your community a better place to live. But don’t forget that many organizations offer the option of traveling to make a difference. For Habitat, people in your community and all over the world partner with us to build or improve a place they can call home. So you can find local opportunities in your area to work alongside a future homeowner or make plans to travel with a group of Habitat volunteers to a different destination somewhere in the U.S. or in one of the 70 countries where we work.

Build a better story.

When you give your time to help others, the memories you cherish making today can become a part of your new, awesome autobiography. Everyone loves a good story, so make yours the best it can possibly be. With Habitat, enjoy the joyful retellings of the time you helped a family repair a roof on their home, the time you built alongside a future homeowner working to achieve financial stability and more self-reliance, the time you made a difference.

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Seniors look to their home for financing the future

Canadian seniors consistently report that they prefer to live at home and age in place, instead of moving to assisted living. Yet, they also report that financial challenges are the biggest hurdle to doing so.

A recent report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) shows that 93% of seniors live at home and prefer to age in place. And, HomEquity Bank statistics support this, reporting that 60% of retired Canadians describe staying in their home as critical to their quality of life.

“Every day, our team hears from older Canadians who want to remain in their homes and communities, but find the financial challenges very stressful,” says Yvonne Ziomecki, SVP, HomEquity Bank. “We work with seniors to help them explore utilizing the equity in their homes so they can continue to live in a familiar environment – which in most cases is the family home.”

According to the FCM report:

  • 700,000 senior-led households face a housing affordability challenge;
  • a combination of modest incomes and high living costs mean that one in four senior-led households are spending more than 30% of their income on shelter; and
  • seniors who live alone experience poverty at twice the rate of other seniors.

One reason finances have been adversely affected, notes the FCM study, is because only one-third of the Canadian workforce is covered by a registered pension plan, down from 37% in 1992.

HomEquity Bank stats show 30% of Canadians nearing retirement have $50,000 or less in savings. And, almost 70% of those nearing retirement are still carrying debt, with 35% of Canadians nearing retirement planning on using the value of their home to generate retirement income.

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca Donald Horne | 07 Jan 2016

Are you a senior who would like to stay in your own home and worried about being able to afford it? Book your know obligation consultation with the Ray McMillan Mortgage Team or visit www.RayMcMillan.com and let us explore your options together.

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This $11,918,000 Vaughan penthouse is all glamour on main floor, all pool party on the roof

Possibly the most glamorous condo in the 905, the penthouse of One Cordoba Drive suggests a suite that might be at home in Dubai or Hong Kong or somewhere as exotic. Sitting atop a mid-rise building at Bathurst and Steeles, just north of the Toronto municipal border, the two-level unit offers more than 16,000 square feet on two entire floors. The estate, for that is what is must be called, includes four bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a full-size bar, a private seven-car garage and more.

Harvey Kalles Real Estate

Harvey Kalles Real Estate

Okay, since you asked, here’s the rest of the listing’s luxurious features: You’ll be able to seat 30 for dinner in the columned dining room, which is open to the palatial living room and its sleek steel-and-glass spiral staircase. A direct private elevator will take you to the main floor or to the rooftop, where there’s a full-size swimming pool, spa and full-size stainless steel chef’s kitchen. The entire rooftop is protected by a retractable glass roof that makes the space usable year-round. The 360-degree views from the indoor/outdoor patio are bested only by the potential for summer star-gazing from the comfort of your own in-pool floatie (with a glass of Champagne on hand from your poolside bar, of course).

Harvey Kalles Real Estate

Harvey Kalles Real Estate

The residence is entirely custom-designed, with inlaid marble floors, arched doorways, massive mouldings, full-height windows on every side, and 15-foot ceilings.

Harvey Kalles Real Estate

Harvey Kalles Real Estate

This home is ideal for those who need space in which to entertain. Have an elegant cocktail party with a jazz pianist on the main floor, while the children go wild upstairs in the pool. Teens can be entertained in the home theatre. Also included are a smart-home system, a home office with private terrace, a sauna and a gym.

Yours through Jamie Erlick at Harvey Kalles Real Estate, for $11,918,000.

Source: Shari Kulha | Last Updated: Nov 26 11:45 AM ET

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How transportation impacts real estate prices

Being around public transportation wasn’t always a good choice when it came to real estate. After World War II, downtown living was frowned upon and people flocked towards the suburbs in order to find larger and greener land. As a result, real estate prices rose outside the city.

Fast forward to today and we’re seeing the opposite effect. People want to live in the downtown core and public transportation is at the forefront of political debate.

Billions of dollars are being spent on new subways and streetcars in cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Calgary and Ottawa are also beefing up its public transit service in response to a higher demand from residents.

In fact, every major city across Canada has plans to focus on public transportation. It’s a response to increased population demands, and on minimizing the cost of economic and environmental resources.


Increased housing prices are a result of higher demand. In terms of housing near public transportation, this demand has increased because people want the convenience of walking to a subway or streetcar. This is an advantage because there is no requirement to pay for parking.

The millennial generation (those under 30 years old) also prefers to live close to public transportation. This generation of the population has made a conscious decision to drive less and walk more, thus, making them more dependent on public transportation.

This is especially true in the rental market where many renters opt to live in housing that is walking distance to a subway or streetcar route.

Transit is vital for building communities. It’s an essential service that provides mobility, creates jobs and takes cars off the street. As a result, congestion is reduced, fostering economic growth in the economy.

In terms of real estate prices, property values that are located close to public transit increase at a higher rate and have been shown to be more resilient to economic downturns.

A study created by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) concluded that “property values with good access to public transit remained much closer to their pre-recession levels than properties without access, even within the same city.”

This can also be seen in the short-term rental market. Properties listed on AirBnB and VRBO yield a higher return when they are located close to public transportation and to the downtown core.

As cities across Canada become more developed, it will be more and more difficult to commute downtown via car. Thus, properties that are located closer to the downtown and have good access to public transportation will continue to see growth in real estate prices.

Michael Rix is a co-founder of TurnKii, a Toronto-based company providing an all-in-one tool and service to support everyday landlords/real estate investors.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth 25 Nov 2015

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New Condominium Market Snapshot

Toronto

-1.97% month/month
Montreal

-0.24% month/month
Ottawa

+0.07 month/month
Source: BuzzBuzzHome 
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