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Archive for the ‘Toronto Events’ Category

Radon: An Invisible Menace

Friday, February 10th, 2017

The cold winter weather traps many of us inside our homes till the first sign of spring. And being inside all that time may lead you to wonder about the quality of your indoor air.

In Canada, radon gas is something of a concern. In 2014, the CBC obtained data that showed over 1,500 homes had radon levels above Health Canada’s safety guidelines following a testing of approximately 14,000 homes across the country.

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It’s estimated that radon is responsible for 3,000 deaths in Canada each year.

Radon is a radioactive gas created in nature that seeps into poorly ventilated basements and crawl spaces. Radon is created by decaying uranium found in soil, rock and water. Because these three elements are found in the ground, they are more likely to leach into their first point of contact which would be cellars and crawl spaces.  Radon filters into a home through cracks in the foundation and gaps around pipes.

The scary thing about radon is that it’s invisible, odourless and tasteless. The only way to know for sure if you have it is to do a DIY test or call in a professional at your own expense.

According to the CBC, recommendations that the government help fund homeowners in need of testing and cleaning up their radon issue have not been addressed. Nor has a recommendation that homes undergo mandatory tests for radon levels as a condition of sale, as is the case in several American states.

Radon gas levels are measured in units known as the Becquerel (Bq). One Becquerel is described as one event of radiation emission per second and it is minute.

radiation_warning

The old Canadian standard considered 800 Bq per cubic metre to be a safe standard. But ten years ago following a push to tighten guidelines the federal government changed its standard to 200 Bq per cubic metre, the same level considered safe by Russia and China. The U.S. pegs its safe level at 150.

For more information or to learn more about testing for radon visit Health Canada.

Head over Heels about Real Estate

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

There’s good reason why buying real estate is considered such an emotional roller coaster of an experience.

It has something to do with the mechanics of the heart and how we respond to what we adore. Falling in love with a house or a neighbourhood happens all the time. It’s socially acceptable, expected even, to hear people talk about their affection for their home or the area in which they live.  Expressions of worship should be saved for big-ticket items that represent sentiment. When was the last time you heard someone say they became lovestruck by those blue bath towels or that vinyl siding stole their heart because it was the perfect shade of beige?

Exactly.

As we observe Valentine’s Day this month, we thought it would be apropos and fun to draw parallels between the worlds of real estate and love.

Falling in love with a house happens all the time and no one can fault you or prepare you for it. The feeling comes over you like a soft breeze of fresh air in spring. You’re smitten and everything about the house comes into focus. Imperfections start to fade and suddenly you’re getting a clear picture of the joy you will feel living there. From the dappled light filtering through the living room window to the subtle street noises to the home’s layout and sight lines, it’s perfect. Your heart rate picks up a little.

House hunting is a lot like dating. You keep trying one on until it fits. And realtors are in the enviable position of playing matchmaker, introducing clients to a number of possibilities until they find the right one.

To play matchmaker, real estate agents must possess a laundry list of traits that might include persistence, friendliness and a sense of humour. They also need to read people well so that begs the question are they superior at dating and finding a mate themselves? In the spirit of sweethearts everywhere, let’s look at what online dating website eHarmony has to say about the benefits of dating a realtor:

  • You’ll learn more about your city. Date a real estate agent, and you’ll get an education in thriving neighborhoods, up-and-coming areas to watch, zoning laws and gentrification.
  • Can’t handle awkwardness? Real estate agents depend on their people skills to survive financially. Invite a realtor to a dinner party, and he/she will bring out the charm.
  • Real estate agents are smart — and good at math. They’re always updating courses and intentionally learning more about their business and the neighborhoods they sell in.
  • No 9-to-5 here. If you’re also a freelancer, a real estate agent’s unconventional schedule might appeal to you. Sure, she might be busy tomorrow evening, but she might also be able to swing a weekday brunch.
  • For realtors, beauty is more than skin deep. They can see the potential in a property that others can’t.
  • He probably doesn’t live in his parents’ basement.
  • According to Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy, “Every realtor is just a ninja with a blazer.”

 

 

Happy to Pick Up Where Honest Ed’s Left Off

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

turkeybannersmall

Freeman Real Estate is launching a brand new community event this month that pays tribute to the memory of a much-loved retailing icon and honours the Freeman Real Estate spirit of community giving.

On Sunday, Dec. 18, Freeman is hosting a free turkey giveaway at the real estate company’s office at 988 Bathurst Street. The event, which begins at 12 noon, will see 500 turkeys given away to members of the public.

Located just four blocks north of Honest Ed’s, Freeman Real Estate is a family-run boutique real estate firm with a reputation for supporting community causes, charities and efforts. Honouring Ed Mirvish’s memory and the real estate company’s tradition of community giving helped plant the idea for the turkey giveaway.

“We always admired Ed’s charity and we thought this was a good opportunity for us to keep the tradition going,” says Elden Freeman, Broker of Record.  “We’re big believers in our local community. As residents and business persons, we benefit a good deal from our community. This is one way we can pay back and say thank you.”

Spirit of Math is also getting into the holiday spirit by sponsoring a portion of the gobbler giveaway.  Spirit of Math is an innovative leader in after-school mathematics education with more than 40 campuses in North America.

The turkeys are completely free of charge and for each turkey given away Freeman will donate 50 cents to St. Alban’s Boys & Girls Club, an organization that provides programming for children and youth.

On hand will be Ward 20 city councillor Joe Cressy. St. Alban’s executive director Chris Foster and boys and girls from the club will also be there to help give out the turkeys.

The Annex landmark, Honest Ed’s, gave away free turkeys at Christmastime for 28 years, ending the tradition this year. The retailer at Bathurst and Bloor Streets will close in 2017 to make way for condos and commercial space.

If this year’s giveaway is a success, Freeman intends to make the event bigger and better for next year.

The Ghosts and Haunted Houses of Toronto

Friday, October 14th, 2016

There is nothing like the month of October to bring out thrills, chills and tales of things that go bump in the night. Toronto has its share of real estate that is reported to be haunted so in honour of this bewitching month let’s take a look:

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Perhaps the most known haunted house is the Keg Mansion, a popular Jarvis Street restaurant and former home to the Massey family. It is said that a brokenhearted maid hung herself in the front foyer after the death of Lillian Massey. Restaurants patrons have said they’ve seen a frightening apparition hanging and some have reported hearing the voices and laughter of children from the upper floors.

This 200-year-old Georgian manor, now known as the Grange is reputed to be home to the undead. Witnesses report seeing a man, who may be Goldwin Smith or Algernon Blackwood, both writers who lived there at one time. Reports of a lady dressed in black haunting the second-floor bedrooms exist as well as accounts of other ghosts in and around the staircases.

Old City Hall is believed to house the spirits of many, including Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin, who were the last two men to hang in Canada. It’s said judges have heard footsteps and felt tugs on their robes, while the frightful moans of locked up prisoners have been heard in the cellar. Some say a presence is felt in the northwest part of the attic.

Gooderham and Worts Distillery co-founder James Worts committed suicide in 1834 following his wife’s death. Legend has it that Worts makes his presence known by opening and closing doors, making odd banging noises and turning lights on and off.

The historic house known as Colborne Lodge on the south side of High Park is said to be home to the spirit of Jemima Howard, a former mistress of the house. More than 100 years after her death in 1877 she has been seen staring out of one of the upper storey’s front windows — that same room in which she died. Other ghosts are said to haunt the main staircase, the hallway leading to Jemima Howard’s deathbed and even the grounds outside.

Christie Mansion is perhaps the creepiest tale of all. The Victorian home at Wellesley and Queen’s Park Crescent was the home of Robert Christie, of Christie cookie fame, who despite having a wife and family, managed to keep a mistress locked away in a hidden windowless room in the same home. She was not allowed to leave the mansion and her only visitors were Robert and his servant. Eventually Robert lost interest and she hanged herself out of loneliness. It’s said Robert had her buried secretly somewhere on the grounds of Queen’s Park. When the home was converted into a female residence for the University of Toronto some say they were haunted by her spirit in the hidden room otherwise known as room 29.  Reports say the room’s door would slam shut and lock, imprisoning the student till daybreak.

Hibernate No More!

Monday, January 25th, 2016

It’s easy to understand why Torontonians want to crank up their heat and stay indoors during January and February. But don’t let cool temperatures and a little snow accumulation prevent you from exploring the city.

Despite the chill, there are plenty of fun and fascinating events taking place. Here’s our look at some of the more unique ones:

New Height for Rooftop Skating Rink

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There is something decidedly exciting about skating outdoors but when you’re gliding amidst other towering rooftops there’s an added kick. Check out Molson Canadian’s 100-by-45-foot ice pad set 32 stories high atop the financial district at 120 Adelaide St. W. You can purchase ice time between January 29 and February 7.

The Hills are Alive with Toboggans

Toronto has a surprising number of great spots, from baby hills for real beginners to steep cliffs that only old seasoned sledders can navigate. Cedarvale Park, Winston Churchill Park, Christie Pits and Bickford Parks all offer good variety in terms of different size hills.

Winterlicious

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One of the city’s favourite foodie festivals gets underway January 29 and runs to February 11. Winterlicious offers delicious cuisine and unique culinary events at more than 200 restaurants. For more details, see website for details .

Want Fries With That?

La Poutine Week is the crème de la crème of fried foodie festivals that begins Feb 1 and goes to Feb. 7. For $10, you get to try a poutine dish from participating restaurants and then vote on the best Poutine Week location.

Spot of Tea

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If your tastes fun a bit more refined, perhaps you’d enjoy exploring the world of tea at the Toronto Tea Festival. The two-day event at the Toronto Reference Library takes place January 30 and 31. A one-day pass is $15; two-day pass is $25. For more info, click here.

Try the Castle on for Size

Casa Loma offer two popular escape games for the adventurous at heart. Blending fact with fiction and gaming with theatre, the escape games offered here – Escape from the Tower and King of the Bootleggers – require advanced bookings. If gaming isn’t for you, consider the January 23 Robbie Burns celebration which includes a four-course Johnnie Walker scotch pairing dinner. See website for more.

 

 

A Neighbourhood Paints its way toward Community Building

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Colour, shape, style and effort combined this past summer to create a painted street mural project thanks to the will, talent and hard work of those associated with the Regal Heights Residents Association.

Community activist Dave Meslin got the ball rolling a year ago when he proposed a neighbourhood street mural, which received immediate and unanimous support from the residents association. Using street chalk, Meslin coordinated the street project, which would pave the way this summer for something a little more permanent and a lot more ambitious.

Using paint, Meslin coordinated the design, sketch and painting of a street mural for Springmount Ave. just south of Rosemount. Meslin recruited local artist Melissa Frew and asked her to design a sketch. He suggested a water theme since the street painting was being placed directly over the buried Garrison Creek.

“The hardest part of making a street mural,” says Meslin, “is keeping the cars off the road while the paint dries, so when I heard about the Regal Heights Street Party it occurred to me that a pre-planned road closure would be the perfect opportunity to create our ground-level masterpiece.”

Meslin thought the mural team need a technical expert so he asked renowned street artist Victor Fraser to come on board and he accepted. From Melissa Frew’s sketch, the outlines for the mural were drawn and then on June 6, the day of the neighbourhood’s semi-annual street party, 20 area kids were asked to help paint inside the lines.

“The murals bring communities together in a collaborative creative process, building community and strengthening relationships,” says Meslin.  “As a bonus, the final product also serves as a traffic-calming measure as cars tend to slow down as they approach the painting.”

A push is now on at city hall to legalize the murals thanks to a permit process as other cities in Canada and the U.S. have done.

If you want to see more street murals in Toronto, Meslin suggests the following:

  1. Contact your city councillor and ask why Toronto doesn’t have an official permit process.
  2. Share this blog.
  3. Don’t wait for the city to play catch-up with the rest of the world.  Organize a community mural in your neighbourhood this summer.

 

Toronto Festivals for the End of Summer 2015

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Thinking about ways to while away the last few days of summer? Try attending some of the varied, fun and interesting outdoor festivals the city has in store over the next week or two:

Food truck Festival – Sept. 27

Bring your appetite to Downsview Park for this event featuring 16 delicious gourmet food trucks. Included in the line-up is Busters Sea Cove, ME.N.U Food Truck, Fit to Grill and Indian fusion nosh from Tdots Naansense.

Cider Festival – Sept. 26

Looking for an interesting and new way to cap off your summer? Look no further than the Toronto Cider Festival at the Yonge-Dundas Square. The event showcases craft ciders from across the country as well as Toronto food trucks, live music, cocktail competitions, games and contests.

Word on the Street – Sept. 27

This national celebration of literacy and the written word invites you to participate in author events, presentations, workshops, and to browse a marketplace that boasts one of the best selections of Canadian books and magazines. This free festival at Harbourfront Centre has something for all ages, from children and youth to adults and seniors.

 Woofstock – Sept. 26 & 27

At Woodbine Park, this admission-free event is the largest outdoor festival for dogs and their faithful owners in all of North America. With over 200,000 attendees and 150,000 canines, expect the unexpected in addition to a slew of doggy-related vendors and activities such as stupid dog tricks, canine beauty pageants and dog races.

Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival – Sept. 25 to Oct. 1

Showcasing 100 per cent Canadian talent, this festival features free performances at Yonge-Dundas Square, the Massey Hall concert series and new musical talent at the Horseshoe Tavern. Canadians in all fields are inducted into the hall of fame thanks to this non-profit organization that seeks to pay tribute and recognize Canadian achievement.

Gentleman’s Expo – Sept. 25 to 27

This celebration of manhood at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre covers every gentlemanly pursuit from fashion, cars and alcohol to sex, entrepreneurship and gaming with more than 100,000 square feet of brands and experiences.

Small World on Common Ground – Sept. 26 & 27

A free festival featuring music and arts on the grounds of historic Fort York. Enjoy this family friendly cultural feast that also includes spoken-word artists, pow wow fit sessions, crafts and food.

 

Wandering about Wychwood

Monday, September 14th, 2015

As part of its ongoing series of neighbourhood walks, Freeman Real Estate is hosting a historic tour of Wychwood Park on Sunday, September 27 at 1 p.m.

As part of its ongoing series of neighbourhood walks, Freeman Real Estate is hosting a historic tour of Wychwood Park on Sunday, September 27 at 1 p.m.

Formerly known as the gated community of Bracondale Hill, Wychwood Park is a small enclave that was set up around the turn of the last century as an artists’ colony thanks to Marmaduke Matthews, an artist and aficionado of the Arts and Crafts movement. Matthews would gain prominence as an artist after painting traditional Canadian scenes that appeared in the illustrated ad work of Canadian Pacific Railway.

Matthews’ friend Alexander Jardin owned a huge block of land in the Wychwood area, which is north of Davenport Road and just west of Bathurst. Jardin sold a good chunk of that land to artists. The land was still very rural back then, when Matthews planned his pastoral community and named it after Wychwood in his native Oxfordshire.

“The area is a little enclave that is almost not part of the city,” says Marilyn Spearin, a local history buff and former school teacher who is leading the tour.

She is referring to the fact that although Wychwood was amalgamated into the city of Toronto in 1909, it remains a private community. The streets and amenities are paid for by the local residents, and the community is managed by an executive council. As one of Toronto’s more exclusive neighbourhoods, house prices easily top a million dollars.

During its start, the land was divided into irregularly shaped lots situated around a central park, pond and tennis courts designed by Toronto architect Arthur Edwin Whatmough.  Many of the homes in Wychwood were designed by Whatmough in the Arts and Crafts style.

Several well-known people have lived there, including Marshall McLuhan and Anatol Rapoport. In 1985 the area became the first residential zone in Ontario to be granted heritage status. A handful of other homes were designed by Eden Smith, a well-known architect who lived in the neighbourhood.

Wychwood is a leafy area home to ravines, old-growth trees and Taddle Creek, a six-kilometre stream that has been largely buried throughout most of the city except in a few spots including Wychwood where it is visible above ground.

The tour On September 13 will also encompass a visit to the nearby Tollkeeper’s Cottage, an historic tollgate structure discovered in the early ‘90s that now houses a museum and a gift shop. Located at Davenport and Bathurst, the cottage is also now home to a blue canoe thanks to the David Suzuki Foundation. As part of the foundation’s homegrown national parks project, the canoe is designed and planted with plants that encourage bees and butterflies. For more info visit www.tollkeeperscottage.ca.

The tour is expected to take one-and-a-half to two hours in total. Participants are asked to meet outside of the Freeman Real Estate office at 988 Bathurst Street just before 1 p.m. Rain date is set for October 4.

 

Wandering about Wychwood

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

As part of its ongoing series of neighbourhood walks, Freeman Real Estate Ltd. is hosting a historic tour of Wychwood Park on Sunday, September 20th at 1 p.m (rain date September 27th 1 pm).

tollkepper

Formerly known as the gated community of Bracondale Hill, Wychwood Park is a small enclave that was set up around the turn of the last century as an artists’ colony thanks to Marmaduke Matthews, an artist and aficionado of the Arts and Crafts movement. Matthews would gain prominence as an artist after painting traditional Canadian scenes that appeared in the illustrated ad work of Canadian Pacific Railway.

Matthews’ friend Alexander Jardin owned a huge block of land in the Wychwood area, which is north of Davenport Road and just west of Bathurst. Jardin sold a good chunk of that land to artists. The land was still very rural back then, when Matthews planned his pastoral community and named it after Wychwood in his native Oxfordshire.

“The area is a little enclave that is almost not part of the city,” says Marilyn Spearin, a local history buff and former school teacher who is leading the tour.

She is referring to the fact that although Wychwood was amalgamated into the city of Toronto in 1909, it remains a private community. The streets and amenities are paid for by the local residents, and the community is managed by an executive council. As one of Toronto’s more exclusive neighbourhoods, house prices easily top a million dollars.

During its start, the land was divided into irregularly shaped lots situated around a central park, pond and tennis courts designed by Toronto architect Arthur Edwin Whatmough.  Many of the homes in Wychwood were designed by Whatmough in the Arts and Crafts style.

Several well-known people have lived there, including Marshall McLuhan and Anatol Rapoport. In 1985 the area became the first residential zone in Ontario to be granted heritage status. A handful of other homes were designed by Eden Smith, a well-known architect who lived in the neighbourhood.

Wychwood is a leafy area home to ravines, old-growth trees and Taddle Creek, a six-kilometre stream that has been largely buried throughout most of the city except in a few spots including Wychwood where it is visible above ground.

The tour On September 20th will also encompass a visit to the nearby Tollkeeper’s Cottage, an historic tollgate structure discovered in the early ‘90s that now houses a museum and a gift shop. Located at Davenport and Bathurst, the cottage is also now home to a blue canoe thanks to the David Suzuki Foundation. As part of the foundation’s homegrown national parks project, the canoe is designed and planted with plants that encourage bees and butterflies. For more info visit www.tollkeeperscottage.ca.

The tour is expected to take one-and-a-half to two hours in total. Participants are asked to meet outside of the Tollkeeper’s Cottage just before 1 p.m.

Great Toronto Festivals To Close Out Summer

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

There are plenty of ways to celebrate the last true month of summer and not all of them involve a cottage in the Muskokas. If you’re tied to the city thanks to work, family obligations, finances or some other bond, know that there is a wide variety of fun and entertainment on tap this month thanks to the city’s line-up of outdoor festivals.

Let’s take a look:

Habari Africa Festival (Aug 14-16, 2015)

Habari Africa Festival

Harbourfront Centre presents this mix of arts and culture in partnership with the Batuki Music Society. Celebrate the diversity of African culture with the finest talent from across the continent. Music, film, dance, visual arts are on tap or you can create crafts and join workshops.

York-Eglinton International Street Festival (Aug 15-16, 2015)

York-Eglinton International Street Festival

This family-friendly festival kicks off Friday August 14 with a sidewalk sale followed by two full days of food, music and merriment that celebrates a range of international cultures including Caribbean, Italian, Portuguese and Latin.

 Rastafest (Aug 14-22, 2015)

 Rastafest

A multi-discipline festival showcasing different aspects of the Rastafarian culture, history and lifestyle, including international reggae artists who will perform at a major concert in Downsview Park. Activities include music, dance, drumming, market place and food demonstrations.

 Wheels on the Danforth (Aug 15, 2015)

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A car show like no other, this “on-the-street” event is a judged car show featuring classics, exotics, tuners, muscle cars, hot rods, and motorcycles all lined up on the closed section of Danforth Ave. Highlights of the day include a market place, food trucks, a Kid’s Zone play area, beer gardens and street dance.

Festival of South Asia  (Aug 15-16, 2015)

On Gerrard Street East experience a taste of South Asia thanks to the food, dance, fashions and real-deal cultural events that showcase the Indian, Afghani, Pakistani, Bengali and Sri Lankan cultures.

Open Streets TO  (Aug 16 & Sept 6, 2015)

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This event opens streets to people and prevent cars from driving on roads for a few hours during this festival that takes place over two days. The result is paved parks for pedestrians. The route for this year’s event will be Bloor Street between Christie and Parliament and on Yonge Street from Bloor to Queen. Crossing points will be included at numerous major intersections, where cars will be permitted to pass through as normal.

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)  (Aug 21-Sept 7, 2015)

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This grand dame of summer festivals is a classic. Once you’ve paid the entrance fee, all entertainment is free. But in order to go on the amusement rides, you must either purchase single ride tickets or a pass. Don’t forget to check The Ex’s line-up of performers, shows and special events.

BIG On Bloor Festival (Aug 22-23, 2015)

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BIG ON BLOOR celebrates arts, culture, community and small business with this event featuring numerous activities and exhibitions such as a huge market place of vendors, a mix of music and dance, artist-friendly events and games for big and small.

Toronto Chinatown Festival (Aug 22-23, 2015)

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Held on Dundas Street West (between Spadina and Beverley) as well as on Huron Street (between D’Arcy Street and Dundas), this festival showcases a mixture of Chinese cultural events including Lion Dance, Kung Fu Performances, Chinese street food, traditional Chinese arts and crafts.

Wild Blueberry Festival (Aug 23, 2015)

blueberries

All things blueberry might be a nickname for this festival, hosted by Evergreen Brick Works, in which the blueberry is eaten, exalted and examined up close and personal. From workshops to storytelling to pie baking and guest blueberry vendors, there truly is something for everyone at this family event.

Coconut Festival Canada (Aug 23, 2015)

coconut

At David Pecaut Square, the event is for foodies and the culinary adventurous as hundreds of products from coco jams to full meals will be presented by a diverse lineup of vendors. Also look for artisan jewelry, clothing and housewares in addition to music and kiddy games.

Scotiabank Buskerfest (Aug 27-30, 2015)

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The festival is a showcase for over 100 of the most remarkable street performers on earth. Look for the unusual at this four-day street show in which buskers perform antics that will inspire, wow and tickle your funny bone. Scotiabank Buskerfest is produced by Epilepsy Toronto as a fundraiser in support of people with epilepsy and their families. Proceeds collected at the festival will go towards Epilepsy Toronto.

 

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Toronto Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.