Oh Canada

Canada prides itself in being a Country defined as a cultural mosaic rather than a cultural melting pot. The mosaic is based on our belief that Canada as a whole benefits from the diversities in cultures, spoken languages, culinary differences, and of course, the people. Walking about on Bloor street from Bloordale to Bloorcourt and onward to the Annex, in Toronto’s west end, tells us a story about our cultural diversity.

One out of 5 people in Canada’s population is foreign-born

According to the first data from the 2011 NHS, Canada had a total of about 6,775,800 foreign-born individuals who arrived as immigrants. They represented 20.6% of the total population, compared with 19.8% in the 2006 Census.

Many of Canada’s foreign-born have lived in the country for many years, while others were relative newcomers.

Around 1,162,900 foreign-born people immigrated in Canada between 2006 and 2011. These recent immigrants made up 17.2% of the total foreign-born population and 3.5% of the total population in Canada. Together with immigrants who came during the first five years of the millennium, nearly 2,155,000 immigrants made Canada home during the last ten years. Canada was built by immigrants for immigrants, and it continues to thrive as it embraces the strengths of its diversity and evolves into a stronger and greater Nation.

We are fortunate to live in a country where we are able to celebrate our cultures so freely, while also celebrating what it means to be Canadian. So this Canada day, let’s celebrate the country that has welcomed us and allowed us to be who we are – thank you Canada!

Happy Canada Day everyone!

Thanks, Dad

Got up early Sunday morning and made my way to visit Dad at his final resting place, on my trusted two wheeler. On my way, it dawned on me that we hadn’t posted anything on this Father’s Day. So here it is, late but meaningful none the less.
Even in his absence, I look for direction and guidance almost on a daily basis. A Father is a mentor, a source of knowledge, guidance. We seek leadership and motivation, spirituality and inspiration.  We turn to them in times of hardship, and celebrate and share with them in victory.
So today, we say…Happy belated Father’s Day…with apologies;
Ronaldo, chin up;
To the pedestrians, cyclists and motorists that shared the road with me Sunday morning…thank you;
RIP Dad.

Long Weekend

As many of us know, this weekend is the Victoria Day long weekend – this means we have an extra day to sleep in before getting back to work. For many Torontonians, this is also the first cottage weekend of the year, with the weather warming up it is the perfect time to open up the cottage for the summer and enjoy some fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the city. For the cottage-goers, it will be a weekend filled with sunshine, beer, BBQ, and…repairs.

For those of us staying in the city, here are a few activities to consider this long weekend:

  1. Victoria Day Fireworks – a great idea to do with your friends or family – there will be fireworks happening all around the city, at locations like Ashbridges Bay and Canada’s Wonderland
  2. Rib Fest – if you’re a fan of bbq and meat(sorry vegans) – this is a fun activity for you – happening May 21-22 at Yonge&Dundas Square
  3. Fort York Victoria Day – celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday at the birthplace of Toronto! May 23 from 10am-5pm
  4. Food Trucks – food trucks have been rapidly gaining popularity, especially in the city center. If you have some extra time on your hands and want to try some fun new food this weekend – check out torontofoodtrucks.ca for all the info on which food trucks will be out this weekend and where they will be!

For more info on these events and other events happening in the city this weekend check out http://www.todocanada.ca/GTA+Victoria+Day+Fireworks/

So whether you are going to the cottage this weekend, or staying in the city, RLPS wishes everyone a fun, safe long weekend!

 

Toronto-Fireworks

Garage Sale for Shelter

 This past weekend was the Royal LePage National Garage Sale for Shelter, The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women’s shelters and violence prevention programs.

Every dollar raised goes directly to helping the more than 30,000 women and children who are served each year by the shelters and support programs we fund. Since 1998, the Shelter Foundation has raised more than $20 million and currently supports 200 local women’s shelters and national partners. Royal LePage Supreme has been an active participant in this amazing event for 10 years.

Royal LePage Supreme is very excited to report back that our totals for this year were up from our previous best ever. Our Bloorcourt branch raised an amazing $3000.00, and our Galleria shopping centre branch raised a record high of just under $2400.00. Our realtors were out and about at 7am, and wrapped things up just after 4pm. While some of our realtors were busy selling goods, others were flipping burgers and sardines on the BBQ. Proceeds from this event will be directed to our local womens shelter, by the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, and a portion of our proceeds will also be donated to victims of the devastating Fort McMurray fire.

Big changes for Galleria Mall

According to an article posted on blogTO: First posted by Urban Toronto, the artist concept drawings of the redevelopment don’t show the actual designs for the mall’s replacement, but serve to help imagine what revitalization might look like. What’s important to note here is the presence of woonerfs, outdoor public space, a revamped Wallace-Emerson Park and Community Centre, and the scale of the residential buildings.

Urban Toronto quotes Joe Svec of Galleria Developments as saying the plan is to maintain or expand the existing square footage of retail, much of which will be smaller stores.

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What do you think about the preliminary plans for the Galleria Mall redevelopment?

Mother’s Day

With mother’s day fast approaching, some of us may be starting our quest for the perfect gift for mom: the woman who thinks she has it all. However, sometimes the perfect gift may not be one we can buy, but rather something we can do. Mom’s are always putting others first and forget to take care of themselves. So this mother’s day, why not help make mom feel extra special? Here are a few things you can do for mother’s day(or any day) to pamper mom:

  1. Breakfast: Start mom’s day off the right way with a homemade meal, coffee, pancakes, the whole deal.
  2. Take her out: so if cooking isn’t your forte, making a reservation for breakfast lunch or dinner with mom can be just as special!
  3. Take her to the spa: buy mom a spa package, after all she does, she deserves to be pampered for the day.
  4. Tell her how you feel: sometimes, life gets busy and we forget to tell our loved ones how much we appreciate them. Make her a card, or just write her something that lets her know how much you love and appreciate all she does.
  5. Spend time with her: probably the best gift you can give her.

 

 

 

Good News

Recently, Royal LePage Supreme Realty has been the recipient of great economic news. Royal LePage head office called us to share that our brokerage was again top in our local market in volume and biggest marketshare. Our RLPS March sales figures outperformed our previous best ever, and the overall Toronto Real Estate Board sales figures and the Royal LePage first quarter market report each demonstrate confidence in the GTA housing market. Great!

In the past three weeks, I have also been the fortunate recipient of even better news. Two weeks ago, one of our realtors was meeting with a client in our office and the client approached me expressly to compliment his sales representative and emphasized how happy he was with the high level of service and competence demonstrated during the buying process.

This past Wednesday, a 70 year old client called me directly to express his satisfaction and gratitude for the high level of service that his sales representative demonstrated, as he and his wife downsized. I couldn’t keep up with the words of praise and I was moved by them. The following morning, another of our registrants showed me an email from a seller whom had just sold their home sharing how grateful they were for the professional service and overall satisfaction with the marketing and negotiations.

While these calls are not unique or isolated, they are both timely and certainly understated.

Record sales are great, but as a broker of record, hearing from satisfied client after satisfied client, is my why.

We are grateful for the trust and confidence.

Way to go guys…Much respect and gratitude.

Tale From The Tee

My recent golf trip to Myrtle Beach prompted a question from a non-golfer on how weekend hackers prepare for the upcoming golf season. Made me wonder. I guess most of us venture out to our local golf shops, wandering up and down the stocked isles looking for that little bit of magic that will improve our game. Maybe, it’s a new and improved driver with a larger club face that will drive the ball deeper into the woods and out of bounds. Maybe it’s a new longer and softer golf ball, which will make less ripples as it enters the water hazard. Or it could be the latest apparel which will make us look great and feel great as we approach the first tee.

Judging by my test results from the 9 rounds of golf in 6 days, my score actually increased the more I played. The first day I scored 89 with 3 birdies and one attempt at an eagle. My preparation was a mere handful of mighty practice swings just before I hit the first tee at Heathland golf course. Par 5, on in two shots, putting for eagle, made my bird. By the last round, I was switching golf balls, talking to my clubs, changing grips, etc etc. Then, my friend Joe reminded me of something someone once told him…Manny, the minute you realize you’re not that good at golf, is when you will actually start having fun at it.

Free Apps to Download Before You Buy Your Next Home

When I started my real estate career way way back in 1987, we carried around with us a mortgage factor handbook, similar in size to a small handheld personal telephone book, which helped us quickly calculate monthly mortgage payments for our clients. We opened the book to the corresponding interest rate and quickly multiplied the factor by the loan amount. Quick and easy. Right?
Today, we have apps.  ‎Millennials thrive on apps. Apps are truly the quick and easy way to get what you want, when you want it. So here are some quick and easy apps for your smartphone.

The Financial Post’s Josh McConnell rounds up the best apps for home buyers:

Whether you are buying your first home, moving, or simply want to renegotiate, these apps can help make the process a little easier. Now that warmer weather is in the forecast and home-buying season is getting into full swing, here are a few free mobile apps that can help you make sense of the mortgage process in order to get on with the fun part of buying a home.

The Canadian Mortgage App: 

Platforms iOS, Android, BlackBerry

This is the app most people love to refer to when talking about mortgages. When asked, both homebuyers and mortgage specialists alike recommend it. The app has been used more than 2.1 million times with more than 3,000 five-star reviews.

Ready Set Home: 

Platforms iOS, Android, BlackBerry

A helpful mobile app offered by the CMHC, which provides mortgage loan insurance, to help ensure you make informed choices when buying a home. This app helps you by not only figuring out what you are able to afford, but it also explains some of the confusing terminology(great for first-time home buyers).

Home Decorating

Platforms Varies

So if you’re done with mortgage talk, here are some apps to look at after you lock into your new home. Some companies offer unique apps that let you virtually shop furniture and décor. Ikea offers a Living Room 3D app (as well as apps for other rooms such as the bedroom or bathroom) that lets you create your own room using their products, it also allows you to share your ideas with the community to compare and share thoughts. There is also Houzz Interior Design Ideas, which lets you take photos of your own home and insert items from a catalogue.

GTA house prices on the rise.

Has Toronto real estate become a commodity difficult to put a price on? Let’s just say that you go to your local variety store on a daily basis to buy a bottle of water at $2 per. Then, one hot, humid summer day, the power goes out and your local store doesn’t have any water, cold or otherwise. As you leave the store, you spot a kid pulling a red wagon with a cooler on top. In the cooler he has one ice cold bottle of water. Now, how much are you willing to pay for the same bottle of water you have been buying for two bucks, and will the kid be asking regular price for it? Not really!

Similarly, real estate is a commodity. As such, it trades up or down based on the supply and demand principle. Are we focused on measuring value based solely on comparable sales and year over year market increases, and are forgetting the intangible value placed on current real estate prices based on the current low supply of homes for sale in the GTA?

This principle worked in reverse, in the 90’s. Each property that sold set the new low, and the next sale would invariably sell even lower than the last. Why? Lots of supply and very little demand intangibles!