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nice-neighbourhood
Home & Garden

Hottest Neighbourhoods in Toronto

Diverse and densely populated, Toronto has developed an interesting collection of unique and vibrant neighbourhoods. Explore this energetic city full of rich and exciting experiences, and you’ll invariably stumble across some of the area’s unique gems. Here is a look at some of Toronto’s most interesting and hottest neighbourhoods.

The Harbourfront

Here, you’re but steps away from mass transit, great shopping, a wide variety of services and entertainment options, and several world-famous landmarks. The Harbourfront is frequented by countless visitors annually, and boasts a fascinating fusion of old-world charm and striking modern accentuation. Facing the shore, you may witness the famous Tall Ship Kajama partaking in her popular pleasure cruises or tourists taking Segway tours along the waterfront. Turning around, you’ll immediately catch the awesome CN Tower, Rogers Centre, and the skyscrapers of downtown. When visiting the Harbourfront, you’re witnessing the heartbeat of Toronto from a waterfront playground. Famous breweries and iconic attractions are a mere stone’s throw away.

Cabbagetown

Cabbagetown is a fascinating old-world mingling of family-run businesses, name-brand shops, and plenty of brickwork amidst an idyllic yet exciting atmosphere. Countless annual events and festivals serve as reminders of this neighbourhood’s cultural significance and history — just try to say no to the September Cabbagetown Fall Festival. Running for an entire weekend, it features a parade, historical walking tours, a mini marathon, and a community-wide yard sale. This creative little neighbourhood is perfect for bohemians and old-world admirers alike, and plenty of one-off restaurants and businesses offer an eclectic mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Yorkville

Shopping? Hungry? Bored? Just head over to Yorkville and don’t question it. Often compared to Los Angeles’ iconic Rodeo Drive, this world-famous shopping haven incorporates major retail attractions such as the popular “Mink Mile”, which nearly entirely comprises of prestigious shops, galleries, restaurants, and entertainment venues along a stretch of Bloor Street. Named the seventh most expensive shopping street in the world by Fortune Magazine, expect designer brand stores, exciting sales, and upscale dining options galore. On top of this, you’ll find no shortage of galleries, museums, and cultural exhibitions throughout Yorkville’s gleaming modern structures that mingle harmoniously with Victorian-era majesty. The entire area is an exciting mishmash of styles and passions that just works, though if you leave the prime shopping area consisting of Yorkville Avenue and Cumberland Street, you’ll find a more settled and at-ease atmosphere full of sophisticated experiences.

Liberty Village

43 acres of youthful energy awaits you in Liberty Village. Described by many as the quintessential urban core experience, this sprawling community is full of converted Victorian-era buildings and towering modern super structures. Jam-packed with trendy bars, edgy restaurants, and chic contemporary dynamism, the area offers the ultimate “in” atmosphere. Plenty of popular attractions can be found here, including the Molson Amphitheatre, Exhibition Place, and BMO Field. Liberty Village is a fascinating place of gritty urban shock value tinged with everlasting remnants of traditional style.

Over the years, Toronto’s neighbourhoods have evolved into dynamic communities, each offering a wholly unique and equally enthralling experience for visitors and residents alike. There’s a good reason why so many choose to flock here — it’s a city that is fascinating and unquestionably alive.

backyard-deck
Home & Garden

Landscaping Projects to Take Before Fall

Hot humid days and those perfect warm summer evenings are meant to be enjoyed with your family and friends in tow. And there’s no better place to indulge and lounge around in the sunshine than in your own backyard with a few refreshing beverages in hands. But if your yard has been neglected and is less than inviting to hang out in, don’t sweat it! There are simple upgrades that you can perform throughout your backyard setting to spruce it up, add in more seating for your guests and bring back the love. Here are some simple strategies you can use for inspiration for any landscaping projects you’re looking to take on this summer.

Add A Simple Deck

If you’ve always dreamed of stepping out onto a deck, but have written it off as too much of a hassle, think again. If you’re limited on space, or resources, you can still have that dream platform to elevate your designated lounging area. All you need are some basic carpentry tools (or your handy best friend to assist you) and you can create the perfect, simplified deck that can really enhance your outdoor space. There’s are tons of tutorials online that show you what to do, and that it doesn’t have to be a complicated project.

Patio Stones

If a deck isn’t up your alley then patio stones can equally do the trick. Whether you take on this project solo or hire someone to do it, adding patio stones to a section of your yard can also break up the space and add more elements to the setting that will automatically improve the look of the landscape.

Create A Sitting Wall Around Your Garden Bed

Enhancing your backyard and landscape doesn’t mean you need to take on any major u-hauls. Even if you have a small space, focus on ways that you can make that space effective for seating, as well as intimate and attractive. For example, you can create a stone wall to outline your garden beds. This can act as extra space for guests to rest, while elevating the look of your gardens and surrounding area.

Flowers, Flowers And More Flowers

When it comes down to it, even the most neglected landscape can easily be transformed with some added splashes of colour. Got a hideous view? Use tall potted palms or mini evergreens to create a green wall to hide what you don’t want to be seen, and to create a more cozy setting. You can also transform an old wheelbarrow into a garden bed of flowers to add to your patio. Think of ways where plants and a garden bed can enhance your setting.

If you’re mulling over your backyard setting and are ready to take on some landscaping projects this summer, remember that it really doesn’t take much to transform your outdoor space. Patio stones, a garden wall, attractive flower beds and strategic vegetation is all that’s needed to spruce up any outdoor space.

spreading-concrete-basement-floor
Home & Garden

5 Awesome Basement Renovation Ideas

If the current status of your basement involves cold concrete floors and dark, creepy corners filled with boxes of junk, it can be hard to really see past all of that and imagine it as a whole new space that can actually look cozy and welcoming. The reality is, with a few good renos, you can really utilize that extra room, and provide you and your family with a warm and inviting living space.

So if you’ve been considering remodelling your basement, here are 5 awesome renos ideas that can help inspire you and help you imagine just how amazing that basement can look.

A Giant Playhouse for the Kids

Tight on space for the kids? Sick of tripping over toys? Well, why not turn the basement into a giant play area where they can spend time with their friends and get creative until their hearts are content? It’s the perfect space where you can get creative by installing cozy carpeting, add some fun and colourful furniture to the mix, and wow the kids with an area that’s all for them.

The Ultimate Games Room

Forget the kids – what adult doesn’t dream of having a games room? Create your perfect gaming den for when you have the neighbours or friends over. Begin by planning out what your priorities are – area for the big screen, the darts board, maybe even the pool table – you can customize your space for your own personal style.

The Wine Cellar

So maybe games aren’t your thing, but maybe wine is! Imagine having your friends or family over and asking them to go grab a bottle of wine – from the cellar! Stop dreaming. It’s a lot easier to have than you think. With a few customized shelves, and the perfect design and décor, you can have your very own sultry cellar in the comfort of your basement.

 The Zen Room

Sometimes, all we really need is to have our own peaceful Zen space to relax, mediate or dive into a good book. Although it may be difficult to envision it now, with the right designs and handyman to get the job done, you can have your own peaceful Zen room where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the world whenever you choose.

The Bar

Instead of paying a fortune at the local bar each weekend, turn your basement into the ultimate hotspot for Friday nights with your friends. You can become the cocktail master right in the comfort of home.

So give your basement a chance to shine. If you learn to look past the concrete and boxes, we guarantee once you place your design in the right sets of hands, we’ll create that perfect extra space in your home that you never thought was possible.

man-cleans-roof-gutters
Home & Garden

Spring Cleaning Roof Checklist

When spring cleaning, be sure to not forget to give your roof a little attention and elbow grease. Properly maintaining your roof will allow it to last for several years, minimizing the need for repairs later on. Here is a checklist of some key roof cleaning chores to carry out every spring.

Inspect Your Shingles, and Wash off Mildew

Keeping a close eye on the condition of your roofing shingles is absolutely crucial, as ignoring them will drastically weaken the structural integrity of your roof over time, exposing your home to leaks and other problems. Check for missing shingles and replace them immediately should you find any. Also, don’t forget to address cracked, peeling, bent, or cupping shingles as soon as possible, as they will cause all sorts of internal damage if left unattended.

Also be sure to wash off any mould or mildew that has gathered, as leaving it to fester will create all sorts of frustrations and expensive problems later on. To protect your home, it’s important to thoroughly spray any evidence of mildew or mould off and away from your roof.

Clean Gutters and Clear Debris

Left untreated, clogged gutters can cause significant damage to your roof and home over time. Cleaning out leaves and other debris will prevent your gutters from being overwhelmed by water accumulation, which will protect your roof and foundation from water damage typically associated with an ineffective gutter system.

Also, it is imperative that you address any overhanging threats to the overall health of your roof, such as heavy branches or loose pieces of metal and brick from neighbouring buildings. Anything that falls onto your roof can easily puncture it, resulting in leaks and all of the damages and problems associated with them. Also be sure to remove any debris that has gathered on your roof, inspecting for damage at all times.

Inspect Chimney and Flashing

Chimney flashing is what seals around your chimney to maintain a snug fit, and ignoring open spaces that appear invites all sorts of pests and leakages into your roof and home. It is common for flashing to pull away from the chimney over the years, so be sure to apply what is normally an easy fix to keep everything clean and exposure-free.

When performed every spring, these cleaning duties will make it easier than ever to keep your roof and home dry, pest-free, and fully insulated. If you’re ever unsure of what to do or require assistance, don’t hesitate to contact a roofing professional to make sure your roof is in good shape and prevent future problems!

family-plays-carpet
Home & Garden

Nice Furniture and Children Under The Same Roof

Are you starting to wonder if you can maintain nice furniture under the same roof as your children? Well, you can! It can be hard to imagine for some, but there are ways you can keep your furniture free from damage and pesky stains while in the presence of your kids. Here we look at a couple ways you can protect your favourite items and keep your kids safe at the same time.

Washable Slip Covers

Slip covers really were designed for families. Your fancy decorative couch can be just as nice with an elegant slip cover. There are so many different styles and colours to choose from, you are sure to find one that you love. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the spills or stains. You can easily throw it into the laundry and have it come out looking brand new.

Buy Fabrics that are Easy to Clean

If you’re not keen on slip covers, you can also focus on selecting furniture, such as couches and chairs, that have material that’s stain resistant and easy to clean. That way you can have some peace of mind knowing that when spills or dirty hand prints land on your couch, a simple wipe will get them out.

Consider Leather Furniture

If you’re a fan of leather, then consider this when furniture shopping! Leather is much easier to maintain than other materials. You can easily clean it, plus, leather actually looks better as it gets used and worn in.

Add a Rug Pad

If you have new and lush carpet you would prefer to keep looking as elegant as when you bought it, try using a thick rug pad made for protecting your carpet. These can protect you carpet, while minimizing any tripping hazards.

Closed Cabinets

Closed cabinets can help keep your beautiful wine glasses and delicate dining ware safe. There are many cabinet designs that don’t come with handles. Instead you need to press on the top corners in order to open them. This can be a great addition to your décor and a good way to childproof items from your toddlers.

Any parent can tell you that with kids, accidents just seem to happen out of nowhere. But it is possible to furnish your home nicely while having kids. You just need to be selective so that when something does spill on your new couch, at least you know that you can handle it without having to begin shopping for a new one.

front-door
Home & Garden

How to Create an Entrance that Says “Welcome Home”

Choosing the door itself is a big part of making your front entrance more inviting. In addition to the door of your choosing, the details will make a big difference in the presentation of the space. Adding decorations and lighting will make your front door even more appealing and welcoming for your guests. Nothing says “welcome home” quite like a stunning front entrance.

Paint

If you’re not ready to replace your front door, or if you’re limited by your budget, painting your front door is a great way to set your door apart from the rest of the neighbourhood without having to make the commitment. Consider painting your front door in a bright colour that will charm your guests and cheer you up when you get home from a long stressful day at work.

Let there be light

An easy way to make your home’s entrance more inviting is to make sure that your front door is well-lit. Add lighting that matches the style and size of your front entrance. This will help guests find their way to your front door once the sun goes down, and it will also make your home feel more secure at night.

There are many styles of lighting to consider, whether it’s a ceiling mount or a wall mount. Choose one that displays your personal style and suits the type of entrance that you have.

Make sure your front door is accessible 

It’s a walk to your front door, not a trek through the Amazon! You don’t want your guests to have to cut through branches and overgrown plants just to get through to your front door. Make sure that there is a clear path that leads from your driveway to the door and that the path is easily accessible. In climates with rough winters, this means making sure your path is freshly shoveled and salt or de-icer is sprinkled to prevent any nasty slips.

Use flowers and plants

Use seasonal flowers and plants to decorate the space around your front door. Seasonal arrangements are easy to put together and make your front door more inviting, adding a playful air. For example, in the fall, add harvest-themed decorations and closer to Halloween add some spooky decorations. Make sure not to add those Christmas decorations too early!

Accessorize

Add details that add personality to your front entrance. Consider adding a welcome mat or a wreath to your door. Remember to let your personality shine, as this will make a great first impression on your guests.

air-vent-floor
Home & Garden

Tips for Cleaner Indoor Air This Spring/Summer

With the warmer weather comes increased humidity and temperatures, which can result in a variety of detractors of air quality. With some careful planning by implementing the following tips, however, you can easily minimize the negative impact spring and summer can have on your home’s interior air quality.

Put That Green Thumb to Use

By adding more plants to your home’s interior, you’ll have lighter and more breathable air in no time. The ideal pollution-killer, plants absorb gases and negative compounds from the air, absorbing them into their leaves and roots. This process is called phytoremediation, and it’s a highly effective way of producing more oxygen and cleansing your home of pollutants. Having multiple larger plants throughout your interior will make it even easier to maintain a more beneficial air quality, so long as you keep up with watering and treat houseplants with the same respect they offer you.

Sufficient Ventilation and Air Filtration

A home that isn’t provided with adequate air ventilation will result in interiors becoming increasingly stale and sweltering as the warmer seasons ramp up, leaving their occupants with heavy, stuffy air and a lack of sufficient filtration, as well as greater potential for mould and mites. Ensuring you have a reliable, efficient, and fully functioning ventilation system installed for the impending heat waves and humidity will help protect your home from any further dips in air quality, and possibly improving it over time. Ensure each room in your home is properly ventilated to prevent humidity from collecting in specific areas. Of course, using a dehumidifier or air filtration equipment such as Distinct HVAC’s General Air MAC2000 Air Filtration System offers results quickly and efficiently, sucking in fresh outside air and cycling heavier, more stagnant air out of your home.

Make Your Home a Smoke-Free Zone

Cigarette smoke is toxic in more ways than you could possibly imagine, and your home’s interior air quality is far from immune to it. Ventilation and air filtration can suffer tremendously from homes exposed to smoke on a consistent basis, and it’s not a surprise considering they contain over 4,000 chemicals. If you plan on making your air more breathable, butt out or take it outside if you absolutely must have a smoke. Various cancers, diseases, heart attacks, and deaths stem from second-hand smoke, and living in an ever-present cloud of it will do far more than suffocate your air quality.

Switch to Fragrance-Free Products

Those fruity-scented soaps, detergents, bath products, cleaners, and aerosol sprays are known to emit dozens of volatile organic compounds into the air, making it all the harder to keep your home fresh indoors despite the intended uses printed on their labels. By substituting for all-natural alternatives or fragrance-free items such as sliced lemons and baking soda for kitchen freshness will help to filter toxins out of the air. With spring and summer in full swing, now’s the time to open the windows, pull back the curtains and let fresh air into every room in your home. Combined with less invasive and far less toxic cleaning solutions, it’ll be easier than ever to maintain indoor freshness.

The quality of your home’s indoor air depends on how much effort you’re willing to put into filtering it. By implementing these fresh tips and being careful about what products you use, it will be an absolute breeze to have clean, light, and healthy air at home.

roof-shingles-being-replaced
Home & Garden

How to Know When it’s Time to Replace Your Roof

For a home to remain healthy and structurally sound, it absolutely requires a roof that is in good condition and constructed with quality in mind. They don’t last forever, and it’s imperative that you replace your roof when the time comes. Here are some telltale signs that your roof is due for a replacement.

Condition of Shingles

If you spot curled or cupped shingle edges throughout your roof, it’s definitely a sign that your shingles are well past their life expectancy, and leaving them unattended to will damage your roof substantially. Cracked and buckling shingles are also another sign of a dying roof in need of replacement in some cases, so be sure to keep an eye out. Missing shingles and “tabs” are another dead giveaway of roof problems; don’t forget to give everything a thorough inspection every once in a while. Once you start seeing problems with your shingles, bear in mind that your roof has anywhere between 1 and 5 years left, sometimes less.

Sagging and Warping

A roof’s failure is, aside from shingle condition, most often evident when sections of your roof and valleys are sagging or warped. When walking on the roof and it feels spongy, it’s a definite indication that you’re due for a new roof. A sturdy, rigid, and strong roof is ideal to properly protect your home from the elements and temperature changes, and sagging is a telltale sign of weakness or structural vulnerability. Be sure to address any depressions or droops quickly to avoid damaging your home’s interior or structural integrity.

Your Roof is 20 to 25 Years Old

Like human beings, roofs don’t live forever. Always be sure to keep the age of your roof in mind, as an asphalt shingle roof will only last between 20 and 30 years. Once yours reaches that age area, you may begin to see problems such as those aforementioned earlier. However, it is best to not wait until you run into trouble. By planning ahead and budgeting for a roof replacement for when it is 20 to 25 years old, you’re responsibly protecting the well being of your entire home.

Attic Conditions and Water Stains

The overall insulation of your attic is a reliable indicator of your roof’s overall condition. If you happen to notice daylight visible through the underside of your roof, it means that rain, snow, and dampness can also get in with relative ease. Water stains on ceilings and rusted metal structural components can also indicate that you’re due for a new roof, so be sure to keep a close watch on your attic’s overall condition.

A healthy, reliable, and strong roof is a key component of a healthy home, specifically designed to cover and protect you and your family. By respecting the need for replacing your roof and recognizing these telltale signs, it’ll be easier than ever to protect your home, belongings, and most importantly, yourself and your family.

 

man-installing-hvac
Home & Garden

Benefits of Installing Central A/C In Your Fixer-Upper

Air conditioning is a common thing in most newer houses, but what about those older, previously-owned homes that still have good bones and a second life to live? If you’re taking on a fixer-upper, central A/C should undeniably be on your list of upgrades! Here are some reasons why you should take advantage of this opportunity and install central A/C in your fixer-upper.

It Is Easier Now Than Later

If you are already undergoing a major renovation, now’s the time to invest in a new HVAC system. When the drywall is down and the walls are open, that is the easiest time to seriously look at your options for a new HVAC system. Make sure that you speak with your contractor or builder about the new HVAC system, ensuring that they floorplan and design elements you are planning will still work with this new addition. This is also a good time to make sure all aspects of your home’s wiring and plumbing are up-to-date. Older homes are notorious for out-of-date wiring that could cause fire or other big problems into the future.

Think Of It As An Investment

It is excellent to think about turning an old, yet beautiful house with character into a more modern comfort zone. You can make upgrades like central AC, which make the home more attractive to future buyers and modern living, while still maintaining the integrity and charm of the original house. While you may be planning to keep the property for decades to come, or even intend the home to stay in the family for generations, plans can change and it is never a bad idea to think about future worth. Plus, your family will appreciate the central A/C!

Leave It To The Professionals

While there are many opportunities for DIY projects as you upgrade your fixer-upper, HVAC projects are not one of them. All HVAC work must be done according to industry code and pass building inspections, depending on the regulation of your area. Thus, always be sure to recruit the help of an experienced HVAC company to aid in the installment of a new air conditioning unit into an older house.

Your Comfort is Worth It

Ultimately, even if you have to push your budget, installing a central HVAC system during your major renovations project is worth it. Especially if you live in a climate like Canada or upper United States, where temperatures can plunge and surge at will, leaving you to find ways to acclimate!

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Home & Garden

Keep Your Home Cool This Summer Without Air Conditioning

Air conditioning can be a welcome blessing and a wicked curse at the same time. There’s no worse feeling than leaving a crisp, chilled living room and stepping outside to be slapped in the face with a sickening wave of humidity. There are plenty of alternative ways to stay cool that won’t give you nasty surprises once you leave home. These methods are also far easier on energy consumption, which is never a bad thing.

Upgrade Your Home, Inside and Out

Yes, it’s often expensive. It’s also time-consuming and involves a fair bit of labour. However, the perks from upgrading windows, doors, and insulation in your home can hugely benefit your ability to manage internal temperatures. Adding trees and shrubbery to your yard can keep your abode out of direct sunlight, and it goes without saying that a swimming pool is a wonderful way of cooling off, should you be able to maintain it. Installing a reflective roof is another fantastic way to lower internal temperatures, as doing so can lower roof temperatures by up to 15 degrees (°C) depending on your climate. Awnings and coverings are also ideal during the summer, as they block heat from entering covered windows or doors. The more heat you can distract away from your home, the cooler it’ll be inside.

Draw Those Curtains

In addition to home renovation projects, drawing shades, blinds, and curtains can go a long way in cooling down the internal temperature of your home. Floor and ceiling-based fans can help to maintain airflow and dissipate humidity as well, particularly if you fill a mixing bowl with ice and position it in front of one. Ensure that skylights are also provided with a retractable shade or sheer to keep direct sunlight out. Refraining from using too much lighting will also make a difference as it generates heat. And if you have to cook during a heat wave, avoid using the oven at all costs — and of course, if you feel like pizza then take advantage of delivery. Or grill outside until you can’t bear it any longer.

Focus on Your Internal Temperature

Cold showers and baths, a naughty little trip to the grocer for a tub of ice cream, and plenty of cold hydration can be the keys to lowering your internal temperature. Even if you’ve just sealed the house off like a quarantine zone and drawn all the shades, the temperature inside still needs time to drop. Cooling off with a dip in cold water is ideal, obviously, but settle for any alternatives that might be available.

Not using air conditioning can have a profound effect on your energy usage as well as your body’s adaptability to humidity. Nevertheless, if you don’t have alternative methods planned for cooling your house down, it’s going to be a sticky, gross nightmare. Plan ahead, strategize, and you can have a comfortable, cool dwelling in no time.