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GoodLife Markham, Richmond Hill, Stouffville, Thornhill Edition

Festive Feel

8 ideas to deck your halls

that won’t break your holiday budget

Shrimp Cocktail Reinvented Your NON-STUFF Holiday Gift Guide SERVING Markham, Richmond Hill, Stouffville and Thornhill

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GoodLife Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill and Stouffville is published by Metroland Media, York Region. Statements, opinions and points of view are those of the sources and writers and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher, advertisers or GoodLife magazine.

We are looking for rooms and homes to feature in future GoodLife magazines. Email: 4 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

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10 Fireplace Focal Points 16 Planning the Perfect Party 24 Reinventing the shrimp cocktail 28 Ready for the holidays 32 Mix It Up With Mocktails 38 On Tap 42 Vintages 44 Festive Feel

Eight ideas to deck your halls that won’t break the budget

Four festive ways to add holiday magic to your mantel

Stress-free strategies for a great holiday get-together

Three fresh takes on an old favourite

Make-ahead recipes give you more time with guests

16 6 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Who says perfect party drinks need to contain alcohol?


Keep a variety of craft beers on hand this festive season

Be holiday ready for any situation with these wine picks

Rake in the savings, not the Leaves on all in stock Corvettes | 7

contents 46 ‘Non-Stuff’ Gift Guide 52 Sweet Success 54 Events 56 A Gardening Dynasty 58 Travel 60 In the Crowd 66 Priority Seating

Ten easy DIY placecards to add oomph to holiday dining

Some great ideas for those on your list who shun presents


Actress Paula Brancati stars in Matilda the Musical

Arts, culture and outdoor events for the whole family

Bradford Greenhouses’ history spans three generations

54 58 60

Adventure and beauty abound at these African safari camps

Flato Markham Theatre hosts its annual Discovery Gala

8 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

I Am Known

When students are genuinely known, their learning can be fully understood and beautifully supported. They can thrive. TMS creates opportunities for children to be inspired by learning through experimentation, exploration, and selfdiscovery. Located in Richmond Hill, our Montessori Lower School is for students 18 months to Grade 6. You hear the laughter, see the joy on students’ faces, and feel the trust parents have as they drop off their children. Our Upper School (Grades 7-12) offers the only

independent International Baccalaureate Programme IB in York Region. On any given day, this modern campus may showcase a student art exhibit, impromptu ping pong game or a pop-up lab for group projects. But don’t just take our word for it. Finding the right school for your child is too important. You have to visit and see and feel it for yourself.

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(905) 889-6882 Ext 2254 | 9


e v i t s Fe l e e F Eight ideas

to deck your halls that won’t break your holiday budget By JOANN MACDONALD | PHOTOGRAPHY By JIM CRAIGMYLE

10 | GoodLife • November - December 2016 | 11



ow in its 12th year, the Pickering College Holiday Home Tour invites decor enthusiasts to tour six homes in Newmarket, Aurora and Stouffville, each resplendent in holiday decor. With teams of decorators and florists outfitting each home in sparkling splendour, you might wonder how easily or affordably you can decorate your own abode using some of their ideas. We turned to Pamela Byer, senior design consultant with Aurora’s Design Line Studio, an interior decorating and design studio that handles both residential and commercial projects. For the 2015 Holiday Home Tour, Byer decorated the grand home pictured on these pages. With soaring ceilings and spacious rooms, the home called for large-scale Christmas decorating to capture the spectacular feel befitting the tour. Fortunately, the decorating concepts behind the look translate easily to more modest dwellings. Here are eight easy and budget-friendly ways to decorate your home for the holidays:

Use fresh flowers, cedar and pine to create a festive feel. If you’re a country dweller, you may be lucky enough to pluck fresh greenery and pine cones from your own property. 12 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

1. Shop Your Home First and foremost, use what you have. Walk around your house to take stock. Maybe you have a collection of white vases? A half-dozen brass candle holders inherited from your grandmother? Silver or green glass vases and bowls? You don’t necessarily need items specifically marketed for the holidays. Bring out special pieces like your crystal candelabra to increase the wow factor. 2. Think Long Term Build your holiday look around items that don’t shout “Christmas” and you won’t have to tear down your décor on December 26th. That’s what Byer did when she made use of the homeowner’s vases, trays and crystal pieces. In the dining room, she topped silver woven placemats with a white charger and formal dinner plates in white and silver. She filled a silver bowl with frosted glass and silver ball ornaments. “People could take them out and put artichokes in there after the holidays,” she says. “They could put in lemons and limes.”

3. Add Natural Elements Use fresh flowers, cedar and pine to create a festive feel. If you’re a country dweller, you may be lucky enough to pluck fresh greenery and pine cones from your own property. Working with Schomberg’s Seasons Floral Studio, Byer added natural elements to the space such as magnolia leaves, orchids and mini “Grinch” trees made from moss and pine. Think beyond traditional Christmas flowers to get longevity from your blooms. “Air plants last forever,” says Byer. “You could leave them on the table year-round.” | 13

holiday|home 4. Build Around A Neutral Base Start with neutral decor elements and add accent colours. That way you can switch up your look based on trends or when you desire for change. “If you like reds or blues or greens, you could tuck Christmas balls or snowflake ornaments in among the natural greenery,” suggests Byer. Same goes for your Christmas tree. “Even if you have the bulk of your tree in silver or gold, add in little splashes of colour,” says Byer, noting pops of colour add pizzazz. Buy a big container of mixed ball ornaments in traditional colours like red or green or not-so-traditional colours like orange or navy.

14 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

To save on ornaments, use inexpensive shapes like balls and pine cones to cover the majority of the tree. Create a theme by using a few well-placed, pricier ornaments.

to add quite so many ornaments to make the tree appear full. And a good tree will last many years. To save on ornaments, use inexpensive shapes like balls and pine cones to cover the majority of the tree. Create a theme by using a few well-placed, pricier ornaments. Byer dressed a tree in the homeowner’s basement with oversized pine cones and introduced just a few special ice skate ornaments. Add unexpected tree toppers such as fresh greenery or magnolia leaves. “It’s a great hat on the tree,” says Byer. “Almost like the ladies who wear hats to the Queen’s Plate.”

5. Invest In A Quality Christmas Tree Byer recommends investing in a good-quality artificial flocked Christmas tree. The “snow” effect on the branches means you won’t have

6. Use Candles Candles are an inexpensive way to create the cosy feel we all crave during the holidays. For example, Byer placed cream-coloured candles in hurricane lamps of various sizes on the living room’s coffee table, tucking fresh greenery around them. To update your colour scheme each year, simply add new candles in your chosen hue. Never leave candles unattended. If you have little ones or are worried about fire safety, battery-operated candles are a great alternative.

7. Add Twinkle Lights Nothing is more festive than twinkle lights. Byer recommends battery-operated LED versions on thin wire. They don’t need to be plugged in and can easily be wrapped around railings, trees and garlands. White lights are a classic choice, but you can even find pink twinkle lights for a fun touch. Wrap twinkle lights around a magnolia leaf garland and drape it on your mantel. 8. Introduce Cosy Accents Chances are you already have a bunch of toss pillows and faux-fur throw blankets. Bring out your greys, creams, silvers, golds and browns for an instant cosy feel. Animal images on pillows are popular for the colder months. If you like, add in a couple of holiday-themed pillows in December. Byer likes to drape furry throws around the base of the Christmas tree as a tree skirt.

Sources Flowers: Seasons Floral Studio in Schomberg Decorating: Design Line Studio, | 15



Focal Points

By TRACY SMITH | photography by Jim Craigmyle

Four festive ways to add a little holiday 16 | GoodLife • November - December 2016


othing inspires the feeling of the holidays quite like a decorated fireplace mantel. Use it to showcase the season with coniferous clippings, pine cones and twinkling lights or bring in the bling for a totally different kind of look! Whatever your style, here are four fireplace mantel designs sure to inspire you this holiday season.

Classic Christmas

By Andrea Henderson, Sara Standfield and Janine Angotti, Saturday Afternoons, Aurora This stunning mantel is decked out in rich cream tones, simple greenery and sophisticated blacks and greys. It radiates an elegant Christmas vibe while still possessing a hint of fun with the trio of reindeer and playful accents. Key elements: Creamy whites mixed with black accents, simple greens, twinkle lights and neutral figurines and word signs. Tip: You can’t go wrong by adding warm, white mini lights or candles to a mantel; they provide depth and dimension and bring the area to life in the evening.

magic to your mantel | 17


A Walk in the Woods

By Kasie Savage, lifestyle expert/TV personality Just because you don’t own a dreamy log cabin nestled in the woods doesn’t mean that you can’t create the feeling of one. This room’s gorgeous reclaimed wood wall (by brings warmth and texture to this room all year round, and by adding simple and beautiful natural elements like cedar, birch branches, berries and burlap, the fireplace area becomes a seasonal showcase. Get creative and involve the family by hunting for natural items in your own backyard. Key elements: Nature-inspired items (cedar, boxwood, birch, berries and reclaimed wood wall) Tip: Try to pick a look for your mantel that will work from December straight through to March with a few minor tweaks for the holidays to spice things up.

18 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Farmhouse Floral

By Karrie McFee, Inside Out Design Vibrant shades of green and red turn a mellow white-bricked fireplace into a stunning focal point. You can almost smell the fresh scents of cedar, roses and eucalyptus floating in the air. The look is topped off with a berry-coloured sign featuring a friendly sentiment of the season. Key elements: Fresh florals (eucalyptus, roses, cedar boughs, dogwood and red berries), and a fun family-friendly sign. Tip: Start with a pre-lit faux garland underneath everything and then embellish it with fresh floral items and greens. “It’s way easier to achieve a ‘full’ look this way, costs are reduced because you don’t have to buy as many fresh items, and best of all, there is much less mess to clean up after the holidays (no dead needles!).” | 19


Merry & Modern

By Karla Wilson, Haven Contemporary Décor, Newmarket Modern mantel designs are minimalist and colourful. This one, designed by Haven Contemporary Decor, features eye-catching pops of colour and elements of whimsy that add streamlined seasonal charm. Don’t have a fireplace? Any ledge in your home or apartment can substitute. Key elements: Bright colours, central wreath, metallics and a lot of open space. Tip: Start with a focal piece and work outwards, choosing a dominant colour to use throughout (in this case it was red). Symmetry and simplicity are key in a modern design so balance things out and remember the “less is more” mantra.

20 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Symmetry and simplicity are key in a modern design so balance things out and remember the “less is more” mantra.

CONTRIBUTORS Saturday Afternoons,, 905-841-8559 Karrie McFee: Inside Out Design (McFee Maintenance & Landscapes),, 905-505-6388 Kasie Savage, Haven Contemporary Décor,, 905-235-3528

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Downtown Stouffville invites you to experience our unique stores filled with knowledgeable merchants. Friday December 2nd, 6:00 pm Festival of Lights, Caroling and Live Nativity Scene Saturday December 3rd, 2:00 pm Santa Claus Parade The street will be closed for 2 hours after the parade - Join us for an after parade downtown celebration. Stay back on Main Street after the Santa Parade and enjoy a free horse and wagon ride! There will be live music, stilt walking elves, carolers, giant inflatables, a visit from Santa and more! And don’t forget to visit the stores and restaurants for the after parade specials Take your Santa Selfie in front of the Hearty Artichoke. Great prizes to be had. Contest instructions to follow. Check us out on Facebook




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holiday|party planning

Perfect Party PLANNING THE

24 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Stress-free strategies for a great holiday get-together By JULIE MIGUEL | 25

holiday|party planning The holidays are a time to catch up with family and friends, and celebrate the season. But for many people, the idea of hosting a party sounds more stressful than it’s worth. The good news? It doesn’t have to be. Some upfront planning and simple strategies can go a long way in making your next event one you – and your guests – will enjoy. Plan for Success A great party begins with a plan. Forget about the things that could go wrong and focus on what you can realistically handle. Choose a date and your guest list and then send off those invites asap. The Menu Skip the complicated sit-down menu and consider cocktail foods and desserts instead. (You’ll find recipes for shrimp cocktail on page 28). If the budget permits, start calling some local caterers and nail them down as soon as possible. If you’re handling the menu on your own, be sure to offer a mix of dishes that can be made ahead of time. Lighten the load by picking up dessert from your favourite bakery. Come party day, set up the store-bought desserts on a festive platter and sprinkle with icing sugar to create that “just-baked” feel.

26 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Not sure how much food to prepare? The magic number is eight appetizers per person per hour. Choose a combination of hot, room temperature and cold foods. For example, serve a variety of hot appetizers with room-temperature dips and spicy charcuterie with mild accompaniments such as cheeses. (A cheese and charcuterie bar is a great option because it can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated.) It’s always a good idea to have some lower fat options as well as at least one vegetarian option. The Drinks Don’t forget about the crucial step in planning a great holiday party – cocktails! Keep your drinks simple (remember, this is supposed to be stress-free). For example, offer white and red wine and make sure you have non-alcoholic options available as well. (Turn to page 38 for four festive mocktail recipes.)For something a little fun, why not consider a cocktail bar? It’s a great option because you can prepare it way in advance and you only have to worry about chilling the day of the party. For example, you could set up a bellini bar. A bellini is basically a juice or nectar combined with Prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine). Add fruits and seasonal flavours such as pomegranate, persimmon and

A great party begins with a plan. Forget about the things that could go wrong and focus on what you can realistically handle.

apple cider. The bonus about having a party during the winter months is that you can often store your drinks outside where they will stay cold, freeing up valuable space in your refrigerator.

uncomfortable. Create a playlist on iTunes or Sound Cloud and include holiday tunes as well as some party favourites. The goal is for your guests to unwind and enjoy themselves and music is a great way to set the mood.

The Look Plan to set up your food and drinks around the space. This will create movement and encourage mingling. Lay out lots of small plates and cocktail forks so your guests can create a plate to their liking. If you want to keep your party glam, be sure to use real plates, cutlery and linen napkins. Nothing is worse than trying to fork an olive on a floppy plastic plate. (If the budget permits, these items can be rented.) If you have a specific décor in mind, write down everything you’ll need on a to-do list. Setting up a Christmas tree or wrapping the fireplace in garland is often all the decorations a party requires, and bonus, you will likely have them set up already for the holidays. Light a few candles the night of the event, and you’ve created a wonderful ambiance for your guests to enjoy for the evening. Centerpieces can be easygoing too. Pick some branches of evergreen and bundle them with twine in small vases with pine cones spread around them. This will look beautiful and rustic. Finally, don’t forget about the music. Relying on party banter alone to fill a room can create awkward moments that make guests feel

Ready, Set, Enjoy The key to stress-free success is to set up as much as you can the night before. This way, all you have to do on the day of the party is put out the food and drinks. Rearrange any furniture and gather extra seating if needed. Restock the powder room with toilet paper and clean towels. When guests finally arrive, have a few appetizers ready to go and offer drinks immediately (or delegate this task to a friend while you work on gradually bringing out the rest of the food). Now, take a deep breath, make yourself a cocktail and go and enjoy your party!

Serve a variety of hot appetizers with roomtemperature dips and spicy charcuterie with mild accompaniments such as cheeses.

York Region resident Julie Miguel is a digital content producer with a specialization in food media. Her experience includes hosting, food journalism, recipe development, branding, food styling and photography. | 27

food|shrimp cocktail

Reinventing the Sh


Three fresh takes on an old favou 28 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

hrimp ktail


photography by Julie Miguel and Michael Rao


When I see a basic shrimp cocktail ring sitting out at a party, I always wonder why someone wastes valuable table space on such a boring dish. It wasn’t until last holiday season that I began to think of ways to infuse the standard shrimp cocktail recipe with some new flavours. I took it to the kitchen and here’s what I came up with. For the first recipe, I came up with fried shrimp on a waffle. This recipe features a crispy shrimp served on a soft waffle with sweet and spicy “syrup”. I don’t know anyone who would turn down this appetizer! Next, I brought in some Indian spices and a little bit of heat for a smoky and sultry flavour.

Pair with herbed yogurt dip to cool down the heat, if needed. Last, but definitely not least, I grilled the shrimp and added scallops, as well as sausage and some sweet fruit (mango) to balance it all out. I call it Gumbo-style Shrimp Cocktail. What I like about this recipe is that you can serve it with the standard seafood sauce that you’re used to buying since the flavours taste great together. There you have it – three delicious takes on the shrimp cocktail. The next time you feel the urge to pick up that shrimp ring at your local grocery store before a party, consider making one of these recipes instead!

Bangin’ Shrimp & Waffles with Honey, Sriracha and Lime Syrup Makes about 50-55 appetizers



Toss the shrimp with 2 mL (1/2 tsp) Old Bay seasoning and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cornmeal, 15 mL (3 tsp) Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder and ground cumin and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs and 375 mL (1-1/2 cups) whole buttermilk and set aside. Toss the seasoned shrimp with 80 mL (1/3 cup) of the seasoned flour-cornmeal breading. Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dip each piece of shrimp in the buttermilk-egg wash. Toss in the seasoned flour-cornmeal breading, shaking off any excess and lay in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Heat 4 inches of oil in a Dutch oven or heavybottomed saucepan to 350 F. Fry the shrimp in batches for about 2-3 minutes (depending on the size of the shrimp) until golden and crispy. Adjust the heat periodically to maintain the temperature of the oil while frying. Prepare a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Use a slotted spoon to remove the crispy golden shrimp to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat until all of the shrimp is fried.

700 g large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed 625 mL (2-1/2 cup) all-purpose flour 15 mL (1 tbsp) baking powder 125 mL (1/2 cup) plain yellow cornmeal 17 mL (3-1/2 tsp) Old Bay Seasoning, divided 2 mL (1/2 tsp) garlic powder 2 mL (1/2 tsp) ground cumin 2 large eggs, beaten 375 mL (1-1/2 cup) whole buttermilk Canola oil for frying 12 buttermilk or Belgian-style frozen waffles

Honey Sriracha Lime Syrup 125 mL (1/2 cup) honey 45 mL (3 tbsp) Sriracha sauce 60 mL (1/4 cup) fresh lime juice

Toast your waffles until golden brown. Cut each waffle into 2”x 2” squares and use a cocktail pick to secure a shrimp to a waffle square. Continue until all of the shrimp are secured to a waffle square. (You may have leftover shrimp.) Prepare your syrup by mixing the honey, Sriracha and lime juice in a bowl. Whisk until incorporated and then funnel the syrup into a bottle or a bowl with a pour spout. Serve immediately with the syrup. | 29

food|shrimp cocktail Indian Spiced shrimp With Herbed Yogurt Dip INGREDIENTS 1 900 g package (31-40) large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 cloves garlic, grated 2-1/2 cm (1 inch) of ginger, grated 2 mL (1/2 tsp) turmeric 2 mL (1/2 tsp) garam masala 2 mL (1/2 tsp) coriander 1 mL (1/4 tsp) cumin 1 small pinch cayenne pepper (optional) Salt and pepper, to taste

HERBED YOGURT DIP 250 mL (1 cup) plain Greek yogurt

Gumbo-style Shrimp Cocktail

1 clove garlic, finely grated

Makes 10 Skewers

15 mL (1 tbsp) freshly-chopped cilantro


5 mL (1 tsp) fresh lime juice Salt, to taste

METHOD In a large deep oiled skillet, cook the garlic and ginger on low heat until softened. Add the spices to the pan and mix together. Add the shrimp to the pan and mix to evenly coat the shrimp in the spice mixture. Cook until the shrimp are cooked through and opaque. In a medium-sized bowl, add the ingredients for the yogurt dip and mix until fully incorporated. Place the shrimp on a large serving platter and serve with yogurt dip.

454 g (1 lb) Italian sausage links 454 g (1 lb) tiger shrimps 454 g (1 lb) scallops Olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 250 g cured bacon 1 large ripe mango, peeled and cut into wedges Metal skewers or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

METHOD Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill sausage until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Keep warm and set aside. Toss shrimps and scallops in olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill them just until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Grill mango just until soft with grill marks. Cook bacon according to package directions. Cut mango, bacon and sausage into bite-sized pieces. Assemble skewers, adding mango, bacon, shrimp, scallop and then repeating sequence. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly chopped parsley. Serve warm.

30 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

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The greatest goal any dentist wants to achieve is to fix broken down teeth with materials that are not only strong and natural but also as close as possible to the properties of real teeth. However, this treatment goal isn’t always easy to achieve because teeth are exposed to extreme temperatures, acids, hard seeds/food – plus tremendous pressure from eating and clenching. Current dental materials have failed in terms of strength, fit accuracy and longevity, and this has resulted in fillings needing to be replaced due to wear and breakdown. Failures in crowns and bridges more often occur due to inaccurate or open margins, where the crown or bridge meets against the real tooth. This allows saliva to seep underneath with bacteria causing recurrent decay. In both cases, the result is failure of the prosthesis because it hadn’t lasted as long as the original tooth. Cause and Effect When an impression is taken of the mouth, there is inherent distortion that causes inaccuracy. When the goopy material sets there is measurable distortion because it goes from a gel to a more solid phase and shrinks slightly in the transition. When the impression is removed from the mouth, it also distorts slightly due to the undercuts present in teeth and spaces between the teeth which pull, stretch and rip the impression material as it is removed. The result? More distortion. Goop and Distortion –All in the Past The arrival of digital dentistry has changed all that by eliminating the different levels of distortion present in the old goopy impression-taking technique. Nine lasers in a handheld wand take a series of digital pictures of the tooth preparation. Since laser light travels in straight lines, the resulting impression is accurate to 0.001 mm – that’s 1000th of a millimetre.

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Same day Service - with a smile At Smiles on Seven Dental Centre in Markham we take a digital image and build a crown/small bridge or veneer by milling it on-site in under two hours. The resulting milled eMax crown/bridge is natural tooth coloured ceramic that is essentially as strong as steel. It’s strength and fit is superior which means it will last longer than the goopy impression used to fabricate a crown/bridge or inlay/onlay. You leave with permanent Digital Impressions restoration in your mouth at he same appointment. Yes the future is here at Smiles on 6050 Hwy. 7 East – NO MOREGOOP! – Seven Dental Centre through digital dentistry. 905.70 SMILE one block east of Markham Rd. on Hwy. 7

As a community-based media group reaching more than 300,000 households, we take seriously our responsibility to support community initiatives that help make York Region a great place to live, work and play. We support a wide variety of causes including health care and research, social services, education, arts and culture, community festivals, the environment, youth initiatives, volunteerism and much more. | 31

food|make ahead

y d a e R s y a d i l o H for the


When entertaining during the holidays it is always great to have a few make-ahead recipes that you can have on hand when you have surprise guests or a busy schedule. Elements of these featured recipes – with the exception of the soft pretzel sticks – can be made ahead, saving you precious time during this busy season. One holiday menu staple is a cheese plate and with such great Canadian cheeses it is easy to put together a wonderful selection for your friends and loved ones. When assembling a cheese board it is nice to include at least one hard cheese (such as a sharp Ontario cheddar), one blue cheese and one soft cheese (such as Oka or Quebecois Camembert). Add in a couple of your favourite cheeses but try not to overwhelm the palate with too many choices. A piquant onion jam is always a nice counterpoint to provide, as is a homemade pâté.

32 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Make-Ahead Baguette Bites Makes 24 pieces INGREDIENTS 2 baguettes 10 slices of prosciutto 1 wheel of Camembert Spicy red pepper jelly 6 plum tomatoes 1 pkg basil 1 ½ cups goat cheese 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper

Method Preheat the oven to 250 F. Slice the plum tomatoes in half and arrange on a baking tray, cut side up. Drizzle the olive oil and honey over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes for 3 hours. Slice the baguettes through the middle. For the prosciutto and cheese baguette, slather each side of the baguette with the jelly. Place thin slices of the Camembert on one side and top with the prosciutto and the top half of the baguette. To make the tomato baguette, warm the goat cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds. Thinly coat each side of the baguette with cheese. Arrange the tomatoes on the bottom half of the baguette and top with the basil leaves and the top of the baguette. At this point, the sandwiches can be wrapped and stored in the fridge for up to 1 day. When you are ready to serve, slice the baguettes into 2-inch pieces and place on a platter ready for your guests.

It is always great to have a few make-ahead recipes that you can have on hand when you have surprise guests. | 33

food|make ahead

Onion Jam


Bourbon-Spiked Chicken Liver Paté INGREDIENTS 1 2/3 cups butter, softened 3 tbsp olive oil 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped 1 lb chicken livers, trimmed of fat and stringy bits 8 sage leaves, finely chopped 1 sage leaf for garnish 4 tbsp bourbon Salt and pepper to taste Method Place 2/3 of a cup of the butter in a glass dish in the microwave. Heat for 1-2 mins, until melted and separated. Carefully pour off the melted butter, leaving the milky solids behind. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan. Slowly fry the shallots and garlic for 10 mins, until soft and tender, then remove to a plate. Clean the pan, place back on the stove and turn up the heat to medium high. Add 2 tbsp olive oil

34 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

and put in the livers and the chopped sage. Cook the livers for a couple of minutes on each side, until lightly coloured but still a little pink in the middle. If overcooked, they lose their smooth texture, becoming grainy. Pour in the bourbon. Simmer for a minute or so, then take the livers off the heat and place them into a food processor with the cooked shallots and garlic. Puree until the mixture is smooth. Add the rest of the softened butter and continue to mix until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, then transfer the mixture to a serving bowl. Place the sage leaf on top of the paté and carefully spoon the clarified butter over the top. Leave the pate to set in the fridge for at least 1 hour. The paté tastes best at least 1-2 days later and will keep with the butter undisturbed for up to 2 weeks.

3 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced 3 tbsp olive oil ½ cup brown sugar 2 tbsp maple syrup ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 2 tbsp brandy 2 springs of thyme 1 tsp hot sauce, Sriracha Salt and pepper to taste Method In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until browned, at least 10-15 mins. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Deglaze the pan with the brandy and add the brown sugar, maple syrup, thyme, hot sauce and balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking over low heat until the liquid has been evaporated and the onion mixture has reached a jam consistency, approximately 15 mins. Remove the thyme sprig and place in a mason jar. Store the jam in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Serve at room temperature with your favourite cheeses and paté.

Soft Pretzel Sticks Makes 24 INGREDIENTS 1 ½ cups warm water, 110 F 1 tbsp sugar 2 tsp kosher salt 2 ¼ tsp (1 pkg) dry active yeast 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tbsp butter, melted Olive oil 10 cups water 2/3 cup baking soda Kosher salt Method Combine the 1 ½ cups warm water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 mins, or until the mixture foams.

Antipasto Spiedini

Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 5 mins.

Makes 24


Cocktail Skewers

12 mini tomatoes, halved


24 bocconcini, cocktail-sized

¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar

24 basil leaves

½ cup olive oil

1 can artichoke hearts

1 tsp Dijon

24 pieces of salami, thinly sliced

3 tbsp maple syrup

Sprouts for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Marinated mushrooms (see below) 12 cremini mushrooms, small


4 tbsp olive oil

Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Pinch of chilli flakes, optional 1 lemon, juice and zest 4 thyme sprigs Salt and pepper

To marinate the mushrooms, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and chilli flakes to the pan, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 3-5 mins until just cooked. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and add the lemon juice, zest, thyme and extra olive oil if needed. Let the mushrooms marinate in the fridge for 4 hours. Drain the artichokes and slice in half lengthwise.

Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, then oil it well. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place for 50 to 55 mins, or until the dough has doubled in size. Heat the oven to 450 F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set aside. Bring the 10 cups water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or a roasting pan (something wide and shallow is best). Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Cut each quarter into 4 equal pieces and roll into a log. Place the pretzels on a half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. One by one, place the pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return them to the sheet pans and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown, 12 to 14 mins. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 2 mins before serving.

Skewer cheese, meat, basil and one of each vegetable on skewers. (Or mix and match your own.) To serve, dip the skewers in the vinaigrette, place on a plate and garnish with sprouts. | 35

Make Ahead ahead food|make

Raspberry Vanilla Mini Cupcakes CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS


1/3 cup canola oil ¼ cup full fat yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2/3 cup sugar 3 eggs 1 ½ tsp vanilla 1 ½ cup flour ¼ tsp salt 1 ½ tsp baking powder VANILLA SWISS BUTTERCREAM ½ cup egg whites from about 4 large eggs 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature Pinch of salt

36 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix together the oil and sugar until well incorporated. Beat for at least 3 mins. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the yogurt and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. Line a mini cupcake pan with liners and fill to three-quarters full with batter. Bake for 10-15 mins (until a toothpick comes out clean). Transfer the mini cupcakes to a rack to cool. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the butter cream. Bring a small saucepan with 2 inches of water to a boil, then lower to a simmer.

Place the sugar, salt and egg whites into a medium-sized bowl and whisk together. Put the bowl over the simmering water to heat the mixture slowly and evenly. Whisk to dissolve the sugar into the egg whites and to keep the eggs from turning into an omelette. When the mixture reaches 150 F, remove from heat and put into a large bowl or stand mixer. Whip on medium high speed with an electric mixer until the meringue has reached stiff peaks and cooled to room temperature. Add the butter one cube at a time, whip on a slower setting until all the butter has been incorporated. If the mixture curdles at this point, do not worry. Keep beating and it will smooth out. Add the vanilla and whip until incorporated.

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p u t i x i M

Who says perfect party drinks need to

The perfect seasonal drink is like a Christmas tree—it’s not complete without all of its trimmings. Get creative and add something original to top things off. (Gold bowls: Superstore. Glass bowl: Bowring)

38 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

By TRACY SMITH | photography by Jim Craigmyle

contain alcohol? Not us!

Mixologist Adrian Stein works with restaurants to revamp their cocktail and mocktail menus, and also provides his services for private events and offers mixology lessons.


very great host needs a fabulous mocktail recipe to wow guests with during the festive season. The best thing about mocktails is that everyone can enjoy them. And don’t be fooled; non-alcoholic drinks can be even more tasty and fun to serve than their alcoholic counterparts. GoodLife enlisted Adrian Stein, award-winning mixologist, to create these four exclusive mocktail drinks. Read on for his recipes and steps to create the perfect mocktail this holiday season. | 39

holiday|mocktails Holiday Solstice

Glassware: Highball Garnish: Cranberry/mint sprig skewer Serves 1 INGREDIENTS 2 oz fresh lime juice 1-1/4 oz maple syrup

Method Add lime juice, maple syrup, cranberries, mint leaves and bitters to a cocktail shaker and top with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and pour into glass. Top with ginger beer, adding club soda if you find it too spicy. Garnish with a mint sprig pushed through a cranberry.

7 frozen cranberries 9 mint leaves 3 dashes cranberry bitters or Angostura bitters 3 oz ginger beer 2 oz club soda (optional)

Reindeer Juice Glassware: Highball Garnish: Lime wheel Serves 1

INGREDIENTS 2 oz cranberry juice 1 oz lime juice 1 oz simple syrup (recipe follows) 1 oz diced cucumber 7 frozen cranberries 3 dashes Angostura bitters 1 sprig rosemary sprig 2 oz tonic water Method Add cranberry and lime juices, simply syrup, cucumber, cranberries, bitters and rosemary to cocktail shaker, then shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Pour contents into glass and top with tonic water. SIMPLE SYRUP To make your own simple syrup, add 500 mL of sugar to 500 mL of water and bring to boil. Reduce volume by approximately 10 per cent, remove from heat and let cool.

Choose a glass with some personality and pizazz to present your drink in and add to the “wow” factor. These also make great gifts for other hosts!”

40 | GoodLife • November - December 2016


To avoid last minute disappointment, remember to shop ahead and stock up on special ingredients, such as ginger beer, tonic water, simple syrup and bitters.�

Santa Shake

Glassware: Milkshake glass or giant mug Garnish: Crushed candy cane and a mint sprig or cookie straw (optional) Serves 1 INGREDIENTS 500 mL 2 per cent milk 2 scoops PC Candy Cane Chocolate Fudge Crackle Ice Cream (or other mint ice cream or frozen yogurt) 1 oz simple syrup (recipe follows) 3 dashes mint bitters Whipped cream Method Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker and top with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and then pour into glass. Garnish with a mint sprig or apple fan.

Winter Cider Smash Glassware: Highball Garnish: Mint sprig or green apple fan Serves 1 INGREDIENTS 3 oz apple cider 1 oz butterscotch syrup

Contributors/Sources Recipes: Adrian Stein, mixologist, 289-338-2070, Glassware: Yonge Street Winery, Aurora, Ginger beer, tonic water, bitters: Yonge Street Winery, Aurora, Gold bowls: Superstore, Glass bowls: Bowring, Location: The Citizen, (522 King St. W., Toronto)

1 oz lemon juice 1 oz diced green apple 7 mint leaves 5 dashes Angostura bitters Method Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker and top with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and then pour into glass. Garnish with a mint sprig or apple fan. | 41

on tap


Essentials by Robin LeBlanc

One of the fantastic things about beer is how varying it can be. We’ve reached a point now where there is a perfect beer for every shade of fancy you may have and there is no other season that showcases that better than winter. There’s the dark and boozy, the light and crisp, and even beers that are right in between those two. Some are good for sharing, and some are perfect for those times where you just need a break from all the festivities the season brings.

So with that, here are a few selections that are essential to making your holiday season a comfortable and joyous one.

St. Bernardus Abt 12Brouwerij St. Bernardus ABV: 10% LCBO#346197 This one isn’t often picked as a holiday favourite, but it’s become a tradition for me to bring out a bottle of St. Bernardus Abt 12 this time of year and share it with my family, often over good food and good conversation. This Belgian brewery has been creating world-class beers since its founding in 1945 and in no other beer is this more evident than in their fabulous quadrupel, with flavours of dark fruits, dates, bread, and rich caramel – creating an almost religious experience for your tastebuds.

Enter Clutch Pale Ale from Redline Brewery. With bright hits of grapefruit, orange, peach and pine in the flavours, this favourite from Barrie’s youngest brewery is several steps above the typical pale ale and is sure to quench your thirst.

Clutch Redline Brewhouse ABV: 4.8% LCBO#461756 I find this beer is a lifesaver if you are one of the true heroes of the holidays who spend all their time in the kitchen preparing unforgettable meals for their loved ones. Stouts and other dark beers are great, but if you’re in a piping hot kitchen you want something cold and crisp to drink.

42 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Robin LeBlanc is an award-winning beer writer and owner of She is also the coauthor of The Ontario Craft Beer Guide, which – hey – would make a perfect gift this season.

Invictus Solera Aged Russian Imperial Stout Flying Monkeys Brewery ABV: 17.5% LCBO#442673 During the cold months, nothing really quite beats a dark and boozy beer that you can sip quietly in the comfort of your nice and toasty home. Keeping that feeling in mind, the new release from Barrie-based Flying Monkeys Brewery, the Invictus Solera Aged Russian Imperial Stout, is guaranteed to get the job done. The aroma is very much on the boozy side, but the taste is a warming dance of sweet milk chocolate, port and stone fruits that come out more as it naturally warms in the glass. It’s a beer that will definitely help you wind down, but at a whopping 17.5% ABV, you may want to share this one.

Phoenix Phoenix Financial Inc. focus on Residential Mortgage, Commercial loan, Business Loan as well as Construction and Land Development loans. The president is Sophia Sun.We were one of the first Mandarin-Speaking mortgage brokers in Canada. Main partners include Scotia Bank, TD Canada Trust Bank of Montreal, CIBC, HSBC, Bank of China(Canada), National Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Laurentian Bank, Equitable Trust, Home Trust, City Bank, Bridgwater etc. nearly 60 financial institutions. Phoenix Financial Inc. has the best professional team with over 60 mortgage agents. We had helped facilitate more than $1 billion worth of loans to all different types of individuals and businesses. Phoenix also very active in philanthropic work.We champion and get involved in community and charitable organizations such as SickKids Foundation, The PrincessMargaret Cancer Foundation, and to other humanitarian causes such as the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire relief effort through the Red Cross -- the families affected by that tragedy deserve our help.

CCIA The Canada China Investment Association (CCIA) is a CanadaChina investment and bilateral trade facilitator founded in 2008 as a not-for profit business association. CCIA is an advocate for friendship and culture exchanges between China and Canada and a catalyst for economic trade and Sino-Canadian investment. The President of CCIA is Sophia Sun, members represent a wide range of sectors, including financial services, real estate, legal services, manufacturing, biotechnology, construction, transportation, mining and energy, information and communication technology, high-tech and education. CCIA has around 2000 members in Canada, and much more globally. President Sophia Sun had organized Mayors’ Delegations for trade missions to China twice. CCIA targeted specific trade and investment sectors in major Chinese cities. China’s fast-growing economy provides unlimited business opportunities for Ontario enterprises. Improved Chinese foreign trade policies helped strengthen relations, and both countries reaped immense benefits from cooperating. This trade expedition marked a new chapter for the economic and trade exchanges between the Chinese market place and Canada. | 43


Holiday ready Thoughts from our expert on being prepared for anything By Michael Pinkus


t’s hard to believe the holidays are right around the corn It’s not just the gifts, it’s all the other stuff that comes with the holidays: parties; simple get-togethers (which never are); dinners; open houses; and the list goes on and

on – family, friends, the office. A large part of many holiday events is about beverages: there are before-dinner drinks, after-dinner drinks, during-dinner drinks; there’s also New Year’s Eve to think about, and

For New Year’s Eve, sparkling doesn’t have to be expensive.

government. A real mouth-filling affair that’s pretty from nose to palate to finish. Fruity with loads of plum, black cherry and raspberry plus the addition of vanilla and cinnamon on the finish. It’s well-rounded and totally satisfying, plus it has great potential for the future.

Chateau D’Eternes Saumur Brut France | $15.15 | LCBO#429696 Hard to believe the price of this traditional method bubble from the Saumur region of France (Loire), delicate bubbles with citrus and fresh biscuit notes. hhhh

Special gift – either for you or for that special someone – sure to please (order on-line or call the winery). Pillitteri 2012 Exclamation Commendatore Ontario | $50 | winery only A wine named in honour of Gary Pillitteri, who achieved the title of Commander of the Star of Solidarity by the Italian

44 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

h h h h½

Dessert ... ice is nice but sometimes there are other cool drinks that will satisfy your sweettooth. Fratello Hazelnut Liqueur Italy | $35.95 | LCBO#455758 For those who dig the taste of hazelnuts this is for you, heck even if you don’t you’ve gotta try this stuff; it’s creamy, it’s smooth and it’s a pure delight for after dinner sipping. h h h h+

of course there’s gift giving. Below is a list of some holiday favourites, both new and old, that should really put you in everybody’s good graces. So get ready to make your list and check it twice ...

Red for dinner? Pinot Noir is appropriate this time of year but sometimes you need to walk on the wild side. Two Hands 2015 Gnarly Dudes Shiraz Australia | $29.95 | LCBO#660043 You’ll totally dig the fruit-spice mix that leans dark-fruited, it’s delicious all on its own; grab a glass and try to stop sipping. h h h h+

Michael Pinkus is a multi-award winning wine writer, past-president of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada and creator of the Grape Guy Events App. You can follow him through his website:


Schonbek: An Icon in Crystal Chandelier Since 1870, Schonbek® has been synonymous with authentic handcrafted crystal chandeliers of the highest heirloom quality.Each creation is a brilliant masterpiece of elegance and opulence, designed to illuminate generations to come. In 1870, young Adolph Schonbek left his grandfather’s glassworks to found A. Schonbek & Co. The young entrepreneur focused on manufacturing crystal chandeliers of the finest quality and quickly built up a successful international business. The former Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I of Habsburg awarded Schonbek its personal crest – a crest that remains the iconic brand logo to this day. Passing on this entrepreneurial spirit to the next generations, the family’s resilience and passion continued to shine through in its chandelier making, with ingenuity as a driving force. For more than 140 years, the Schonbek name has carried with it a reputation as a change maker in lighting, revolutionizing the industry.To date, Schonbek has been granted more than 200 patents.

Sarella from Schonbek:

15-Light / 41”Diameter / 35” Height A waterfall of metal discs and crystal beading glimmers around fine glass arms perfect for intimate areas.

True to the company’s heritage of handcraftsmanship, each premium Schonbek chandelier is elegantly hand worked in the service of beauty. The result is pieces of exceptional grandeur that are appreciated by traditionalists and modernists alike. A made-to-order brand, each authentic masterpiece shines with its own unique character in more than 50,000 combinations of finishes, crystal types and styles. Schonbek is manufactured exclusively at its global headquarters in Plattsburgh, NY, U.S.A., drawing inspiration from its rich European heritage and longstanding tradition of chandelier making. Schonbek is registered trademark of Swarovski Lighting, Ltd., a member of the Swarovski Group. The best place to shop for top quality crystal chandeliers is from a popular lighting showroom located in Markham, Supreme Lighting serving Toronto since 1971. Showcasing a number of spectacular chandeliers really opens up your choice in upgrading the look of your home. We encourage you visit them before finalizing your new home or renovation project, their professional lighting experts are happy to assist you in the making of dream home. Mon - Wed: 8am to 5:30pm Thur 8am to 8pm Fri: 8am to 5:30pm Sat: 9am to 5pm 9 Laidlaw Blvd., Markham, ON L3P 1W5 Phone: 905 - 477 - 3113

Century from Schonbek 20-Light / 37”Dia / 55”Height

The ultimate heirloom chandelier, regal and refined, timeless and classic. Different sizes and finishes available.

Proudly Serving Toronto Since 1971 | 45






DIY place cards

to add oomph to your holiday dining By TRACY SMITH | PHOTOGRAPHy BY JIM CRAIGMYLE

46 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Why We Like It: Classy and pretty, stands upright to save space and add height. Supplies: Silver branch place card holder; various construction paper and silver marker. Tools: Scissors and glue gun.

When it comes to a holiday table, there’s something rewarding about putting a little extra thought into the details and taking the time to include things that you normally wouldn’t, like a centrepiece, good china or place cards. The latter have the added bonus of helping with the chaos of seating, meaning there’s no fighting over who sits closest to the turkey. Listed below are 10 creative and easy ideas to make your own place cards, using nothing more than a few craft supplies, scissors and a glue gun. What are you waiting for? Get your craft on!


Why We Like It: Pretty and sophisticated — a great way to add a bit of bling to your table. Supplies: Clothes pin, jewel, silver paint and sparkles, white construction paper and silver/ black markers. Tools: Scissors, glue gun and paint brush.

Why We Like It: Colour and sparkle! Supplies: 3 mini ornaments, silver ribbon, black construction paper and silver pen. Tools: Scissors and glue gun. | 47


Why We Like It: Gold sparkle adds texture and guests can take their ornaments home. Supplies: Gold snowflake ornament, construction paper, black chalk label, twine and gold marker. Tools: None.

Why We Like It: A perfect combination of nature and elegance and will match almost any colour scheme. Supplies: Pine cone, metallic berries, cedar and pine sprigs, white paint, silver and white construction paper and silver marker. Tools: Scissors, glue gun and paint brush.

48 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Why we like it: Simple and sophisticated, incredibly easy to do and adds a wonderful aroma to the room. Supplies: White cardstock, rosemary sprig and black marker. Tools: None.

Simple &Natura l Why We Like It: Embraces the season and natural elements of a Canadian winter. Supplies: 2 twigs, pine sprig, white construction paper and black marker. Tools: Scissors and glue gun. | 49


Why We Like It: A perfect craft for kids. Supplies: Cork, twig, 2 googly eyes, red sequin and red/white construction paper and red marker. Tools: Scissors and glue gun.

Fun for the Kids

Why We Like It: Adds a dash of fun and whimsy to any table; who doesn’t like a friendly gingerbread man? Supplies: Foam gingerbread man, red felt, 2 googly eyes, white construction paper, 3 silver sequins and white/ gold markers Tools: Scissors and glue gun.

Why we like it: adds pops of classic Christmas colours. Supplies: 3 candy canes (real or fake), a few metallic berries, ribbon, construction paper and red marker. Tools: Scissors and glue gun. SOURCES Supplies: Michaels 50 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

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holiday|gift guide

The Non-Stuff

y a d i l Ho ift Guide G Give your Time Sometimes an afternoon together is the most wonderful gift. Grandma would love an afternoon out, and the Sorelle & Co. bakeshop and café is a gorgeous setting for catching up and enjoying each other’s company over hearty soups and sandwiches, artisan lattes, and gourmet treats. What’s more is that everything on the menu is gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free to make sure all can enjoy.

e that on s y a lw nt e’s a ay, ther hey do not wa d li o h y st o Ever ho claim !” they’ll say, n ift w n o s r pe u ask. G u No gifts o “ y . g s e in h o im anyt many t ption, but if y w o h r an o give matte always nd beyond to ciate, e r a s pre ea card go abov -free they’ll ap ift o t t n a g r w g clutte ese non-stuff in h t e som m th cue fro y season. a e k a t da his holi ideas t

Give a Class Giving the gift of life skills is one of the best. Any young adults or newlyweds in your life will welcome a day at The Kitchen Academy – a recreational cooking school for all ages to learn everything from knife skills and wine pairing, to gluten-free cooking and baby food prep. Find the class that best fits your loved one and think about joining them.

52 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Give a Challenge Nix the traditional Secret Santa exchange with friends, and get locked in a room for an hour instead. Escape rooms combine gameplay, suspense and brainpower for an interactive experience you can all enjoy together. You’ll have fun as a team hunting for clues to solve the mystery and free yourselves before the clock runs out. Caption Escape Rooms, Vaughan, captiverooms. com | Trapped, Markham, | Crypto Escape Rooms, Newmarket |

Give a Surprise Holidays tend to come with jam-packed schedules, and there’s not always time to see everyone you would like. A lovely way to let someone know you’re thinking of them even when your schedules aren’t meshing is a surprise luxury flower delivery. When a gorgeous fresh bouquet from Lux Flower Box arrives at their door perfectly packaged, their day will instantly be brightened. Use the GOODLIFE10 coupon code and get $10 off orders.

? The donation wards a een providing to k t e c g a d B u b has Give gift b milies put your Toy Drive Why not roes Food and of York Region fa p off e ro s d H Holiday eer to thousand 2008. You can etary n h e o c c m y in a r s d o e li g c ho assistan t of toys, clothin cility to get f o d e e gif in n e fa wrapped ion polic a new un at any York Reg s n donatio . involved

Give Some Fun A relaxing spa day isn’t just reserved for adults these days, thanks to Glama Gal Tween Spas. The kid-friendly atmosphere makes for an exciting day of pampering that young girls love to experience. What’s more is while they’re getting a manicure and enjoying a facemask they can partake in motivational workshops to learn about selfesteem and confidence. Locations in Newmarket, Markham and Vaughan | | 53

t e e w s s e c S uc portfolio |Paula Brancati


54 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Currently starring as Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical, actor Paula Brancati discusses life in the spotlight but I was on set for about two weeks so I got to hang out with them which was really cool. I remember it was a lot of fun and I just loved being on set,” she recalls. Brancati went on to star in Dark Oracle, a Canadian TV series which garnered international attention and won an Emmy Award for Best Children’s and Youth program in 2005. “Being the lead on Dark Oracle was awesome because it meant being on set every day and being involved with the creative process of the show,” she says. It was a pivotal time for the performer.

(Joan Marcus photograph)

(David Leyes photograph)

Though she’s spent more than half of her life in the entertainment spotlight, 27-year-old Paula Brancati says the thrill never gets old. Brancati, a Markham native, took her first vocal lesson at the age of seven and her first acting class when she was nine at CharActors Theatre Troupe in Thornhill. Her first break came at age 13 when she landed a part in the 2003 big budget thriller, Cold Creek Manor, starring a number of Hollywood heavyweights, including Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone and Kristen Stewart. “The part was relatively small

by David Li

“It was really that experience which was the springboard for me in terms of wanting to do this as a career.” Brancati followed up her time on Dark Oracle with a role on the popular Canadian television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. There, she spent her first season working closely with a number of actors, including Shane Kippel and Aubrey Graham (better known these days as Grammy Award-winner, Drake). “Aubrey, who played Jimmy Brooks and Shane, who played his best friend Spinner, were my main scene partners during my first season and they definitely kept me laughing and got me in trouble for talking sometimes,” she says with a laugh. “I was the new kid so I felt they were great at ushering me into this family that they had built.” Looking back at her four years on Degrassi, Brancati is most grateful for the personal connections she developed. “Nina Dobrev is still one of my closest friends and we met on that show; my time on Degrassi was the birth of a lot of important friendships for me.” After Degrassi, Brancati enjoyed a starring role on CBC’s Being Erica and then starred in Out, a short film which premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Another notable highlight involved teaming up with long-time friend Michael Seater to co-produce a short film called Sly Cad which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May of 2014. The pair are partners in BrancSeater Productions, a comprehensive film, television,

Paula Brancati is Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical, which plays through the holidays at Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto.

(Nakita Krucker/Toronto Star)

and theatre production company. In 2015, they released People Hold On, their first full length feature, and recently completed their second, Sadie’s Last Days on Earth. They are currently writing their third. It’s a busy life for the young actor who is also performing as one of the stars in the box office hit, Matilda the Musical. Brancati, who joined the North American leg of the award-winning musical back in April, says her role as Miss Honey allows her to make the most of her talents. “I’ve trained classically in vocal and piano and have been acting pretty much all my life, so being able to incorporate this in Matilda feels like everything coming together.” Now in Toronto at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, the show is scheduled to run through the holidays. The response, she says, has been overwhelming. “It was amazing to see the responses in the cities we’ve toured in the States – and to bring it to Toronto and have friends and family come every night is just amazing.” Michael Seater attributes much of his friend’s success to her professionalism, work ethic, and consideration for others. “As an actress and performer she’s very talented and hardworking. Paula is great to work with because she always a pro and makes sure that her scene partners are getting what they need out of the scene,” he says. “She always has everyone’s best interest at heart and is always making sure that the crew is being taken care of and that selfless quality is something that makes her not only a great producer but also a great leader.” Whether it’s producing, acting or writing, Brancati says the secret has been to approach each challenge with the same level of professionalism, determination and excitement as she did when she first broke into the industry more than 14 years ago. “Some people might think it’s tough juggling so many things but the truth is I love what I’m doing and even though it’s hard work and long hours at times, it doesn’t feel like it’s work because this is my passion,” she says. Despite all of her accomplishments, Brancati is eager to experience new thrills and challenges, looking ahead with enthusiasm and excitement. “It’s been an incredible journey so far but there’s so much more I still want to do and accomplish,” she says. “I feel like I’m in a great place now in my life and my career, and when I look ahead I’m very excited about what the future holds.” | 55





Olde Tyme Christmas December 2 to 4 Main Street Unionville Take in the Olde Tyme Christmas Parade and visits with Santa at the Millennium Bandstand, Saturday night, plus live music, ice sculpture demonstration, maple taffy snow stations and more throughout the weekend. Information:


Elves in the Workshop December 3 Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre Bring your little elf for a seasonal hands-on workshop where they will decorate freshly baked treats. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies before heading out on a holiday traditions tour of the heritage buildings. Recommended for ages three to 10. Registration required. Information:


Old School Yule: A Matt Dusk Christmas December 8 Flato Markham Theatre What’s a better way to escape a cold, snowy night with the holidays approaching? Let the warmth of renowned singer Matt Dusk’s crooner style, and some of his talented friends, take you on a fun journey celebrating the joy of holiday classics with a cool, big band sound. Dusk and his band are world-class, and will have you dancing, clapping and tapping your toes to a mix of jazz, pop, and of course, Christmas hits. Information:


A Bluesy Christmas December 9 Nineteen on the Park An evening of all those Christmas songs you know sung by the likes of Juno award-winner Chuck Jackson and Maple Blues award nominee Johnny Max Band. Information:


Looking for something fun to do? Check out events on

56 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Candlelight Christmas

in your community


Jingle Bell Walk December 10 Hollidge Tract, York Regional Forest Join merrymakers in a walk along a forest path. Learn about the holiday traditions of bells and Christmas trees. Bells are provided. Please bring a donation of non-perishable food for the local food bank. Registration required. Information:


The Next Generation Leahy December 10 Flato Markham Theatre Building on over three generations of Leahy musicianship, Doug Leahy – together with his wife Jennifer and six of their eight children – are keeping those traditions alive. Although all still in elementary school, Evelyn, Joseph, Cecilia, Angus, Gregory and Adele are accomplished multi-instrumentalists, masterfully playing the fiddle, cello, French accordion, piano, voice, with French-Canadian step dancing. They are an inspiration to other children and families alike, showing just what young people are capable of. Information:


Candlelight Christmas December 10 Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre Decorated for the season, the museum’s historic buildings come to life with the traditions of Christmas past. Enjoy a visit with Father Christmas and go on a horse-drawn wagon ride. Taste traditional hot cider and baking and listen to a reading of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. Experience all that this enchanting evening has to offer with your whole family. Information:


A Celtic Family Christmas December 15 Flato Markham Theatre Kick off the festive season with two of Canada’s brightest stars, their talented children and other family members as they welcome you into their holiday celebrations with A Celtic Family Christmas. With dozens of Juno Awards and Grammy nominations to their credit, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are recognized around the world for their fiery fiddle playing.

They bring audiences together as they perform uplifting Celtic and folk music, and step dance with a joyous spirit that will touch your heart. A captivating and crowd-pleasing show – a wonderful gift to share with your own family. Information:


Motus O Dance Theatre’s A Christmas Carol December 17 to 19 Nineteen on the Park Motus O dance theatre effortlessly weaves a range of dance styles, text and video in this exciting adaptation of the classic story of loneliness and greed, hope and humanity. Follow our anti-hero Ebenezer Scrooge as he is propelled through a heart-stopping journey, revisiting his lost hopes and his deepest fears. For a man who believed in nothing… in one night he would believe in everything. Information:


A Christmas Carol December 21 Flato Markham Theatre Scrooge’s journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas comes alive with energetic song, dance, special effects and a brilliant cast led by Rod Campbell (nine seasons at the Shaw Festival, Ragtime on Broadway) as Scrooge. Complete with a fabulous new concert of all your Yuletide favourites. Presented by the Orillia Opera House. Information:


First Night Celebration December 31 A family-friendly New Year’s Eve Party, this celebration is specially planned for young families to offer an alternative to other late night events. The evening is filled with a variety of activities and entertainment that the whole family can enjoy. Information:

COMING JANUARY 2016 7 Contact a local multimedia advertising consultant today! 905-853-8888 | 57

profile|Bradford Greenhouses


The Ferragine Family:

Gardening Dynasty

Bradford Greenhouses’ history has spanned three generations and just as many continents. The stewardship of botanicals began first in Italy where the Ferragine family ancestors farmed the land.


hen the Second World War broke out that all changed. The patriarch of the family and founder of the garden centre, Francis Ferragine Sr., found himself in the clutches of the Allied forces in Africa. “My father was born in Italy but became a prisoner of war in Africa,” explains son Len Ferragine. “He was a cook in the army.” After the war, Francis Sr. moved to England with his family and he returned to his farming roots, working on the estate of a wealthy aristocrat – a man known to socialize with royals. It was in the Preston Deanery nursery greenhouses that Francis honed the skills he would pass down to three generations of what would become Ontario’s most renowned gardening dynasty. In England, Francis was shown a series of films about new and promising lands where a good man with a strong back could make his fortune. Australia and the bountiful region of Niagara, Ontario drew his admiration. Francis chose Canada. The Canadian immigration story began in 1956 when Francis sailed the Atlantic on the famed Queen Elizabeth ocean liner, disembark58 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

ing in Montreal. After only four days in Montreal, he knew that learning yet another language was not for him. He headed to Toronto, arriving at Union Station with $20 in his pocket and a wife and four young children in tow. Farmer, Bill Watson, who was looking for an Italian family to work for him in the fields, met him at Union Station. The years that followed were less providential. The family soon discovered that the films they’d been shown in England had left out a very important aspect of Canadian life – harsh winters. Francis and his eldest son, Tony, toiled as labourers in the Cookstown and Holland marshes, paid a meagre 65 cents an hour for Francis and 10 cents an hour for Tony. The arrangement kept the family in the backbreaking marshes for nearly half a decade. When one of the farmers refused to pay him his wages after he sustained an injury, Francis decided it was time for a change. He put his savings to work, purchasing three acres of land on Centre Street in Bradford in 1961 and his first company, Francis Ferragine and Sons, was born. By 1975, Ferragine had expanded, purchas-

ing a parcel of land in the Bradford highlands. There the family tended their greenhouses, farmed a cash crop of cabbage, broccoli and carrots and, in time, ran a small fruit market. Over the years the family survived floods that destroyed field crops and Ferragine refocused efforts solely on their greenhouse operation, a decision that led to a reversal of fortune. “We all grew up in the greenhouses,” says Len. “Filling the planting boxes with dirt by hand, one at a time. We’d level out the flats with a hockey stick. That was our life. We’d come home from school and head right into the greenhouses. It’s just what we did and why we all have an amazing work ethic.” “We had great parents,” adds sister, Eileen Graham. “We worked together and there was always an amazing meal on the table. We didn’t have to make most of the sacrifices. My parents came to Canada with the clothes on their backs. They made all the sacrifices for us.” By 1975, the Bradford Greenhouses were flourishing and, in 1993, the family acquired another plot of land in Barrie to open their second retail operation, making Bradford Greenhouses Limited one of the largest retail growing

operations in Ontario. Today, 50-plus years later, Francis Ferragine’s botanic empire is still growing with both wholesale and retail divisions, and an online flower shop, yet it remains a family business. Len and sister Eileen, along with their spouses, siblings, uncles, nieces and nephews, all run the thriving enterprise together. “We’re all equal here,” says Len. “We all still do everything, working seven days a week in the spring.” Brother Mickey is in the wholesale division 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the spring season. Mary’s husband, Sam Gallo, is at Bradford retail seven days a week. And the eldest of the original Ferragine children, Tony, now in his 70s, still goes to the food terminal at 1:30 in the morning from two to four days a week, hauling the products down for sale. “He’s been doing that for 50 years plus,” says Len. Even Tony’s celebrity son, Frankie Ferragine (a.k.a. Frankie Flowers) is a recognized television personality, informing viewers of the dos and don’ts of gardening. But there are a few things that have changed.

No longer do tiny fingers fill flats with soil and level them off with hockey sticks. Today the greenhouse is fully modernized with mechanical transplanters that pick up seedlings and plant them out in three trays at a time, six rows deep. Special events at the greenhouse also draw thousands for their lifestyle and home shows, and the holiday displays are legendary attracting shoppers who wile away afternoons browsing through the rooms and rooms of wares. “Garden centres have evolved,” says Len. “Both of our stores are open year-round now. We think like a butterfly, morphing all the time, from season to season.” “We’re a destination,” says Eileen.

The Bradford Greenhouses now sells clothing fashions, home décor, giftware, patio furniture, wildlife supplies and fresh-cut flowers, in addition to water features, seeds, plants, shrubs, trees and mulches. “The business has progressed to total home comfort and style,” says Eileen. “People want to extend their living space today. They have active lifestyles. They want more space to entertain and they’re going outdoors. There are even outdoor lamps now. We have regular customers who come in every other day. I have a customer who says, ‘I love it here. This is my happy place.’ “When the winter is gloomy, it’s always happy in the greenhouse.” | 59


African Adventur Travel writer Bart Card shares his experiences at 60 | GoodLife • November - December 2016


’ve been to Africa many times in my life but when I received an invitation to visit five safari camps with Adventure Life and Wilderness Safaris, I jumped at the opportunity. Adventure Life takes a pioneering approach to travel, offering award-winning itineraries designed to immerse the traveller in each destination. The company is committed to preserving wild places and creating positive benefits from tourism. They partner with NGOs, offer community grants and thoroughly research every aspect of their trips to ensure the most sustainable travel adventure possible. While safari camps may bring to mind visions of poaching and hunting, the game reserves and safaris of today are increasingly owned and managed by the environmentally conscious, and focus on promoting conservation. Wilderness Safaris is an example of one of those companies. Co-founded by Colin Bell, a staunch conservationist with a passion for safaris and ecotourism, the company offers access to some of the most remote and pristine areas in Africa.

res five safari camps



Kings Pool, Botswana

The game reserves and safaris of today are increasingly owned and managed by the environmentally conscious, and focus on promoting conservation.

62 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Jao Camp, Botswana

Jao Camp, Botswana Our first leg of the five-camp tour began in Botswana at Jao Camp. The camp is set in the heart of the Okavango, an inland delta with a unique geography that lends itself to an abundance of permanent and seasonal wildlife. The Okavango Delta has one of the richest pack densities in Africa, making it the perfect location to see everything from elephants, buffalo, hippopotamuses and baboons. The camp embodies all of the rich diversity and wonder that is the Okavango. Located on a remote island, there are nine luxurious tents each individually handcrafted with an ensuite, outdoor shower and dressing area. In addition to an elaborate dining room, the camp also features two pools, a library, a spa and a gym. One of the highlights of my time at Jao Camp was a ride in a mokoro (a dug-out canoe) to a traditional Bushman demonstration. The demonstration detailed what life was and is like for many people living in this area. Jackson, our demonstrator, showed us how to set traps and create fires in the middle of the bush. In the evening we went on a drive to look

for wildlife. The guides were accommodating to our requests, and extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of flora and fauna. Kings Pool, Botswana Kings Pool was our next destination. Located in Botswana, approximately 400 kilometres south of Jao Camp, Kings Pool is named for Scandinavian royalty. In contrast to Jao’s intimate and enclosed atmosphere, Kings Pool camp is an open-concept lodge with very few walls to obstruct views. The rooms of this exceptional camp are constructed of canvas and thatch, which creates a truly authentic African feel. Situated directly on an oxbow-shaped lagoon off the Linyanti River, Kings Pool is surrounded by reed and papyrus swamps, making it ideal for birdwatchers. The camp is also heavily involved in elephant research and is famed for its large elephant population. Our safari at Kings Pool included a sighting of a beautiful female leopard walking down the roadway and a search for wild dogs that had been sighted in the area.

Savuti Camp, Botswana For our last stop in Botswana, we visited Savuti Camp which is located in the lush and fertile Savute Channel. The camp offers seven large canvas and thatch rooms all of which feature an ensuite and a breathtaking view. It also boasts a thatched dining area, plunge pool, large | 63

travel|safari viewing area and firepit. In addition to enjoying the beauty of the camp, guests can participate in day and night game drives, seasonal boating, guided walks or just relax on nearby platforms and observe the abundance of wildlife, such as giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs. During the stay, our guide offered up an impressive knowledge of birds local to the area and while out we sighted a Martial eagle, the largest eagle in Africa. Toka Leya Camp, Zambia Located in the western portion of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Toka Leya Camp is approximately 10 kilometres from the world-famous Victoria Falls. Overlooking the Zambezi River, the camp boasts 12 beautiful ensuite safari-style tents, all connected by wooden walkways to limit impacts to the surrounding environment. It also features a stunning dining area, lounge, bar and an infinity pool. Guests can appreciate the surrounding landscape, take part in guided walks, travel the short distance to Victoria Falls or participate in any number of adventure pursuits offered at the camp. After the fast-paced voyage through the wilds of Botswana, Toka Leya was the perfect place to slow down and relax. I spent the next few days enjoying all the area has to offer; I cruised up the Zambezi River and visited a small local village.

64 | GoodLife • November - December 2016

Linkwasha Camp, Zimbabwe In recent years, Zimbabwe has really begun to put itself on the map as one of the premier safari destinations in the world. Linkwasha Camp is located in a conservation area and overlooks a vast plain and waterhole, making it the perfect location for viewing a wide range of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, giraffes, wildebeest, impalas, lions, leopards and cheetahs. Birds are prolific in this part of the country, with more than 400 species found in and around the camp. If you are a birdwatcher, this is the spot for you. The camp features ensuite tents from which guests are able to view roaming wildlife. There is also a lounge and dining area, as well as a plunge pool to enjoy after a long day on safari. The wake-up call for safari came at 5 a.m. and after a light breakfast we were on the move. We were lucky enough to encounter a herd of elephants cooling themselves off in the water and to enjoy a cup of coffee in the middle of a field surrounded by zebras and impalas. Arriving back at camp after the morning drive, I spent the rest of the day resting and relaxing under the African sun. Linkwasha Camp was the perfect final destination on a splendid trip. For more information, visit Adventure Life at and Wilderness Safaris at | 65

in the crowd DISCOVERY GALA Flato Markham Theatre hosted its annual Discovery Gala, Oct. 22 at the theatre. The event supports education and community outreach initiatives that engage young minds through the wonder of live arts, culture and entertainment. Naomi Hiltz photography


Markham Councillor Alan Ho, Alice Ho and Terrence Ma


Wendy Kadlovski and Nancy Sharpe


Warren Jestin, Carol Wildgoose, gala chairperson Debra Jestin and Ken Wildgoose


Barb Moore and Cinzia Bellamy


Monique Dennison, Sally Abdelmasih, Emil Fakhouri and Betty Liu


Nalini Sharma and Umesh Nath


Alan Moore, Barbara Moore, Margaret McCreedy and Ed McCreedy


Clyde Harris and Joan Chinnery


Jan Thompson and Liz Orr




10. Jack Peters, Sarah Kelly and Alex Peters


11. John Tidball, Lee Zhang and Martin van Zon



12. Cristi Dai, Sophia Sun and Zheng Xie 13. Michael Lee, Kamal Lee and Ronald Minken 14. Anne Peters and Hubert Peters 15. James Weir and Patrick O’Hanlon 16. Robert Kadlovski and Robert Briand 17. David Jones and Nicki LeBlond 18. Joel Lustig and Markham Councillor Logan Kanapathi







66 | GoodLife • November - December 2016







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