York Life Markham March/April 2018

Page 1



Trish Stratus On motherhood, fitness and her big comeback


TIPS INSPIRATION from local fitness influencers


York Region’s TOP SPOTS for GOLF


Nutritious one-pot dinners

York Life March April 2018 | 1

Coming this Spring to


170 Enterprise Blvd.

The all-new Toronto Marriott Markham stands tall with sophisticated rooms and luxurious amenities including an inviting Greatroom with full service bar and bourbon program, ďŹ tness centre with swimming pool, keyless entry, Netix, high-speed Wi-Fi, bedside adapter ports and stunning public art at every turn.



contents M ar c h / A pr i l 2 0 1 8

in every issue 7

Living well News, tips and fun facts

66 One last thing Stealing the Spotlight hEALTH 14 THE NEW WIZARD OF OZ Newmarket’s Amber Bowman

overcame a devastating setback to become a top North American trainer

17 FUEL UP! Mini meals to boost your

workout energy

HOME 20 into the woods To maximize their Oak Ridges

Moraine view, this couple called in the pros

25 SECRETS OF HOME STAGING How to make your house look

bidding-war worthy




4 | York Life March April 2018


Trish Stratus on motherhood, fitness and her killer comeback

52 THE FIT LIST York Region’s health-and-

28 DINNER IN A DISH Delicious, nutritious one-pot meals

33 in the kitchen with... Green Tea Restaurant, where

54 going green A roundup of York Region’s top

you can taste Hangzhou without leaving Markham

TRAVEL 40 GETAWAY: BLUE MOUNTAIN One of the world’s most beautiful

resort villages is in our backyard

43 VACAY: palm springs A holiday with a healthy

along with your plane ticket

spots to golf

nurturing golf’s top players

59 YOUR GUIDE TO LOCAL PRIVATE SCHOOLS The scoop on six of York Region’s

wellness-focused influencers

57 at the fore Herb Page on 40 years of

42 travel smarts Why you should buy insurance


How Trish Stratus made all the right moveS!


established independent schools

62 all good things The surprising story behind the Too Good General Store

Empowering Future Global Leaders

At Pickering College, students (JK to Grade 12), faculty and staff live the values that have guided our school since 1842 in a stimulating collegial environment. Pickering College’s Global Leadership Program strikes the ideal balance between challenging students to develop critical thinking and real-world life skills that can be applied to their university career and beyond. As a result of their studies, students develop valuable skills, including: •

time management and self-reliance

advanced academic ability

strong research and writing

critical thinking abilities

dialogue, communication and presentation

leadership and mentorship

design, invent and problem solve

PC graduates are well prepared for life: post-secondary education, as contributing citizens of society and leaders in their chosen community.

Join us at our OPEN HOUSE April 11 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

April 14 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Apply now for September 2018 Visit us online: www.pickeringcollege.on.ca Independent Co-educational Day and Boarding School Since 1842 | JK to University Preparatory 16945 Bayview Avenue, Newmarket, ON 905-895-1700 ext. 259 | admission@pickeringcollege.on.ca

York Life

editor’s note

Publisher Dana Robbins Regional General Manager Shaun Sauve

Get Inspired!

Editor Jacqueline Kovacs copy editor Deanna Dority

Forget New Year’s resolutions. Spring, in my humble opinion, is a great time to set personal goals. Who doesn’t feel more optimistic as the days get longer? I always feel a palpable relief when there’s daylight as I leave my Aurora home to head to work early in the morning, and it’s still light out when I return later that day. Soon enough, the temperature will rise (and stay there), buds will appear on trees and my neighbours will come out of hibernation. Why not harness that springtime energy and use it to achieve something good for yourself ? That was the thinking behind this health-and-wellness-themed issue, featuring the stunning World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Trish Stratus. The surprisingly down-to-earth Richmond Hill native, who recently made a big comeback after 12 years of retirement, manages stardom, motherhood and businesses, and is in jaw-droppingly awesome shape. She shares how you really can have it all in our inspiring cover story. Need more of a push toward being the best you possible? Read about Amber Bowman. This Newmarket firefighter overcame a devastating injury to become one of the top trainers in North America, and she’s helping others to achieve their own personal bests, including with appearances on the Dr. Oz show. To round things out this issue, you’ll find healthy recipes, beautiful decor ideas and other local stories that we hope will help you enjoy spring in fabulous York Region.

Contributors Liz Bruckner, Jim Craigmyle, Naomi Hiltz, Sue Kanhai, Andrea Karr, Joann MacDonald, Rachel Naud, Karen Robock, Kasie Savage, Julia Suppa, Angela Wallace, Doug Wallace Director of Advertising Amanda Smug Advertising Manager Mara Sepe Advertising Sales Amanda Andolina, Pam Burgess, Dawn Chaykowsky, Joelle Hawley, Tony Segreti, Judy Starr, Willen Tam Regional Director, Production and Creative Services Katherine Porcheron Editorial Design Emily Ayranto, Brenda Boon, Nick Bornino, Jennifer Dallman, LuAnne Turner Director of Business Administration Phil Sheehan Director of Distribution Mike Banville

Jacqueline Kovacs

About our cover We are delighted to have the amazing Trish Stratus grace our cover. Her infectious energy made for a shoot filled with fun — with gorgeous results. Here is the team that made it all possible: Photos (including our contents page): Dave Laus Makeup and hair: Valeria Nova of Two Chicks and Some Lipstick Hair colour: Stavro Piniotis of Salon Glamour Styling: Mila Yudina Location: StudioTwo22

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York Life, 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 York Life magazine. Contents copyrighted. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any article, photograph or artwork without written consent from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Submissions are welcome from writers and photographers. We assume no responsibility for unsolicited material.

York Life 580B Steven Ct. Newmarket, ON L3Y 6Z2 905-853-8888

living well IN THE

Virtual Bag A new online service is taking the groan out of grocery shopping as Instacart, a retail delivery service, has arrived in York Region. Residents of Aurora, Newmarket, Maple, Thornhill, Markham and elsewhere can now go to instacart.ca (or on the mobile app), select their local Loblaws or Zehrs, fill a virtual cart and select a delivery window (an hour, two hours or up to five days in advance). The delivery fee is based on the total cost of the groceries: an order of $35 or more, for example, costs an extra $3.99. Find out more at instacart.ca.

York Life March April 2018 | 7

living well | Health

Hit the mat

Ask the expert

“My spring allergies are starting up again. What can I do to get some relief?” The most important thing to do is decrease inflammation so your immune system can handle the allergens better. It’s the immune system that is reacting to the allergen, not the allergen that is causing the symptom. Some people just genetically have anoveractive immune system. Food-intolerance testing and eliminating the offending foods can help to decrease inflammation. Homeopathic remedies, such as Apis or Allium cepa, and supplements of quercetin and vitamin C can work well as natural antihistamines. Probiotics are good for allergies because they help to modulate the immune system. Acupuncture also helps to drain the sinuses and balance the body. It’s best to see a naturopath to determine the most appropriate remedy that matches your symptoms. – Dr. Janice Shouldice, a naturopath at Borealis Naturopathic Health Centre in Newmarket



That’s roughly the number of calories you can burn in just an hour of vigorous spring cleaning. So what are you waiting for? Those gutters, closets and windows won’t clean themselves! *Based on a weight of 150 pounds.

Diet advice to take to


Before you try Whole 30 or a juice cleanse, talk to your doctor. New research from the European Society of Cardiology has found that very low-calorie eating plans could be damaging for those with heart disease. After one week, MRI tests showed higher heart fat content and deterioration of heart function, including its ability to pump blood. By the end of the eight-week study, participants’ heart function improved again, but this initial effect could be problematic for someone with heart disease, researchers say. — K.R.

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A good yoga mat is essential to a comfortable practice. We love B Mats by Markham’s B Yoga because they’re available in three different thicknesses for just the right amount of cushion and grip. They’re easy to clean, too. “A damp cloth with some vinegar, water, lemon water or a very diluted tea tree oil will get rid of any dust and dirt,” company founder Andrea Morris says. “For a deep clean, B Mats are so durable they can even go in the washing machine on the delicate cycle.” B Mat Traveller, $56 at byoganow.com TIP For so ! — Karen Robock me lo get-zen cal ins @byog po, follow anow on Instag ram.


Controlled deep breathing has been touted as a medical miracle worker, oxygenating the body, revving up the immune system and more. Bill Allen, a 73-year-old Markham businessman, has been practising deep breathing three times a day for four years and his cholesterol levels and blood pressure are now under control. He also sleeps better, has more energy and has lost weight. Allen is such a big breather believer that he’s invited anyone who wants to know more to call him at (905) 642-2689. — K.R.

living well | Home

Make A Statement The right piece of furniture can take your decor to a whole new level. Case in point: this striking console table from Naturas Bebas. This one-of-akind masterpiece is built using the root system of a previously felled teak tree. Use it in your foyer as the perfect signature piece, as a sofa table or a standalone feature. It’s beauty meets function at its best. $979 at Niche Decor, Newmarket, nichedecor.ca

Spring Clean Your Garden

Downsize and Declutter

Want to start your gardening season off right? Angie Meyer, store manager of New Roots Garden Centre in Newmarket, suggests to spring-clean all the dead leaves leftover from fall. When that’s done, she says to add a granular fertilizer to any perennials. “That way,” she says, “when the plants start to grow, there will be nourishment in the soil.” Newrootsgardencentre.ca – Rachel Naud

Chore Chart If you’re thinking of selling your home this spring, you should also think about getting help with decluttering as you downsize. All those trinkets, pictures and possessions mean something to you, but they don’t to prospective buyers. “Hiring a professional to help declutter and downsize a home takes out the emotion and the confusion,” says Arlene Stephenson, certified professional consultant on aging, and owner of Downsizing Diva in Aurora, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and King Township. “It helps potential home buyers to see how their things will fit into your home, and will likely help the realtor sell the property faster and for a higher price.” Stephenson’s company also works with the realtor, moving company and property manager, along with providing packing and unpacking services. Says Stephenson: “We hear about how we’ve made difficult transitions smooth and easy.” – R.N.

Keeping up with seasonal tasks makes yearly maintenance manageable and keeps your home in top shape. This spring, take the time to: • Clear your air conditioner. Remove the winter cover and clear away any debris from the coils. Turn it on for a few minutes so you’ll be confident it will be ready to use come summer. • Free your filters. After a long winter, your furnace filter is probably full of dust, pet hair and more. Replace it and breathe easier come spring. • Get some screen time. Check your screen doors and windows for holes and tears. Screen repair kits can be found at most home improvement stores. — R.N.

York Life March April 2018 | 9

living well | Food & Drink

Gotta-have Gadget Resting on Your Laurels

This silicone cooking tool could be the secret weapon you’ve been looking for. Wrap it around stuffed bell peppers or acorn squash on meatless Mondays to keep veggie mains in place, or put it under your roast chicken to lift it out of the fats that accumulate on the bottom of the pan. Either way, your dinner will cook more evenly without sticking, and cleanup will be a snap. Prepara Roasting Laurel, $29.99 at Aurora’s Kitchen Accents, auroraskitchenaccents.ca – Karen Robock

Lady in red Grapefruits are the often-overlooked little sisters of the citrus family, but they’re worth noticing — and sampling — this time of year. They sparkle in your mouth, look beautiful in your kitchen and are more versatile than you might think. Slice one over a spinach salad, eat it with a spoon straight out of the rind or stir the juice into a cocktail or mocktail. – K.R.

In Good Spirits! A pretty mixed drink will elevate your brunch party or afternoon on the patio. This sparkling bevvy is pure spring, and sure to impress. — K.R. Sparkling St. Tropez In a wine glass pour: 3 oz of rosé wine 2 tsp watermelon syrup 2 oz sparkling water Stir, add ice and serve with a thin slice of orange to garnish. Cheers!

Our Type In her book, Everyday Cooking, local foodie Sandra Katanic inspires real people to make real food with classic recipes ranging from super-moist meatloaf to tomato and feta salad. There’s truly something to suit everyone at your table. Check out sandrakatanic.com for more about her book, or to register for a cooking class this spring. – K.R.

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living well | Travel

Flight Plan:


Stopover: Bermuda More than just the baggy shorts and big onions it’s associated with, Bermuda is a connect-the-dot maze of 180 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, on the same latitude as South Carolina, and about a two-hour flight from New York. With a temperate climate, as opposed to tropical, this little paradise is calm and cool, shy and private — a little mysterious. The coral walls and white roofs mimic the sand and clouds, framing the lush landscape and winding narrow roads. Left-hand drive reminds you of its British roots, as does the fairly buttoneddown vibe, a residual of the colonial past. May to September is the best time to visit. Check out gotobermuda.com. — Doug Wallace

This is how much you can save with Flytrippers.com. This travel site publishes a curated list of the flight deals from Toronto. Perfect for long-weekendaway winging it.

Turndown: Petit St. Vincent

Ess ent i al : The Perfect Hiker The Lone Peak 3.0 NeoShell mid-rise shoes from Altra are waterproof on the outside yet breathable from the inside. And while not designed for actually standing in water, they’re made for whatever the weather can dish out. The brand’s trademarked FootShape toe box gives your feet the room they need for stability and comfort. Both men’s and women’s versions are super-light and wipe down fast to take you from trail to town. Visit altrarunning.com or check them out at the Running Room and Running Free. — D.W.

Rum punch, anyone? This remote, all-inclusive 115-acre private-island resort at the southern tip of the Grenadine Islands delivers full-on luxury. With just 22 private cottages attended to by butlers who drive mini jeeps, it is high-end yet low-key and definitely old school. The resort celebrates its 50 anniversary this year and is part of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World collection. From $1,385 per night, including meals. Visit petitstvincent.com. — D.W.

York Life March April 2018 | 11

living well | Beauty

TREND: French Flair Give your mani a little pop of colour this spring with French tips in a playful hue. At Alice + Olivia’s Spring/ Summer 2018 show in New York City, Ontario’s Rita Remark designed a sheer nude nail capped off with a strip of teal (Essie’s Garden Variety). It’s a fun take on the classic French manicure and can easily be recreated in any shade — think deep purple, vibrant orange or spicy red — to suit your mood, your outfit or your destination. Hot pink for a beach getaway, anyone? — Andrea Karr

Custom Content Bespoke beauty is the way of the future, and now you can visit your local medi-spa and have them whip up a serum that’s customized specifically for you. The process starts with a consultation to determine your skin needs. Then an aesthetician advises on three active powder ingredients from 19 options to target your problem areas (say, retinol to minimize fine lines or vitamin C to brighten). She’ll blend it into a hydrating and soothing base and, voila, you have an utterly fresh serum with potent, high-efficiency active ingredients to use morning and night. Universkin P Serum, $199, universkin.ca. — A.K.

One and Only Say goodbye to bathroom clutter — at least in the hairspray department. Buy just one pretty rose canister of Hold.Me hairspray and you’ll get three different types of hold: light, medium and strong. By adjusting the nozzle, you can control the amount of product released, from a fine mist to a concentrated spray. Choose a lighter hold for loose waves or major control for a complex updo. Hold.Me also protects against heat and UV damage, known for fading colour, and is paraben-, sulphate- and cruelty-free. Design.Me Hold.Me Three Ways Hairspray, $22, designmehair.com. — A.K.

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That’s the Scrub Ever opened a beauty product and wanted to eat it? That’s how you’ll feel about L’Oréal Paris’s three new sugar scrubs for different skin concerns. For a healthy glow, choose the scrub for dull skin, with its three fine sugars (found in all the blends) and grapeseed oil. To control oil and blemishes, go for the yummy green option, with kiwi seeds — it promises to purify pores on application. And for a dry, tight face, the cocoa mix will soften and soothe dry patches. If you’re not already exfoliating a few times a week, now’s the time to start. L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Scrubs, $15 each, at mass-market retailers. — A.K.


Resistance Is Not Futile Want to up your exercise game? Look to resistance bands. Not only are they easy to use, they are also versatile and incredibly effective. You use them to create resistance (hence the name) to more deeply work your muscles. Because movement becomes harder as the band lengthens, exercises become more dynamic — with other equipment, the weight remains static throughout any movement. The result is increased muscle and bone strength. If you’re ready to get with the band, consider buying a variety — looped and straight, flat and tubular, lighter and heavier — to mix things up and work your whole body.

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health | Profile

14 | York Life March April 2018

The New Wizard of Oz With persistence and passion, Newmarket firefighter Amber Bowman overcame a devastating setback to become one of the top trainers in North America By Jeremy Grimaldi / Photography by Jim craigmyle


hen Amber Bowman won the Dr. Oz Next Great Trainer contest this past January, it was the fulfillment of her life’s two passions: nutrition and physical activity. “I always said I wanted to be on TV and help the world,” the Innisfil native says. Now she’ll have her chance. As the contest’s winner, Bowman will have periodic guest spots on The Dr. Oz Show to talk about health issues ranging from micronutrients to physical fitness. Still, the win took her by surprise. “I had convinced myself that I was not going to win,” she says. “I think what resonated with people is that my story is real. I live this life every day.” While beating out thousands of candidates is phenomenal, it’s not nearly as remarkable as the personal tests and battles Bowman has met and overcome in her 33 years. Its roots date back to when she was six years old and discovered her love of hockey. She began playing in boys’ leagues before moving onto girls’ teams by Grade 10, when she joined the Aurora Panthers. Through hard work and dedication, Bowman eventually landed a position with the elite Toronto Aeros, a junior women’s hockey team, and then a full scholarship with the Ohio State University Buckeyes. Throughout these years and on into the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, Bowman played with a number of Olympic stars, including current TSN broadcaster Tessa Bonhomme. “We were the pioneers for these girls who play now and are getting paid,” Bowman says. At

the same time, she was also a civilian trainer for the Canadian forces, as an elite fitness and sports trainer at Base Bordon. “It was very patriotic,” Bowman says, adding that she found it deeply rewarding to help soldiers readjust after returning from combat zones. So after five seasons, Bowman retired from hockey to be a full-time trainer. It was during those years that a sergeant told her she’d do well as a firefighter in the military. “I hadn’t really thought about it until then,” she says. Instead of joining the military, though, Bowman went the civilian route and joined Central York Fire Services in Newmarket in 2011, becoming the first of four female firefighters in the department. “Aside from the bathroom situation, it wasn’t that big of an adjustment,” Bowman says, explaining how a new women’s washroom had to be installed. “It was like playing boys’ hockey growing up. Once that helmet goes on, you can’t tell who is who. My life hasn’t changed that much from being an athlete to a career firefighter.” Although well versed in being a member of a team, Bowman got a taste of what it takes to excel as an individual while competing in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, a famously intense obstacle course inspired by real firefighter work. It was during these competitions — engaging in events like the hose hoist, victim rescue and forcible entry — where her athletic star began to shine. She not only won a slew of world championships in exotic locales around the world, but she also broke the women’s world record by completing the demanding course in under two minutes. By 2017, she

York Life March April 2018 | 15

“I had to realign, refocus my energy on who I was. At that moment, not knowing if I was going to be a paraplegic or not, I ruled out the meaningless things in my life quite quickly and the important stuff stayed”

was the most victorious competitor in event history, with 22 world championships in just seven years. To fund the competitions, which cost $12,000 a year, Bowman created FitbyFire, her own fitness, coaching and nutrition website, which has further funded nine other women to travel to the events. However, trips to the top rarely come without a few falls along the way, and Bowman had a serious one of her own in 2015, when, during a workout, she dropped a 100-pound barbell on her face. “I thought I was going to be paralyzed,” she says. “It was two minutes before I could move my legs or feet at all. I didn’t know if I would be a firefighter or run or play sports again.” In the following months, Bowman was forced to stay in bed, suffering debilitating headaches and dizziness each time she stood up or even tried to eat. But now she realizes this setback turned out to be for the best. “I had to realign, refocus my energy on who I was,” she says. “At that moment, lying there, not knowing if I was a paraplegic or not, I ruled out the meaningless things in my life quite quickly and the important stuff stayed.” Bowman believes it was the lessons learned from this incident that helped propel her to victory in the Dr. Oz contest after randomly applying following a fitness conference. “It’s been surreal and super-humbling,” she says. “I’ve heard from people from every stage of my life since winning. You rarely hear this much good stuff about people until their funeral, so to hear it now is humbling.” As for her career, she says appearing on Dr. Oz won’t change her as a person, but will certainly alter the platform to deliver her message. “I just have more reach,” she says. “I’m on a bigger platform across North America. I’d like to expand this now to a global scale.” Despite her growing fame, Bowman stays grounded with her simple mantra: Be the best version of you in that moment. “We don’t have to be perfect physically or nutritionally,” she says. “We just have to be a bit better than the day before.” Find out more at fitbyfire.com.

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health | Workout Food

Fuel Up!

These mini meals will boost energy before, during and after you sweat By Liz Bruckner


ou’re pretty fit. You go easy on the sugary stuff, adjust your training game every few months and hit the weights as often as you can. But if you want your body to continue performing like a finely tuned

machine, how you fuel it before and after a workout matters. Whether you’re enduring an intense spinning session or a less taxing neighbourhood jog, top your tank with these dietitian-approved workout snacks and mini meals.

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health | Workout Food Why snacking matters Consuming a mix of protein and carbohydrates pre- and post-workout not only keeps you feeling satisfied as you sweat, it helps minimize fatigue as your body undergoes strenuous activity during and after your workout, says Angela Wallace, a registered dietitian with clinics in Vaughan and Caledon. Snacking before you sweat is key because it fuels your body for the task ahead. “Snacking on protein supports muscles through impending activity, but also leaves you feeling satisfied and able to complete the workout, while consumed carbs break down into glucose, which feeds muscles during activity,” she says. “The body also stores some of this glucose as glycogen, which can be used during more intense activity — on a long-distance run, for example.” Post-workout, refuelling with carb- and protein-rich foods is necessary to help replenish energy while also helping muscles recover and repair. “You need to eat after you work out for a few reasons,” Wallace says. “You need to build up your stores of glycogen that may have been used during your workout, replace the calories you’ve burned, and feed your muscles with protein, especially after a weight-training session.” Here’s what you should nosh on before and after your sweat session.

Before a light yoga class… A banana or apple with nut or seed butter yields the perfect balance of carbohydrates and protein your body needs to feel energetic and satisfied throughout the workout, Angela Wallace says. Before an intense weight-training class… Oatmeal is one of your best options before a tough workout because it’s digested very slowly, allowing for a gradual release of glucose into the blood stream. Before a quick gym workout or run… A small fruit/nut butter/water-ormilk smoothie can deliver the perfect carb-protein mix. This helps your body maintain its endurance while providing support to your muscles during the activity, Wallace says.

After a killer spin class… A simple Greek salad with chicken provides the fibre, protein and other important nutrients your body needs following a sweaty workout. Need an extra jolt of energy? Wallace suggests adding a small smoothie (for example, ½ banana, ½ cup of berries, almond milk, plus 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds) to the mix. After hot yoga… A veggie omelette with avocado offers a great combo of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats that will both satisfy hunger and feed your muscles. After a total-body training session… Try grilled or broiled salmon with sweet potatoes and veggies. Loaded with protein, complex carbs and healthy fats, it’s a great way to help your body refuel and recover. Worked your muscles extra hard? Wallace suggests adding beans to your meal for more protein benefits.

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6050 Hwy. 7 East one block east of Markham Rd. on Hwy. 7 18 | York Life March April 2018


Basket Case It’s a tricky time of year. Will it rain? Will it snow? Because the answer changes from day to day, your front entrance can start to look like a clothing war zone. Thankfully, Margaret Halos, owner of Living Organized (livingorganized.ca), which serves the Barrie and Alliston areas, has some battle-ready strategies. Bin thinking: “I’m a big fan of baskets and bins,” Halos says. “In almost every closet, there’s space up top where you can put baskets of additional stuff.” Designate one for hats and mitts, she suggests. Or give each family member a basket to use. Separate seasons: “People drop too many coats, jackets and shoes in the front hall closet,” Halos says. Keep only what is in season (with maximum of three) and put the rest in bedroom closets. Rack up: If you have to keep a few footwear options at the ready, buy a shoe rack, Halos says. Then keep the taller boots on the top and shoes on the bottom. That should help keep things tidily at hand.

York Life March April 2018 | 19

home | Room Tour

Into the Woods 20 | York Life March April 2018

This Stouffville couple knew they wanted to maximize their Oak Ridges Moraine view, but it took a professional to help them see the trees for the forest By Sue Kanhai | Photography by Jim Craigmyle

York Life March April 2018 | 21

home | Room Tour


t’s hard to imagine sometimes how some living spaces can be improved. Gina and Luis Melo’s Stouffville home backs onto the Oak Ridges Moraine and is surrounded by 2½ acres of natural splendour. Secluded and serene, it’s nestled among mature trees, and sightings of deer, rabbits and foxes are common. In the 10 years they’ve lived here, the handy duo has done considerable work on their house. Their latest project, however, took home improvement to another level. An addition on the back was giving them three walls of windows to maximize the views and extra space — which would need decorating. They knew it was time to enlist some professional help. They called in senior interior decorator Pamela Byer of Design Line Studio in Aurora, just as the addition was being completed. Because the new space was still in its raw

state, the interior walls hadn’t been painted. She was tasked with choosing colours and furniture. Byer quickly got to work. She provided a

Secluded and serene, the property is nestled among mature trees, and sightings of deer, rabbits and foxes are common stair runner, some area carpets and lighting, including three forged-iron chandeliers over the dining table. She gave layout advice and suggested an overall design concept. “Throughout that initial project, Gina

started talking about the kitchen and how it just wasn’t functional for her. It wasn’t working,” Byer says. “They had this beautiful addition, everything was coming together, and the kitchen was feeling like it was really out of place.” Phase two, then, meant giving Gina a proper chef ’s kitchen. To do this, Byer removed a peninsula, door and bulkheads, and shortened a floor-to-ceiling window. She created a U-shaped layout to maximize cupboard space, add storage and make the work triangle come to life. Noteworthy decor elements include subway tiles that look like handmade porcelain but are, in fact, an imitation; their rippled texture catches the light. The tiles above the stove are herringbone Carrara marble with a pencil-thin marble border. The quartz countertops, Statuario Maximus, are from Caesarstone Canada. Hammered-nickel hardware

Because they did not want to lose their spectacular view of the woods, the owners opted to leave the windows along the back uncovered, since privacy isn’t a concern. To add softness, sheer draperies were hung only at the room’s end. Similarly, to avoid distracting from the view, the colour palette is soft and neutral.

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Redesigning the kitchen meant removing a peninsula, door and bulkheads, and shortening a floor-to-ceiling window. The kitchen’s new U-shaped layout allows for more cupboard space and storage, and the owners are delighted with how functional the area now is.

The live-edge buffet is the perfect complement to the woodsy outdoors. It also offers additional storage and provides a division between the sitting and dining areas. Its curved edge was an unexpected bonus: the owners’ rounded sofa happens to fit perfectly.

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contrasts nicely against the white cabinetry. The dishwasher is camouflaged behind a faux cabinet door, while glass upper cabinets flank the sink, creating sparkle and lightness. Although there wasn’t enough room in the kitchen to add an island, Byer came up with an inventive workaround: a live-edge buffet that could function as a supplementary serving area when the Melos entertained. It offers additional storage, and breaks up the dining room and sitting areas. Built of the same kitchen cabinetry, it looks like a piece of furniture. “The live-edge floating maple top makes it a more unique piece,” Byer says. “Because of the home being situated in the forest, it just seemed perfect.” And the wood top just happens to curve so that the homeowners’ rounded sofa fits neatly into it. “It looks like it was so intentional, but it was completely coincidental,” Byer says. “It’s the ideal detail in the space.” The ceiling fan over the sitting area is also live edge. In fact, the fan came first and inspired much of the design direction. With views like this, the last thing you want to do is obscure them. The windows along the back were left uncovered, since privacy is not a concern. To add a bit of softening, sheer draperies were hung only at the room’s end. Anything too bold or colourful, whether paint, art or furnishings, would only detract from outside, so Byer selected a palette of creams, dove grey, charcoal, warm golds and browns. “There’s so much colour in nature no matter what season we’re in,” she says. “These colour choices allow the outdoors to be the star of the show. To Gina and Luis, that’s most important, really enjoying their environment and the stunning natural property surrounding their home.” The homeowners agree. “It’s so open and bright,” Gina says. She is thrilled with her new farmhouse sink, the greatly improved layout and more modern overall feel. The retired couple, grandparents to three young grandsons, are enamoured with their updated, company-friendly space. Small wonder they have already welcomed family and friends over to enjoy their idyll in the woods.

This kitchen renovation was done by Design Line Studio’s contractors JPR Precision Contracting and Ontario Kitchens.

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The subway tiles look like handmade porcelain, but in fact are an imitation. Their rippled texture catches the light. Hammered-nickel hardware contrasts nicely against the white cabinetry.

Designing with intention

Tips from the pros:

Repetition is what makes a look work. These elements have texture and reflect the outdoors: • maple live-edge ceiling fan • maple live-edge buffet tabletop • dark charcoal-grey strip stone cladding the fireplace • forged-iron chandeliers, visually light and not too glitzy

home | DIY Décor

Secrets of Home Staging How to make your house look bidding-war worthy, even if you have no plans to sell By Jacqueline Kovacs Ever wonder why some homes seem to sell practically overnight and for more than the asking price, while other languish on the market and sellers endure open house after open house? The answer may lie in whether the place has been staged. “It’s a huge advantage,” says Jennifer Walker, owner of Newmarket’s Pearl Street Home Staging. “I’d say 99.9 per cent of people look at homes online first, and the impact of those pictures cannot be under-estimated.” An unmade bed, cluttered family room or messy kitchen could get a seller’s home scratched off the list of a potential buyer, just based on photos. On the other hand, she says, professionally set the stage for the photographer and watch that house sell. What about those of us who have no

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Walk Through

Your Life With Comfort. We’ll help put you on your feet again!

home | DIY Décor

“You want your bathroom to feel like a spa and your kitchen to feel clean”

State of the art custom orthotics Laser Treatment for fungal nails Shockwave for Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain) Ultrasound & Magnetic Pulse for injuries Ingrown and painful toenails Bunion and hammertoe surgery Diabetic foot care

For appointment call us at 905-470-2440 or visit us at markhampodiatry.com

4997 Hwy 7. Unit 5. Markham Mews Plaza 26 | York Life March April 2018

plans to move, but wish our homes looked ready for the market or, better yet, a magazine shoot? Walker, who worked in magazines for years before becoming a home stager, has a few tips that will help you make your home look and feel more appealing — no expensive reno required. 1. Walls “It’s boring, but paint makes a massive difference,” Walker says. Your current paint will tend to reflect colours that you are drawn to or whatever was trendy at the time, meaning your place might look more dated than you think. A fresh coat of paint, though, and your space gets an instant facelift. “It’s probably the cheapest update you can do.” 2. Floor When you tour your home, what’s underfoot? If it’s old wall-to-wall carpeting, you might want to consider changing it. “Hardwood is your best bet, but it doesn’t have to be expensive,” Walker says. “There are alternatives that won’t break the bank.” Think laminate, cork, engineered wood, bamboo, tiles and modern vinyl. Love the coziness of carpet? Go for it. There are tons of options with a variety of price points, and all will freshen your floor. 3. Ceiling You might not think much about your light

fixtures unless you have to change a bulb, but those builder-grade flush-mount ceiling lights aren’t doing much for your space. “Lighting doesn’t have to be expensive,” Walker says. “Swapping in a pendant light or a drum shade makes a huge difference.” To further stretch your budget, focus on the main rooms of your house — the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. 4. Clutter In most homes, Walker says, stuff piles up. “Maybe there’s a certain spot on the kitchen counter that is a paper magnet, full of stuff from school or bills waiting to be paid. Or maybe you’ve got a lot of small appliances on your counter or collections of things on your shelves.” Of course, you don’t want to throw away meaningful or useful things, but that doesn’t mean everything has to be out and available all the time. She recommends doing an “edit” of your household items seasonally or twice a year. Put half of your accessories away, for example, and then swap them back in six months later, putting the other half away. Stow kitchen appliances to open up counter space. Clutter, Walker says, can be overwhelming, and often we don’t even notice. A little clearing, though, can go a long way. “You want your bathroom to feel like a spa and your kitchen to feel clean,” she says. It’s all about setting the stage for your best home life.

food & drink

Reel Vintage The Oscars may be over, but those of us who enjoy a good movie along with a great glass of wine will appreciate this repurposed vintage, film reel wine rack. Available in eight finishes, this Goldberg Brothers rack holds six bottles and adds a fun touch of film nostalgia to any at-home movie night. And don’t worry: the manufacturer adds a sturdy base to keep your vino from rolling away. Pricing starts at $219.99, depending on the finish you choose. Find out more at htdcanada.ca.

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food & drink | One-Pot Meals

Roasted Red Pepper Soup 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped 2 garlic gloves, minced 8 cups vegetable broth 4 medium potatoes, skin peeled and diced 1 tbsp chili peppers, minced (optional) 1½ cups roasted red peppers salt and black pepper, to taste Heat vegetable oil in a pot on medium-high and add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Add vegetable stock, potatoes and chili peppers. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium-low heat and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes. Add red peppers and continue to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a hand blender, purée until soup reaches a smooth and creamy consistency. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Tip: Store this soup in a freezer-safe container for four to six months. Makes 6 to 8 servings

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Dinner in a


What’s not to love about one-pot meals? They’re quick and easy, and cleanup is a breeze. These nutritious dishes are loaded with veggies, fibre and flavour By Angela Wallace

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food & drink | One-Pot Meals

Coconut Chickpea and Veggie Curry 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 white onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 2 cups diced tomatoes 1 can coconut milk 1 300 g bag kale slaw (I used a kale, broccoli, carrot and cabbage blend, but any blend will work) 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp turmeric 1 tbsp dried cilantro salt and black pepper, to taste

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Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add chickpeas and tomatoes, and continue to sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a light boil, then lower heat and continue to simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve on its own or over rice. Makes 4 servings.

Apple Cider Braised Chicken 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 sweet onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 4 strips of bacon 4 boneless chicken breasts 2 to 3 cups Brussels sprouts, halved 2 small sweet potatoes, cubed 2 tsp cinnamon 2 tsp dried thyme 2 tbsp maple syrup ž cup apple cider vinegar salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Add onion and garlic, and sautĂŠ for 2 to 3 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add bacon and cook until it begins to get crispy. Place chicken in Dutch oven and cook for 2 to 4 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, spices, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. If you like, shred the chicken and then serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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food & drink | One-Pot Meals

Creamy One-Pot Chicken 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp butter 4 to 6 skinless chicken breasts salt and black pepper, to taste 3 shallots, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 5 to 6 cups mushrooms, sliced 1 tbsp flour ½ cup white wine ½ cup chicken broth ½ cup coconut milk or cream 4 cups fresh baby spinach

Heat oil and butter in a pan over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and sauté. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink (5 to 6 minutes). Add shallots, garlic and mushrooms; sauté and sprinkle with seasoning. Add flour to thicken mixture. Add wine, broth and coconut milk. Continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. During the last 2 minutes, add spinach and cook until spinach is fully wilted and sauce is thickened. Serve over rice or with pasta. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

For more nutrition tips and recipes, check out the blog on Eat Right Feel Right, eatrightfeelright.ca/blog, or Instagram account, eatright_rd Angela, from Eat Right Feel Right practices in Vaughan and Caledon. 32 | York Life March April 2018

food & drink | In the Kitchen

In the kitchen with…

Green Tea Restaurant

Experience an authentic taste of Hangzhou, without leaving Markham By Julia Suppa | Photography by Naomi Hiltz


f you’ve travelled to China, you may have stopped in Hangzhou, an eclectic, beautiful city two and a half hours from Shanghai. The capital of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou is one of the seven ancient capitals in China and a very popular landmark for tourists. It’s also known as the tea capital of China, where the most famous green tea, Longjing (aka Dragon Well), originates.

And now, diners can enjoy a piece of Hangzhou in Markham at Green Tea Restaurant, a huge Chinese brand with more than 50 locations in China, and now one at First Markham Place. “There was so much hype around the restaurant when it opened,” restaurant representative Zhe Kuang He says. “There’s huge excitement through the Chinese Canadian community in the GTA.”

York Life March April 2018 | 33

food & drink | In the Kitchen

With more than 80 items to choose from, Green Tea Restaurant offers a traditional style of dining, where families gather and order multiple dishes to share. Hangzhou cuisine is mild and known for freshness and lightness, avoiding spicy seasoning. The menu at Green Tea Restaurant reflects this, making it friendly for both Eastern and Western palates. Recipes come directly from China, but don’t be fooled by the name — there’s actually only one dish made with green tea: the green tea pancake. The menu is vast, though, with unique dishes like steamed pumpkin stuffed with sticky rice and mixed with honey; or crispy barbecue chicken served on a hot grill at the table; and stir-fried lamb, still sizzling out of the kitchen. It’s all Chinese comfort food that everyone can enjoy. Presentation is worth noting, as every dish is Instagram-worthy, with visuals and aromas heightened only by taste. And it’s all complemented by the ambience of the restaurant: authentic Chinese tapestry in booths, warm wood, traditional paintings and kettles blended with modern lighting and round tables in the centre of the dining space. A signature of the restaurant is the dark brick used throughout the premises — each brick was imported from Hangzhou. So, diners get to experience a bit of Hangzhou without having to leave York Region. Green Tea Restaurant 3235 Hwy 7, unit 18 Markham, (905) 604-8260

Five Questions with executive chef Wing Cheung Chung When did you first become interested in cooking? Since 1983 in China. I was 20 years old and my father told me to find a job. I tried working in a kitchen and I fell in love with it. I’ve been cooking for more than 35 years. Who is your favourite chef? My favourite chef is Hong Kong chef Yeung Koon-yat. He’s the “abalone king.” What is the most common mistake people make when cooking? People are too stubborn. They are too confident and too set in their recipe. Instead, listen to other people’s opinions and change the recipe if it doesn’t work. What is your signature dish? I love making abalone in a slow-cooked broth. There are a lot of ingredients in the broth; it’s slow-cooked for 10 hours and makes the abalone much more tender and soft. What is your favourite thing to order when you dine out? Steamed fish. It’s a common Chinese dish I grew up with in Guangzhou, China. That’s what I like. I like mild flavours.

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Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs 2 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt 2 tbsp light soy sauce 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine 1 lb spare ribs (cut into 1- to 1.5-inch sections) 2 tbsp cooking oil 7 to 8 tsp smashed rock sugar 3 tbsp + 1 tsp black vinegar, divided 1 tsp extra black vinegar ½ tbsp sesame seeds spring onion, chopped, for garnish

In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, light soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine. Add ribs and toss well to coat evenly. Marinate ribs in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours. Transfer ribs to a shallow, heatproof pan that will fit inside your wok. Set aside marinade. Set a steaming rack inside the wok and fill with water almost up to height of rack — one to two inches. Heat on high. Once water comes to a boil, reduce to medium-high heat and set pan on top of steaming rack. Steam on medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until ribs are no longer pink. Remove ribs and set aside. In the same wok, add cooking oil

and rock sugar to the remaining water and heat on low. Keep stirring until sugar melts and turns dark red. Mix ribs in caramelized sugar and add reserved marinade plus 3 tbsp black vinegar. Keep stirring until sauce has reduced and adheres slightly to ribs; be careful not to overcook ribs. Add remaining teaspoon of black vinegar and the sesame seeds; combine well. Garnish with spring onion before serving.

York Life March April 2018 | 35

Special Promotion

InnovatIon In EducatIon Starting Middle School at Pickering College means more hands-on, project-based learning — with impressive results Switching to a new school can be daunting. At Pickering College, Grade 6 is an ideal entry year — it marks the starting point of Middle School, when students split from one class into two. It’s also the year in which greater emphasis is placed on project-based, hands-on learning. Grade 6 teachers Amanda Hamm and Jacqueline Wurangian recently led their students through one such project — an innovative flight project that saw them construct prototypes of planes. “They had to design a prototype that would fly in a straight path using their knowledge of air and flight,” Hamm says. Students received lessons about air and flight, designed their creations using blueprints, recorded scientific procedures and built models. Then came the moment of truth. Would the planes

fly? And what if they didn’t? Turns out, failure is welcome — a key part of the discovery process. “The first prototype will never be perfect so they have to figure out how, using their knowledge, to make it fly in a straight line,” Hamm says. Adds Wurangian, “Getting around the idea that their concept was not successful and finding out what can they do to improve it is critical.” Students pick their own materials, often foam board, duct tape, cardboard or balsa wood. Recyclable materials are emphasized and projects are done entirely in class, so there’s no help from mom or dad. Planes ready, students pitch to an “aeronautical engineering company,” a panel of teachers, for a chance to hone their oral presentation skills. They tackle the projects

Students recently took on an innovative flight project that saw them construct prototypes of planes.

in pairs, learning how to work collaboratively, a key component of the Grade 6 year. “The lesson I teach is in life you are going to work with people you don’t necessarily get along with, but you have to figure it out,” Hamm notes. The flight project is meant to assess knowledge in a more engaging way than a written test. “I find this resonates more with the children than having them study for a test,” Hamm says. “They are actually applying what they’ve learned.” In order to get their planes ready on time, students have to break the project down into manageable pieces. “The time management piece is a big skill this year, along with problem-solving and critical thinking,” Hamm says. “I enjoyed this project so much,” says Grade 6 student Harrison Frank. “We were able to do real-life things and it definitely pushed us to think outside the box and tested our limits as learners.” In Middle School, Pickering’s unique Global Leadership Program (GLP) centres on four key pillars: community, adventure, wisdom and freedom. The flight project falls under the wisdom pillar, testing students’ knowledge of air and flight. “Our focus is the whole child and getting the students to know what they’re great at and also to push their boundaries,” says Andrea Cleland, Middle School GLP coordinator.“We’re also really focusing on the fact we don’t even know what jobs will exist when they graduate from high school.” With technology always changing, students are given the opportunity to enhance key skills that will serve them well in any job. Grade 6 students choose from seven interest-based

pillar projects, including Code Your Robot, a 3-D printing design challenge, mindfulness and movement, designing an outdoor classroom and podcasting. Students work in groups according to their choices. The flow of the projects is student-driven; they decide what resources to use and what outings are needed. The work culminates in a service day community project. “The projects fall under the wisdom, adventure and community pillars,” Cleland says. Teachers connect current events to classroom learning. Students recently tackled inquiry-based math problems related to the Olympics. They researched the countries that hosted the games from 1994 to 2016 and separated them by continents, using fractions and percentages to determine which area should rightfully have hosted in 2018. “It’s all about deductive reasoning and problem-solving,” Hamm says. “The focus is not so much on getting the answer, but on how they get that answer. It’s the critical-thinking piece.” Earlier in the school year, students took a full week off of the regular timetable to brainstorm how they might use social media for good. Grouped according to their interests, which included stopping bullying and getting students involved in community service, they began working through it on Monday and presented their solutions to a panel of judges on Friday. “‘Who am I?’ and ‘What can I do?’ are driving questions at this age,” Cleland says.“We guide them in learning how to learn and help them find meaning and purpose.”

The flight project assesses knowledge in a more engaging way than a written test.

Visit www.pickeringcollege.on.ca or call 905-895-1700 ext. 259 for admission information.

Richmond Hill

9737 Yonge St Richmond Hill (905) 737-7445 livinglighting.com


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Nutrition in Flight? Airline food isn’t exactly synonymous with delicious, healthy choices. But according to a recent study by Charles Platkin, director of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, some airlines are changing that assumption. Of 12 major airlines whose snacks and on-board food offerings were looked at, four contenders crowded into the top two spots: Delta and Virgin airlines share the top spot for healthiest food choices in the sky, with our very own Air Canada tied with JetBlue for second place. The study praised Air Canada for keeping nutrients high and calories low for meals, but chided the company for not including nutritional information and ingredients on the menu. JetBlue garnered similar accolades, with an additional star for posting nutritional information on its website; the airline lost points, however, for not offering healthy snacks, such as its fruit bar, for free.

York Life March April 2018 | 39

travel | Getaway

Into the Blue We have one of the country’s most beautiful resort villages located right in our own backyard, between the shores of Georgian Bay and the Niagara Escarpment. Blue Mountain Resort boasts more than 365 acres of skiing — but that’s not all. The area may be known for its slopes, but there’s plenty to do sans skis. So pack a bag and play tourist for a night. It just might be the perfect spring-break getaway, with minimal travel required. By Karen Robock STAY The sprawling Westin Trillium House boasts all the first-rate amenities you’d expect from an upscale hotel, including spacious suites. We stayed in a two-bedroom, which was perfect for our family of four. The kitchenette made it simple to keep the kids plied with snacks around the clock (which every parent knows is crucial for happy littles), while the gas fireplace was a nice touch in the evening after the girls, Matilda, five, and Maisie, one, were in bed. As is often the case at a really great hotel, it’s the little things that 40 | York Life March April 2018

make the difference: a play tent set up in the living room before our arrival made Matilda exclaim, “This is the best day ever!” Plus, it kept them busy while we unpacked, which is pretty much as good as it gets. Westinbluemountain.com EAT Casual, kid-friendly food options abound around the village. There’s everything from burgers to pizza and, most importantly, according to Maisie, ice cream — all within walking distance. We enjoyed a special

family dinner at the Pottery Restaurant (inside the Blue Mountain Inn), where the menu was varied (think New York striploin, lemon truffle pasta and baconwrapped scallops) and the atmosphere accommodating for noisy and messy little diners. My oldest was set on plain noodles with butter and cheese (sigh), but the server talked her into a side of steamed veggies, which I very much appreciated. PLAY My kids were splashing and squealing with delight for the morning we spent at Plunge! Aquatic Centre. Slides, pint-sized fountains and plenty of pool toys made for endless opportunities for play. We all loved the hot tubs (which are a kidfriendly, hot-bath temperature). Best of all, from my perspective, the water park is attached to the hotel, so I could walk there in my flip-flops and bathrobe. Outside, there’s no shortage of things to do off the slopes. Matilda had a blast zipping down the mountain on the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, with my husband as the driver, of course. At certain points on the track you can reach speeds of 42 km/h, perfect for thrill-seekers big and small. If you’re looking for some final cold-weather fun to close out the season, lace up your skates (or rent a pair) and glide along the brand new 1.1-kilometre Woodview Mountaintop Skating loop while you take in beautiful views of the escarpment. (Skating is weather permitting.) Bluemountain.ca/things-to-do York Life March April 2018 | 41

travel | Smarts

Safer Travels Here’s why you should buy insurance along with your plane ticket By Doug Wallace

Warning: This list is a bit of a downer, as it involves catastrophic life events we’d all rather not think about, let alone plan for. But being prepared for emergencies is super-smart, however unpleasant the subject matter. Travel insurance is an essential part of travel, full stop. Without it, you’re leaving yourself open to all sorts of problems, some of them devastating, most of them financial. The truth is, you can’t afford not to buy insurance of some kind. Here is a three-step pre-step: 1. Fully wrap your head around what travel insurance is included with your credit cards. Keep in mind that that insurance only works if you use that particular card to purchase said travel. 2. Check to see if your workplace insurance has travel insurance benefits you can take advantage of. Maybe that’s all you need, but you won’t know unless you invest the time to read the fine print. And if you don’t understand the fine print, telephone the insurance provider and start asking questions. 3. Frequent travellers should shop around for a good, general annual plan that will let them skip the add-on insurance packages that travel websites try to sell you on the fly as you’re booking online, often playing to your insecurities.

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You’re either one of those people who won’t leave home without it or someone who just throws caution to the wind — at your peril. Lost luggage aside, here are eight reasons why you need travel insurance: 1. Trip cancellation. Plans can change, and if yours change more than most, a potential cancellation is more of a consideration. 2. Trip interruption. A billion things can cut short your trip of a lifetime — and none of them need be of your own doing. 3. Medical emergencies. There’s no way you want to be ill in a foreign country without insurance. You could end up losing your home and/or your life savings. 4. Acts of God: Earthquakes, mudslides, forest fires, hurricanes and worse. The plethora of weather weirdness of late is reason enough to not be left holding the suitcase while everyone runs for cover. 5. Terrorist attack or military coup. The world can be a volatile

and unpredictable place, even in some of what you thought were the safest of places. 6. Labour strike. No one wants to be stranded thousands of miles from home just because the airport workers walk off the job. Preventing this from being a problem is wonderful peace of mind. 7. Beached cruise ship. This happened to my auntie once, and she had to come home in her pajamas and a borrowed coat! 8. Death in the family. (See Point 2.) If you have elderly or rickety parents (or close relatives), make sure your insurance is topped up. Bonus Reason: Your own death! We told you this was going to be a downer…

travel | Vacay

Oasis Oasis



ooking for a vacation that offers both plenty of action as well as the chance to relax and unwind? Consider Greater Palm Springs, California. It’s the perfect destination for adventure lovers and calm seekers alike. Here’s a sampling of experiences.

• Do not try this at home. Take in the fast track options at the BMW Performance Center West. Now you can enjoy its Mini motoring school featuring the John Cooper Works Hardtop 2 Door model. Try revving up on a road course in a sport-suspension vehicle with low-profile tires. • Hit new heights. Get your fitness on and enjoy the scenery cycling along canyon washes and mountain ridges during a halfday customized mountain-biking tour with Big Wheel Tours. Expert guides tailor the group biking adventure for all skill levels. Perk: hotel drop-off and pickup from many area resorts.

• Embrace your easy rider. Put on a helmet, fasten your seat belt and experience the ultimate road trip with EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals and Tours’ Palm Springs Slingshot Tour. During this self-drive 170 km-plus tour in the three-wheel Polaris Slingshot (with room for two), you’ll drive a panoramic loop

beginning at EagleRider’s facility near downtown Palm Springs up through the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway and into the artsy, milehigh town of Idyllwild. If well-being is your goal, this Southern California resort destination brims with ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Whether you need motivation to kick-start a major life change or a getaway to get back on track, here’s how to promote balance and harmony. • Soak it up. Water immersion therapies like Watsu and Aqua Soma are among guests’ favourite relaxation rituals at Two Bunch Palms, a Desert Hot Springs destination spa famous for its mineral-rich waters. Try a unique treatment like Green Your Body, a multistep skin rejuvenating experience, or take part in a Shaman healing session that integrates sacred rituals associated with Indigenous cultures. • Chill out. Enthusiasts of cryotherapy, or cold therapy, have noted its many benefits,

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Greater Palm Springs has loads of options for a holiday with a healthy difference including relieving depression and anxiety, alleviating inflammation and reducing the signs of aging. Desert Cryotherapy offers guests a variety of services — like a full-body session in a very cool cryochamber, localized cryotherapy to manage pain, liquid nitrogen facials and other therapies. Cryotherapy is also available at Kinetix Health & Performance Center in Palm Desert. • Fill up. For a healthy, delicious supply of brain “fuel,” head to Chef Tanya’s Kitchen in Palm Springs. Tanya Petrovna, original proprietor/chef of the Native Foods chain, recently opened this gourmet vegan eatery. It features a daytime lunch counter and deli that

remains open on Wednesday evenings for takeout dinner catering.

Book well in advance, as these sonic healing sessions are very popular.

• Now hear this. Enjoy a soothing sensory dip — minus the water — with a sound bath, a meditative ritual that usually involves a facilitator playing crystal singing bowls. Bikram Yoga Plus Coachella Valley, Evolve Yoga La Quinta and other studios host this wellness practice on select dates. For the ultimate sound bath experience, visit the storied Integratron up in the high desert town of Landers near Joshua Tree. In the 1950s, Ufologist George Van Tassel claimed a Venusian alien instructed him to build this acoustically perfect structure. Helpful hint:

• Really retreat. Chiropractor, certified yoga instructor and physical rehab specialist Eden Goldman hosts yoga and mindfulness retreats at La Quinta Resort & Club, nestled at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains in La Quinta. Retreat highlights encompass healthy menus and cleansing practices, yoga and meditation classes, and optional additional excursions that take advantage of wellness activities found throughout the destination. Courtesy of Greater Palm Springs CVB

Fast track it at the BMW Performance Center West.

Take a swing at golf at La Qunita Stadium Course.

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At TMS, 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 self-discovery. 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 (IB) Programme in York Region. On any given day, this modern campus may showcase a student art exhibit, impromptu debate 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. Our Montessori start and IB finish provide a unique framework within which your child can say

I Am Known.

www.tmsschool.ca We are worth the visit.

Richmond Hill

feature | Cover Story

One Tough Mother After more than a decade out of the ring, wrestling superstar Trish Stratus recently made one knockout of a comeback. But there’s far more to this Richmond Hill native than killer moves on the mat By Kasie Savage | Opening Photo by Dave Laus


f Trish Stratus seems familiar to you, here’s why: With more than 3 million collective social media followers, she is arguably the most popular female World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler of all time. She also manages a business (Stratus Enterprises) and wellness empire (Stratusphere Yoga) while juggling the demands of motherhood. Plus, she’s down to earth, drawing you in with her relatable, easygoing, chatty nature, despite the fact that she could grab your head with her ankles, while doing a handstand, and flip you across a room — her signature move, aptly named “the Stratusphere.”

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feature | Cover Story

Someone once told me, “Be so good they can’t ignore you”

Though she is famous around the world, it’s York Region that Stratus, 42, her husband, Ron Fisico, 42, and their two kids, son Maximus, four, and daughter Madison, one, proudly call home. A long-time yoga enthusiast, Stratus is known for her empowering approach to mind-body wellness, sprinkled in with some leather and heels. She’s also a spokesperson for numerous charities, both locally and nationally, and was recently inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, receiving the Sandy Hawley Community Service Award. Born and raised in Richmond Hill, Stratus was a fitness model in the late 1990s when she was scouted by a rep in the wrestling realm. In a world where only wrestlers made it into the ring of the WWE (known then as the WWF — World Wrestling Federation), Stratus made her unconventional wrestling debut in 2000, quickly learning the ropes and winning the praise of both fans and industry veterans. Within six years, she had captured more titles than any female wrestler of her time. So when WWE was planning its 25th anniversary celebration, organization executive and wrestling legend Vince McMahon called Stratus, inviting her to return to the ring for a top-secret comeback. She had 30 days to prepare, after almost 12 years of retirement. In the middle of that comeback, we caught up with Stratus to find out how she manages the many facets of her career, finds balance in the chaos of motherhood and still has heaps of energy to spare.

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Photo: Copyright 2018 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Along with other trainers, Trish Stratus worked with mother-of-four and body transformation coach Nichelle Laus to prepare. Follow Nichelle on Instagram (@teamlaus) for tips, advice and inspiration. Stratus’s cover photo was taken by Nichelle’s husband, fitness photographer Dave Laus.

Photo: DaniellePhotography.ca, York Region Photographer

For Trish Stratus, seen here with her son, Maximus, and daughter, Madison, fitness and motherhood are an ideal match. “I thought I would end up burnt out from doing more, but it actually energized me and made me a better person in the morning,” she says. “That made me a better mama.”

ON HEALTH AND FITNESS: What does your typical workout week look like? Since I had the baby, my regular daily workout routine has consisted of 20 minutes of my signature yoga flow, which is a combination of strength-training exercises incorporated into a yoga flow, a few gym workout sessions here and there when I can drop off the baby at my mom’s house, and loads of squats. Also key to getting in shape is eating well. At this point in my life, I’m in maintenance mode. However, when the WWE calls and asks you to make a comeback, you know you need to amp things up. I eat very clean anyway, but my diet got even cleaner — no snacks — and I incorporated things like increased protein and branched chain amino acids to support the intense training and muscle activation.

What do you typically eat to stay fit? There’s no hard formula. I stick with whole foods and avoid processed foods, eating mostly lean protein, like chicken and fish, and lots of veggies, especially greens. How has your fitness level or body changed since becoming a mother? Training for this comeback was a nice reminder that even though my current fitness regime isn’t as intense as it used to be, muscle memory is a beautiful thing. All that hard work I did in the gym for the last 20 years has given me a strong foundation that I can still tap into. I also believe that keeping active during both pregnancies really helped me bounce back quicker. How has your perspective on fitness changed since becoming a mother? I don’t obsess over it like I used to. Now it’s about keeping up my fitness to give me energy to keep after these kiddies and to set

an example. We try as a family to integrate fitness into our daily routine, doing things like taking walks, riding our bikes or having the kids do yoga with me. What are the top three favourite exercises that you include in every workout? Some form of a yoga flow, pushups and squats, squats and more squats. I did 100 squats a day throughout both of my pregnancies. If there’s only one exercise you can squeeze in, it should be squats. ON MOTHERHOOD: You’ve been hit, punched, tossed around and slammed into tables, and have had bones broken. How do those challenges compare with motherhood? Well, I’ve managed to recover from all of those aliments quicker than I have from the nights of interrupted sleep. When do they start sleeping through the night again?

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feature | Cover Story

• Do 1 squat and 10 pushups. Next do 2 squats and 9 pushups. Keep going until you work your way up to 10 squats and 1 pushup. • Once the round is completed, you will have done 55 reps of each exercise. Trish likes to try to do 2 to 4 rounds for a good muscle pump and cardio blast. She guarantees a good burn and warns that you may be panting after this!

50 | York Life March April 2018

Photo: Copyright 2018 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The “55” Workout Here’s a quickie, do-whenever-and-wherever workout that transformation coach Nichelle Laus gave Trish to do when days get too busy to go to the gym.

Do you believe women can have it all? What is “a life in balance” and can it be achieved? Absolutely! I thought I was balancing it all by running my business and raising my kids, but this comeback has shown me that doing something for myself, like disconnecting and returning to longer yoga sessions, getting in my full-out, sweaty training sessions, is something for me. I realized I was using the “too busy as a mom” excuse and cutting off my workout sessions, which are essentially my me time. I thought I would end up burnt out from doing more, but it actually energized me and made me a better person in the morning. That let me be a better mama. What would you say to moms who say that they don’t have time to exercise? Find the time! The domino effect is strong. You put in the time, and soon you become more energized, you look better and you start feeling better about yourself. Endorphins and serotonin are powerful hormones. Everyone could use more feel-good hormones in their life! ON WRESTLING: On the one hand, you’ve been portrayed as this sex symbol through wrestling. On the other, you’re an entrepreneur and the winner of a Women in Business award. How do you manage these two parts of your personality and how would you describe the true Trish Stratus? Actually, I feel like I always portrayed a bad-ass, strong, confident woman who doesn’t take any crap and knows how to handle her business. Yes, I believe I was interpreted by some as a sex symbol, but I think that is just a by-product of how society wants to view a female who is in this particular entertainment sphere. All I could do was put forth the image that was most authentic to me and be true to myself. I think that’s why the Trish Stratus character, which is really me but amplified a few notches, has resonated with so many

— male and female, young and old — for almost 20 years. How will your return to wrestling be different? Who is 2018 Trish Stratus versus 2006 Trish Stratus? She’s pretty much the same person. She is a female making it in a male-dominated world. She wants to go out there and leave her mark, be a part of history as a woman in her industry. But this time, instead of just wanting to prove to herself that she can do this, 2018 Trish Stratus wants to do it for the mothers out there who may have at some point lost themselves. It’s a reminder that even after kids, you can always return to who you are — maybe even a better version — conscious of the fact that everything you do now will leave an impression on your kids and perhaps who they will be. You were the first-ever WWE female wrestler not from a wrestling background. How did you manage the criticism from those who thought you were all style no substance? It is what drove me. Someone once told me, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” I set out to prove all the doubters wrong. I knew in my heart I could do it, and I never let their doubt get in the way. ON YORK REGION LIVING: Many people who find success south of the border move to the U.S. Why do you continue to call York Region home? Home is where your family is. Both my husband and I grew up and went to high school here. This is where we met and have been together ever since. For seven years while I was wrestling, it was the place I could come home to, take off my WWE Superstar hat and just be me. I’d go to my familiar local places and just have a normal existence for a couple of days before returning to the craziness that was WWE life on the road.

Trish Stratus’s

top local spots to... Relax on weekends: Weekends are all about spending time with the kids. We are so lucky to have so many great parks, trails and splash pads up here. This past summer, my then three-year-old and I made a park passport. It was a homemade book where I listed parks in our area that we visited over the summer. It was so great. He excitedly explored somewhere new and he got a kick out of the stamp he got in his book afterwards. Shop: I’ve been getting everything I need from Hillcrest Mall since I was a kid. I bank at the same branch where I opened my first account. Dine: Two of our favourites are Abruzzo and Santorini. My parents used to order from Abruzzo in Richmond Hill, and now we order from there. Santorini in Thornhill has always been a great place to get a good Greek meal. And this is coming from a Greek gal. What are three hobbies people may not know that you enjoy? • Interior design and decorating • Upcycling — giving old things new life • I throw a hell of a themed party

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feature | Fitness


According to some studies, the average Canadian spends more than two hours a day perusing social media sites. Why not trade in some of the time spent watching waterskiing squirrels for some of York Region’s most inspiring, motivating, health-and-wellness-focused influencers? Our Fit List includes a variety of local go-getters who have devoted themselves and their careers to better living — so connect with them and soak up their tips, tricks and inspirational pics. They’re only a click away. By KASIE SAVAGE

Lynn Stewart

Brett Mitsubata

Trish Stratus

Handle: @solinspiredwellness

Handle: @cubeyourfood on

Handle: @trishstratuscom on

or @solbarrepilatesmarkham on Instagram



Who: Health and wellness speaker with a focus on the dangers of sugar; Vaughan

Who: Legendary WWE competitor, named greatest female WWE wrestler of all-time; Richmond Hill

Follow for: Insights and awareness

Follow for: Drool-worthy pics of

into what Brett believes is the world’s greatest threat against health and number one cause of obesity — sugar. Get educated about the real deal on gimmicks and fads, and wade through the misinformation on diets and healthy living.

fame and new motherhood. With almost one million followers, this fascinating local celebrity works hard to balance running a lifestyle brand empire (Stratusphereshop.com) with the demands of raising two young children.

Who: Owner of Sol Barre Pilates Studio in Markham, and health coach for more than 15 years

Follow for: Inspiration with a heavy dose of mind-body wisdom stemming from Pilates, yoga and barre. Plus, she offers a wealth of knowledge in the areas of mindfulness, Chakra rebalancing and Ayurvedic practices.

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Rosalie Brown

Jamie Ferrante

Sandy Johnson

Handle: @rosaliebrownfit on Instagram

Handle: @jamieferrante on Instagram

Handle: @sandy_johnson_coaching on Instagram

Who: TV fitness presenter and personal trainer; Richmond Hill

Who: Fitness Clubs of Canada owner, fitness model and mother of two; Aurora

Who: Career strategist, certified coach, athlete and adventurer; Aurora

Follow for: A down-to-earth Insta-

Follow for: A major serving of

Follow for: Fabulous workout ideas tailored to the over-40 crowd. While you’re there, check out her amazing physique (she’s a grandmother), group fitness videos and monthly fit challenges. Plus, her cheery personality will have you smiling, even when your muscles are burning.

Drs. Craig and Shawna Dingman

gram journey of a mom as she takes on fitness competitions after an incredible before-and-after transformation, only to then purchase a local gym. It’s a trifecta of hashtags as #momlife meets #gymlife meets #girlboss.

Meredith Deasley

inspiration. Sandy walks the talk and has run across the Sahara Desert (belongings on her back), climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and recently tried a surf camp in Nicaragua. Oh, and she’s in her mid-50s.

Dr. Diane Wong

Handle: @elevatechiropractic1 on Facebook

Handle: @theresourcefulmother on Facebook

Handle: @glowmedispas on Instagram

Who: Owners and practitioners at Elevate Chiropractic in Aurora

Who: Author, speaker, teacher, registered holistic nutritionist and life coach; Aurora

Who: Owner of three Glow Medispa locations throughout the GTA, including Aurora and Markham

Follow for: Great advice on holistic

Follow for: The latest in non-surgical, non-invasive skincare procedures and products. Dr. Wong is committed to using only the latest, most natural products and techniques.

Follow for: Insights, helpful tips and engaging videos on eating right, moving right and thinking better thoughts — along with plenty of personality to keep you visiting on a regular basis. If improving mobility and reducing back pain interest you, they are a must-follow.

nutrition, wellness and leading a happier, more balanced life through a playful and positive outlook.

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feature | Golf Roundup


his season, why not take a swing at golf? Spring through fall, there’s nothing quite like chasing a little white ball over rolling hills, inhaling the freshness of morning air and getting fit while enjoying pastoral views. York Region boasts some of the country’s top courses, so no matter what your experience or income level, there’s a golf course to suit your needs just a short drive, chip and putt away. Here’s our list of must-play courses. By Kasie Savage

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Best Value Golf: Bathurst Glen Let’s face it, golf is an expensive sport as a solo player. Add a whole family to the mix and it’s often difficult to find a course that won’t break the bank and that allows kids under age 13 to play. Enter Bathurst Glen. The Richmond Hill golf course not only welcomes families, but also features an on-site family course where after twilight, kids 14 and under play for free, accompanied by a paying adult. The blue tees are perfect for kids who can hit the ball about 100 yards — and if you’re a beginner adult, that might suit you, too. Greens fees range from $28 to $39 for 18 holes for weekdays. A family of four (especially after twilight) could play for well under the standard greens fee for a single golfer at an average golf course. bathurstglengolf.ca

Best Family Golf: Granite Golf Club (private) For those looking to invest in a refined, private golf club, where families truly are catered to, nothing surpasses Granite Golf Club, located on an expansive swath of picturesque Stouffville. Kids of all ages can play the course with their parents any day, any time — in fact, there are certain Sundays when even the beloved family dog is welcome to tag along. From childcare programs to junior golf clinics and improvement options, Granite has a high-end homey feel and a wide, forgiving course layout for those seeking a long-term destination for generational golf enjoyment. Cost of membership does come at a hefty price (think high-end SUV), but certainly is less costly than a cottage, and for many members, the Granite is their summer destination. granitegolfclub.ca

Best for Women: Westview Golf Club If you’re a woman who has always wanted to play golf, for business or pleasure, then the Westview ladies’ league in Aurora is a must-do. Ten years ago, the league had 50 golfers playing one day a week; today, the ladies’ league has exploded to 500 women playing over three days. The reason for the club’s success: a focus on the social aspect of the game, keeping it fun and minimizing competition. With a relaxed atmosphere, three nine-hole courses to choose from and a friendly staff, the club offers new players the chance to experience the game without intimidation. By recognizing that most women approach the league as a fun night out with friends, Westview continues to improve their experience with instructional clinics, food specials and product samplings, all geared toward female golfers. Bonus: 2018 is the club’s 60th anniversary. Women’s league or not, Westview welcomes every golfer. westviewgolf.ca

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feature | Golf Roundup

Best Luxury Course: Magna Golf Club (private) If money is no object and settling for nothing but the absolute finest is your goal, then Magna Golf Club in Aurora is your premiere destination. Upon obtaining exclusive membership (think close to six figures), you will be treated to a first-class experience like no other. Staff are trained to greet you formally at every turn, and the expansive, exquisitely appointed clubhouse will cater to your every need, from fine dining to entertaining to fitness, bespoke locker rooms and a beautifully merchandised pro shop. The helicopter landing pad speaks to the transportation choices for the wealthy clientele. You will be golfing alongside celebrities, famous athletes and CEOs, and yet rather than feeling pretentious, the club has a warm, welcoming, family-focused feel and an elevated stone patio with views so pretty you may never leave. Then again, why would you want to? This club has it all — including great golf. magnagolf.com

Best for Beginners: Kettle Creek One of the downsides of golf in today’s busy world is the time commitment. Most rounds of golf last 4½ hours. If you’re a beginner, that time increases to five hours or more. Thankfully, 18 holes can easily be played in 2½ hours if your golf experience takes place at rookiefriendly Kettle Creek in Newmarket, one of four courses at Cardinal Golf Club. This executive course boasts casual par-3 and par-4 holes that are designed to build your confidence as well as your game. Ideal for seniors, juniors, families and newbies of any age, the course features bent grass throughout, white-sand bunkers and mature trees. They even offer golf ’s newest hybrid sport, FootGolf — think soccer meets golf with 21-inch cups. cardinalgolfclub.com/kettle-creek For more information and a full list of all of the public and private golf courses in York Region and surrounding areas, visit gao.ca (Golf Ontario).

Best Amenities: Maple Downs Golf and Country Club (private) Many of us know Maple Downs Golf and Country Club as the venue that played host to a friend’s or relative’s wedding. And while the exceptional dining and special events may have been our first introduction, it’s the club’s picturesque and pristinely manicured location in Vaughan that places it on the list of the region’s top golf destinations — especially for those who want a full, true country club experience. With a variety of memberships to choose from, what sets Maple Downs apart from other private clubs in York Region are the amenities. From the expansive patio and lifeguarded pool to championship tennis courts and modern clubhouse facilities, you could easily spend an entire day at the club enjoying all of its many offerings. mapledowns.com

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feature | Profile

At the

Fore For 40 years, Herb Page has nurtured some of golf’s top talent. Read on to learn how this Markham native turned a passion for golf into an international success story By David Li


hat do Ben Curtis, Mackenzie Hughes and Corey Conners have in common? Yes, the three are all PGA golf pros who have competed and enjoyed success at the sport’s highest level. But they also all count themselves lucky to have been coached by Herb Page, a Markham native who has served 40 years as the head coach of the Kent State University golf program in Ohio. Add to that Page’s multiple Mid-American Conference (MAC) Coach of the Year awards and it’s no wonder the 67-year-old has been honoured by the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame.

York Life March April 2018 | 57

“He’s made a huge impact on my career and my trajectory as a player,” says Mackenzie Hughes, winner of the 2016 RSM Classic. “I don’t think I would be where I’m at without Kent State, Herb Page and all the coaches there. Whenever I can have a chat with Herb about golf and life, it’s a good thing, because I usually pick up a few good pointers.” Despite such praise, success and recognition, Page hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings in Markham. “I grew up right across the street from what is now the Markham Museum,” he says. “As a kid, I played a lot of hockey, but my dad decided to take me out of it at the age of 12 because I was getting injured a fair bit.” His dad, Sydney, suggested that he take up golf instead. “My dad wasn’t a very good golfer, but he had a passion for the sport and he instilled it in me.” Page remembers waking up on Saturday mornings at 5:30 during the summer to go golfing with his dad at a local par-three golf course. As he grew older, his exposure and commitment to the sport intensified. “From age 15 to 17, I worked and practically lived on the golf course. My dad used to think that if you were at a golf course, then you would stay out of trouble,” he says. “And for the most part I did.” A combination of natural talent, passion and dedication to the game would see Page develop into one of Canada’s top junior golfers. “When I was 17 or 18, I won a few tournaments in southern Ontario, and at the Canadian Junior [Boys] Championship, I finished in the top 20.” After scoring well on his SATs, Page earned a partial scholarship to Kent State University. Besides competing on the golf course, he also played on the varsity hockey and football teams. He credits that time on the Kent State football team for much of his success as a coach. Being on the team allowed him to observe the leadership style of legendary football coach Don James, a Hall of Famer, who captured four Rose Bowls and won a share of the NCAA National Championship in 1991. “But sitting in the locker room, I learned about organizational skills and the importance of practice and preparation,” Page says. “I also learned a lot about the mental part of sports and have applied those lessons in mentoring my own players as a golf coach over the years.” Page completed his undergraduate studies in 1974, but returned to Kent State to complete his master’s in kinesiology. “My dad left school at 16 to work in a factory to support my 58 | York Life March April 2018

In his 40 years coaching student golfers at Kent State, Herb Page has led the university to 21 MidAmerican Conference titles and taught some of the best, including Mackenzie Hughes (in the blackand-white photo and lower right, left side of photo), and Ben Curtis (right side of lower right photo).

grandmother after my grandfather was killed in World War I, and so it was always really important to him that his kids get a good education,” he says. After completing his degree in 1976, he landed a position as a golf professional at a local club in Kent and gained certification into the PGA of America. Page worked at the golf course and competed in local tournaments until a life-changing opportunity came his way. “In 1978, the coach retired at Kent State and the university asked me if I would like to coach the golf program. I took the job in a heartbeat. Forty years later, I’m still doing it.” Over the years there have been many highlights, but Page recalls a “pinch me” moment when former student Ben Curtis captured the Open (aka the British Open) in 2003. Just six weeks before the tournament, Curtis had been back at Kent State receiving a putting lesson from his collegiate coach. After his big win, Curtis credited Page for helping him fine-tune his short game. Along with developing golfers into successful PGA pros, Page has picked up 22 MAC Coach of the Year awards and has led Kent State to 21 MAC titles along the way.

His impressive accomplishments earned him selection into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. “When you have good players and you win championships and you put players on the PGA Tour, you get the accolades,” he says. “For me to be in a Hall of Fame with Mike Weir, Mo Norman, Sandra Post is just amazing.” More recognition came recently when Page, along with Stanford University head women’s coach Anne Walker, was selected to coach the international team for the 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup in July in France, where the top college golfers from around the world take on the top college golfers in the United States. In an industry where longevity is the exception rather than the rule, to what does Page attribute his ongoing success? “I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors, but really the secret is just having a passion for the sport and a passion for wanting to help young men or young women reach their goals. “And just like my dad passed on his passion for golf to me, I’m thankful to be able to teach the game and pass on my knowledge and passion for golf and education to so many over the years.”


Guide Local Private Schools


Planning to enrol your child in a private school? You’ll want to do your research to find a school with a philosophy and approach that suit your family. Here’s the scoop on six established independent schools across York Region. By Joann MacDonald

York Life March April 2018 | 59

feature | Private Schools

School: St. Andrew’s College (SAC), Aurora Students: boys, grades 5 to 12 Specialties: SAC’s rigorous academic program is complemented by a wide range of co-curricular activities designed to develop well-rounded citizens. All boys participate in an extensive athletic program with 71 teams across 22 sports. Students in grades 8 through 12 join the St. Andrew’s College Highland Cadet Corps, established in 1905. Students are encouraged to rise through the ranks and develop critical leadership skills. The scoop: Established with just 50 students in Toronto in 1899, SAC now boasts a leafy 126-acre Aurora campus that welcomes 645 boarding and day students from 25 countries. Graduates gain entry to top universities in Canada, the U.S. and abroad, and are part of a network of 6,000 alumni around the world. Find out more: (905) 727-3178, sac.on.ca

School: The Country Day School (CDS), King City Students: co-ed, JK to Grade 12 Specialties: Emphasizing education with balance, CDS provides diverse opportunities in academics, athletics and the arts, as well as promotes leadership skills and character building. An innovative approach to learning integrates leading-edge technology, sophisticated facilities and teaching that’s sensitive to the individual needs of each student. The scoop: Located on a 100-acre campus among the rolling hills of King Township, the non-denominational school often takes learning outdoors to encourage environmental citizenship, health and good fun. Founded in 1972 by parents wanting to preserve a countryschool feel, the school has grown from 49 students to 770 today. While the property and facilities have expanded over the years, the picturesque country setting remains the same. Find out more: (905) 833-1220, cds.on.ca

School: Villanova College, King City Students: co-ed, grades 4 to 12 Specialties: Villanova boasts an evolving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program. Running in grades 9 through 12, it encourages discovery, exploration and problem-solving. In grades 9 and 10, students are introduced to the fundamentals of robotics. Advanced-placement (first-year-university-level) courses are offered. Villanova also has a strong community outreach experience, fostering vibrant and active students. Extra-curriculars include the arts, athletics and leadership. The scoop: In 1999, Villanova College opened in its temporary home at Sacred Heart Parish. In 2000, the founding classes moved into a 12,000-square-foot school on 33 acres at Marylake. Today, Villanova has more than 120,000 square feet of academic and athletic space and over 550 students. It’s also the only Catholic private school in York Region. Find out more: (905) 833-1909, villanovacollege.org

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School: Pickering College, Newmarket Students: co-ed, JK to Grade 12 Specialties: Pickering’s Global Leadership program is carefully crafted to best prepare students for university and the workplace. Technology is a focus — from kindergarten onward, students learn to code using age-appropriate resources. There is access to computers, mobile devices, 3-D printers, robotics and the school’s CRTC-licensed radio station. The scoop: The only Quaker-founded school in Canada, Pickering is also the only co-educational day and boarding school in York Region. This academic year marks Pickering’s 175th birthday, and the school is looking to the future with the construction of a new $30-million learning facility. It’s the only independent school in Ontario selected as a UNESCO candidate school. Find out more: (905) 895-1700, pickeringcollege.on.ca

School: Holy Trinity School (HTS), Richmond Hill Students: co-ed, JK to Grade 12 Specialties: Leading-edge teaching methods give students a strong academic foundation, enhanced by exposure to music, drama, art and athletics. A commitment to character building aims to produce wellrounded future leaders. The Apple 1:1 program engages students with tablets and laptops to inspire creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Advanced-placement courses, an extended French certificate and a high-performance athlete program are offered. The scoop: Founded by Anglicans in a church basement in 1981, HTS now boasts a 37-acre campus with three gyms, two sports fields, tennis courts and music rooms. Innovative spaces for technology, art and design are equipped with 3-D printers, a laser cutter, a large format printer, computers and robotics equipment. The school welcomes students of all faiths. Find out more: (905) 737-1114, hts.on.ca

School: TMS, Richmond Hill Students: co-ed, 18 months to Grade 12 Specialties: TMS is the only independent school in York Region to offer the International Baccalaureate program. The lower school houses the Toronto Montessori Institute, a renowned teachertraining institute. TMS offers a Montessori start for 530 students from 18 months to Grade 6. The upper school serves grades 7 to 12 in a modern, bright and student-centred second campus. The scoop: Founded as Toronto Montessori Schools in 1961, TMS combines the Montessori and International Baccalaureate frameworks to provide students the foundation for a life of goodness and excellence. TMS received a Richmond Hill Board of Trade business award in 2015. Student David G. recently won an MIT Media Lab competition, and student Julia F. represented more than 50,000 participants, speaking at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award National Board dinner. Find out more: (905) 889-6882 (lower school), (905) 780-1002 (upper school), tmsschool.ca York Life March April 2018 | 61

feature | Business Profile

All Good

Getting downsized led this Markham resident to open doors to a whole new career as the owner of Unionville’s Too Good General Store

Sarah Gratta


arah Gratta had some huge decisions in front of her. The Markham resident had just been downsized from her job as a marketing manager at a multinational smartphone company. It was the second time she’d been let go in the last decade, and the mother of a 14-year-old son was mulling over what to do next. She wrestled with the idea of going back to work, going to school or taking the plunge and buying into a franchise. “It was a choice [of either] selling my soul to the devil and never seeing my family and making lots of money or never seeing my family and making no money,” Gratta says. “Or I could just take a job that wasn’t very exciting.” Then, while walking her dog one evening in February 2017, she saw a heritage store for sale on Unionville’s historic Main Street and an idea was born. She’d start her own business selling high-quality, Canadianmade products. Two weeks later, she’d done all the research; talked to the landlord, the bank, her husband and her lawyer; had a business name; and was incorporated. The Too Good General Store was born. “When I set my mind to something, I either say forget it and secondguess myself forever or I just plow ahead and do it,” Gratta says. “It was the right timing, the right location and it’s something I felt that Unionville needed.” 62 | York Life March April 2018

Things By Tim Kelly | Photography by Jim craigmyle

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feature | Business Profile

The name comes from a combination of Toogood Pond, located in Unionville, and Gratta’s idea of making sure people realize the products in her store are “too good, they’re awesome, they’re amazing” Between March 12 and May 1 last year, Gratta visited the One of a Kind Show, the Cottage Life Show and stores that carry the sort of inventory she was looking for, asking questions and taking notes. She then ordered as much inventory as she needed to get the store ready and opened shop on May 8. Now, nearly one year later, Gratta has learned a lot about running her own business, being her own boss and learning on the fly. And she’s learned to trust her gut. “If it feels right, I do it. If I’m uncertain and need to sleep on a decision, I don’t let a pushy [manufacturer]/vendor/supplier push me,” Gratta says. She’s also found after a year of business that no matter how organized her paperwork is, “it’s not.” Running Too Good General Store has also been an exhilarating experience, unlike anything she had been through before. “I had the vision in terms of ‘I can see it, smell it and feel it when I walk in the door,’” Gratta says. She took that vision and created that experience for her customers with the folksy, down-home, lived-in style that characterizes her shop. 64 | York Life March April 2018

The name, by the way, comes from a combination of Toogood Pond, located in Unionville, and Gratta’s idea of making sure people realize the products in her store are “too good, they’re awesome, they’re amazing.” She decided on the “General Store” part after considering “Trading Post” and “Boutique” before rejecting them. General Store got the nod because, she explains, “It gives me licence to change up my merchandise all the time. I’m always bringing in new things. I have customers who come in here every two weeks just to see what’s new.” Indeed, inventory varies depending on the time of the year, what Gratta feels her customers want, what they ask for and what she likes herself. One catch: All the products must be made in or finished in Canada. “I’m a proud Canadian,” she says. “I think so much gets made overseas, and there are absolutely benefits to that, but the drawback is we’re losing our uniqueness and our artisans. I myself am not a creative person, but I love creativity and I love giving them a place to continue and be able to create and share that with other

people. I think that’s really important.” What do her customers like? That varies, too. Last Christmas, for instance, fleece ponchos were a huge seller, with one buyer scooping up 40 at $40 apiece. Her line of jewellery, including a charm bar, is popular. Charcuterie boards, made with all-local Canadian-sourced wood, at what Gratta calls “an unbelievable” price point, are also favourites. All-natural lotions and deodorants sell well, and she has had people drive from Mississauga to pick up unique gift cards. Shoppers can also find clothes and books. And then there’s the food, including coffees, jams, syrups and teas. “Where else can you find root beer jelly?” Gratta asks. As the goods rotate in and out, the customers keep coming in to check out what’s new. “I’ve never been happier,” Gratta says. “I get to shop for a living and then share everything I love with people.”

Too Good General Store toogoodgeneralstore.ca 155A Main St., Unionville (905) 604-2376

2563 Major Mackenzie Dr. Maple, ON • L6A 2E8 905.832.2753 finchcentrejewellersmaple.com Snake Chain Bracelet System (U.S. Pat. No. 7,007,507) • © 2018 Pandora Jewelry, LLC • All rights reserved

one last thing

Photo: Jim Craigmyle

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66 | York Life March April 2018

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68 | York Life March April 2018