York Life Markham Sept/Oct 2017

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York Life MARKHAM | Richmond Hill | Stouffville | Thornhill

JOAN KELLEY WALKER The Real Housewives star opens her heart – and her stunning King City home!



Treetop Trekking in Stouffville


s e pt e mb e r / o ct o b e r 2 0 1 7

in every issue

Food & drink



30 rediscover fresh fall fare Three delicously different recipes

54 the queen of king The real life of television star

Living well News, tips and fun facts

and philanthropist Joan Kelley Walker

66 like a local The Markham Fair

34 The essentials list Six top-performing wines


35 In the bag School lunches they’ll really eat

37 in the kitchen with... The Smokery Kitchen & Bar,

60 The Nature of learning How a Stouffville mom

15 back to you A mom’s guide to post-summer


17 Happy food Dietary tweaks to improve your

body and mind

19 Grey Matter’s Anatomy Protecting your brain as you age HOME 22 Hotel chic How the pros transformed a

Richmond Hill subdivision home



58 New Heights of adventure

Treetop Trekking in Stouffville kicks thrill-seeking up a notch

unearthed the benefits of kids playing in the forest

44 rustic gem Relaxed indulgence at Viamede, a

historic resort in the Kawarthas

48 travel smarts How to save for your dream trip 50 going guanacaste Northwestern Costa Rica is a

region with it all

28 Laundry rooms that clean up in style Designer Cynthia Soda shares her

professional tips

Cover photo: Jim Craigmyle

Find the recipe on page 32!

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 3

York Life

editor’s note

Publisher Dana Robbins Regional General Manager Shaun Sauve Editor Jacqueline Kovacs copy editor Deanna Dority

Fall Forward For those of us who consider Labour Day the “real New Year,” this is the ideal time to try something new, and in this issue, you’re sure to find some great ideas. If you’re thinking of making your well-being more of a priority, check out “Back to You” (page 15) for a range of ways to feel both healthy and pampered. Best of all, our real-life suggestions are all right here in York Region. Maybe you crave a little adventure in your life, but don’t think it’s in the budget. Flip to page 48 for easily doable tips to save for your dream vacation. Perhaps the simplest change is just to mix up your go-to menu with some of fall’s fabulous produce. We’ve got some unusually delicious recipes, beginning on page 31, to get you started. One of the best changes any of us can make, though, is contributing to our communities. Just ask King City’s Joan Kelley Walker, philanthropist, star of The Real Housewives of Toronto and our cover story. As you’ll find out, throughout her remarkable life, Walker feels deeply connected to her community and has always made a point of giving back. Speaking of community, we’d love to connect with you! Here’s how to get social with us: @YorkLifeMag Facebook.com/YorkLifeMag @YorkLifeMag Social icon

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For more details check out our Brand Guidelines.

Jacqueline Kovacs

Stuff I’m Swooning Over:

Contributors Liz Bruckner, Jim Craigmyle, Naomi Hiltz, Sue Kanhai, Andrea Karr, Signe Langford, Joann MacDonald, Leslee Mason, Rachel Naud, Karen Robock, Kasie Savage, Julia Suppa, Doug Wallace Advertising Director 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 Brenda Boon, Nick Bornino, Geoff Thibodeau, LuAnne Turner Director of Business Administration Phil Sheehan Director of Distribution Mike Banville

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.

This health-and-beauty multitasker is the first thermal spring water to be approved by the Canadian Dermatology Association. eau-thermale-avene.ca

4 | York Life September October 2017

Slip on this handcrafted silver-and-turquoise ring by Amanda Brittin and you’ll not only add a trendy hit of blue to your life, but also support York Region Handcrafted Maker’s Association, a local group of artisans. yorkmakers.ca

Looking for an eye-opener? Bella Aura’s Instant Eye Lifting Contour is an antiaging serum that brightens and de-puffs using all-natural, organic ingredients. (PS: It’s also Canadian.) bellaaura.com

York Life 580B Steven Ct., P.O. Box 236, Newmarket, ON L3Y 4X1 905-853-8888

living well

What’s for Dinner? Come fall, when work and school schedules kick back in, mealtime can get a little routine, too. But the Dietitians of Canada is making it easy to get out of the dinnertime rut with a free ebook of recipes inspired by the flavours of Canada. In its 30 pages, Celebrate Canadian Food: In the Kitchen With Canada’s Dietitians features such recipes as pickerel cakes, Saskatchewan wild rice and mushroom soup, baked candied salmon and even DIY Buddha bowls. Each recipe also includes the author’s social media contact information so that you can connect with them, try the recipes and share your delicious results on social media, using the hashtag #RDkitchenparty. The food fun awaits at https://view.joomag.com/ celebrate-canadian-food-dietitian-canada150-ebookf/0505253001498662198?short.

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living well | Health

As temperatures dip, we all start shutting the windows — and closing in the dust. In case you could use some motivation to stay on top of those bunnies, consider this: A new study from Duke University says that house dust might actually be making us fat. New findings published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology report that exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs (found in everyday household products like cosmetics, cleaning products and food packaging) may disrupt our metabolism, triggering an increase in body fat. House dust tends to harbour EDCs, prolonging our exposure to the chemicals. — Karen Robock

A Coffee (or Three) a Day For many of us, there’s nothing like that morning cup of joe to get a perked-up start to the day. But now it seems caffeine worshippers may wind up with more days in their lives to enjoy than those who don’t drink coffee. Scientists have identified a link between daily coffee intake and a reduced risk of death from a whole host of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, stroke and kidney disease. U.S. researchers analyzed the data of 185,855 adults between the ages of 45 and 75, followed for an average of 16 years, and found an 18 per cent lower mortality risk in those who drank three cups of coffee a day. “Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention,” says lead study author Veronica W. Setiawan of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California “Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle.” — K.R.

Give your morning coffee (and your counter) a fall update! Set of 4 espresso cups with stand, $7.99 at HomeSense.

On Your MIND

Get Outside — YOUR Way Think of it as the Spotify for outdoor activity. GoodTimesOutside.ca, the new site by MEC, Canada’s go-to retailer for outdoor gear, sorts activities by ability, vibe, location and more, inspiring people to explore nearby parks, lakes and trails. “Being active outside is incredibly beneficial for people’s physical and mental health,” says David Labistour, CEO of MEC. Whether you’re into canoeing, camping or hiking, fall is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors. — K.R.

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Did you know that women suffer from depression and dementia twice as often as men? Learn more at this year’s Joy of Aging conference, a chance for women over 40 to connect and focus on their health. Grab a girlfriend and get ready for a morning packed with delicious food, live music, an outstanding silent auction and more. The 9th annual Joy of Aging Keynote speaker will take place October Dr. Vivien Brown 22 at Bellvue Manor in shares some of Vaughan. Tickets are $75 the basics about each, or $650 for a table brain health on of 10. Check out page 19. thejoyofaging.ca for more info. — K.R.

living well | Home

Warming TREND Want to add a little warmth to your home? No, we’re not suggesting turning up the furnace or getting a fire going. Instead, Pam Byer, general manager of Design Line Studio in Aurora, says to create a snuggly ambience by incorporating shades of metallic to give your house that cozy, fall feeling. “Cool, brushed metals are being set aside for matte, warm metals like bronze and gold,” Byer says. “These metals are resurging onto the home decor scene and will lend a touch of sophistication to any space. And they are a great complement to the hot, new navy blues and tried-and-true grey palettes that are trending in 2017 as well.” Sounds like a golden opportunity to try something new. — Rachel Naud These on-trend products can all be found at Design Line Studios Inc. in Aurora.

Love Your Lawn Your lawn has had a busy few months — rainy spring, spotty summer, maybe some heavy foot traffic. So show it some love in early fall with nematodes, says John Kohnen of Black Forest Garden Centre in King City. “This will combat grubs, which come up in the spring,” he says. “Raccoons and skunks love grubs and can do a fair bit of damage when rummaging your lawn for them in spring.” How else can you give your grass a good start next spring? Make sure you do your last mow before winter sets in, Kohnen says. Cut it a little shorter than usual, give it a good raking and apply a fall fertilizer. “Fertilizing in the fall ensures your lawn receives the necessary nutrients needed for a good, strong start to spring,” he says. Your lawn deserves no less. — R.N.

Pumpkin Pleasers Put more treat in trick-or-treating with these battery-powered LED Mercury Pumpkin Glimmer Strings lights from Pier 1. Hang them along door frames or banisters, or weave them through wreathes and centrepieces for a quick hit of glam to your Halloween gathering. $29.95, pier1.com — R.N.

Retro Vibes Want to add a little retro fun to your great indoors this fall? Spin a favourite vinyl record on this portable turntable, available in red or blue. Innovative Technology Bluetooth Nostalgic Portable Vintage Suitcase Turntable, $79.95, walmart.ca GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 7

living well | Food & Drink

Ripe for the PICKING We all know how good apples are for us — we eat them year-round — but nothing compares to biting into a Mac plucked right off the tree. We’re talking cool autumn sun, crisp fall fresh air, and the sweet aroma of ripening apples all around. Here are three pick-your-own apple orchards the whole family can enjoy. Grab your baskets! • Pine Farms Orchard in King Township grows about 15 varieties and includes a bake shop and café. pinefarmsorchard.com • At Applewood Farm Winery in Stouffville, cap off a bracing day of apple picking with a warm mug of applejack — for the grown-ups only, of course. applewoodfarmwinery.com • Get spoiled at Homestead Orchards in Georgina, where you can choose from more than 20 varieties of apples in the orchard and a bakery. Don’t forget to take home a pie or two. homesteadorchards.com — Signe Langford

Words to EAT By

“Voula has a way with words, an eye for beauty, and a consuming passion for cooking delicious food without fuss.” MARION KANE Food

Sleuth®, writer, broadcaster, cook

mor e

th an

0 15 ipes rec •


Voula Halliday

No more excuses! Toronto-based chef and author Voula Halliday has put together more than 150 easy-to-make recipes along with tips and pantry lists so you can easily eat at home. With pretty photos to whet the appetite and inspire, Halliday offers plenty of variations — many recipes can be made meatless in a snap — as well as tasty ways to use up leftovers, all in a compact cookbook. What is the chef herself up to this fall? “Knowing that fall harvest will bring my favourite foods in abundance means that I am busy organizing my preserving schedule,” she says. “We prepare canned tomatoes, we grill peppers by the bushel for the freezer, and we make chutney and relish from anything that works well, including beets, apples and onions. This year, I plan to add something new to the mix — it’s an Appalachian sour corn recipe.” Eat at Home, Voula Halliday, Cast Iron Press, $34 — S.L.

Extending an Olive Branch… North! We were delighted (and surprised) to learn that not only can olive trees thrive in Canada, but we can even enjoy our own homegrown olive oil. Back in 2000, George and Seri Braun planted 3,000 hardy olive trees on their Salt Spring Island farm, but it wasn’t until last December that their waiting and tending paid off with a harvest of more than 1,000 pounds of green olives. Within minutes of being picked, the olives were pressed into delicious, healthy oil. The Olive Farm is already sold out of its first pressing, but the Brauns are taking orders for this year’s harvest. theolivefarm.ca — S.L.

8 | York Life September October 2017

In a PICKLE? Eating fermented foods — such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha — continues to grow in popularity. Besides the taste, fermented foods promote healthy gut flora, gastric acidity and a boosted immune system. The problem is, many store-bought fermented foods have been pasteurized, which kills the good bacteria and therefore the associated health benefits. Home fermenting is the answer, of course, but if the thought of an antique stoneware crock the size of a laundry hamper bubbling away in the corner gives you a case of the nerves, we understand. And we have a solution. These stylish, modern jars from Montreal’s Mortier Pilon are just the right look and size to get you started on the path to do-it-yourself fermenting. Mortierpilon.com — S.L.

living well | Beauty

TREND: Fit to Be Tied Photo courtesy of Moroccanoil

Whether you knot a slim strip of satin around your ponytail or tie a thick piece of velvet into a makeshift headband, a black ribbon is the prettymeets-goth way to dress up your favourite hairstyle for fall. — Andrea Karr

Golden Arches

“Healthy, groomed brows and lush lashes are beauty assets,” says Anna Koniaris, Caryl Baker Visage national face expert. To make your routine more efficient, look for multi-use products such as clear brow gel, which can be brushed onto unruly eyebrows to perfect their shape, or swiped over lashes to add volume and definition. Caryl Baker Visage Perfect Brow Finish, $21, carylbakervisage.com — A.K.


With bamboo charcoal for a deep cleanse, O2 bubbles to oxygenate and Syn-Ake dipeptide to freeze lines, this ain’t your mama’s sheet mask. Apply to clean, dry skin for 10 to 15 minutes and feel the bubbles pop and fizz as the hydrating, purifying serum works its magic. Rodial Snake Oxygenating & Cleansing Bubble Mask, $78/8 sachets at Murale, murale.ca — A.K.


Work It

Want flawless-looking skin? American beauty brand It Cosmetics is now available in Canada at Sephora and online at sephora.ca and itcosmetics.ca, making it easier to try its bestsellers, including skin-perfecting CC cream, dark circle-banishing under-eye concealer and pore-diminishing loose powder. Use them in tandem for a fresh, matte complexion that will hold up under bright lights or close inspection. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+, $49, Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer, $32, Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder (Loose), $32, itcosmetics.ca — A.K.

The latest addition to Tiffany & Co. isn’t a diamond, but its bottle might have you fooled. The jewellery house’s new eau de toilette lives in a glass flacon with a base cut like the 128.54-carat yellow Tiffany Diamond and shoulders shaped like a Lucida-cut diamond engagement ring. And within that luxurious home, a vert de mandarine top note, sensual iris heart and patchouli finish blend into a floral musk that puts the ritz in spritz. Tiffany & Co. Eau de Toilette, $120/50 mL, tiffany.ca — A.K. GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 9

living well | Travel

Stopover: Miami Beach, Florida

Photo: Paul McCossin

Heading to the Caribbean? Rather than just switching planes in Miami, why not stick around for a few nights? Spend an afternoon milling about the galleries — and fun graffiti — in the Wynwood Arts District. Though many have left for cheaper ground, their spaces have been replaced by cool shops like Shinola and Base, plus a few great cafés and restaurants. Near Wynwood is the chic Design District, full of big names like Givenchy, Rick Owens, Lanvin, Martin Margiela, Hermès, Tom Ford and more. The authentic Cuban vibe of Calle Ocho in Little Havana is a perfect preCaribbean pit stop, with its coffee counters, beauty parlours, gift shops and bakeries. And, of course, you’ll need to get your pre-tan on at South Beach, so you don’t land in the Caribbean with a blindingly white belly. While you’re there, grab a cocktail at one or more of the heavyweight hotels like the Edition, the Delano, the Sagamore (which has its own very cool art collection), 1 Hotel and the new Faena Hotel. — Doug Wallace


Travel Essential: Gear UP The Travelpro Crew 11 21" Carry-On Spinner is our new go-to bag, coming complete with an exterior USB port that lets you power up on the go (battery not included). The real value, though, is the wobble-proof handle and easy steering: While most luggage has a mind of its own, this one’s selfaligning magnetic wheels make it easier to weave through crowded airport lines with your hands full. $270, thebay.com, holiday.ca — D.W.

10 | York Life September October 2017

Top 5 Favourite

International Cities

• New York City • Las Vegas • London • Paris • Orlando (Source: Hotels.com)


The Hoxton, Holborn, London, U.K. There are so many hotels in London it makes your head spin. Ditto the prices. So the smart money is on finding the best value, and the 174-room Hoxton, Holborn ticks all the boxes and more. The key here is the excellent location: You’ll save a fortune on cabs with so much within walking distance, including Oxford Street and Soho, the West End theatres and Covent Garden; the Holborn tube station is just down the street. The area has plenty of bars and restaurants to check out, including the hotel’s Hubbard & Bell. The rooms are super-functional with a refreshing yet quirky design — retro light fixtures, cheeky toile wallpaper, salon-style artwork, leather accents. Freebies include Wi-Fi and international calls, plus a breakfast bag hung on the doorknob in the morning with bananas, yogurt, granola and OJ. From $400, thehoxton.com — D.W.


Vitamin Zzz Want to ward off a cold this season? Hit the sheets. A recent study found that people who clock less than six hours of sleep per night are more susceptible to the common cold virus than those who sleep seven hours or more. Interestingly, researchers noted that age, stress level, whether or not the person smoked and BMI made no difference in the study’s findings. So what’s the sleep-sneeze connection? It seems that sleep has a key role in regulating the immune system. The study’s authors found that a lack of shut-eye affected the behaviour of T cells — important to immunity. Yet another reason to make sleep a health priority.

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health | Beauty

Back to School, Back to You A mom’s guide to post-summer pampering By KASIE SAVAGE


ep-tem-ber — three little syllables that delight and excite most moms. After nine long weeks of kids and camps and trips and travels and the endless go-go-go of child-focused fun, moms often come out of summer feeling drained from putting their own needs last. September is the perfect time to recharge your personal batteries and hit the reset button on mental and physical wellness.

If you feel rundown, worn out or just down in the dumps, then you need a day to spoil yourself — and that doesn’t mean reheating your coffee in the microwave instead of chugging it cold. Here are three “aaah-tineraries” to help you get that pep back into your parenting step, regardless of your level of mom guilt (find yours below). Best of all, each fits perfectly within the hours of a regular school day, so no babysitting required! GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 13

health | Beauty

1 2 3

Aaah-tinerary Level 1: Guilty Mom

Level 1: Guilty Mom You are a self-care newbie and will still somehow end your day feeling guilty about not sitting by your phone — just in case the school calls.

Level 2: Pampered Princess You are not afraid to show up at the bus stop displaying obvious signs of self-indulgence — a latte in hand or a blowout sounds nice.


Level 3: Kids? What kids? You are ready to wave goodbye to your tired, exhausted self in the morning and say hello to a new and improved you, Mom version 2.0, come school dismissal.


You’re new to this and that’s just fine. Kiss the kiddos goodbye, hop in the car and head to a Pilates class for the ultimate in stretching, lengthening and posture improvement. Walk out with your head held high, your core cinched and a sense of accomplishment, then make your way to the salon for a fresh new cut and style. Let the wind dance through your hair like a pop superstar in a music video as you strut confidently into a healthy luncheon spot for a tasty meal. After all, pampering builds an appetite. Post-nosh, pop into a local jeweller and spoil yourself with a new necklace or pair of earrings — something that makes you happy.

Consider trying: • Pilates at Spine Stretch Studio, Aurora (spinestretchstudio.com) • consult/cut/blow-dry at Becoming Hair Studio, Aurora (becominghairstudio.com) • lunch at Rawlicious, Newmarket (rawlicious.ca) • jewellery at Finch Centre Jewellers, Maple and Woodbridge (finchcentrejewellers.com)

According to the American Psychological Association, on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest level), 15% of moms rated their stress as a 10, compared with only 3% of dads.

“Pellevé skin tightening treatments are applied to the entire face, decreasing the appearance of wrinkles without surgery or downtime. PelleFirm is a skin tightening treatment that targets loose skin on the abdomen, arms or back of the upper thighs. The heat energy delivered to the skin stimulates collagen formation and feels like a warm massage.” — Dr. William Andrade, York Plastic Surgery Centre

Aaah-tinerary Level 3: Kids? What kids?

Aaah-tinerary Level 2: Pampered Princess You haven’t updated your social media profile picture in two years — the last time you had an indulgent day to yourself. Recognizing that you love the afterglow that comes from a day of self-care, wave goodbye to that big yellow bus and say hello to an hour of focused reflection and deep relaxation at the yoga studio, the same one you wistfully drive by on the way to kids’ hockey and dance practice each week. Post-Zen, pop into a quaint café for a latte and freshly baked treat, and actually take the time to savour the taste. Then, head to a scenic resort and spa for a trifecta of luxe treatments. The mani-pedi-facial combo leaves you polished (literally), rejuvenated and hungry for the on-site gourmet lunch. Consider trying: • yoga at Ten Yoga, Keswick (tenyoga.ca) • tea latte and snack at Elaine’s Black River Coffee, Sutton (facebook.com/ ElainesBlackRiverCoffee) • mani/pedi/facial and lunch at the Briars resort, Jackson’s Point (briars.ca)

14 | York Life September October 2017


You know exactly who you are and the importance of self-care, which is why you have someone else bid farewell to the kids for once. After all, this is your day and you have big plans. First up is a visit to a specialized fitness and wellness facility to experience the positive effects a relaxation massage will have on your mental and physical health. As a seasoned pampering pro, you’re ready to up the ante, which is why you head to a reputable plastic surgery centre to meet with a team of professionals and undergo skin tightening treatments, filler or maybe even Botox. You’re put at ease knowing these procedures are pain-free, take less than an hour and are administered by a qualified plastic surgeon. With zero downtime, settle in for lunch on the patio of your favourite little hot spot, then squeeze in a quick manicure and some retail therapy at a trendy local boutique. Consider trying: • relaxation massage at Bellerby Wellness, Aurora (bellerbywellness.com) • skin treatment at York Plastic Surgery Centre, Newmarket (yorkplasticsurgerycentre.com) • lunch at Let’s Be Frank, Newmarket (letsbefrank.ca) • manicure at Jenny Nails Spa, Aurora (jennynailsspa.ca) • shopping at Lemonberry, Aurora (lemonberry.ca)

health | Nutrition

Happy Foods May help ward off depression.

Stabilize your moods, reduce stress and boost your health with these easy dietary tweaks By Liz Bruckner


ometimes nothing quells the effects of a crappy day quite like a big-asyour-head bowl of Ben & Jerry’s. But loading up on calorie-heavy foods isn’t the only (or the healthiest) way to calm an emotional storm, researchers say. It turns out that noshing on nutritious foods can provide many mood-enhancing effects — many of them on par with those you’d experience with prescription antidepressants. Case in point: Scientists from Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology reported that volunteers who simply downed regular high doses of dark chocolate beverages experienced greater

feelings of overall calm and contentment, while a study by Nurses’ Health found that women who boosted their daily intake of alpha-linolenic acid — found in flaxseed, soybeans, walnuts and tofu — were less likely to experience feelings of depression. And there’s more: Research presented at the American Chemical Society cited that chemical properties found in a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids (found in such foods as eggs, yogurt, spinach, fatty fish and seafood) mimic the structure of valproic acid, a widely used prescription moodstabilizing drug incorporated into many antidepressants. GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 15

health | Nutrition “Simply put, choosing to eat healthy foods that benefit your body and mind will help you feel good from the inside out, and will do so almost immediately,” says Angela Wallace, a Vaughan-based registered dietitian, certified personal trainer and family food expert. Some of the near-instant benefits she cites include an improved mood, increased energy, better focus and clarity, and deeper, more restful sleep. “Healthy eating, physical activity, emotional well-being and better sleep are all interconnected and dependent on each other,” she says. “By focusing on and improving one of these areas, you are likely to see improvements in the others, as well.” Here are the feel-good foods Wallace recommends. Avocado. A great source of vitamins C, E and K, avocados also contain copious amounts of magnesium, beta-carotene, omega-3s and folate — all of which help ward off depression. This creamy fruit also packed with B vitamins, which help reduce the production of amino acids linked to anxiety and depression, and is high in healthy fats and protein — essential components for brain function and healthy skin — and low in sugar. Aim to eat half an avocado a few times a week for maximum effect. Nuts and seeds. They make a great snack, can be easily added to many meals (think cereal, salad and quiche) and provide your body with much-needed plant-based protein, healthy fats, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals. Wallace says eating just one-half cup of each per day has been shown to improve heart health and weight maintenance, as well as reduce symptoms of depression.

This powerful treat is good for your mind and body.

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Dark, leafy greens. With myriad varieties to choose from — rapini, spinach, kale and Swiss chard among them — these leafy beauties can boost the overall health factor in any salad, soup, pasta dish, stir-fry and more. And because each option is an excellent source of antioxidants, fibre, calcium, iron and magnesium, they’re also linked to increased energy levels and lowered symptoms of depression. Regular intake of these veggies is also touted to benefit blood pressure and nerve function, control blood sugar levels and boost bone density. For best results, aim for three one-cup servings per week. Berries. Easily added to cereal, yogurt, baked goods and pancakes or enjoyed on their own, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries are teeming with antioxidants, known to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, cancers and overall inflammation. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine also found that antioxidant-rich berries minimize the effects of anxiety and depression after participants treated with antioxidants for two years logged significantly lower depression scores than those treated with a placebo. For maximum benefits, aim to eat one cup of berries every day. Fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackerel). Brimming with omega-3s, these fish species have been linked to a host of health benefits, including heightened mental clarity, lowered

risk of heart disease, and helping the body protect against cancers, dementia and arthritis, Wallace says. A recent study also reported that omega-3 supplements improved the symptoms of those diagnosed with depression. Try to eat your favourite fish variety twice a week for optimal mood-boosting results. Oats. Sure, they’re a warm and fuzzy way to start the morning, but oats are also full of mood-boosting selenium and dietary fibre, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol. They’re also low on the glycemic index, so your blood sugar levels will stay stable long after you’ve eaten them. Look for large-flake options to up the nutritional ante, and think outside the box and include them in baked goods and pancakes, and as the main ingredient in homemade granola. Chocolate. Its decadent flavour aside, chocolate does the body good. Studies show that it contains medicinal properties that inhibit cancer growth, regulate genes that control body weight, increase blood flow to the brain and protect nerve cells, all while acting as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Recent findings have also shown it contains feel-good chemical compounds that minimize symptoms of depression and anxiety, and enhance calmness and contentedness; plus, its natural dose of caffeine works as an energy booster. Work more into your diet by choosing dark versions (look for variations with 70 per cent or more of cocoa), and aim to enjoy it in regular, but moderate, amounts.

health | Brain Health

Grey Matter’s Anatomy By Karen Robock

You may be surprised by what you can do to protect your brain as you age, if you put your mind to it. We asked Dr. Vivien Brown, a family physician and vice-president of medical affairs at Medisys Executive Health, to share some of her expertise.

In what ways are women’s brains different from men’s? Men tend to see better at a distance, whereas women have better peripheral vision. Women have better emotional memory and recognize emotion in faces better than men do. Men have more grey matter [where vision and memory are controlled] and less white matter [the deeper tissues where blood pressure, heart rate and temperature are regulated], while women have more white matter and less grey.

Women also have better verbal skills, which is important when it comes to testing for cognitive decline because they often do better on the testing, which means actual problems may go undetected and get diagnosed later, at a point where they’ve already lost more of their abilities. Is it true that women are more prone to depression and dementia? Unfortunately, 70 per cent of new cases of Alzheimer’s are women. We know that women

have more depression than men do and are more at risk for certain diseases, like multiple sclerosis, but we don’t know exactly why. How does stress impact our brains? Stress is not good for brain health and it affects older women more. We can measure cortisol levels in response to stress in older women, and they have a threefold increase compared with men and younger women. Decreasing stress is important because

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 17

health | Brain Health it’s not just about having a better mood, it physically impacts your body when you have chronic, unrelenting stress. It changes your telomeres — the caps on the ends of chromosomes — which means your cells are changing and die off faster. Part of healthy aging is maintaining healthy cells for a longer time. Why is sleep so important to brain health? Sleep is when the brain regenerates. It makes a difference if you have broken sleep or get a good sleep; if you get REM sleep or not; if you get enough sleep per night or not. We can always get away with something for a short time, but when it’s chronic, it harms our health. How can women protect the health of their brains as they age? We should be thinking about many of the same things we talk about for cardiac health — making healthy eating choices, including

“Decreasing stress is important because it’s not just about having a better mood, it physically impacts your body when you have chronic, unrelenting stress” high-antioxidant foods, is important. Exercise is important because it improves blood flow to the brain, which improves memory. Managing cholesterol and hypertension are also factors. Really, this is about healthy aging as a whole.

Why is the Joy of Aging event such a good opportunity for women in the community? Women attending this event care about their health, are interested in learning more, and I applaud that. So as long as you keep learning, you keep your grey matter active. Social connectedness is also important to a healthy brain, so an event like this is beneficial in that way, too. Tell us about your new book. It’s called A Woman’s Guide to Healthy Aging, and focuses on areas where I think we can make a difference, including exercise, sleep, nutrition, bone health, cardiac health and brain health. We don’t want weekend warriors — people who overdo it on the weekend and do nothing Monday to Friday. That is actually bad for your health. This is really about explaining why we advise certain things and how women can make good decisions on a day-to-day basis.

Hear more from Dr. Brown at the Joy of Aging event on October 22 at Bellvue Manor in Vaughan, where she will be delivering a keynote speech and signing copies of her new book, A Woman’s Guide to Healthy Aging: 7 Proven Ways to Keep You Vibrant, Happy and Strong. See thejoyofaging.ca for more information and tickets.

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Cozy Up to Fall

Photo: Linda Mazur Design

That chill in the air means it’s time to think about the great indoors. Newmarket-based designer Linda Mazur shares her tips for adding a little autumn to your home. Layer up: According to Mazur, “Fall is one of the comfiest decor seasons, so layer up throw pillows, beautiful blankets and area rugs to create that warm, inviting feeling in your home.” Embrace the dark: Embrace the dark: “A darker colour palette, like the rich navies, deep purples, earthy mineral greys and spicy reds we are seeing, helps to create a warm feeling in your home,” she notes. Sleep easy: Mazur says to “Pull out the fluffy duvet and layer your bed with inviting throw pillows and maybe a great faux-fur throw.” Think fabric: “Introduce rich, lush velvets, cozy chenille, textured linen, wool blends, even faux furs and shearlings, to create the feeling of warmth in your living space,” she says. “Blend scales, colours and textures in both your accessories and fabrics to create an inviting space.” Want a Designer’s Advice? Visit facebook.com/YorkLifeMag and share your decor challenge, and you could win a free one-hour consultation with Linda Mazur! GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 19

home | Home Tour

Hotel Chic at Home u





After 10 years of unsuccessful DIY attempts at improving their house, this Richmond Hill family brought in the pros for an elegant, tailored transformation that suits their lives now and into the future By Sue Kanhai | Photography by Jim Craigmyle

20 | York Life September October 2017

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 21

home | Home Tour


d Chaudhry travels often for work, staying in stylish, well-appointed hotels. When he comes home, he’d like to return to a place that’s just as beautiful. He, his wife, Nayla, and their three children, ages 14, 13 and nine, share a 3,500-square-foot house in Richmond Hill. For more than a decade, they tried to make small improvements on their own, but never had much success. The couple always second-guessed their decisions and ended up feeling confused and overwhelmed. The kitchen in particular was a sore spot. The layout kept Nayla separate from the kids. Her wish list was decidedly practical: underthe-counter pullout garbage, a desk area for homework, hidden appliances and storage for the many cleaning supplies it takes to keep a kitchen looking great. Once demo began, however, the pair made a drastic decision. They would redo not only the kitchen, but the entire main floor. Their contractor did great work but seemed to lack an overarching vision. It was then, with the main floor already gutted, that they turned to designers Jean Bisnaire and Elisse Shimonov of Niche Decor in Aurora. As they do with all their clients, the designers did a walk-through of the house to get a feel for how the Chaudhrys wanted to live in the space. “We got an idea of their style, as individuals, as casual or formal people,” Bisnaire says, “and from there we threw them a few options.” They worked with the couple to determine their colour scheme and help pick out materials and flooring. “Once they realized we can also decorate and provide furniture, it just took off,” Bisnaire says. They did a full redesign of the kitchen, which would involve opening up another wall, and gave the drawings to Nayla’s contractor, who executed them beautifully. As the project grew drastically in scope, so did the budget. New windows, crown moulding and wall panelling were expensive extras. The Chaudhrys also decided to tackle their master ensuite and splurged on finishes there. “I asked for classy things that I can live with for another 20 to 25 years,” Nayla says. “People don’t realize that a big part of our budget is the furniture,” Bisnaire says. “It’s like getting dressed. You can buy a gorgeous dress or a nice suit, but you won’t look like much if you don’t have the shoes to go with it or the pendant. You still need to accessorize.” The Chaudhrys purchased all-new furniture, light fixtures, draperies, art and accessories.

22 | York Life September October 2017

The renovated kitchen has plenty of seating for friends and family. The space also contains a built-in nook for homework

They only reused two pieces: their dining table and sideboard. Amazingly, the project went off without a hitch and was completed in just three months. The main floor now feels open, elegant and inviting. The colour palette is soothing, including a range of soft greys, crisp whites, taupes

and warm wood. Nayla still can’t get over how well the kitchen turned out. She loves the thick Caesarstone countertops in sleek concrete; grey-and-white marble herringbone backsplash tile; antique brass cabinet pulls; and high-end appliances. She’d requested a shot of blue in the kitchen,

The kitchen’s stand-out features include Caesarstone countertops, grey-and-white herringbone backsplash and brass cabinet pulls. The island accommodates Nayla’s request for a shot of blue. Owners Ed and Nayla Chaudhry are enjoying the elegant, yet family-friendly redesign of their home. “It's the perfect casual, comfy space,” Nayla says.

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 23

home | Home Tour so the island was painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Soot.” Pretty, on-trend brass-andblack pendants hang above. “It seems way bigger than it was before. I love the layout,” Nayla says. There is plenty of seating for friends and family, with stools at the island and chairs around the marble-topped kitchen table. The space also contains a built-in nook for doing homework. The family room has a plush, oversized sectional, sleek arm chairs, a leather ottoman and benches that offer still more seating. All of the upholstery is custom- and Canadian-made, as is the glass-topped wooden coffee table. A silk rug from Elte, modern light fixtures and large-scale wall art complete the scene. “Our children often like to have their friends come over. These materials are easy to maintain and can be misused, for lack of a better word, by kids,” she says. “It’s the perfect casual, comfy space.” The dining room is great for relaxing and catching up, with chairs so comfortable guests can linger around the table for hours. They’re also easy to move around and can be used as occasional seating in other rooms, if needed. The ensuite bath features Calcutta-style porcelain tiles, a marble mosaic carpet, quartz

The colour palette of soft greys, crisp whites, taupes and warm wood extends to the living room.

countertops and maple-stained cabinets. The shower has a marble surround and inlay, as well as a quartz bench. Roman sheers keep the overall look light and fresh. “What I like about this house is that it represents how people want to live,” Bisnaire says. “They’re two busy people with kids. The materials are very casual, and that’s deliberate — there’s some stone, some leather. There’s com-

fort, but it’s not finicky. A lot of the finishes are a little bit distressed, not polished. People just don’t want to live formally or hoity-toity anymore.” The results far exceeded the Chaudhrys’ expectations. Nayla even cancelled her summer plans because she just wanted to stay home and enjoy her beautiful house. “I absolutely love it,” she says. “I am thrilled, every day.”

The luxurious ensuite includes a shower with quartz bench, maple-stained cabinets and marble mosaic carpet. Roman sheers keep it light and fresh.

24 | York Life September October 2017

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GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 25

home | Laundry Room

Doing the laundry can be a daunting and never-ending task, which is all the more reason that its designated space should be as functional and stylish as possible. Designer Cynthia Soda shares practical tips and the dreamy inspiration behind this Stouffville space

Laundry Rooms

That Clean Up in Style photography by Stephani Buchman 26 | York Life September October 2017


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home | Laundry Room


erhaps second only to the kitchen, the laundry room acts as the hardestworking space in our homes, so the design needs to have both form and function. These Stouffville clients were looking for that, but with a retro-modern-vintage-eclectic feeling to it. Before getting to those fun finishes, though, certain key considerations have to be made to ensure that the homeowners are left with a space that easily facilitates all that happens there. That starts with taking an inventory of everything that you may need for the basic laundry tasks — detergent, softener, baskets and so on. You need to ensure there’s a place for each thing. Secondary chores such as hanging, folding, ironing, even feeding pets may be added for some households. In our bright blue laundry space, a couple of furry friends needed a place to sleep, so the millwork was custom designed to allow for this, as well as storage for a full-size ironing board, iron, dog food, shampoos, brushes and extra cleaning supplies. We also mounted hanging rods high enough for long dress shirts and some mid-length dresses. The key is to take stock of what it is you’re trying to achieve

in these spaces and make sure you’ve thought up a solution for each of these activities. That’s what working with a designer will do — create a space that truly works for your lifestyle. Once you’ve nailed down the functions and created a layout and design that works, it’s time to focus on the personality. If you’re afraid to try out the latest trend or colour of the year that you find yourself drawn to, the laundry space is a perfect place to dabble and express yourself. Go a little wild with tile or try bold

Take an inventory of everything that you may need for the basic laundry tasks. You need to ensure there’s a place for each thing colour. Go for trendy matte black or that gold hardware we’re seeing everywhere. We did all of the above in our Stouffville space and the results were fantastic. Because of our clients’ open mind when it came to styling, we were able to go big with black-andwhite patterned hexagon floor tiles and gold faucet and hardware for a modern edge, while Benjamin Moore Gossamer Blue pillow-style

cabinets gave us that retro-vintage vibe the owners requested. One of the final features of any laundry space is light. In the Stouffville space, an unused door became a window over the washer and dryer, letting in loads of natural light. Plus, we added a wire-framed light fixture from Supreme Lighting in Markham for an edgy, industrial touch. Don’t overlook the importance of abundant light — it’s no fun doing chores in a dungeon. If your laundry room is on the second floor, but has no window, consider adding a sun tunnel by Velux, which can flood the room with light. If you’re washing clothes in a basement, consider adding a window, or at least ensure that you have planned for enough overall ambient and task lighting to brighten your mood. After all, until our appliances can sort and fold on their own, we may as well love the space where it all happens. Cynthia Soda is owner, principal interior designer of Stouffville-based Soda Pop Design Inc., providing renovation and design for clients throughout the GTA. sodapopdesign.ca; Instagram: @csodapop; Twitter: @sodapopdesign

Don’t forget the importance of light. In the Stouffville space, an unused door became a window over the washer and dryer, letting in loads of natural light 28 | York Life September October 2017

food & drink

Pumpkin Power When you carve up your jack-o’-lantern this year, don’t pitch the seeds or you’ll be throwing out a tasty nutritional powerhouse. Just 2 tsp of roasted pumpkin seeds delivers protein, fibre and 25 per cent of the daily recommended amount of magnesium, essential for muscle and bone. If that weren’t enough, the seeds are also a rich source of tryptophan, which helps relieve insomnia. Preparing this natural snack is easy. Just rinse about 2 cups of seeds, removing any stringy bits, and spread in a single layer on a couple of baking sheets to dry thoroughly. Then, toss with 2 tsp of vegetable oil and ¼ tsp of salt to coat, and roast at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally for even toasting. Cool and enjoy, storing any leftovers in an airtight container.

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 29

food & drink | Recipes


Fresh Fall Fare By SIGNE LANGFORD Photography by DONNA GRIFFITH

That first hint of chill in the air signals the return of comfort-food season, and the autumn harvest means there are lots of delicious ways to enjoy heartier meals. These three recipes are a great way to easily try something deliciously different 30 | York Life September October 2017

Braised Burdock Gratin If you’re having a hard time finding burdock, try your local Asian grocery store, where it might be called gobo. For the Burdock 10 spears burdock root, peeled and washed 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock Over medium-high heat, in a covered saucepan or deep skillet, gently boil burdock in stock, making sure it’s submerged at the start. Keep covered and cook until almost fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer burdock to a lightly buttered ovenproof casserole dish, arranging in a single layer; set aside. Reserve stock for the cheese sauce (top up if need be). Preheat oven to 350°F. For the cheese sauce 2 tbsp butter 2 tbsp flour ¼ tsp white pepper ¼ tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp fine sea salt ¼ cup medium-dry sherry ½ cup vegetable or chicken stock (use reserved stock) ½ cup 18% cream 1 cup grated sharp or extra-old white cheddar In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add flour, pepper, nutmeg and salt, and stir continuously until butter and flour are a nutty brown, smooth, thick paste — about 5 minutes. Add sherry, stock and cream and stir briskly to combine. Fold in cheese until melted and combined. Pour evenly over burdock. Set aside. For the topping 1 cup puffed rice cereal 1 tbsp melted butter ½ cup grated sharp or extra-old white cheddar 1 tsp fine sea salt white or black pepper, to taste ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives or garlic scapes for garnish (optional) Add cereal to a small bowl and drizzle with butter; toss to coat as evenly as possible. Add cheese, salt and pepper and toss to coat as evenly as possible. Sprinkle mixture over sauced burdock and bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden on top. Garnish with chives or garlic scapes. Makes 4 to 6 side-dish servings.

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 31

food & drink | Recipes INGREDIENTS ¼ cup butter

Honeyed Orange-Persimmon Cornmeal Cake

3 tbsp honey juice of one large orange (about ¾ cup) 3 large store-bought persimmons (or about 7 tiny wild ones), tops trimmed, cut into half-inch wedges ¾ cup flour 1 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal 1 tsp baking powder ¾ tsp fine sea salt 3 eggs ½ cup sugar ½ cup runny or warmed honey 2/3 cup maple water or sap; milk or apple juice will also do ½ cup extra-virgin canola oil zest of 1 large orange; about 1 tbsp

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet over mediumhigh heat, add butter, honey and orange juice. Melt, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to low. Add persimmons and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until liquid has reduced slightly. Turn heat off and set skillet aside while making the batter. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, breaking up any lumps. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl, using a whisk, beat eggs, sugar and honey until frothy. Add maple sap (or other liquid), oil and zest, and continue to beat until well combined. 32 | York Life September October 2017

All at once, add dry ingredients to egg mixture and blend to combine well, breaking up any lumps and making sure everything is moist; but don’t overmix. Gently pour over persimmons. Pop skillet into the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden. Note: There might well be some bubbling up and dripping, so a bit of foil under the skillet — or on the bottom of the oven — is a good idea. Serve warm with whipped cream. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Puffy Egg Squares Ingredients ½ cup mascarpone, at room temperature ¼ cup nduja (a spicy, spreadable salami), at room temperature, casing removed
 5 eggs, divided
 1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
 4 tsp roasted red peppers in olive oil, mild or spicy (store-bought is fine) finely chopped fresh basil, chives or flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional) Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, add mascarpone and nduja and blend well; set aside. With a fork, beat 1 egg in a small bowl. Place a length of parchment paper on the counter and flour very lightly. Unroll pastry onto paper and, with a floured rolling pin, carefully roll

out dough to stretch it another 1 to 2 inches. Lift paper with dough onto a baking sheet. With the tip of a sharp paring knife, cut sheet of pastry into 4 squares. Turn up edges of each pastry square to form a lip, pinching at the corners to keep in place. Brush edges of pastry squares with egg; prick bottom of squares several times with a fork. Spread the mascarpone mixture among the four squares, making a depression in the centre of each. Crack an egg into each depression and top with 1 tsp of the roasted peppers. If you have any runaway whites, pinch pastry edge to make it higher. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are puffed and golden and yolks are starting to set. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, if desired.

Originally from Hudson, Quebec, Signe Langford is a restaurant chef-turned-writer. Her first book, Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs: Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes, was published in 2015. For more stories and recipes, please visit signelangford.com.

Makes 4 servings.

York Life


GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 33

feature| Vintage Selections

The Essentials List An inside look at top-performing wines By Michael Pinkus


sually, I write about limited releases, one-time wines that come through Vintages at the LCBO and that may never appear again. But once a year, I get the opportunity to taste wines known as “the Vintages Essentials” — think of them as the general list of the Vintages section. They’re wines that are available all year and should be available at most, if not all, Vintages locations. These wines have proven year after year to be top sellers, and once a wine reaches a certain selling-consistency plateau, it gets to be part of this exclusive line of wines. The essentials list fluctuates very little — many wines have been on it for years — and it is one of the most coveted categories to be in at the LCBO. But just because these wines are always

available and sell consistently does not mean they are always the same. Vintage date plays a huge part in all wines and the essentials list is no different, but unlike regular Vintages products, these wines can change without notice, and just because you liked the 2012 does not mean you’re going to love the 2013 as much. Having recently had the opportunity to taste through this year’s batch of the Vintages Essentials, I’m presenting a quick view of my top six selections. These wines featured below offer you the best bang for the buck. Michael Pinkus is a multi-award-winning wine writer, past president of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada and creator of the Grape Guy Events app. Learn more at michaelpinkuswinereview.com.

Ravenswood 2014 Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel California ($24.95, LCBO#359257) Zinfandel is the perfect BBQ wine, and this Ravenswood offering continues to deliver flavour for a price that’s hard to beat. With its elegant plum, black cherry cola, vanilla and white smoke, this wine makes it easy to see why Zin is their specialty. (¬¬¬¬+)

Kendall-Jackson 2014 Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay California ($19.95, LCBO#369686) Popular in the U.S., this wine does well here, too. Typical buttery-ness on the nose with a rich and creamy mouthfeel. There’s an apple middle and buttery, smooth finish, with some nice acidity to keep it in check. Fans of Cali-Chard, this will do you nicely. (¬¬¬¬+)

Taylor Fladgate 20-Year-Old Tawny Port Portugal ($67.95, LCBO#149047) Port is one of the great pleasures in life, and none makes it feel that way better than Taylor Fladgate. This gorgeous 20-Year-Old Tawny has spiced cherry, apricot and orange peel notes with great acidity on the finish. There’s also a little burn that lets you know that alcohol is there. (¬¬¬¬+)

E. Guigal 2012 Côtes du Rhône France ($16.95, LCBO#259721) Don’t be fooled by the under-$17 price tag. This wine is great now and will age another seven years without a problem. Silky smooth mouthfeel with chocolate, black cherry, vanilla and a mocha latte finish — an easy-drinking delight. (¬¬¬¬)

Catena 2014 Malbec Argentina ($19.95, LCBO#478727) If you haven’t tasted a good Malbec, then you haven’t had Catena. This is an elegant and multi-layered wine, with its mocha-cherry-raspberry, blueberry, vanilla and coffee bean that finish with some long chocolatey notes. Time to get to know Malbec from the best. (¬¬¬¬+)

CastelGiocondo 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Italy ($49.95, LCBO#650432) Your special occasion bottle for now and into the future: silky black and red cherry fruit with hints of mocha, licorice, leather and cedar backed by tannins and acidity. In a big glass, it becomes approachable and elegant. (¬¬¬¬+)

34 | York Life September October 2017

food & drink | School Lunches

In the Bag We’ve all been there — finding a half-eaten soggy mess in our kid’s lunch bag at the end of a long day. It doesn’t have to be like that. We turned to Carol Harrison, a registered dietitian and founder of “Yummy Lunch Club” (yummylunchclub.ca), for her tips on packing a lunch kids will actually want to eat. By Leslee Mason

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 35

food & drink | School Lunches

mix-and-match Greek yogurt parfaits and granola are Make It a Team Effort some better alternatives. Harrison notes that one of the biggest mistakes parents And skip the juice and sweetened drinks in favour of make is failing to get their kids involved. “It’s critical to water. Not only is it the ultimate thirst quencher, but you’ll involve your kids in packing their lunch for so many also save money. reasons,” she says. Not only are they more likely to eat lunches they’ve had a hand in preparing, it’s also a great Stay Ahead of the Game way to teach children food skills, safety and the importance Avoid the mad school dash by making lunches right after of nourishing their busy bodies. dinner. “The kitchen’s already a mess, there’s food out and Keep the involvement age appropriate, with big kids you can plan to use up your dinner leftovers to curb your taking on greater responsibility. Have them write out or tell food waste at the same time,” you the foods they’ll eat, and Harrison says. Another tip? have them help choose items Make extra dinner items that at the grocery store. On the can be packed for lunches. For weekend, do fun activities example, chop and put aside such as picking your own extra broccoli the next time a produce at a nearby farm or stir-fry is on the menu. doing some baking together. Food requirements for kids On her website, Harrison Be sure to choose a container that can change over the year, offers a “Plan It, Pack It, Eat keeps food hot or cold for at least especially during a growth It” checklist to help. six hours. It should be kid-sized and spurt, so be sure to regularly feature an easy-to-access wider check in with your child about Apply the mouth. the portions you’re packing. Healthy Plate Model Harrison is a fan of the Prevent a messy (or hot) disaster Create a Yum List healthy plate model. That by testing your child’s ability to As the weeks go on, coming up means half your lunch is open and close the container bewith appetizing school lunches made of fruits and vegetables, fore putting anything in it. can get daunting. Keep those a quarter is whole grains and brain bumps at bay by posting the last quarter, lean protein. Be diligent about food safety. a handy list of lunchtime faves. “Protein is the nutrient that “Too many people think that putYou’ll find recipes and tips at helps us to feel full from ting a piece of piping hot chicken yummylunchclub.ca, but in one meal to the next,” she or fried rice in a Thermos is fine, the meantime, here are a few explains. “If kids haven’t had but it won’t keep the heat unless to keep in mind: enough protein, it’s going to it’s got liquid,” registered dietitian • Food on sticks. Opt for be hard for them to focus by Carol Harrison says. “So, you want mini-chopsticks rather than the end of the day.” to put saucy or soupy items in a skewers for a fun and schoolWhile it may be tempting, Thermos.” friendly option. try to keep highly processed • Meatballs. Who doesn’t love foods out of the equation. “It’s the grab-and-go convenience so easy to grab something of tasty meatballs? For some out of a package and throw it great DIY options, go to Harrison's website for five easyin the lunch bag,” she says, “but the challenge is that kids to-make big-batch veggie-beef meatballs. start to see these as everyday foods and it becomes a habit.” • Bean dips. Don’t just dip your veggies in them — use The same goes for empty-calorie treats, like candy, which them as spreads, Harrison says. “Put them on the inside of Harrison recommends should be reserved as occasional a wrap, even if you’re using chicken or beef.” The bean dips, goodies. “It could be a fun thing on a Friday,” she says, she says, add loads of nutrients and fibre as well as some adding that avoiding them completely can make some kids protein. want those foods even more. Homemade two-bite muffins,

Hot Lunches

Done Better

1 2 3

36 | York Life September October 2017

food & drink | In the Kitchen

In the kitchen with…

The Smokery Kitchen and Bar This popular Stouffville restaurant proves where there’s smoke, there’s flavour By Sue Kanhai | Photography by Jim Craigmyle


he quickest (and most pleasurable) way to learn about a culture is through its food, says Christopher Waye, owner of the Smokery Kitchen and Bar in Stouffville. Eager to showcase what’s happening here in Ontario, and Stouffville in particular, Waye is using barbecue and traditional smokehouse fare to make a delicious statement. Though the family restaurant opened just three years ago, it has quickly attracted a steady customer base, with diners from all over York Region drawn to its creative menu. GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 37

food & drink | In The Kitchen

Popular main dishes include barbecue pulled pork, chorizo sausage, coffee beef brisket, honey-fried chicken and pork ribs. The selection of mouth-watering sides includes cornbread, maple baked beans, coleslaw, and mac and cheese. Waye is meticulous about the details, insisting all dishes are made in house daily and that the menu changes seasonally, at a minimum. This ensures every ingredient is at the height of freshness. “We work with as many local farmers and businesses as we can,” he says. Their highly successful farm-to-table dinner series this past summer saw the kitchen partner with three farms, each just minutes away, using their produce to create a three- to five-course menu. It was the restaurant’s way of shining a spotlight on some of the amazing available local ingredients. Chef John Gill shares the philosophy. Both he and Waye are passionate about the area, grateful to be surrounded by so many farmers and other talented purveyors of high-quality local foods. Their devotion to all things local also extends to drinks. The Smokery serves only Ontario craft beer and wines, and offers an outstanding collection of scotches, whiskies and classic cocktails. Being so province-centric sets the eatery apart. “Ontario is an awesome growing region and we need to take advantage of it,” Waye says. “We want to see what’s available around town and showcase it.” The local connection runs deep. Waye actually grew up in Stouffville. He cooked professionally in fine dining downtown for 12 years before deciding it was time to open his own restaurant. He looked all over York Region for the right spot. “Stouffville just made sense for us. It’s a small town, but a rapidly growing community.” Diners are treated as if they were guests in his home. “People have been incredibly supportive,” he says. “They really want to help their local community. That was so essential for us because we knew we weren’t opening in the biggest market. Folks are real chill here, very relaxed, which we love. “Small towns,” Waye adds, “need good food and they need a different choice. That’s what we’re here for.”

F ive Que s tion s Wi th C hef John G i l l When did you first become interested in cooking? When I was a kid. I grew up in a very foodcentric house; my parents cooked a lot. We did the big Sunday dinner every week, so everybody kind of pitched in and helped. A lot of it started at home, just having basic knife skills and stuff like that. It helped me at a young age to be able to walk into a kitchen and already know the basics. People see your comfort level and they’re willing to teach you a bit more. Who is your favourite chef? Probably chef David Lee. I used to work for him downtown. He was a big inspiration for me — I admired his passion for the industry and how his approach to food is very familyand friends-based, very inclusive. What do you think is the most common mistake people make when cooking? Maybe a lack of preparation and time management. As a chef, you see certain aspects of dishes coming before others and you’re ready to add those ingredients. Getting all of

your mise en place [ingredients prepped and at the ready] together before starting your dish helps. What is your signature dish? Smoked pork loin. It’s very seasonal and locally inspired. I try to think about the area and the farms we deal with. There are smoked aspects to this dish that you wouldn’t normally see — I smoke the water to brine the chops, for example. What’s your favourite thing to order when you dine out? I try to look for made-in-house, seasonally inspired dishes. Local Ontario artisanal really catches my eye. I try to get up to the Niagara Peninsula and get the best produce, wine, meats and cheeses. Across the board, it’s a chef ’s dream there. I try and eat as local as I can. There are a lot of great restaurants that have popped up, especially in the past few years. I think a lot of us have the same kind of concept. We all have farmers’ markets just outside our doors, so might as well utilize them.

The Smokery Kitchen and Bar owner Christopher Waye (left) and chef John Gill share a food philosophy. 38 | York Life September October 2017

Smoked Pork Loin

Shared by the Smokery Kitchen and Bar

1 bone-in pork loin (with 5 bones) For the brine: 2 L smoked water (see below for directions) 2/3 cup maple syrup 1/3 cup kosher salt 5 cloves garlic, sliced 1 tsp black peppercorns

Heat your smoker to 200°F. Put a large container of water in smoker for 1 to 2 hours. The water will absorb the smoke flavour and impart it to the pork loin. To make the brine, combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Refrigerate overnight so it gets completely cold. Add pork chops to brine and let sit for two hours. Remove pork and discard brine;

rest pork in the fridge on a tray with a cooling rack, allowing to air-dry for 1 hour. Cook pork on medium heat on the barbecue or in a cast iron pan until chops reach an internal temperature of 125°F. Rest pork under a loose tent of foil and let sit for 10 minutes. Slice into 1-inch-thick chops and enjoy! Makes 5 servings.

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 39

Quaker founders,”says Headmaster Peter Stur up, who started as belief to “there is go dnes in every person.”“Our job is to lo k Special Promotion

Special Promotion

Building the Bond Building the Bond

Pickering College celebrates its past Pickering College celebrates its past by future bykeeping keepingstep step with with the the future

As Pickering College marks its 175th birthday, its bond between Aspresent Pickering College its 175th birthday, its bond between past, and futuremarks has never been more evident. past, present and future has never been more evident. The school is preparing to break ground on the new $30 school is preparing to break ground on the new $30 million The Centre for Creativity and Innovation. At first glance, the million Centre for Creativity and Innovation. At first glance, the building’s contemporary design isn’t what you’d expect. Given building’s contemporary design isn’t what you’d expect. Given the historic buildings that make up the Pickering campus, you the historic buildings that make up the Pickering campus, you might imagine something more conservative, more traditional. might imagine something more conservative, more traditional. Instead, thethe design is geared forfor21st Instead, design is geared 21stcentury centurylearning, learning,with withclean clean lines, an abundance of windows and plans for a maker lines, an abundance of windows and plans for a maker space, space, aa robotics lablab andand even a green roof. robotics even a green roof. But,But, likelike thethe principles that guide principles that guidethe theschool’s school’sdaily dailyfunctions, functions, thethe newnew building also pays tribute to Pickering’s Quaker building also pays tribute to Pickering’s Quakerheritage. heritage. TheThe school was founded school was foundedbybythe thereligious religiousgroup group in in 1842 1842 in West Lake andand remained a formal Quaker West Lake remained a formal Quakerschool schooluntil until1917. 1917.While While building been designedfor forthe thefuture, future,ititwill willbe be built built thethe newnew building hashas been designed around Quaker principles suchasasfine finecraftsmanship, craftsmanship,symmetry, symmetry, around Quaker principles such community simplicity. “Ourcore corephilosophy philosophycomes comesfrom from our community andand simplicity. “Our founders, ” says Headmaster Peter Sturrup, who started as Quaker Quaker founders,” says Headmaster Peter Sturrup, who started as

Artistrendering renderingofofthe thenew newCentre Centre Creativity Innovation. Artist forfor Creativity andand Innovation.

a teacher to to bebe influenced by by teacheratatPickering Pickeringinin1986. 1986.“We “Wecontinue continue influenced their ” Quakers that God is inis every their beliefs beliefsand andpractices. practices. ” Quakersbelieve believe that God in every person. hashas interpreted thatthat person. AA secular secularschool schooltoday, today,Pickering Pickering interpreted belief to “there is goodness in every person. ” “Our job is to look belief to “there is goodness in every person.” “Our job is to look

for the inner light in every child and to teach the children to look out for the goodness in others,” says Sturrup. “That was true 175 years ago and will continue to be true for the next 175 years.” for the inner light in every child and to teach the children to look Students don’t ingather worship, but share out for the goodness others,for ” saysformal Sturrup. “That was truedo175 in periods extended and “Quakers years ago andofwill continue silence to be true for contemplation. the next 175 years. ” worship in silence, ” Sturrup says. “We teach the value of sitting Students don’t gather for formal worship, but do share stillperiods and thinking. It’s a silence busy, noisy world and it’s “Quakers easy to get in of extended and contemplation. caught up in that.” Being students to take a breath worship in silence, Sturrupsilent says.teaches “We teach the value of sitting still thinking. It’s a” busy, noisy world and it’s easy to get and and to listen to others. caught up in morning that. Being silent teaches students to take a breath At daily meetings, the Headmaster poses questions and to listen to others. ” to get students thinking about values such as simplicity. He At daily the Headmaster poses questions might ask, morning “What’s meetings, the simplest lunch: a banana and a coffee to get students thinking about values such as simplicity. He or a sandwich made with homemade bread and homegrown might ask, “What’s the simplest lunch: a banana and a coffee veggies?” The first is simpler to prepare, but the ingredients are or a sandwich made with homemade bread and homegrown sourced from distant countries. veggies?” The first is simpler to prepare, but the ingredients are “Simplicity is ancountries. unusual value in this day and age,” he says. sourced from distant “One“Simplicity key way we help to nurture it is through the uniforms. The is an unusual value in this day and age,” he says. students actually appreciate the uniform. “One key way we help to nurturethe it issimplicity through theofuniforms. The It creates a sense of equality between everyone. ” students actually appreciate the simplicity of the uniform. It Pickering was the first independent creates a sense of equality between everyone.”school in Canada to eliminate corporal accept students fromto any Pickering was thepunishment, first independent school in Canada country and religious background introduce eliminate corporal punishment, acceptand students fromguidance any counsellors. actions are unified values the school country and These religious background andaround introduce guidance counsellors. These — actions are unifiedkindness, around values the school and maintains today compassion, understanding maintains tolerance. today — compassion, kindness, understanding and tolerance. “We create a safe environment where students can take “We createsays. a safe students can take risks,” Sturrup “Weenvironment encourage where dialogue and debate, rather risks, ” Sturrup says. “We encourage dialogue and debate, rather than winners and losers.” Service to others, social justice and than winners and losers.” Service to others, social justice and pacifism are fundamentals in the school. pacifism are fundamentals in the school. Once the Centre for Creativity and Innovation opens, it will Once the Centre for Creativity and Innovation opens, it will house all of the classrooms. What’s now the main building, with house all of the classrooms. What’s now the main building, with its familiar familiarcentral centralpillars, pillars,will will renovated, with main its bebe renovated, with the the main floorfloor still acting as a meeting place. still acting as a meeting place. “Thenew newbuilding buildinghas hasbeen been designed to allow usteach to teach “The designed to allow us to in in the ways wayswe wewant wanttototeach, teach, ” Sturrup says.“Teachers were involved the ” Sturrup says.“Teachers were involved in the the design designprocess. process.We Wethought thought about 21st century skills about 21st century skills like like collaboration,and andwe wecreated created collaborative spaces as well collaboration, bigbig collaborative spaces as well as as areas ” ” areas to towork workindependently. independently. One thing that hasn’t changed over thethe years is Pickering’s One thing that hasn’t changed over years is Pickering’s commitment Global Leadership Program is is commitmenttotoinnovation. innovation.“Our “Our Global Leadership Program one of most innovative programs in North America, ” Sturrup says. one of most innovative programs in North America,” Sturrup says. “Students thethe world andand identify something “Studentsare areasked askedtotolook lookatat world identify something that and take steps to make thatthat that they theyfeel feelneeds needstotobebechanged changed and take steps to make change.” The program aims to create graduates who challenge change.” The program aims to create graduates who challenge the status quo. And it goes beyond academics. Says Sturrup: “We the status quo. And it goes beyond academics. Says Sturrup: “We want our students to live lives of greater fulfillment or meaning.” want our students to live lives of greater fulfillment or meaning.”

want our students to live lives of greater fulfil ment or meaning.”

are boarding students

West Lake Boarding Schoo West Lake Boarding School.

Pickering College in the 1930 Pickering College in the 1930s.

A Short History of

Visitwww.pickeringcol ege.on.caorcal 905-895-170 ext.259foradmis ioninformation.

A Short History of Pickering College Pickering College 1842 - opens in Prince Edward County as the

1842 - opensco-educational in Prince Edward County as the Westlake Boarding School co-educational Westlake Boarding School 1870s - becomes Pickering College in 1870s - becomes Pickering College in Pickering, Ontario Pickering, Ontario fire destroys the school 19041904 - fire -destroys the school the school builtopened and opened in Newmarket 19091909 - the -school is builtisand in Newmarket local Quakers after after local Quakers donatedonate land land - school is closed andbyused the government as 19171917 - school is closed and used the by government as a hospital for convalescing personnel a hospital for convalescing militarymilitary personnel 19271927 - re-opens as a boys’ - re-opens as a school boys’ school 19811981 - fire -necessitates a major overhaul; the school fire necessitates a major overhaul; the school sells off 200 acres of farmland that is now sells off 200 acres of farmland that is now College ManorManor College 19921992 - becomes co-edco-ed again again - becomes 20172017 - Pickering has 425 (JK to 12), - Pickering hasstudents 425 students (JK 300 to 12), 300 of whom are day students and 125 of whom of whom are day students and 125 of whom are boarding students

are boarding students

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

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

I Am Known I Am Known

When students aregenuinely genuinelyknown, known, their fully understood When students are their learning learningcan canbebe fully understood and beautifully supported. They can thrive. and beautifully supported. They can thrive. TMS creates opportunities for children

independent International Baccalaureate

TMStocreates opportunities children independent International Baccalaureate be inspired by learningfor through Programme IB in York Region. On any to be inspired by learning through Programme in Yorkcampus Region.may On any experimentation, exploration, and selfgiven day, thisIBmodern experimentation, exploration, and selfdiscovery. Located in Richmond Hill, our given day,a this modern campus may showcase student art exhibit, discovery. Located Richmond our Montessori LowerinSchool is for Hill, students showcase aping student exhibit, impromptu pongart game or a pop-up 18 months to Grade 6. You hear the Montessori Lower School is for students impromptu pong game a pop-up lab for groupping projects. But don’tor just take laughter,to see the joy students’ faces, 18 months Grade 6. on You hear the our for it. projects. Finding the right school lab word for group But don’t just take and feel the trust have asfaces, they laughter, see the joyparents on students’ for child important. You have Upper ouryour word for isit.too Finding the right school anddrop feel off thetheir trustchildren. parentsOur have as they to and see is and feel it for yourself. School (Grades 7-12) Our offersUpper the only forvisit your child too important. You have drop off their children. to visit and see and feel it for yourself. School (GradesOur 7-12) offers the only Montessori start and IB finish provide a unique framework within which your child can say I Am Known.

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Well, There You Go! Planning an autumn escape or a mini-getaway? Or, maybe you’re just on the move a lot. However and wherever you’re going, arriving with your health intact is key to success in both work and play. That’s where this clever kit comes in. The Saje Travel Safe On-the-Go Convenience Kit is designed to support your well-being wherever you go this fall, so you arrive soothed and refreshed. Safe Hands lotion fights germs to get you cleanly through airports and train stations; Arrive Revived Mist eases jet lag; and Restoral Ointment soothes skin irritations. Perhaps most importantly, the Eater’s Digest Remedy relieves an upset stomach. (Take that, turkey dinner!) It’s the perfect companion for travel by plane, train or car to Thanksgiving feasts this season. $44.95, Saje.com — Karen Robock

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 43

travel | Getaway

Rustic Gem

Soothingly simple accommodations set the stage for relaxed indulgence at this historic resort in the Kawarthas By Jacqueline Kovacs

44 | York Life September October 2017


iamede, a historic, full-service resort on Stoney Lake in the Kawarthas, describes itself as “boldly different.” While that does ring true, those two words don’t quite capture the entirety of the Viamede experience, as my angler husband, Patrick Walsh, and I recently discovered. A short drive from Peterborough, Viamede not only boasts over half a kilometre of glorious shoreline, but also a wealth of ways to relax and unplug from the hectic pace of day-to-day life, while feeling pampered and indulged — minus any uncomfortable pretense and attitude. Here’s what we experienced. GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 45

travel | Getaway STAY If you’re looking for five-plus-star, big-city hotel finishes and accessories, look elsewhere. But if you’re seeking soothingly simple accommodations that meet your needs and suit an at-thecottage vibe, this is your getaway. Our spacious suite included a generous living/dining area with kitchenette and two-sided fireplace, bedroom with king-size bed and Jacuzzi, as well as two balconies and flat-screen TVs. There were only two of us, but the suite could easily fit a couple of active children too — in a pared-down space that eliminates the worry that the kids might wreck something. That said, families may prefer one of the resort’s one-, two- or three-bedroom air-condi-

Viamede’s forest-to-table approach to food is a large part of what attracted chef Jay Nutt to the Stoney Lake resort. 46 | York Life September October 2017

tioned cottages, the largest of which can sleep up to eight people. They, too, include a kitchenette, living/dining space and a patio, complete with barbecue. Wherever you choose to stay, your booking at Viamede includes access to all of the resort’s programs and activities, as well as a satisfying breakfast buffet. EAT Breakfast fans will appreciate Viamede’s morning spread. Those who like it hot can fill up on scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, home fries and fried tomatoes. But you can also enjoy fruit, yogurt and cereal, as well as coffee, tea or hot chocolate. The buffet is available every morning from 8 until 11, but throughout the day you

The menu at the ninetable Mount Julian may change by the day, depending on what fresh local ingredients chef Jay Nutt can find

can get water, coffee and tea, as well as freshly baked cookies and fruit to snack on. For heartier fare, The Boathouse offers a lunch and dinner menu that emphasizes local, sustainable ingredients. Enjoy a turkey ciabatta with cranberry-apple chutney and fresh, local greens or a six-ounce burger on brioche with all the trimmings; or opt for the crispy perch salad, listed as an appetizer but worked as a delicious lunch main for me. For a dining experience you won’t soon forget, reserve a spot at the nine-table Mount Julian. We chose the seven-course tasting menu (there are also five- and nine-course options), which included an asparagus, grape tomato and 12-yearold goat cheese salad; chilled wild leek and potato soup; and pan-seared perch with corn and edamame and white wine butter, among other freshly prepared delights. Each course was paired with a taste of an exceptional wine, selected by Viamede general manager Ben Sämann, who also acted as meal server, explaining where and why various ingredients were chosen. The menu at Mount Julian not only changes with the season — it can change by the day, depending on what chef Jay Nutt and Sämann find in the forest, at local markets or on the resort’s own farm. In other words, each meal is a unique and delicious experience. PLAY Given its enviable shoreline, Viamede has an abundance of summertime activities, including renowned fishing (see “Catching a Break”), but the fun doesn’t end come fall. In the cooler seasons, this year-round resort changes its focus to relaxation, Sämann explains. “Sit by the fire, have a cappuccino, read a good book, go for a hike before warming up again. We call our theme ‘Après-ski, without the risk of skiing.’” Beyond wintry walks, you can take advantage of Viamede’s modern indoor/outdoor pool, steam room and sauna, and fully equipped gym. You can also treat your tired muscles to a massage from registered massage therapist Jenny Chambers, who operates Stony Lake Spa within the resort. The spa also doubles as a yoga studio for those seeking a little Zen. Indeed, it’s hard not to feel remarkably relaxed and reconnected at Viamede. From the pared-down, embrace-nature accommodations to the artfully delicious dining to the staff who embody the perfect balance of friendly and professional, this resort will have you coming back for more.

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Viamede owner Ben Sämann displays one of the morning’s catches.

catching a break It’s 6 a.m. and Viamede Resort’s owner and general manager, Ben Sämann, is already down at the dock on Stoney Lake casting for cruising bass. Soon I arrive, and we head out for a few hours of fishing aboard the resort’s Boston Whaler 150 Montauk. Sämann has been fishing these island-and-reef-dotted waters since buying Viamede in 2010, and in short order both he and I are catching and releasing large- and smallmouth bass, as well as perch, pumpkinseed and rock bass. So goes the morning ritual at Viamede, where angling guests are invited to join the owner himself for his daily dose of fishing. Lying at the eastern end of the Kawartha Lakes region, Stoney is regarded as one of southern Ontario’s top fishing hot spots, and for good reason. Renowned not only for its bass fishing, the 28-square-kilometre lake also serves up plenty of panfish, walleye (or pickerel, as they’re known locally) and monster muskies. While Sämann is a decided bass aficionado, the lifelong angler is happy to point guests in the right direction should they want to tackle the lake’s other species on their own. But for a fun, fish-filled morning — punctuated with great conversation about Stoney’s storied history — it’s tough to beat sharing a boat with the amiable owner of historic Viamede. — Patrick Walsh

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GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 47

travel | Smarts

How to

Save for a Holiday Why do you never get out of Dodge? Because you’re not trying hard enough. The biggest reason people don’t travel is they think they can’t afford it. You’re smarter than that By Doug Wallace 1. Believe it. Adopt the mindset that “you can do it” rather than mentally shutting down your travel goals the minute you envision them. 2. Schedule it. Pick the best time of year to visit your dream destination, then assign it a month — and a year if it’s a doozy. It’s harder to back out of something once you’ve put it on the calendar and your whole family has seen it. 3. Timing is everything. Travelling just before or after high season can lead to savings, and some destinations offer deals during these low periods. 4. Take the long view. Start browsing for vacation packages well before the rest of the world does. Buy the flights as soon as you can, so that when travel time comes, they’re already paid off.

48 | York Life September October 2017

5. Grow it. Contribute a few dollars every week or every paycheque to a fund created specifically for the trip. Do the math and establish a monthly contribution goal or, better yet, set up an automatic savings option through online banking. Even a wee amount will add up quickly. 6. Throw in the points. Redeem any travel reward points collected on your credit card. Sign up for frequent-flyer memberships with all the airlines if you haven’t already. Ditto for the hotel chains, which often results in free breakfast — even an upgrade. 7. Pad it. Kick in all the extra funds that come your way: dividends, work bonus, piggy bank, $10 lottery-ticket win, everything. 8. Package it. When booking, take advantage of any bundling options when you can, particularly with websites like Expedia.ca.

9. Research deeper. Find discount accommodations like family-run B&Bs and decent hostels so you can splurge elsewhere. 10. Think small. While online sites like Hotels.com and Trivago.ca can be true friends, consider that privately owned hotels are easier to negotiate with about both rates and room upgrades. You may have to just turn on the charm when the time comes. 11. Go local. If saving is extremely difficult for you, spend your vacation time in a neighbouring community or at a country inn or spa. You don’t have to go far to feel like you’ve been away. 12. Reach out. Any university friends or long-lost relatives with spare rooms in far-off places? Go for it. Just remember Benjamin Franklin’s rule: Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

Always Beautiful


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travel | Vaycay

GOING GUANACASTE Home to everything from sandy beaches to dry forests to protected wetlands, the Guanacaste region in northwestern Costa Rica plays an excellent host Story and photos by Doug Wallace


or the health-conscious traveller, finding a natural balance between relaxing solace and unbridled activity is the backbone of any good plan. With the variety of things to see and do in Guanacaste, not to mention the incredibly diverse terrain, you can easily feed mind, body and soul, making the most of your time — or making it stand still. Here is your checklist.

50 | York Life September October 2017

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 51

travel | Vaycay

1. GET BACK TO NATURE. It’s often hard for vacationers to evaluate the healing power of simply embracing nature, until after they return home. This holds true in the Nicoya region of Guanacaste, a tourist hub for those heading to rainforest, parkland or beach. It is also one of the five “Blue Zones,” designated parts of the world where residents have abnormally high life expectancies. Nicoyans are proud of this association, as shared Blue Zone characteristics include a focus on family, a semi-vegetarian diet rich in legumes, constant physical activity and engagement in the community. The water in Nicoya is also said to contribute to the healthful tenor of the region, championed by William Salom, owner of Rancho Humo, a private ecological reserve and cattle ranch near Palo Verde National Park. “Drink as much as you like,” he says. “The well is deep!” Salom converted what was once his family vacation property into a 10-room paradise, where the surrounding wetlands is home 52 | York Life September October 2017

to dozens of bird species, including herons, storks, gulls and ibises. Watching dozens of big, white egrets nesting in the foliage of a tiny island sanctuary has a powerful, hypnotic effect. And when you spend an hour boating down the Tempisque River trying to spot baby crocodile eyes poking up out of the water among all the floating driftwood, your mind drifts right along with the passing waterline (ranchohumo.com). 2. HIT THE BEACH. If beach bumming is written in pen on your itinerary, Guanacaste has more than its fair share of sun and sand, from the Santa Rosa National Park in the north right on down to the Pacific coastline. Some are remote and super-quiet, while others are full-on beach towns, teeming with surfboards, beach bars, water sports and condo rentals. Nosara Beach is a great getaway known for its yoga retreats, hiking, farmland, forest and waterfalls (nosara.com, nosarayoga.com).

3. TREAT YOURSELF. We all know how far a little posh pampering can go. The Papagayo Peninsula has that in spades. This so-called Gold Coast is known for its luxury and exclusivity, not to mention a close proximity to the Liberia airport and its popularity with the rich and famous: Beyoncé has visited a few times and Pink got married here. Charlie Sheen, Spike Lee and Madonna all have homes here. Yachts, big and small, moor at the Papagayo Marina on the Culebra Bay side of the peninsula, the largest marina in the country. If the Four Seasons is too rich for your blood, melt your cares away at the relatively new Andaz Peninsula Papagayo. This is a Hyatt spinoff, a boutique lifestyle brand with 153 exquisitely designed rooms, blended right in among the bamboo trees, and blackand white-sand beaches. “We really try to reflect the local culture with little touches that all mean something to Costa Ricans — details that make you feel welcome,” says Mariela Cabezas, the hotel’s

marketing manager. These little touches include a gorgeous swimming pool designed to mimic the riverside, drawing a parallel to the Costa Rican tradition of enjoying family time at the river’s edge. Guests are also encouraged to participate in visiting the local people, through various sponsored initiatives, having a cultural experience as well as a relaxing one. The spa is particularly beautiful. Each spacious treatment room has its own washroom and mini-balcony, plus both outdoor and indoor showers. Body-treatment and housebrand Biosfera spa products are made with local ingredients — purple corn, beans and rice exfoliants — all natural and organic. The orange-and-eucalyptus signature scent is the nearest thing to heaven (papagayo.andaz. hyatt.com) 4. AMP UP THE ADRENALIN. This area is also full of adventure-sports opportunities thanks in part to the variety of natural terrain, with its forest trails and

rocky canyons with winding river rapids. Nowhere is this more abundant than at Hacienda Guachipelin at the edge of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park. This hotel and working ranch compound leads the pack in terms of waterfall rappelling, canyoning, river tubing, zip lining, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking and horseback riding. There’s even a surprisingly extensive yet not-too-scary Serpentarium for you to eye up more than a few indigenous snakes (guachipelin.com). 5. TAKE THE WATERS. Part of the Hacienda Guachipelin complex includes nearby Rio Negro Hot Springs, where thermal hot springs and spa mud baths, courtesy of the 9,000-year-old Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, take your mind off absolutely everything except how nice your skin feels. Tucked away at the edge of the river in the middle of the forest are six natural mineral water pools, with a vat of mud stewing in a big clay pot near the hot springs vent by the

riverbank. Paintbrushes are at the ready for you to create your body art. Once you’re covered from head to toe, you let your mud mask dry before washing it off with a cool outdoor shower or a dip in the river. More extensive body treatments and massages can be enjoyed at Simbiosis Volcanic Mud Springs & Spa, also associated with the Hacienda (guachipelin.com). 6. MAKE A PLAN. With average highs of 30°C year-round, Guanacaste is primed for a visit any time, depending on your threshold for rain. High season is from November to April. From May to August, it may rain in the afternoon and during the night, but you can still get your fair share of sun. Whichever month you choose, the Costa Rican pura vida philosophy will be there waiting for you. Translating into “pure life,” this phrase is akin to “aloha” in Hawaii, an expression and greeting that embraces the authentic things in life — just as the Costa Ricans do (visitcostarica.com). GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 53

feature | Cover Story


The real life of television star AND philanthropist Joan Kelley Walker By Kasie Savage | Photography by Jim Craigmyle

54 | York Life September October 2017


n the edge of town, where Aurora meets King Township, lies the inconspicuously nestled estate of the Walker family. And while their surname sounds ordinary, their lives are far from everyday. Joan Kelley Walker, a fixture in the Canadian television entertainment industry (most recently featured on Slice’s The Real Housewives of Toronto), is not only one of Canada’s most well-connected and wealthiest women, but also a devout philanthropist, mother of four (two sons and two stepchildren), community volunteer and wife to Magna International CEO Don Walker. Her privilege becomes apparent as you enter through not one, but two wrought-iron security gates, bookended by a lush forest of pine and spruce trees. A long driveway leads you to the Walkers’ homestead — a 19th-century farmhouse reproduction flanked by a spacious coach house, on 15 rolling acres of apple orchards, an apiary, vegetable and herb gardens and trees galore. GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 55

Joan Kelley Walker loves bringing the outdoors into her King City home, so the house is dominated by glass windows, doors and skylights. Plus, she says, the property’s tranquility fuels her. 56 | York Life September October 2017

While the outside is nothing short of bucolic, the interior of the home can only be described as farmhouse-glam. Walker greets me with rollers in her hair as a laid-back Labrador and a perky German shepherd pup mill about excitedly. A team of stylists from the Toronto Fashion Academy arrange designer gowns on a rolling rack in the opulently large kitchen, while a makeup artist talks “looks” and arranges his supplies. House staff busy themselves, moving room to room, making for an all-around frenzied scene. A quick house tour reveals endless rooms, well-appointed sitting areas, an indoor pool complete with waterfall, and a rooftop terrace with sweeping views of the orchards, but any sense of ostentation vanishes once you meet the warm and welcoming woman of the house in person. A small-town girl at her core — born and raised in Wilcox, Sask. — Walker has spent the bulk of her life committed to improving the lives of others. As a World Vision goodwill ambassador, she has been on numerous trips throughout Africa and Central America, and knows full well how fortunate she is to be able to help those in need. Currently, the Walkers sponsor 30 children through World Vision, but on a larger scale, she recalls one of the missions to Africa that left the greatest impression on her. “In Mozambique, we support a 20-squaremile plot of land that was without organization or roads. Together (through World Vision), we built roads, a well and made a plan for 20 years of sustainability,” Walker says. “The impact is extremely powerful. We were at a well we had built and a mother came up to me and said, ‘Thank you for the well, because now I know my children won’t die of waterborne disease.’ So the impact of that is so great on so many levels. As a mother and as a human being, I believe that we should all have access to clean water.” Although many of her philanthropic efforts have had a global impact, Walker is quick to stress that helping others and making a difference can start small. “I grew up in a town where the church was central to the community and people were neighbourly and helped each other out in any way they could,” she says. “I have been doing what I can my whole life. I like to help people.” She stresses that income makes no difference in the ability to do good. “People can help out by doing anything. There’s so much

feature | Cover Story

need locally and in our own community,” Walker says, giving such examples as cutting a neighbour’s lawn or sending someone extra baking. “Keep an eye out for each other — that’s the way we should all live. I like to support Neighbourhood Network [a non-profit branch of Magna International]. They help all sorts of people who you would never know needed help.” When she’s not donning her charity hat, she enjoys spending time with her family, hunkered down at home — whether in King, their pied-à-terre in Toronto, their retreat in Muskoka or their other houses in Colorado and Florida. Regardless of the locale, Walker is passionate about what truly makes her home beautiful. “What makes a house a home is the love that is in it,” she says. “Forget the decor, that’s the fun part. I get such a kick looking out my window at a bird feeder. I love bringing the outdoors in, and we have a lot of glass and windows in this house to achieve that. I wanted a home that was super-comfortable, and this is a big house, but we use every inch of it. There’s no place where I tell the kids, ‘Don’t sit there, don’t eat there.’ This is a house to be lived in.” Glass windows, doors and skylights dominate the residence, which not only lets the beauty of the outdoors in, but also punctuates Walker’s reasons for choosing King as the location of the family’s main residence. “I grew up in a farming community, so I’m used to having wide open skies and space. But the most important thing is the tranquility that you get out here. I get charged up with the peacefulness of King City. It allows me to keep my strength. It fuels me.” What also fuels the fit and fabulously chic Walker are the opportunities coming her way since appearing in Toronto’s edition of The Real Housewives reality show franchise. From a soon-to-be-launched collection of dresses — which she describes as “low- to moderately priced, fabulous dresses that any woman can wear” — to a lifestyle collection of home furnishings and decor, this It Girl is enjoying some fame to accompany her fortune. But as any friend of Walker’s or fan of the show knows, Walker’s wealth does not betray who she is at her core — compassionate and caring, thoughtful and generous, preferring to be defined by her philanthropy rather than her designer wardrobe. As the interview wraps up, Walker invites me back to her home once the apples in the orchard are ripe for picking. “You’ll have to come and fill up some baskets,” she says warmly. “We have so many apples to give.”

A World Vision goodwill ambassador, Walker has travelled many times to Africa and Central America. Her family also sponsors 30 children.

Joan Kelley Walker’s local hot spots Dining: • Fishbone Restaurant, Aurora • Locale, King City Shopping: • Dekade Clothing, Aurora • Trend Boutique, Aurora • Injoy Boutique, Aurora • Upper Canada Mall, Newmarket Relaxing: • the tree swing on her King Township estate • the white leather lounger in her dressing room GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 57

feature |  Treetop Trekking

New Heights of

Adventure 58 | York Life September October 2017

Treetop Trekking in Stouffville kicks thrill-seeking up a notch By Kasie Savage P hotography by Jim Crai gm yle


f variety is the spice of life, then teetering your way through the forest 40 feet above the ground on an inch-wide steel cable must be the Sriracha of suburban adventures. Welcome to Treetop Trekking Stouffville. Located within the picturesque Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area, Treetop Trekking is Ontario’s premiere tree-top challenge game park. With several locations — Stouffville is just its newest leafy playground — the company provides an adventure that will have you climbing, zip lining, Tarzan-swinging and balancing your way up and across an expansive canopy of mature maple trees. Let’s just say it truly provides a bird’s-eye view of Bruce’s Mill, minus the wings. You start with a helmet, harness and 30-minute safety orientation, where you learn about clips, hooks, what goes where and, most importantly, to never unclip anything once you’re up on the courses. Safety is paramount and never compromised.

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 59

feature |  Treetop Trekking

It truly provides a bird’s-eye view of Bruce’s Mill, minus the wings. The variety of exciting courses begins at the “Pewee” level (all courses are named after local birds). You can work your way up through intermediate adventures and, four aerial-game courses later, gain access to the coveted “Barn Owl,” a juggernaut of challenging (and wobbly) obstacles. Once you climb up the tree, Barn Owl begins with a precarious rock wall, then leads you through a course of teetering sloped rope ladders (don’t look down) and ends with the longest zip line of the five courses. Of course, if zip lining is more your style, be sure to check out the Monarch Trail, a zip line-only adventure that spans more than 500 feet across a breezy butterfly meadow. It’s the perfect, thrilling end to what can add up to three hours of treetop trekking. On a cloudy day this past summer, I arrived at the check-in office of Treetop Trekking Stouffville, two surly teens in tow, seeking something fresh and exciting, a notch to add to life’s belt of experience. Three hours later, I left with two exhausted 60 | York Life September October 2017

and sweaty, but decidedly happier, boys. They wanted adventure and challenge and Treetop Trekking delivered — big time! As for middle-aged Mom (me), I left with a new pep in my step knowing that I had faced and conquered some pretty major challenges, both physically and mentally — from using muscles I hadn’t felt in years to overcoming the fear of being way, way up, with no easy way down. There’s nothing quite as humbling (or irritating) as carefully shuffling along a shaky rope bridge only to have your kids bounce their way behind you and scare the trail mix out of you. Should you slip or trip, your harness will protect you from falling, but you still have to resettle yourself and finish the course to get down — sorry, no parachutes. In case of full-blown panic, there are oodles of well-trained, polite staff members whose job it is to Spiderman their way up to you and gently coax you down in a hypnotic and soothing tone of voice. Thankfully, no one in my party required such services, but it’s

always a relief to know there’s a backup plan should your courage disappear faster than an acorn falling 40 feet to the ground. Treetop Trekking Stouffville is open for regular business from mid-March through November, and also features Treewalk Village, a tree-house-meets-jungle-gym zone for little ones ages three and up. The main attraction, though, is the aerial game courses, and they require a minimum age of nine and a minimum height of 4' 7". (There will be times, by the way, when you wish that your arms were 10 feet long as you try desperately to grasp for a cable to steady yourself.) Besides regular experiences, Treetop Trekking also specializes in corporate and group team building, as well as night treks, where you navigate the courses in darkness, using only a trusty headlamp to guide you. Regardless of your experience, or lack thereof, plenty of thrills await in Stouffville. For more information on the venue and rates, visit treetop trekking.com.

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feature |  Education

The Nature of Learning How a Stouffville mom unearthed the benefits of kids playing in the forest By Kin jal Dagli Shah


harlie would typically come home from school tired and agitated. According to his mom, Leslie Ferguson, the six-yearold would be “hostile to an extent where I can never even get details of his day.” That’s why the little boy’s week-long experience in a nature

62 | York Life September October 2017

camp at Vaughan’s Kortright Centre for Conservation came as such as welcome surprise. “It was the exact opposite of the way he would come home from a full day at school. He was happy and calm, and rarely needed to be disciplined through the rest of the day,” Ferguson says.

“I wanted to create a local group where kids of differing ages and abilities can get together for some natural, child-led fun without a set agenda or rules” For the Stouffville mom of two boys, the impact of that nature camp was the answer to how to keep her sons engaged and energized. Inspired, Ferguson created a local playgroup for nature-loving families where kids could come together and explore. Called the Stouffville Forest Explorers, the group has its own Facebook page and has taken root in the community. “I wanted to create a local group where kids of differing ages and abilities can get together for some natural, child-led fun without a set agenda or rules — a group where safe and practical boundaries are laid out and the rest is up to them without the need for toys, play structures or teams,” Ferguson says. “I sort of fell into learning about the concepts of forest school philosophy and risky play when I took a weekend workshop at the Kortright Centre.”

The Stouffville Forest Explorers officially launched in May, with a few families visiting a local creek. Within two weeks, the online group grew to 140 members. For safety reasons, Ferguson limits the number of families going on each visit by asking members to commit their attendance beforehand. “It is a free group,” she says, “but I don’t encourage drop-ins.” Each week, Ferguson sets out with a blue tarp, a first aid kit and a few families in tow. A typical session of the forest explorers begins with a brief circle meeting to lay out physical boundaries. For the next hour or two, the kids are left to explore the area within a set distance. Depending on the day and their interests, the children climb trees, befriend slugs or catch crayfish. On occasion, Ferguson brings rolls of craft paper for mud painting or rhubarb leaves for tree weaving.

The parents and caregivers often sit on the blue tarp, reading a book or enjoying the surroundings. The meeting spot remains the same for each eight- to 10-week session. This is in keeping with one of the principles of forest school philosophy, a movement based on an educational approach to outdoor play. “Kids develop a sense of place when they revisit the same location week after week,” Ferguson says. Both the children and the parents also develop a sense of confidence. Ferguson has noticed her kids will take more risks than she used to allow — climbing higher in trees and wading in cold creeks. “These are things they were capable of doing,” she says, “but I was nervous to let them try.” In the same vein, Ferguson encourages parents to let their kids explore without an agenda. “If there is any talk of getting bored, that’s okay and almost

GoodLifeMagazine.ca | 63

feature |  Education

exactly the point,” she says. “Through the weeks, we have seen the rise in imagination and cooperative play.” At first, the idea of this playgroup didn’t interest Laura Yakutchik’s nine-year-old daughter, Cassandra. “She has not been wanting to participate in organized activities over the last few years, but now we cannot miss a week,” Yakutchik says. “Wandering through the woods, constructing stick homes, catching creatures to study up close, jumping on river stones and assessing just how slippery they are is part of her exploration. It’s brilliant that she can do this with other children and then in turn learn from their discoveries and experiences.” Julie Stevens, a mom of two boys who fall on the autism spectrum, has been part of the group since it started. “If my kids are going to learn to manage risk appropriately, they need to practise and learn that skill now,” she says. “Both my boys are fairly independent and happy to go exploring on their own, but my younger one is a little unsteady on his feet. With this group, he has learned to feel more comfortable on his own in the water or to take the hand of whichever person is around.” Ferguson admits that she didn’t foresee the group growing to this size, but is happy that the number of nature lovers is on the rise. She hopes to complete a forest school practitioner course in the future to become a certified leader. Meanwhile, her own kids are happy to pretend to read hieroglyphics on rocks they find, while other forest friends are content to smash and sharpen big stones into arrowheads. All in a day’s play.

64 | York Life September October 2017

The Markham Fair

One of the oldest, largest agricultural fairs in Canada, the Markham Fair has been providing the community with a showcase for talent and products in a friendly, competitive spirit since 1844. Guests to this year’s fair, September 28 to Oct 1, can take in a wide range of entertainment, including the Horsepower Live show, the Wonderful World of Circus, Chef Challenge, jugglers, magicians and, of course, the midway. Or, test your skills in one of the event’s many competitions — from pets and teens, to truck and tractor pulls. And don’t forget to check out the food and handicrafts. Find out more at markhamfair.ca.

66 | York Life September October 2017

Photo courtesy of Markham Fair

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