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ON THE COVER 69 LOVING LAVENDER Learn how to keep that summer vibe alive with

theses new uses of Canada’s favourite herb. It’s not just for Grandfather’s car anymore!

31 DECK VS PATIO HGTV’s Carson Arthur educates us on how to get the biggest bang for your buck.



73 PATIO FARE If you’re looking for ski and turf…

You’ve come to the right place. Discover some unusual Canadian patios.

DESIGN 34 DESIGNER PROFILES Some of the country’s most talented landscape designers share their stories.

41 BACKYARD REVOLUTION What is HGTV’s Paul Lafrance

up to now?!


44 OUTSIDE IN Love that garden you planted this summer? Why not just haul it inside for the winter? 46 THE HEAT IS ON Hang up your shovels and head for the hills. Radiant heat is where it’s at. 48 OUR FAVOURITE THINGS Check out this one of a kind furniture by TYLER MESH. You wont be disappointed.

50 TREE-SON Trees…how helpful are they and when should we plant them?

LIVING 64 CHEF CHRISTINE CUSHING is about to warm our bellies for the impending winter.

80 MIXOLOGIST GRANT SCENEY Vancouver’s king of the

spirit world shares his story.

DISCOVER 82 NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR SARAH PENNEY with some advice on staying naturally healthy throughout the cold months. 84 OUTDOOR ARTISTS Showcasing some of the most



outstanding outdoor art that the country has to offer.

88 HOMEGROWN Canadian bands Waterfront Fire and Digging Roots are about to blow your mind! Shazam!! 96 COMIC RELIEF We all need a good laugh now and again. Who knew that our friendly neighbourhood Canadian bears could help us out with that? 98 NOT SO AVERAGE JOE A look

inside the life of Hamilton’s Daniel Leblanc.



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Showcasing all things CANADIAN to enhance your outdoor lifestyle

Publisher/Editor in Chief Dave Maciulis C.L.D


Staff Writers

Lori A. Sweezey

design/build editor Paul Lafrance

Creative Director/designer Melissa Nezezon

PRODUCTION MANAGER/designer Susan Vogan

Vicki Morrison Zack Fleming Lori A. Sweezey Susan Mate Deborah Rent Luc Hellewell

business development Kate Biggs-Thiessen

Director of Sales


Paul Maich

Jeff McNeill McNeill Photography Jessica Maciulis

Copy Editor

Tim Zwart


Scott Nichols

For advertising opportunities please email: PUBLISHED BY NATURAL LANDSCAPE INC. President Dave Maciulis C.L.D Phone: 289-238-7910 Email: Natural Landscape is published twice yearly: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter Single copy price is $8.95 SUBSCRIPTION RATES Canada 1 year (2 issues) - $17.90 2 years (4 issues) - $33.95 3 years (6 issues) - $48.95

USA 1 year (2 issues) - $22.95

Mail payment to: Natural Landscape Inc. 103 King Street East Dundas, ON L9H 1B9

Printed by T.C. Transcontinental Printing

Available at Chapters, Indigo, Coles, Kent Building Supplies and Atlantic News Stands across Canada. Delivered to bookstores by Districor Magazine Distribution Services. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Reproduction without express written consent is prohibited by law.

I was perusing through the pages of your magazine last week. I have to say, I loved all the little surprises dispersed throughout this publication. The gentleman that writes the Comic Relief article is absolutely hilarious and I also enjoyed the “not so Average Joe”. I love that you pay homage to the unsung heroes that never get the pat on the back that they deserve. Great work! T. Ware Halifax, NS NLM: Well T., we try to remember that landscape design and outdoor lifestyle doesn’t have to be all serious and stuff. We do enjoy the lighter side. A lot!

I picked up an old copy of your magazine at the mall. I am so impressed by the presentation, the content and the quality of it...I think I’ll subscribe! F. Duff Welland, ON NLM: Thanks for the positive feedback F. What was our magazine doing hanging out at the mall?! We’ve told it a thousand times not to do that!!!



Just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the article titled “Separation Anxiety”. I found it interesting that Quebec is so stringent with their rules around pool safety. Wondering why the rest of the country doesn’t do the same? J. Smyth Kamloops, BC NLM: Yah, we were wondering the same. These laws actually originated in Ontario but were quickly adopted by Quebec after several tragic (child) drownings. They allow no wiggle room when it comes to “double enclosure”. Hope the rest of the provinces follow suit soon!

I do enjoy your magazine with all of its great images and pertinent, informative editorial. I particularly like reading about what’s going on both coasts of the country. When we are all wrapped up in our own world (Ontario) I find it refreshing to move my mind beyond Ontario borders. D. Simmons Toronto, ON NLM: We love knowing what our neighbours are up to as well, and we are working hard to extend our reach. Not that we’re nosey or anything. We just like to keep up with the Jones’.

LETTER from the outdoor design/build editor Happy to have you all back for our 2014-15 issue of NL Mag. I hope your summer was as amazing as mine was and that you all had some time to connect with the most important people in your lives. With the last grains of Georgian Bay sand falling from almost every piece of clothing I own, I’m gearing up for a very busy fall/winter season. This is, without a doubt, the most optimal time of year to put the dreams of your outdoor living space into action. Crazy as that sounds, your action needs to begin with a plan. And to sit and put that plan on paper… you need time to reflect on what your needs and wants are. Did you have any great ideas while you sat in that big grassy space sipping margaritas in the sun? Well, write them down…. make a rough drawing of what it is that you imagine in that space. Then shop around for the designer that best suits your budget and your needs… someone who “gets” you. You’ve got a few cold hard months ahead, but you can certainly keep your heart and your visions warm by using this time to dream up that incredible space you saw in your minds eye last summer. Happy winter! Got questions? Email

We welcome letters and emails from our readers. Our vision is to explore the needs and challenges of outdoor living and landscaping specific to all Canadian regions, and to captivate your imagination. We are proud Canadians with spectacular landscapes to showcase! We are a young magazine, and eager to meet your needs and interests. Your input is important to us, so please let us know how we are doing. Snail Mail: Natural Landscape Magazine 103 King Street East Dundas, ON L9H6N1

OR, if you live in the 21st Century... email

Please be sure to include your name, address and telephone number. Letters and emails may be condensed for publication. Pictures will not be returned. NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

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contributors Bill Burfoot is a 35-year-old father of four

(Ouch!), who has always called Winnipeg, Manitoba home. “I write to release my creativity, while also winding down at the end of the day once the kids have gone to bed. Kids are great but there’s something to be said about silence.” Artificial or real tree? Real- “the smell is unmatched.  But now that we tried artificial, and we found some Christmas tree scented candles, the artificial isn’t half bad.  And the clean up is fantastic.” 

Ryan Egan was born and raised in his favourite place in the world, Shomberg, Ontario, and now calls Collingwood, Ontario., his home. (That’s rough!). He loves writing funny poetry and reading Robert Frost. Real or Artificial Christmas tree? “A real tree is beautiful and smells absolutely amazing. I feel bad about the waste created, but plastic is a horrible detriment to the environment and holds none of the same beauty.”

Caledon, and now lives in Dundas, Ontario. She loves loves loves writing… “I love to use words to bring the subtle to life, the things we may overlook everyday.” Real or artificial Christmas tree? “Both. I put up two trees.”

Sarah Penney has always called Hamilton, Ontario her home. Our very own Naturopathic Doctor loves to keep all of us current and debunk any old wives tales we might have bouncing around our heads. Artificial or real Christmas tree? “My personal preference would be real. Better yet, I would love to just decorate an existing living tree in my yard. And leave it there. Alive.”

Cassidy Tonkin is a senior staff writer for The Writing Umbrella Inc., and is a lifelong resident of Halton Hills, Ontario. “I write to establish brand/product recognition through the written word and a little for myself on the side.” Artificial or real Christmas tree? “It isn’t a real Christmas without a real Christmas tree!”

Susan Austin was born in Taiwan, and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario. Writing allows her to capture and expand on ideas before they evaporate. Christmas tree...real or artificial? “Since having the kids, we’ve gotten real trees. It’s magical to see and smell an evergreen inside the home!”

Charlie Dobbin has made many places her home. From the Yukon to Philadelphia, she now lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario with her family. She loves sharing her knowledge of gardening through her writing. This fall you’ll find Dobbin in her garden splitting and rearranging plants or you can catch her hosting “The Garden Show”; broadcast live Saturdays at 9am on AM740. Christmas tree…real or artificial? “Real for sure. Love the smell, the lack of symmetry, and the challenge of making it a beautiful showpiece for a few weeks during the dark days.”

Tim Zwart is the founder and CEO of The Writing Umbrella. Born and raised in the good ole USA, he now resides in Milton, Ontario. “I write because I believe in the power of my profession; you can find every emotion, visualization, opinion and thought through words, and it is one of the few places where you have absolute control of the outcome. Real or artificial Christmas tree? “ I’ve never owned a real Christmas tree...but am intrigued with the notion. Plus, who doesn’t want their house to smell like a giant pack of gum?”

Derek Cason has recently become a Charlottetown, PEI implant from London, Ontario. He shares his writings through blogs and magazine articles. This fall you’ll find him riding his motorcycle on the back roads of the countryside, enjoying the changing fall colours. Real or artificial Christmas tree? “Real tree for sure. The work is worth the payoff!”

Zack Fleming is our funny guy. Fleming was

Brie Jarrett was born in Windsor, raised in

Peter Vogler was born and raised in

Vancouver and Whistler which makes him one of the two actual west coast boys you’ll ever meet. He loves storytelling, “It brings out the deepest part of what makes us human.” Real or artificial tree? “Definitely real.” And probably no shortage of those in Whistler!

born and raised in Dundas, Ontario but now calls Ottawa home. “I write because I like it when words come together real nice like.” Christmas tree real or artificial? “If we had a tree, it would be real. Humbug.”

If you would like to contribute to future issues, please submit your idea to:




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letter from the publisher

EMBRACE THE COLD As fall gave way to winter, I remember standing in the window of my childhood home, praying for snow. I’m pretty sure that I was responsible for some of the greatest snowstorms of all time. When you’re a kid, winters are an exciting time. Sledding, snow forts, ice hockey, skiing, snow ball fights… and of course Christmas. As an adult though, that excitement turns to a feeling that resembles something more like the feeling you get when you stick a fork in your eye. It’s certainly a lot more work than it used to be. Shoveling the driveway, clearing the sidewalk in front of the house, brushing three feet of snow off the car before you can even get inside to warm it up, snow tires, and layers upon layers of clothing. Ugh! It’s exhausting. So as our warm breezy days come to an end, I like to sit back and reflect on how amazing my summer really was, (in spite of Ontario’s weather). My family and I spent a lot of time at a friend’s cottage this past summer. I haven’t won the lottery yet, so thank gawd we have generous friends who can stand our company for more than one day. All work and no play (I discovered the hard way) makes for a very stressful and unbalanced life. Summer is the time of year that we should rejuvenate…get a little vitamin D and reconnect with family and friends. Get our toes wet

and our skin tanned. We need to bank some of this to get us through the dreary winter. On the pages of this issue, you will be treated to some very exquisite “cottages”. Very nice to dream about and wonderful to get a glimpse of how the other half live, but we can all create spaces that have that “cottage feel” without breaking the bank or having to sell our firstborn. Over the winter months while you’re busy trying to keep warm, let your imagination run. Let your minds eye show you what is possible in the very space that is your own. Think about the different elements and accessories that invoke a feeling of “lets go to the cottage” in you. Make your list and who knows; maybe you’ll collect a few of your items over the winter! This time of year is also a great time to start collaborating with a landscape designer. You don’t want to get caught with your pants down…you want to start enjoying that little piece of cottage life that you’ve dreamt up, as soon as possible. And just so you don’t have a hard time holding on to the warmth of summer, we’ve included a few tid bits that will help you through. In fact, I’ve decided to wrap myself in this incredible Canadian jacket by Fjallraven while I curl up by the fire to dream about how I can turn my own backyard into my cottage! Enjoy your fall, embrace your winter…and we will talk again in the spring.

Dave Maciulis, CLD

Twitter @dave_maciulis Facebook Natural Landscape Magazine 18 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

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BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE Paying homage to our Great Canadian Winters Just because old man winter has decided to grace us with his inhuman sub-zero temperatures and more snow than any human should have to shovel…doesn’t mean you have to compromise your flare for style! We’ve got just the wintry-hued cure to keep you warm and cozy from those frigid temps and Vitamin D-lacking blues this season! Go ahead. Sing, “Baby, it’s cold outside” while joyfully skipping along the snow covered busy streets of downtown, as passers-by look at you with awe - we don’t just make this stuff up, it happens in commercials all the time!

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When it comes to creating useable space, there are so many options out there, it ultimately comes down to one of two choices: Deck vs. Patio. NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

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HGTV STAR CARSON ARTHUR I am one hundred percent committed to the belief that an amazing backyard is built around the useable space. For all of the gardeners out there, I will concede that plants are an important ingredient to a harmonized yard but if you don’t have a spot to sit outside with family and friends and enjoy them, then those blooms are a wasted opportunity.

Here are some of my justifications for each. You decide what works for you!


Patios reign supreme when it comes to home Return-On-Investment (ROI). With a perceived increased value of up to 12% according to the Gallop Organization, having a big and beautiful patio in the backyard is a fantastic way to make the most of your outdoor opportunities. While patios may be a large initial investment, a well-built patio can exceed 25 years with no maintenance, holding its value for the entire time. With no pests, rot, molds or natural elements that quickly breakdown stone, a patio will outlast any other outdoor useable space. The marketplace for pavers and stone has become even more competitive with companies like Rinox looking to grow. By providing more colours, styles and options, these companies are driving down pricing and making patio installation more affordable for the average homeowner. Originally, patios were limited to simple flat surfaces, but with new retaining walls and multi-level system designs, patios can now tackle almost any front or backyard situation. Given the way patios are built, (with a solid crushed stone base below a layer of pavers), they are the BEST solution for any type of weight-bearing applications like driveways or even hot tubs. Visually, patios offer one design element that makes them very desirable for homeowners. Patios can be built flush to the ground. If you have basement windows, you get to keep whatever natural light is available. Also, because you are lower to the ground, you are able to create more privacy by better using existing fences, privacy panels and even trees.


According to the Gallop Organization a good deck can increase a home’s perceived value by up to 10% by increasing the available living space. A potential buyer will often settle for smaller square footage inside a home if they know that they have the use of an outdoor room. When it comes to costs, Decks will always be the less expensive option. Even if you choose high-end materials, the labour required to install a deck is less, helping to reduce your overall cost. Installation is also a big benefit for choosing a deck. The way a deck is built allows you more creativity in location. Because the actual structure is built above the ground, tree roots, wet ground and big slopes can be easily overcome even by a DIY’er Traditionally, the lifespan of a wood structure is about 7-8 years if it’s not cared for. This average is getting longer with more options coming into the market such as composites and all-weather stains. Even pressure treated wood is seeing new technology in products like MicroPro Sienna which uses smaller molecules in the stain to get the rich brown colour deeper into the wood; preserving it longer. Remodeling Magazine (2014) Recently released a study showing that the return on investment for a wood deck is 87%, surpassing all indoor renovations. When it comes to aesthetics, for homeowners that prefer colour coordination and avoid using mixed materials, decks are the best option for blending with fences, pergolas and arbours, which are traditionally made of wood.

At the end of the day, both of these selections have fantastic merits. When faced with making a choice, homeowner’s need to understand that creating useable space outdoors is by far one of the smartest renovating decisions they can make. Way the pros and cons of each option, but feel confident that investing in the outdoors is not only good for your family, its good for your largest asset; your home. 32 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

design district


As the age old saying goes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side; unless you’re a landscaper that is. These modern artists of foliage and conifers make it their life’s work to dispel this myth…and to make it look good in the process. It takes a certain type of person to understand the importance that landscapes can have on both your home value and the comfort of your space, and one of the best around is well versed in both: Juergen Partridge. As the president of Juergen Partridge Ltd. for over 30 years, Partridge has been providing the Greater Toronto Area with oneof-a-kind landscape design and construction for decades, and in the process, has consistently been raising the bar on both creativity and quality; one yard renovation at a time. A proud member of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA), College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA), and the Alberta Association of Landscape Architects (AALA), Partridge is one of the more accomplished designers in his field, showcasing a drive and determination that is second to none. “It is our privilege to work closely with clients, creating the kind of natural spaces that will transform their lives.” Graduating from the Architecture program at the University of Waterloo in 1974, Partridge has spent decades not only learning his profession, but turning it into an art form. His designs run the gamut of outdoor lifestyle décor, combining countless elements of both modern and traditional inspiration. Never one to shy away from unique ideas and concepts, Partridge and his team are con-

stantly pushing the envelope to create spaces that are richer, more colourful, and more intricately detailed. This dedication and drive have culminated in some impressive and award winning work, establishing Juergen Partridge Ltd. as one of the premier landscape design firms in the country. Whether creating something from scratch or giving new life to existing spaces, his sharp eye for design truly makes him a qualified jack-of-all-trades. He has since expanded his expertise to include pool installations, hot tub hook ups, custom pond designs, deck construction, natural stone additions, interlocking and much more. His mantra on the job site? “We operate by a simple code of conduct: we always do what we say, we provide timely and cost-effective solutions, and we support our services.” But life can’t always be about work, can it? After countless hours and projects under his belt, sometimes you just have to take some time to kick back and relax a little; something else Partridge is quite accomplished in. In his spare time away from his outdoor office, he enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, hiking, fishing and playing golf. But all of that pales in comparison to his primary focus and life’s work. They say landscape design is the art of developing a space for its greatest use and enjoyment. And with his industry knowledge and dedication to his craft, Partridge not only applies this definition to his business, but also to life.


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sue sirrs


Have you ever done something spontaneous that worked out better than originally thought? Maybe it was taking up a new hobby, trying new food or doing something adventurous. There is trepidation and anxiety at first, but once you get past these initial stages and open yourself to the possibility of contentment, there is a certain level of fulfillment to be obtained. Such is the case with Landscape Architect Sue Sirrs. Sirrs seemingly benign choice to pack up everything she owned and move to Nova Scotia, has, to put it mildly, altered the course of her life’s path. Although she had never been to the province before, she felt a special connection with the land. “I felt like there was just the right amount of oxygen I needed to grow into the person I was meant to be,” smiles Sirrs. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Sirrs is the creative force behind Outside! Planning and Design Studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia; a title that came about as spontaneously as she is. “I was in university sitting in class one day when the professor started talking about the sound of the wind through the different types of trees. I immediately connected to what he was taking about and intrinsically understood what he meant. It was then that I decided to become a landscape architect. I get to design spaces and bring them to life. My work is all about selling life energy and I love it!”


Sue emanates positive life energy, something that is very reflective in her work. Perhaps the most obvious display of this is one of her most publicly lauded pieces: the first permanent exterior living wall in Eastern Canada. Located on the Nova Scotia Community College waterfront campus in Dartmouth Nova Scotia, it echoes Sirrs zen-like philosophy on all things. With a length of just over 24.5 metres and standing 3.6 metres high, Sirrs unique creation is home to 7000 plants from 24 different species; its many varieties and colours moving, blending and intertwining like a living interpretation of a river gently meandering over and around rocks. Inspiration for this stunning living wall came while on a trip to Avignon, France in 2007, and was something she brainstormed and developed over the course of three years. Travel is something Sirrs considers critical to her work. She says it is the driving force behind many of her new ideas and design concepts. “It’s really important to look at other people and see how they engage in their environment. It also helps me recharge. I see a lot more travel in my future.” If her past work is any indication, her future should be a bright and productive one. Armed with a passion for her craft and an unrelenting spirit, Sirrs continues to push the boundaries of modern landscape architecture and design.


They say the key to achieving success in life is easy: first, find your passion; then, figure out how to make money doing what you love. For most, this is easier said than done. But for those who have this formula figured out, life couldn’t be better. Case in point? Keith Lemkey of Lemkey Landscape Design. From the moment you meet him, there is an instant recognition that Lemkey is a member of this sacred club. The pride and passion he has for his craft is contagious, and you realize very quickly why, after 30 years in business, Manitoba’s Lemkey Landscape Design continues to grow. “People think I’m crazy because I actually look forward to waking up at four in the morning to begin my day,” says Lemkey. “Sunday nights are like Christmas Eve for me. I’m so excited for Monday morning to get here I can barely sleep!” So how does one get to possess this level of dedication? Well, it all began in 1981 when Lemkey and his wife Debbie went to Hawaii for their honeymoon. “I fell in love with the exotic landscape, water features and palm trees. I loved it all. I think I took more photos of the landscapes than I did my new bride…a point she still reminds me of to this day.” That experience (and those pictures) started an inner fire that still burns brightly to this day, and the rest, as they say, is history. As soon as they returned home, Lemkey took a leave of absence from his job with the government and immediately began studying Landscape Design at the University of Guelph. The plan (at first) was to do some designs on the side, while continuing his work with the government. But fate had a different path in mind. “One of my first clients was insistent that he wanted me to install the project. Again one thing led to another, and I became a

landscape contractor.” Seemingly overnight, Lemkey had expanded his business to 8-10 staff members, and was well on his way to making his dream a reality. One might think that he would start to take a back seat during the building process at this point, but that’s not Lemkey’s style. “Some clients are surprised when they see me hop on a skid steer and start working with my crew. It’s the best time of my day. I still love being involved from concept to completion. I live, breath, and dream landscaping.” Lemkey’s love of landscape doesn’t just stop with his company. He’s worn many hats in the industry and has enjoyed seeing it grow every year. “I became very involved with Landscape Manitoba, holding the position of president for several years, as well as chairman for the Provincial Trade Advisory Board developing and teaching the curriculum for the Landscape Apprenticeship program at Red River College for several years, and I currently sit as chair for the Green Space Management program there as well.” Lemkey likes to stay on top of what’s happening in the industry, frequently travelling to Toronto for Landscape Ontario’s “Congress” trade show, the third largest landscape show in North America. “I want to know every aspect of my trade; a trade that is always expanding. I’m always learning, researching and travelling. I like to see new styles, old styles, botanical gardens, and different genres of architecture. They all help me envision innovative ideas.” And with ideas and designs being developed before the sun rises most days, Lemkey Landscape Design looks poised to continue raising the bar on the Manitoba landscape.


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Sometimes, attention to detail can make all the difference in the world. It takes a steady hand, great vision and constant dedication to establish something meant to stand the test of time. No corners can be cut, no level of minuteness can be ignored, and no questions can be left unanswered. For those in the design industry, this is especially true. In order to be a success, you have to have a genuine passion for your craft, maintaining a constant internal drive that is unmatched by others (at least, they would like to think so). You have to feel the space that will house your new creation, listening to its wants and desires as you remove and amend that which does not belong. And if enjoying what you do means that it is no longer considered “work”, than allow me to introduce you to the consistently “not working”, Tyler Speirs. Speirs started young. His first landscape ‘project’ was a small pond feature installed at his parents place; this quickly became the talk of the town, and gave him the confidence he needed to propel himself into the world of landscape design. Seemingly overnight he had gotten involved with Landscape Ontario, and was taking his first professional designing position (with Oriole Landscaping in Toronto).There he worked under his mentor, George Uvari, who taught him the most difficult side of landscaping--the business aspect. To design was great, but only if the numbers worked; a concept Speirs carries with him to this day. Through long hours, hard work and constantly learning, Speirs eventually climbed his 38 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

way from industry newcomer to Design/Project Manager. Armed with a wealth of experience (and the blessing of George Uvari), Speirs eventually moved on from Oriole and found a home as a Senior Designer with the Landmark Group, picking up his CLD (Certified Landscape Designer) accreditation along the way. Three great years passed, before Speirs decided to take a leap of faith; he bet on himself, cashing in his chips and starting his own design company independently. By 2013 he was running his own crews, developing a reputation for quality work, grand designs and modern, contemporary styles. His projects had advanced in both size and scope, and now included things like elaborate poolscapes, immense planting projects and custom cut stone. And best of all, he had managed to generate all his business within a 20 minute radius from his home in Collingwood, Ontario! Speirs currently oversees two crews of family members and trusted employees, all with a passion for what they do and a shared vision for the future. He has perfected the art of mixing a design-oriented, contemporary style with natural, rustic settings; springing out of bed in the morning with a youthful exuberance that is both contagious and infectious. Perhaps it was Speirs’ most inspirational influence, (Dror Benshetrit of Studio Dror, New York) who said it best: “Design is completely endless and extremely powerful.” And it also isn’t a bad way to make a living.

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DREAMING OF THE PERFECT BACKYARD OASIS? When Paul’s not on set, he’s still a busy beaver designing for clients all across North America! Visit to find out more!

“Decked Out“ host Paul Lafrance

HGTV is a trademark of Scripps Networks, LLC; used with permission.

design district



One of my favourite movies of all time is “V for Vendetta.” It’s an epic story of an entire country oppressed under a tyrannical dictator that the people themselves voted into power solely because they feared the outside world. The truth is, what they feared from the outside were all lies made up by the dictator. One man dares to challenge this government and inspires the people to rise up with him. If you haven’t seen this movie…I will try to find it in my heart to forgive you.


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Now…I know what you’re thinking… “Well Paul, that seems like some pretty deep subject matter. What the heck does that have to do with outdoor living spaces?” Well…since you asked…I’ll go ahead and tell you. While our lives may not be under the rule of a tyrannical dictator, lets take a good hard look at what we are tolerating on a day to day basis, shall we? We live in a culture that is moving at a higher rate of speed than ever before in human history. Our amazing technological advances are meant to improve our lives, yet we have never been more stressed out! We are slaves to our phones, our emails and our texts! We are bombarded with imagery everywhere we look, all vying for our attention. We are working more, sleeping less, and spending less time actually communicating with the people who really matter. The irony here is that we think we’re communicating with people more than ever before through social media; through a screen!! When we do find “free time”, how many of those hours are spent looking at screens? Movies, Television, video games. We have become so dependent upon “screens,” that many people will pull out their phone just to avoid any potential conversation with another human being face to face! We are losing our ability to communicate with each other, and we don’t even know it. There is an old tale that talks about a frog in boiling water. If the frog is dropped into water that is already boiling, it will immediately jump out to escape. However, if the frog is placed in cool water, and the temperature is slowly turned up, the frog will sit there and boil to death. Now I don’t know about you…BUT I DON’T WANNA BOIL TO DEATH! It sounds kinda unpleasant.

The world is going crazy and escaping to a calming environment has become more difficult than ever. The cottage is an impossibility for most and travelling to a resort can be costly and more exhausting than staying at home, particularly if you have kids! My point is simply this…there has never been a greater need to find a true place of respite. Human beings are drawn to the outdoors for a reason. There is something that is transcendently calming about nature. A pine swaying in the breeze, a loon on a still lake, or the snow being blown off a distant mountain peak while listening to a crackling campfire. Most people respond to that imagery in a highly positive way. Lets face it though…camping isn’t for everybody. My chiropractor can attest to that. What if the answer to this search is staring most of us in the face and we’ve simply never noticed it? What if that small patch of land behind so many of our homes holds the potential to provide us with something so much greater than a deck or patio for plastic furniture and a rusty grill? Many people have seen that potential unlocked, and in doing so, have become part of a movement, not just to build an outdoor escape...but to take back time. Time that is so very valuable considering that our stint on this earth is truly very short. So why not use your space to build that refuge. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it has to “be”. Put those phones and laptops down and reconnect with friends and family….. face to face, eye to eye, heart to heart.

The Backyard Revolution is about to begin! 42 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

Decks sunrooms ADDitions cArports pergolAs cottAges




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Though mathematically winter lasts pretty much the same amount of time every year, there are times when it seems like it arrives too quickly and leaves too slowly. One day you’re shovelling what you think is your last driveway full of snow, hanging up your shovel for the next six months; and the next, you’re rummaging through the garage trying to remember where you stored said shovel. Do you ever wish you could just bring all your greenery inside for the winter and then simply roll it back out for spring, like a red carpet at a celebrity event? What if you could pick up your outside plants and bring them all, exactly as-is, inside?

For condo-dwellers and patio/deck enthusiasts who want to continue to grow and nurture their plants during the winter, modular planting systems are a great alternative to traditional gardening. The planting modules are robust yet lightweight, easy to take apart, and a cinch to plant in. Best of all, these systems are great space-savers, since they stack vertically to fit many plants into a small space.    The Minigarden from Portugal is just one example of this module planting system.  With an attractive minimalist design, it conceals a neat self-draining system that prevents plants from getting waterlogged. The modules provide ample room for the plant to grow, while also preventing excessive evaporation; an important feature for both outdoor, windy balconies and dry, wintery indoor air.  This product can be either stacked on the floor, shelf, or table, or can be hung on the wall using shelving brackets. Create a green wall in a space that lacks some much needed division, or if you’re lucky enough to have a sunny east or south-facing kitchen window, you can enjoy some fresh parsley, basil, sage or thyme on that lovely fall or winter casserole. In keeping with the outside-in theme, Suite Plants offers a unique alternative for spaces that do not really allow for large planters on the floor. These living works of art create a sense of “green” in any room. For those people who manage to kill anything green and alive, not to worry; you choose your plants based on the light levels of the space in which you will hang it, and they only need to be watered once per month. Easy peazy! Amber Mufale, Director of Legal and Media for Suite Plants says, “It’s basically foolproof. You just add water to the system once every four to six weeks, and the plants take care of themselves.” You can also customize the frame colours in order to suit your décor. No pumps, electricity, timers or plumbing to worry about. Simplicity at its best! Our Canadian summers are so short, why let all your hard work go to waste? Create a space in your home or condo that holds on to that summer feeling all year round. Now go get your bathing suit on and make yourself a margarita! Summer is right at your fingertips! For more information on creating your own little summer space throughout the winter, please check out these websites: and


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Josh Ismail is the sole owner of Osiris Project in Ottawa, Ontario. For many years he worked as a contractor in landscaping, paving, and solar panel installation. Heated driveways intrigued him. The installation of the technology combined all of his knowledge and he felt there was a market in his area for heated driveways that no longer had to be ploughed or shoveled incessantly all winter.


Ismail did some research to see what was out there. There were several companies handling projects for larger customers including multi-car residential driveways, commercial parking lots, and parking ramps. They were using radiant hydraulic heating, much different than hydro systems (hydraulic heating is approximately 1/3 the upfront cost). “You can use the analogy of a large SUV versus a small urban vehicle. They each have a purpose and serve a need, you just have to choose which type of system works well for you,” says Ismail. Using the hydraulic system, a glycol solution runs through coils to warm the driveway so it doesn’t freeze in the winter. “A great way to heat large spaces, but I was interested in serving home owners with 200-250 square foot driveways.” He determined radiant heat using wire, installed under an asphalt or paving stone surface, and powered by electricity was a cost effective and sensible choice for homeowners. He met with suppliers and one thing led to another. He has now been in the asphalt business for three years repairing and installing driveways, both heated and standard. The radiant heated driveway systems can work in two ways. It can be activated manually with a switch, or air sensors can be installed to activate closed circuits. Of course there is an override to shut off the system if you choose to. Ground sensors are placed in the driveway, one every 100 square feet. The heat runs at idle until the sensor detects moisture or cold and turns on, (or the system is manually turned on). “You cannot let a large accumulation of snow build up on your driveway. It’s like melting a chunk of ice on the stove. It takes a long time and takes a lot of energy to remove it,” says Ismail.

Who needs this heated surface?

“Definitely anybody who has problems getting snow off their driveway. People who work long hours, people with differing abilities, and senior citizens are my typical customers.” Having a heated driveway allows customers to avoid using salt and sand. “You can also avoid the cost of hiring someone to clear your driveway, or the issue of dealing with a shortage of space to put the snow. After a while shoveling above your head becomes ridiculous and impossible,” says Ismail. When Ismail offers an estimate to a potential customer there are a couple of things he is looking for. First, is their driveway small enough that radiant heat makes sense? Also the system requires 30-40 amps

of electrical power. He sends a master electrician to consult with the customer to see what their needs are, and to examine their electrical system to see if it can accommodate the extra amps. “Ours is a turnkey operation from start to finish. I manage the sub-contractors and ensure the work is done to my specifications. You have a couple of choices. You can retrofit an existing driveway or walkway, or you can take up the existing driveway, put the system in and then put a new surface on top.” A retrofit involves making channels in the existing asphalt and placing the wires inside the grooves. “A retrofit is obviously cheaper, but the end result is not as esthetically pleasing. The longitudinal lines do not look as nice. I have examples of both the retrofit and the brand new driveway for people to see,” says Ismail. On the other hand a brand new driveway is costly because the work is done manually. “When you install wires under the surface you cannot use a roller that weighs over one ton, and you cannot use a spreader or you will damage the wires. This means there is a lot of elbow grease and manpower involved. That has to be incorporated into the cost. The system is tested twice before it is installed and once after it is installed. That doesn’t include the tests run through the manufacturer. Of course, there is a 10 year warranty on the wires.”

What do conditions have to be in order to install this product?

“On a clear, dry day we can install a driveway anytime it is over 5 degrees outside. This includes the spreading of the asphalt or the laying of pavers. Don’t forget all of this technology can be used on walkways as well. It’s just so convenient.” The cost of running the system is always a customer concern, but need not be. “If you would like to calculate the cost of having a system operating for you our website has a calculator there that will give you an idea of the cost. We update the hydro rates yearly.”

What are your future plans for your company?

“I know there is a place for solar powered heated driveways in cottage country. Can you imagine the convenience for yearround cottage owners? Say you can’t make it out to the cottage for a couple of weeks. The solar panels have taken care of everything and your driveway is clear. I can’t wait to get started.” Toss your shovels people! The heat is on…….. Please visit for more information.

for a FREE catalog visit us online


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OUR favourite THINGS SEDIA The Sedia lounge chair is a wonderful addition to any outdoor oasis. It makes a bold but luxurious statement. The chair’s versatility is one of its best features. It offers the traditional comfort and shape of a lounger, but in a modern and contemporary material. It will complement any existing outdoor furniture. The fluid shape invites you to sit, and the cool surface, (even in the heat of summer), allows you to stay for as long as you’d like.


Jill Fraser Owner of House of Fraser Decor, Jill offers a decorating experience that is based on affordable style. Her unique approach ensures your LUMENISK ROUND The Lumenisk light columns act as modern sculptures during the day and magnificent ambient light sources in the evening. These columns are so dramatic that they can be used as standalone, contemporary features, making them a focal point in even the most rustic or casual garden. On the practical side, they are suitable for installation on gravel, patios and terraces, thanks to the integrated light source in the stainless steel base.

home is the best expression of your personality and taste. Jill’s goal is to give you a place you love coming home to at the end of every day. Jill has always had a passion for decor and design and appears weekly on Hamilton Life offering design ideas as the Home and Decor expert. For more information and to see her work, check out

LUCENTA WAVE Who says privacy panels have to be strictly functional? These Lucenta partitioning screens are as beautiful as they are practical. They are the perfect additions to define a seating area in a large outdoor space or to highlight key areas of your backyard. They are equally ideal as the focal point in a smaller space, such as a private balcony. If you have something to hide, and we all do, use one to create a gorgeous diversion.



WITHOUT LIMITS The elegance of outdoor entertaining

Lynx Grills is the innovation leader in outdoor kitchen appliances. From the signature blue LED illumination system and ProSear infrared cooking technology, to the cook friendly easy to lift Lynx Hood Assist, Lynx designs and assembles the finest outdoor grills and appliances. The most extraordinary equipment you’ll want for cooking and entertaining.

For over 60 years Fontana has been creating the best Italian wood-fired ovens. Amazingly efficient with a powerful convection fan and uses 5 times less wood than traditional ovens. Includes built-in timer and constructed out of stainless steel, steel and cast iron.

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The Big Green Egg stands alone as the most versatile barbecue or outdoor cooking product on the market, with more capabilities than all other conventional cookers combined. With five convenient sizes to choose from, there is a Big Green Egg to fit any lifestyle.

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Have we turned our backs on nature? BY COLIN WADE – ST. CATHARINES, ON

Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” We have planted ourselves into communities close to schools and gyms and grocery stores but, all too often, we are missing a very integral piece of the suburban puzzle…… trees. We lack the canopies overhead showering shade and oxygen down upon us. As elected officials and municipal planning agencies continue to try and balance growing communities with environmental quality, we are left with nearby parks to improve storm water management and reduce flooding. Quantifiable and applicable guidelines are handed down to the developer and builder. But what about reviving a sense of community and aiding in the ecological footprint by improving a community’s physical appearance on each lot of land; each homeowner becoming a planner, a developer, and a visionary. In this time of renewed originality in garden design, many amazing results can be achieved with the planting of trees, from the surprising to the enchanting. And for some visionaries, even controversial modern assemblages can be created, taking on a subtle and empowering role to the architecture it surrounds. The architecture of a home and community does not have to battle with the natural structures surrounding it. A simple inspiration and desire can turn a suburban development into a pocket of shelter for both families and economies. It is not enough anymore to just plant a tree. To put the right tree in the right place is integral, not only to the aesthetic, but also to the health and survivability of the tree. It must grow and evolve around the built landscape as though part of the design of the home. It must add to our experience throughout the seasons and over the years lend us a sense of time but also a release from the mundane. The slight swaying of branches and the flickering of leaves in a summer breeze add motion and life to our bricks and mortar; a first impression full of serenity and beauty. Trees are the only part of our gardens that span the distances and proportions of our homes and properties. They tell the tales on the pages of our land. They show us possibility and integration of the many elements of our properties; from curbs and rooflines to patios and view lines. The right tree in the right location doesn’t even need to be mature to have its effect. The right tree will add to the imagination immediately. Each year growing in vitality and playing out the myth told by the designers on your stage. Each stage in a community a new vision and a new possibility with the players standing firm for centuries. In order for a tree (not only to survive but) to thrive decades and beyond, it needs the care of a parent. Just as there is an opportune time to let a child out into the world to explore, there is an opportune time to plant a tree; a time which will give it the best chance to spread it’s roots before drought takes hold in the annual cycle of the seasons. The moisture, cool nights, and sunshine of the fall and the spring offer trees their best start to a long and fruitful life. So the third best time to plant a tree is in the spring or fall. Go grab your spade!


Living in the Landscape design


build is an element of

garden grove landscaping


enviro midori

Performs in perfect harmony with nature: subtly-blended colours; a fresh, modern finish and the necessary drainage to eliminate surface water runoff on driveways, patios and walkways.

Scan to learn more about Enviro Midori or visit:

1.800.709.OAKS (6257) |

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The magic of Muskoka granite BY CASSIDY TONKIN – HALTON HILLS, ON


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The sounds of laughter echo over water, fires crackle along shorelines and on beaches, and conversations carry long into the night. If you close your eyes, you can almost picture it: a bright moon hanging in the summer sky, a warm breeze caressing your face like a whisper across silk, music playing softly in the background, and the gentle lapping of water serving as the soundtrack to your reverie. There is a majesty here that is almost magical, a feeling of oneness with nature that you can’t quite put your finger on, but it impacts you with a power that is absolute. It has the ability to make you forget and to remember all at the same time, and offers you the one thing that is most elusive in life: peace. You can leave behind emails and boardrooms, traffic and alarm clocks, deadlines and stress, and for the briefest of moments, life becomes simple again. This utopia of untapped resources may be out of financial reach to many, and seemingly attainable only through the pages of a coffee table hardcover, but what if it was available to anyone? The Muskokas have been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ontario for decades, and rightfully so. Featuring a rugged, rocky terrain and lush forests surrounded by a seemingly endless supply of lakes and waterways, this area is truly a site to behold. But perhaps its best resource (and most well kept secret), lies not in what your eyes can see, but what they cannot. Below the surface, forged by the very beauty displayed above, exists a resource that is every bit as beautiful as the region itself.

Resident “rock star” Kirby Hall, (a handsome, rugged, thirty eight year old), along with his bother Clayton and partners Arnie and Keith Coulson, take the work of mother nature and manipulate granite rock into some of the most exceptional pieces of creative, custom stonework in the country. This mineral maestro has been expanding the uses for, and availability of, his posh products since day one. With approximately five quarries to their credit, Muskoka Rock has established itself as the custom design granite expert in the country. Hall’s work has been showcased on some of the areas most upscale properties and walked upon by some pretty significant Canadian music icons; most recently on Lake Joseph, where a fundraiser for Canada’s Walk of Fame took place. Juno award winning acts, Jann Arden and The Tenors, entertained the Walk of Fame’s partners and supporters in a private performance. “Music under the Stars” had the perfect setting for a perfect night that will benefit emerging Canadian artists through scholarships and a variety of other programs. Hall’s granite provided a beautiful backdrop for the event. So what makes granite so popular, you may ask? With strength close to that of diamonds and beautiful colour combinations to make a statement even in the smallest amounts,


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design district granite is known for its ease of installation and impeccable, long lasting quality. Each of their quarries has a unique colour pattern available, from a classic Muskoka look (black, gray and salmon tones), to a more rustic looking dark and cream blend. Kirby Hall is the guy that can help you turn a house into a home…and a home/cottage into an unparalleled staycation. While providing beautiful, durable stone quarried locally is one thing; the process of getting the stone to you is what truly makes Hall and his team one-of a kind. Unlike traditional methods of quarrying granite, which usually results in smaller pieces and uneven colour patterns, Hall extracts huge boulders of granite out of the ground whole (sometimes weighing anywhere from 10-15 tons!) These giant, egg-like masses are then taken to the cutting room floor where the true magic begins. Each piece of a new project is cut from the exact same stone, guaranteeing a consistent colour and pattern throughout, and giving the finished product a professional and flush appearance. Witnessing this spectacle is truly remarkable, and is akin to watching a beautiful work of art emerging from a sculptor’s block. Each stone is sliced with a surgeon’s precision, with the end result similar to a fanned out deck of stone playing cards. So what exactly can you do with granite in and around your living space? Well if you’re Kirby Hall, quite a bit. If it has a surface he can stone it with breath-taking results. His designs and workmanship have given rise to countless projects among the rich and famous, but he remains as grounded as the day he began, focusing on a vision that is as simple as it is profound:

I’m all about bringing you a genuine piece of the Muskoka lifestyle, both inside and outside of your home. One of the most basic places to start any home transformation is with the flooring (not to mention one of the most important elements when it comes to designing your space). Hardwood is beautiful and versatile, but can easily scratch if you have kids or pets. Granite flooring has proven to be a popular and much more durable alternative, but has, until now, also had its drawbacks. Traditional methods of splitting granite can lead to uneven surfaces, potentially causing trip and fall hazards, wobbly furniture and small pockets for water to pool and fester. However, with the use of modern bridge saws, Hall and his team have effectively eliminated these concerns; providing a smooth, comfortable surface that is far more functional and esthetically pleasing.


Create Extraordinary Indoor and Outdoor Spaces Manufacturers of Distinctive Granite Products • Call: 705.687.8700 100% Canadian Owned and Operated - 100% Canadian Shield Stone 1165 Bethune Drive N., Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1R1 • E-mail:

If landscaping is where your need lies, then the right selection of stonework is crucial. A beautiful yard can not only increase the curb appeal of your home or cottage, but can also provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Creating a comfortable and modern space for you to kick back and relax is essential to maintain mental sanity, and Hall understands this better than most. His goal is not only to provide you with quality material from the heart of the Muskokas, but also to bestow upon you the care-free attitude that goes with it. Installing traditional granite flagstone and granite stair treads is where he hangs his hat, and the ability to insert a little safety, durability and style into your outdoor space cannot be overlooked. Far surpassing the quality of wood or regular concrete, Muskoka Rock’s granite products are dense, resistant to extreme cold and heat temperatures, and possess a low water absorption rate, making them the ideal base for both furniture and foot traffic. So if the Muskoka lifestyle is what you’re really after, don’t settle for a temporary fix. Take a little piece of this glorious Eden home with you to enjoy with each and every step you take. Bring the sounds, smells, visualizations and soul of Muskoka to your doorstep, and feel the sensation of vacationing without ever having to leave your home.

Then close your eyes, smile, remember, and take in these feelings with every sensation in your being; and take comfort in the fact that Kirby Hall has truly rocked your world.


I DESIGN... OVER 150 STYLES AVAILABLE We handle everything from planning & permits right through to full installation. 1.855.773.3734



design district


Rendered concept sketches and photo by

This stunning historic home in The Annex (Toronto) sits on a very dry and shaded property. The clients requested a design that would not require a lot of maintenance, and the plan needed to compliment the lovely architecture of the home. European courtyard gardens with well-structured spaces require little care once installed. Planting in deep shade, only 3 species were chosen for this formal layout; upright yew, guacamole hostas and vinca/periwinkle (underground drip line ensures survival). The real clay brick pavers were carefully colour matched to compliment the brownstone home and the new ironwork was designed to reflect and echo the curvature of the prominent front window, while providing a frame for the yews.




All iModular homes are constructed with quality brand name products and are designed from outstanding floor plans for today’s environment. Built to meet or exceed provincial and local building codes, all our homes undergo rigorous quality assurance. 1.855.773.3734



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Rendered concept sketches and photo by

An idyllic lakeside vantage constructed with the rustic charm of the cottage’s interior in mind, this Apsley, Ontario setting offers year round enjoyment to its owners and their families. Overcoming environmental challenges of a 60 foot drop over a distance of 80 feet from the back door to the water’s edge, Designer Mike Thiessen’s objective was to encourage visitors to pause at the top of the hill and enjoy the tranquil surroundings before taking the 54 stones steps down. A fire pit area at the halfway mark has proven to be a safe and comfortable place for entertaining, day or night - summer or winter.


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I lIve...

iModular is redefining the way you look at modular homes. We are here to make your modular home experience informative, hassle-free & enjoyable with modern designs & great service.


Factory direct to you

Celebrity Chef & author

Christine Cushing

“The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass” - Dogen Japanese Zen Buddhist Teacher

If you pay close attention to our modern day society, you will notice one central theme: the idea that bigger is better. We work and work to acquire the biggest houses, cars, pay cheques and lifestyles imaginable, using this phrase as a mantra to decide the worth of everything in our lives. One of the places this is most noticeable is in the way we eat, and more specifically, our food. Seemingly everything is ‘supersized’ these days, and there are countless numbers of reality TV food shows that push the limits of food and cooking ability. It leaves one to wonder though what impression these shows have on viewers: Do they inspire a newfound curiosity and love of cooking? Do they instill confusion and a sense of fear as expectations rise? Or do they just save us the price of going out to a movie with the sheer entertainment of it all?

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Standing in stark contrast to this philosophy is Celebrity Chef and author Christine Cushing, with words to live by that are as simple as they are powerful: “food is life.” Far from one-dimensional, this simple concept is the lodestone of all that Cushing teaches and shares, taking food from a three-dimensional concept to a tangible and glorious fourth-dimensional experience. Over the years, she has hosted an impressive list of successful shows on the Food Network and OWN such as Dish it Out, Christine Cushing Live, Fearless in the Kitchen, and currently is the resident Chef on City TV’s Marilyn Denis Show. Combined with her bestselling books Dish it Out, Fearless in the Kitchen and Pure Food as well as her new absolutely amazing Gourmet Product line Christine Cushing*s, she is truly a force to be reckoned with. An advocate of the ‘Choose Cage Free’ campaign with World Animal Protection, she believes that everyone makes an impact on the world at large with the choices they make. It’s about taking action and making choices that support the life we want for ourselves and our communities. That philosophy extends, as well, to our own microcosm of the world; our own home. We spend an inordinate amount of time and money on our phones and gadgets, but we don’t

seem to make buying quality ingredients a priority. If you don’t get the hint, let’s put down the phones people (at least while we’re together anyway)! An apple is also a food! NL MAG had a few questions for Christine.

NLM: What brings Joy into your life? CC: Cooking of course and traveling! For me traveling is about discovery. It inspires and rejuvenates me. It allows me to shut down from the daily rhythm of life and reconnect and find balance again.

NLM: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

CC: I would say for us all to be more inclusive of others. We are all here on this earth together.

NLM: What foods would you recommend for the fall/winter seasons and why?

CC: Squash is an extremely versatile food, as well as being nutritious and delicious. It can be used in soups, roasted, even in salads. Also Brussels sprouts is one of my favourites, and greatly underused. I like to eat what I call, “in living colour” and both squash and brussels sprouts are perfect for that with their vibrant colours.

NLM: What is your favourite “go to” spice and why? CC: I would say my spice of the day is a chili pepper from Syria called Aleppo. It has a medium heat with a touch of tang. I like to use it on roasted veggies, and fish.

NLM: What would you say was your greatest life accomplishment to date?

CC: Every day that I get to do what I love and am passionate about.

NLM: What would you do if you weren’t creating with food?


This may sound crazy, but I always wanted to be a cartoon voice. I would love to do that!

NLM: If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

CC: Talk less! When I first went to Serbia to visit my husband’s family, I didn’t understand the language. It was absolute torture for me! I need to talk!

NLM: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

CC: I have always wanted to come full circle to my roots and create a cooking show in Greece. Christine often does not know what she will cook until she begins to cook. It is her deep reverence for food combined with her resolute passion that guides her. She makes her living with the cooking process, but it’s really the purity and essence of food that inspires her. Food does not need to be complicated. In fact sometimes just a few items combined in the right way can be the most exquisite experience. Choosing the best possible ingredients, cooking them with love and sharing with friends and family is the only recipe that needs to be followed. Christine Cushing*s product line can be found at Longos, Loblaws/Fortinos (Great Food Locations), Bruno’s and select Sobey’s and Metros.  Also available at Pusateri’s and also in Niagara at Piccones fine foods . For more information on Christine visit or follow her on Twitter @ccfearless.

DARING, SPICY GARLIC This sauce is ideal for the thrill seeker who loves a peppery kick with a smooth sweet garlic finish. It’s ready to serve over your favourite pasta but for a twist steam your mussels in it and you’ll be licking the bowl. The possibilities are endless.

BRAISED DUCK LEGS with PEARS AND PEARL ONIONS Duck legs are so underrated and this recipe will make you a fan. You can buy them in single packages , so use as many duck legs as you have guests. This is my take on a French classic that transports me back to my Greek childhood memories of gently simmering aromatic spices. If you want the duck to stay crisp, follow this recipe until it says to return duck to casserole and instead transfer to a shallow large baking dish. Bake duck in oven at 350 D with skin side up and not immersed in liquid. INGREDIENTS:

4 duck legs, whole salt and black pepper to taste 2 tbsp. butter (25 ml) 1 lb. pearl onions, blanched and peeled (450 gm) 2 cloves garlic , peeled and sliced 2 stalks celery, diced 3 sprigs rosemary 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (15 ml) 1tsp. sherry vinegar(5 ml) 1 cinnamon stick 4 whole cloves 2 Tbsp. tomato paste (25 ml) 2 cups dry red wine (500 ml) 2 cups chicken stock (500 ml) 8 roasted , peeled chestnuts, optional 2 bosc pears, ripe but firm, peeled, cored and cut into eighths


1. Trim excess fat off duck legs, render and save for cooking or discard. Season duck with salt and pepper. 2. Melt half of the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed casserole over medium-high heat. Brown duck evenly, about 4 minutes per side. Drain off excess fat, if desired. Transfer duck to a plate. 3. Melt remaining butter in the casserole. On medium heat brown onions, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, celery and rosemary sprigs and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is just soft , about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Deglaze with vinegar and add remaining ingredients, except pears. 4. Return duck to casserole. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1 ½ hours , or until liquid has reduced by half and duck is tender. 5. Add the sliced pears, and chestnuts, if using, and simmer for a further 30 minutes , until pears are tender. 6. Adjust seasoning. Serve duck with the sauce. Serves 4

FANCY, COGNAC & FIRE-ROASTED PEPPER This is an adventurer’s delight, loaded with roasted peppers and balanced with a splash of aromatic Cognac. It’s always delicious over penne rigate but for something new try adding some warm chicken stock for a robust, creamy roasted tomato pepper soup.


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CANADA’S NEW LOVE AFFAIR Every summer and fall, a blazing carpet of purple, violet, pink and royal blue blooms defiantly all over southern Ontario. Close your eyes and take a deep breath - there’s no mistaking the heady aroma of lavender. And there are acres and acres of it to behold. A decade ago, naysayers said this 2,000-year-old Mediterranean herb would never withstand Ontario’s (and Quebec’s) colder climate, but the cynics appear to have been wrong.



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Lavender has not only taken root over the past 10 years, but sprouted a

PURPLE WAVE OF PROSPERITY for several dozen farmers, distillers, product-makers and agri-tourism operators. “It’s been challenging, especially with the winter we just had - one of the coldest in 20 years,” says Sean Westerveld, ginseng and medicinal crops specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The provincial government, in tandem with the University of Guelph and Ontario Lavender Association, is in the final year of a four-year research study on lavender production and is optimistic the industry can thrive. “There is a great opportunity for agriculture and agri-tourism. But the biggest barrier has been winter kill,” Westerveld says. “Some of the cultivars are less hardy, and we’re working on finding solutions to reduce winter damage and minimize the losses. It’s a very unique crop, and it’s getting bigger here.” Lavender - yes, that distinctively floral herb tucked inside grandma’s sachet - is by no means new to Canada. Grown prolifically in England and France, the floral herb is long believed to have healing properties as a stress reliever, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. It gained widespread appeal after Queen Victoria hailed its calming qualities. The herb is widely found in soaps, balms, oils and ointments, but it is also gaining repute in culinary circles, adding a unique taste to everything from meats and sauces to cocktails and cookies. Some of Canada’s most established growers are found in mild B.C. growing zones such as Saltspring Island, the Cowichan Valley and the Okanagan. It’s also a thriving crop in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, but few expected it could also be grown in interior regions like Ontario and Quebec (Bleu Lavende in the Eastern Townships of Quebec is one of the country’s largest lavender farms). Prime Ontario lavender properties are predominantly found around the Great Lakes, often in tandem with fruit orchards and wineries.” They go hand in hand, grapes and lavender,” says Suzanne Dajczak, who co-founded Serenity Lavender ( with husband Marin Gorski in Colchester, Ont. “Most people love lavender. It’s a memory tag to a lot of our lives. It engages all the senses, and that’s what we are trying to do.” The couple began growing lavender as a landscaping tool to add visual appeal to their award-winning North 42 Degrees Estate Winery


on the north shore of Lake Erie. The property, which includes a boutique shop selling their lavender products, hosts a series of special events through the year including a popular lavender festival each July that in 2014 drew more than 3,000 visitors in a day. Farm tours are offered by appointment from spring to fall. “This has added diversification for visitors to the area. You can go to a blueberry farm, go bird watching or butterfly watching at Point Pelee. It’s one more thing to do.” Dajczak is pragmatic about losses suffered by Serenity and other growers this past winter. “It’s farming. It may be a different crop, but it’s farming. Once every 10 years, something happens. We’ve learned we need to better protect some varieties ... It’s a learning process.” Barb Gillies, chair of the Ontario Lavender Association (OLA), says there is a huge collaboration among the groups nearly 50 members to overcome hurdles such as winterkill. “With the research being done, we’ll be able to mitigate losses in the future,” says Gillies, who founded The Lavender Farm ( in Ayr, Ont., with husband Bob in 2011 after three decades as pork producers. When the pig business went belly up, they decided to try their hand at lavender. Most of the province’s lavender growers were already farming tobacco or other crops and livestock before turning to the purple herb. “It was something different. We had the farm, we had the buildings and we had the land. We did a lot of research, and lavender seemed to be the right thing to do. It has a wonderful aroma and it’s very therapeutic. We once heard it described as the Swiss army knife of herbs. When in doubt, use lavender - that’s what they say.” The OLA has established a website at to guide lavender lovers to farms with maps and information about members, amenities and


4 slices bacon 3 cups leeks, white part only 1 clove garlic, minced 6 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 1/2 tsp. Serenity Lavender’s Herbs de Provence 1/2 tsp. Serenity Lavender’s Culinary Lavender Ground salt and pepper to taste TO MAKE:

hours. Gillies hopes to see future research done to establish the product monograph information needed to ultimately allow producers and distillers to include the naturopathic benefits of lavender on their product labels. “We’re in the initial stages, and it would be very helpful. Right now we can put a sign up on our farm store, but not anything on our labels. We would like to change that.” While there is optimism in Ontario for the crop’s future, one B.C producer says he doubts there is a future for lavender farms in Ontario and Quebec. “In my view, they are flogging a dead horse,” says Allan Mayfield, who launched The Saltspring Lavender Company a decade ago. The company ( also operates an off-farm retail store in Sidney, a suburb of Victoria, selling 63 lavender products such as face creams, honey and jams. “The B.C. climate is much more conducive to growing lavender. Three of Canada’s biggest farms are in B.C. Its cultural…a part of our history. It’s like pasta is to Italians.” But Ontario grower Pat Scott of Scott Barn is optimistic, even though the farm and market she bought with husband Ken in 1987 was recently sold. Lavender is a part of the bounty grown and sold at the farm near Cobourg, but it’s proved popular. Customers buy everything from dried lavender to baked goods and bath products, and an annual festival in mid-July showcases the herb. “It’s so versatile, and there are thousands of varieties around the world.” The couple is retiring, but said they had no trouble finding a buyer for their business, which features a restored 1924 steel barn. Time will tell, no doubt….but in the meantime, fill your home with the aroma of lavender. It’s a nice touch of spring to keep you going throughout the winter months.

1. Fry the bacon until crisp in soup pot. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels. Chop and reserve. Reserve approximately 2 tsp. of bacon fat. 2. Wash the leeks well to remove any sand, chop and add to pot. Gently sauté over medium heat until leeks are very soft (about 7-10 minutes). 3. Add garlic, potatoes and stock to leeks and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes). Using a stick blender, puree soup until smooth. 4. Add cream, herbes de provence and lavender and whisk thoroughly over low heat until the soup is warm but not boiling. 5. Garnish with bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve immediately.


1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or half canola, half olive oil) 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 1/2 tsp. sea salt 1/2 tsp. dried culinary ‘Provence’ lavender buds, finely ground in a spice grinder or finely chopped TO MAKE:

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and lavender and enjoy on any green salad!


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3235 Fairview St., Unit #5 Burlington 905.639.7292 31 Dundas St. E., (Hwy #5) Waterdown 905.689.1880 Toll Free 1.888.727.3411


Creating award winning landscapes since 1996


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If you’re heading to Montreal anytime soon, there are some things you need to be aware of. The Alouettes and Canadiens are above criticism, poutine is fake everywhere else, and French isn’t just a language; it’s a culture. The concept of marrying great food with an even better atmosphere is also contagious here, and few places understand this dynamic better than Joe Beef. Located in the heart of Little Burgundy, 2491 Notre Dame Street West has been the trendy hangout for both locals and tourists alike since 2005…and for good reason! Featuring a robust and original menu, Joe Beef is the kind of place that quickly becomes addictive from your very first visit. Whether you fancy seafood, steak, oysters or a simple cocktail or glass of wine, there is little you could be craving that you wouldn’t find on their chalkboard menu. It’s the kind of place you go to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, bat mitzvah, or if you’re feeling so bold, propose. However if you’re on a diet, “Fogetaboutit!”…ain’t nobody got time for that here .


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JOE BEEF With appetizers like the ever popular Foie Gras Double Down, and main courses highlighted by the best Lobster Spaghetti you will ever taste in your natural life, Joe Beef is the place to leave your weight anxieties and inhibitions at the door. Owned and operated by renowned Chefs David McMillan and Frederic Morin, Joe Beef has transformed itself from a simple, 30-seat restaurant into a tour-de-force business enterprise. Encouraged by the acceptance and success they have received, Joe Beef began aggressively spilling over into the city’s pop culture over the past few years, and are now a cultural phenomenon. You can get your hands on all sorts of Joe Beef merchandise across the country, highlighted by their uber-successful cookbook: The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts (winner of the Piglet Award for best cookbook in 2012 and shortlisted for the renowned James Beard Prize). And if all that isn’t enough to convince you to pay the good people of Joe Beef a visit, there’s more. After more than a two-year hiatus, the establishment is once again proud to announce that they have re-opened their much-beloved garden terrace! Featuring a unique, cabin-style vibe and relaxed vacation atmosphere, this original space is truly one of the most exceptional settings in the city to spend some time unwinding. You are surrounded by the very herbs, flowers and vegetables that you will enjoy in your food, all while connecting with the company you keep and the peace and tranquility that is at the heart of the terrace. So what are you waiting for? Well, the opportunity to get a reservation sometime in the next year for starters… but aside from that, let nothing stand between you and the Joe Beef experience! After all, there are few things in life better than good food; and few better places to enjoy it than Joe Beef.



living district ST COA WE S











We all know what patio action in Canada is right? It’s based around the warm summer months with all of its blooming flowers, cold beer, parties and friends. Winter is left to rising snowdrifts, red-handled shovels and an old Christmas tree leaning against the wall trailing a few forgotten pieces of tinsel. But not at Whistler’s fine Irish pub. In a stroke of patio genius Whistler’s Irish beauty The Dubh Linn Gate, saw the opportunity to make its patio a winter haven. Tucked into a crook at the base of Whistler Blackcomb, North America’s leading ski resort, (and outside of Ireland itself), this rare Irish pub is actually Irish! The entire interior was dismantled from pubs in Ireland, transported and rebuilt into this cozy B.C. gem. Authentic is important to these guys – not only do they insist on the convivial Irish traditions of hearty food and drink, coziness and a lively musical soul, but they also employ (pretty well) every Irish person in Whistler. A rare treat indeed! The only way they could have made the pub more authentic was to move the “Irish” out onto the patio. Designed by architect Brigitte Loranger, it combines some very stringent engineering necessities with some very thoughtful and outstanding design features; the most exquisite being its fire pit. The outdoor Irish hearth warms your spirit in the dead of winter. It draws people to it like a moth to a flame while 76 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

the snow swirls around its parameters. Your breath, cold and white, hangs in the air as you exchange stories with strangers who are fast becoming friends. This hospitable atmosphere perfectly combines the Irish tradition of storytelling, music, food and drink with the long established après-ski tradition of, well…. storytelling, music, food and drink. The weather is the unmistakable “elephant on the patio.” Located in the middle of a temperate rainforest/snow shed, the elements are a major consideration in Whistler. The design challenge for this patio was to bridge the warm, cozy interior of the pub with the (sometimes stark) weather of the West Coast Mountains and the visually heavy industrial machinery employed by the gondolas just across the way. The perfect solution was to build a clear-glass roof, supported by heavy steel girders straight out of the industrial age. The clear roof allows the sunshine in, protects the patrons from the elements and maintains the alpine view, while the girders support the substantial weight of the snow. These girders also carry some design weight by reaching out (archi-

tecturally) to match the ski lifts and heavy machinery that are required to lift thousands of people up the mountain every day. After all, historically an Irish pub has not only been a haven from the weather, but also a refuge for the workingman from the stark realities of industrial life. Underneath it all, there will forever be the timeless joy found in sharing a song and a story as you feel the relief of removing your boots, (whether they be work or ski boots), and the hoisting of a few pints by the fire pit on the Dubh Linn Gate patio.






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Prince Edward Island LOBSTER ON THE WHARF An icon of Charlottetown for over twenty years, Lobster on the Wharf is the city’s premier seafood destination. Located right on the bustling city waterfront, a trip there is almost overwhelming to your senses. The aroma of grilled seafood basted in butter hangs in the air, and the sight of beautiful vistas overlooking the Hillsborough River are enough to make you feel as though transported to a quieter, simpler time. Yachts and fishing vessels pass by in a beautifully scripted salute, the wildlife plentiful and surrounding. Centrally located and just a short distance from the downtown core, Lobster on the Wharf has a long and rather unique past. Founded as MacKinnon’s Lobster Pound (a large commercial enclosure for live lobsters) in the 1960’s, Lobster on the Wharf has since transformed itself into one of the most frequented venues around. The richness and history of the area is on full display here, the eatery surrounded by historic neighbourhoods filled with traditional, wooden clad homes; 19th century architecture and influences are prevalent throughout, and local artisan shops line the streets like constant reminders of days since passed. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the conversations of politicians 150 years ago, discussing confederation, freedom, democracy and the future of their society. But enough about politics; what you’ve really come for is the food! Lobster on the Wharf prides itself on time-honoured cooking techniques, menu versatility and the freshness of their catch. In fact, immediately upon entering the eatery, you’ll notice an adjoining seafood market; and this is not something that exists coincidentally. Lobster on the Wharf keeps its carefully selected array of lobsters in a natural, salt-water tank system, providing 78 I NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

the precise temperature and salinity for optimal freshness. There is nothing synthetic, no chemicals and no attempt to duplicate natural seawater here. You might as well be pulling them straight out of the trap with your own hands! Ordering a lobster dinner with potato salad and coleslaw is an East Coast classic, but is far from the only thing on the menu. Lobster on the Wharf allows you to build your own seafood platter, providing unlimited amounts of clams, mussels, fish and oysters to choose from (with several more options available for you ‘land lovers’ out there).The flavours are sublime, the freshness unmatched and the level of satisfaction upon leaving is second to none. With over three hundred seats available, you have the option of enjoying the sea breeze from atop their two-story deck, or escaping the heat into one of several charming dining rooms. So if you’re in the area from May to October (and have brought along a healthy appetite), drop by and experience the splendor that is Lobster on the Wharf. You’ll come for the food, but will stay for the memories.





FULLY-INTEGRATED HOT TUBS IN-GROUND OR IN-DECK 4 different shapes available. Visit our Web Site for more information. 1.888.620.2080


40ml Tanqueray 10 Gin 25ml Sweet Vermouth 25ml Campari TO MAKE:

1. Build into mixing glass and stir over ice 2. Strain over ice into rocks glass 3. Garnish with an orange twist

*Traditionally this drink is equal parts of the above ingredients, I prefer mine with a little extra gin. Also recommend spritzing the drink with mescal if you have some, it makes the botanicals pop!


• Please drink responsibly. In memory of Jazmine Houle 1994-2009 •

living district


He had a mission. Thank gawd AC/DC wasn’t in the market for another band member, or we could very well have lost one of Canada’s top bartenders! BY LORI SWEEZEY – DUNDAS, ON


rant Sceney is the middle child of Robyn (a nurse) and Ian (an Accountant) Sceney of Australia. This handsome Twenty-six year old, left his home in Melbourne at the ripe old age of twenty to go work on Hayman Island on the Great Barrier Reef. He worked there for two years but decided to follow a couple of his Canadian mates back to Vancouver just in time for the 2010 winter Olympics. “I originally thought I’d stay for 6 months….but I’ve fallen in love with this city and haven’t left,” says Sceney. Sceney now heads up a team of six bartenders at Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. “My favourite part of this job is the people I get to work with everyday. I have a great team and enjoy coming into work.” TV shows like Mixology and Bar Rescue are shining a bright light on this scene, and as a result, mixologists are starting to join the ranks of celebrity professionals. Sceney appears to be making his mark on the industry. Sceney has a load of credentials under his young belt, but most recently he was bestowed the title of 2014’s Canadian Bartender of the Year in the country’s biggest and most prestigious bartending competition, Diageo World Class Canada. Now that’s a big deal! “I enjoy these competitions,” says Sceney. “There are so many talented bartenders in this country and it’s always a thrill to come up against them and see how they are pushing the boundaries in our craft. It inspires me to work harder and explore other avenues in creating a unique drinking experience for my guests.” When Sceney isn’t working or travelling, he enjoys a good game of Australian football while the weather is cooperating and hits the hills with his snowboard during the winter months. So he couldn’t have picked a more appropriate place to live! NL had an opportunity to ask Sceney a few questions about his life in the “spirit” world.

NLM: When did you decide that mixology was your “thing”? SCENEY: I don’t think I ever decided that mixology was my “thing”.

Essentially I am a little kid at heart and I kind of just fell into it. I was never able to sit still in class in high school and my teachers were always telling me to stop talking. I have fallen into an industry where I get to move on my feet, talk to people and be creative. I never knew this world existed and its definitely not one that the careers counsellor recommended either; but I have found something that I am passionate about.

dinner I would suggest a variation of a classic Curacao punch. It has aged rum and brandy that will give it the body to stand up to the turkey, but has soda and citrus that will give it the acidity required to cut through the turkey gravy. The drink has a good structure that can easily be adjusted to suit the meal by adding spices and different sweetening agents.

NLM: Are there any misconceptions that the general population has regarding mixed drinks, for example mixing certain spirits together (or not), that you’d like to clarify?

SCENEY: Everyone has a different approach to drinking and what they

want to get out of it. I would never tell a guest that, how they want to enjoy a drink or their choice of mixing is the wrong way. They are the ones drinking it after all. I think a common misconception with consumers is that they associate cocktails with “boozy libations.” There is a world of great fortified wines and Sherries that can be used to create delicious, low octane libations with complex flavours without the foggy hangover.

NLM: With fall and winter fast approaching are there any new up and coming drinks/cocktails that might suit this time of year?

SCENEY: Flips, punches, toddies, and other hot drinks of any modifications are always reoccurring favourites at this time of year. As winter approaches you will see bartenders start to use more stone fruit, maple and spices, and consumers will start to indulge in richer style drinks. NLM: Do you have a particular personal favourite cocktail? SCENEY: Negroni. It’s a simple 3-ingredient classic cocktail of gin, sweet

vermouth and Campari. It delivers a unique and harmonious balance of aromatics and botanicals.

NLM: What type of people do you like to surround yourself with? SCENEY: Positive, fun and outgoing people. You are a mirror of the peo-

ple you surround yourself with….. so surround yourself with good people.

NLM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now? SCENEY: Ten years from now is too far away for me to comprehend. I

enjoy living in the moment and don’t take myself too seriously. I do see myself being in this industry in some capacity as it’s where my passion lies but my life has changed and come so far in the past ten years….. I am just excited about what the future holds.

NLM: Do mixologists pair drinks with food for customers the same

NLM: Bartender or Barkeep? SCENEY: I am a bartender. I tend bar.

SCENEY: Of course, cocktails can definitely pair with food. You almost have more room to create drinking experiences as you can literally manipulate the flavour compounds and structure of the drink to match the dish and adjust it so it works. This isn’t always easy to execute. With a turkey

This past summer, Sceney represented Canada in the Diageo World Class Bartender competition in London, England. He ranked in the top six world wide. Natural Landscape Magazine would like to congratulate Sceney on this awesome accomplishment. We are hoping he’ll stop by and make us all a drink sometime!

way a sommelier or cicerone would with wine and beer? What would you drink for example with a turkey dinner?


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Who would ever think to incorporate pumpkin into your diet on a regular basis? Not many of us would - unless it’s autumn and Starbucks is serving up their pumpkin spice lattes. Although this classic winter squash makes it’s rounds in pies and desserts at the same time every year, it deserves more acknowledgment for its nutrient content and health benefits than it gets. Pumpkin is also surprisingly versatile when it comes to meal prep, easily added to loaves and pasta dishes, soups, or served as a side dish either roasted or mashed. Here are some of my favourite health perks of pumpkin and it’s super food seeds.

your waistline in check 1 Keep Pumpkin is a fruit packed with healthy fibre, which helps you stay full longer and can prevent over eating. On top of that, it is very low cal (there are only 49 calories in 1 cup of mashed pumpkin). A word to the wise though, don’t confuse pumpkin with pumpkin pie filling if selecting a canned product, the sugar and salt added to the latter will ultimately not do your waistline any favours.

natural multivitamin 2 Your Like many fruits, pumpkin offers a healthy dose of vitamins and

minerals including vitamins A, E, C and an array of B vitamins. It is most well known for its high content of vitamin A, which is important to support skin health, immune function, and has even been shown to improve night vision. A pumpkin a day keeps the doctor away?

your cancer risk 3 Lower Several different compounds in pumpkin, including vitamin A,

function as an antioxidant in the body, which may help reduce the risk of cancer. Antioxidants are known to help protect cells from damage by compounds called free radicals, which may influence the formation of cancer as well as many other aging effects on the body. Interestingly, this anticancer effect seems to be best when antioxidants are consumed from a food source as opposed to a supplement!

off colds and flu 4 Ward To get this benefit you are going to want to save your seeds! These

little gems are packed with zinc, which has been shown to support immune function, as well as sleep and mood. Seeds are always best consumed raw because heat used during roasting can damage their healthy oils, although you will be happy to know that even your roasted pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc. Try not to roast for more than 20 minutes to protect their oils! Try adding raw seeds to baking, or on top of your oatmeal!

your mood 5 Boost Pumpkin seeds are also high in an amino acid called tryptophan. Our body uses tryptophan to produce serotonin in our brainwhich is the ‘happy hormone’ that helps regulate mood and may play a role in both appetite and bone health.

Challenge yourself to incorporate pumpkin into your diet once per week – and try out this amazing pumpkin pie smoothie recipe! You just might love it so much…’ll want it every day!


PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) 1 cup milk or dairy substitute (example: almond milk) ½ banana (keep some peeled, halved bananas in your freezer to chill smoothies!) Honey to taste (1 tsp, add slowly – you can always add more) ½ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp nutmeg 2 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy – as simple as that!

Authorized Dealer of



Piece: Cnidarians study

BIOLUMINESCENCE When functionality and art collide, you have the perfect storm. ColumAnd that perfect storm on the Sunshine Coast of British Colum bia is Wayne Harjula. An import from England, he now belongs to us. Harjula and his wife, glass artist Miyuki, called Vancouver home for several years but decided that they needed to raise their three children closer to nature. This move had a profound effect on Harjula’s work. His affinity for underwater creatures and their ability to adapt to environmental change is the focus of much of his current composition. Using recycled glass bottles, Harjula captures the unique vitality of each sea creature he replicates, bringing life to a world that many of us will only ever see in books. His use of vibrant colours coupled with his classic yet whimsical form, create piec-

es that draw you into another world. A world of nature in its purest form. “My future is a narrative of the study of nature. We are nature; our story is a cumulative of living, study and portrayal. Mediocrity hides in industrious processes needed for efficiency, profit and comfort yet deprives us of attachment, personality and a flexible future. Nature on the other hand, even in our absence, can surprise us every day we care to look, and offers solutions beyond our wildest dreams.”

Piece: Chimney Garden Mike Weinmaster is passionate about verdure and environmental issues. He strongly believes that we must find innovative ways to better integrate nature into our ever-expanding cityscapes. He is a master at creating green art in underutilized vertical space as displayed in this beautiful Chimney Garden. His ‘natural eye’ for design is used to create works of beauty, health, ecological diversity and sustainability.

Photo by Rob Balon

Piece: Hope Erica Balon, aka EGR (b. 1978), is an accomplished artist, illustrator and muralist. Her work challenges perceptions of public art, graffiti and women in society, delving into the notion of finding our place in the world by depicting archetypes within wondrous settings. For over 16 years her artwork, illustrations and street art murals have appeared across Canada, the United States and as far as the UK and Italy. Her studio is located in Toronto, where she is currently facilitating Aerosol Art Workshops at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her work was included in ‘Housepaint’, Canada’s first national exhibition of street art at the Institute for Contemporary Culture at The Royal Ontario Museum.

home grown

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ew things in life are as inviting to the senses as a lively, smalltown waterfront. On any given day you may hear church bells ringing, merchants calling out their daily catch, fisherman hauling in their nets, or patrons enjoying themselves at a harbor-front bar. One of Canada’s most bustling seaside communities can be found in Fog City, Newfoundland (formerly St. John’s), and it is in this community that we find another treat for our senses: the band, Waterfront Fire. Having been born with an inescapable musical influence in their lineage, Waterfront Fire use the music in their blood to pour an ambient blend of bluesy rock into legion halls and seedy bars across the province, rapidly moving them from the city’s best kept secret to a household name. “When we first started writing together, we would all trail off into different directions and just stop and laugh,” says drummer Ryan Tobin, “But now we are finding that the more we play together, the more we are able to feed off each other and steer the songs in the right direction.” With everything from vocal training to



drumming on pizza boxes to high school metal bands under their belts, this lively sextet brought their defining repertoires to life in 2013, with producer Georgie Newman at GNAudio. Their goal? “To capture [the] live sound as accurately as possible,” explained keyboardist Sean Jessome. Waterfront Fire’s self titled EP was independently released in March 2014, to a host of positive reviews. In the vein of renowned Canadian rock precursors The Tragically Hip and fellow St. John’s natives Hey Rosetta!, Waterfront Fire’s debut EP resonates as a live-off-the-floor performance from a tightly knit band; a feat many contemporaries struggle with. Jordan Coaker’s ghostly tenor vocals float smoothly atop Brandon Young’s backbone harmonies, going handin-hand like Italian espresso and New York cheesecake. To boot, drummer Ryan Tobin and keyboardist Sean Jessome hold down a “no frills” attitude with conviction, but stay ready to strike when the iron’s hot, delivering subtle rhythmic nuances that set them apart from the rest. “Our music is a reflection of ourselves in a world where nothing is certain,” says gui-

tarist Andrew Boyd. The cherry on top of their musical sundae is the child-like sense of wonder that lingers in their lyrics, like memories at a hallowed place. The group’s lyrical topics run the gamut of intellectual thought, addressing issues like betrayal (“This won’t work/ it’ll never work from your dirty hands to your dulled out toothless smirk”) and self-discovery (“To be lost is to be understood/ I found my way out of the woods”) with a depth that is beyond their years. “As musicians, you’re always going to wonder if people will like you or your music,” says vocalist Jordan Coaker “In overcoming that, we have remained true to ourselves and any success we’ve had so far has come as a result of that.” Without the crutch of played-out rock star ambitions and by demonstrated positive chemistry as a unit, Waterfront Fire are hitting the East Coast indie scene with perfect timing. Hot off of a series of local shows, Waterfront Fire plans to spend the rest of the year writing their new record, with a subsequent tour in the works. For updates on upcoming releases, tour dates and media, visit

home grown

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ever have I ever teared up more than once through the first listen of a record. That changed on June 17, when Juno award-winning band Digging Roots released their anticipated third album For The Light (via Sugar Bush Music). Partners in life and pen, ShoShona Kish (vocals, guitar) and Raven Kanatakta (vocals, guitar, production) dug deep from the pain in their hearts and the love of their land to craft a romantic roots rock record with empowering protest undertones and a strong sense of identity. Combining a traditional Anishinabek songwriting practice of writing melodies corresponding with the landscape, with a seemingly endless transition of genres, For The Light plays like it was preserved in a time capsule; a ghostly reminder of the golden era of the mainstream Canadian music scene.   In 2010, the duo cooped themselves up, in a Lake Simcoe cabin to compose their sophomore record We Are. Featuring collaborations from rising Aboriginal artists DJ Bear Witness, singer-songwriter Kinnie Starr and Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, Digging Roots thanked the company they kept on stage while being honoured as the winner of the Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording of the Year. Fast forward to 2014 and you’ll find yourself at “The Bird House”, the new recording studio that pairs the nostalgic aesthetic of vintage recording equipment with the contemporary conveniences of a digital audio workstation. A couple of record-collections-chock full of timeless records from the ‘60s and ‘70s helped build the ground that Digging Roots walks upon as musicians. “We have ribbon microphones hanging around our studio with coloured sounding preamps, tape delays, and tube-spring reverbs that have an older, warm sound… that we captured on the album,” explained Kanatakta. “For The Light is an album of songs that were written from a love affair with the ukulele… everything that comes out of [it] has such a sweet voice.” The ukulele isn’t the only one with a sweet voice. ShoShona’s honeycomb tone draws from the smokey power of Erykah Badu and the soufflé delicacy of Karen Carpenter. When she comes together with the whispery, gravel sound of her partner Raven, Wall of Sound harmonies become a delectable motif that age beautifully to the ear as the record plays on. 


But over anything that Digging Roots has to offer, their lyrics are the tour-de-force that will keep you coming back. From the heart-stinging confessional Stay (“You’re the house I want to move my heart into / make a home in you”) to the playful tongue-in-cheek Rich Girl (“From the moment you were mine / I’ve found diamonds inside…”) to the unifying I Is We (“It makes two of us where there could be one / makes holes in us where there once was none), Digging Roots’ “For The Light” is sharper than a knife and is carving the group into maple-sweet mainstays in the mainstream Canadian music scene.  To keep up with their latest ventures, visit Digging Roots at


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14-02-11 12:20 PM

PLANT PICKS Charlie Dobbin’s


Nothing says ‘spring’ like the sight of bright colours, the smell of blooming flowers and the sounds of life emerging from its wintery hibernation. For many, spring is the perfect time of year; not too hot, not too cold, everybody is in a good mood and love is in the air. It is a season to get inspired, to try new things, and to once again put your green thumb back to work. And if you’re in the gardening spirit (and looking forward to spring), then there is only one cure: planting some bulbs now that will meet you there.


discover district

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Spring blooming bulbs are easy to plant in the cool days of fall, and can easily survive the winter months nestled snuggly under your sod (below the frost line, of course). Their only weakness? Yup, you guessed it: squirrels. Curious and pesky by nature, these little landscapers will dig up your bulbs the second you turn your back, and then re-plant them according to their own eclectic design. *Tip: Cover the newly planted areas in your garden with mulch, leaves, or even thorny rose canes to help thwart the pesky squirrels!

favourite spring flowering bulbs


Crocuses are the traditional harbingers of spring. They bear grasslike leaves and grow unique, cup-shaped flowers (in white, yellow, pink, lilac or deep purple), which are held close to the ground. Many have strong perfumes that lure bees out of their hives in February or March. Small bulbs like crocus not only provide winter garden colour, but they naturalize, meaning that they spread and come back year after year. As a bonus, deer, squirrels, and rabbits rarely bother these early little bulbs. Make sure the soil drains well, because bulbs will rot in soggy ground. Plant crocus corms in groups or clusters a few inches apart, and plant in groups of 10 or more.


Species (or botanical) Tulips are less widely grown—and known— than the more common garden hybrids found world-wide. The bulbs of species tulips are small: one-third to one-half as large as modern cultivars, and their flowers look best when planted in groups of 12 or more (they are essentially wildflowers that require minimal care). Species tulips are less susceptible to pests and disease than are the majority of modern cultivars. Most of these natural types will increase slowly if they’re given the same conditions that they enjoy in the wild: good drainage, hot, dry summers, and cold winters.


Hyacinthoides hispanica (aka Spanish bluebells) bloom profusely in vibrant spring colours: blue, rose-purple, white and pink. Leaves may be between 20-50cm long and 10-35mm wide, often starting rigid and


erect at first, before ultimately becoming floppy and spreading across the ground later in the season. The flower spike is usually 20-50cm high, with the flowers arranged in a raceme that is stiff and upright. These bulbs are unusual since they grow and flower best in shade, relying upon moist, rich soil. Over time they will multiply by offsets and will also self-seed.


Scilla siberica or Siberian squill is a native of Russia and Eurasia. Its name is likely derived from its cold hardy nature, often blooming down to Hardiness Zone 2. If your eye has been caught by a large swath of brilliant blue in an early spring lawn, chances are you’re seeing naturalized scilla. The plants themselves don’t get much taller than about 15cm, but they make up for their diminutive size by spreading out and blooming profusely. The tiny bulbs grow and multiply easily, and the plants will also self-seed, making scilla a perfect choice for naturalizing.


Chionodoxa are small starry flowers that appear in early spring, providing a welcoming jolt of rich colour. Colours range from white, pink to blue (these bulbs produce some of the clearest blues in all of nature) and are happy to naturalize in gardens across much of the country. Over time, the chionodoxa bulbs will multiply and spread so the bright patches will increase in size and intensity.

TERRA is your one-stop garden lifestyle partner

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comic relief


1. Contrary to popular opinion, it is wise to

feed bears, as they are reasonable creatures and, once sated by a granola bar or a tin of salmon, are likely to be on their merry way.

2. Out for a hike in bear country? Don’t wear

a bell. Far from frightening bears away, these tools function as dinner bells. Do bring along a bottle of bear repellent, otherwise known as bear urine. Your local outdoor retailer will stock a variety of brands. Be sure to read the fine print, and choose only repellents derived from the three-legged Labrador hissing black bear. This rare sub-species subsists exclusively on a diet of asparagus. 3. Cornered by a hungry bear? Don’t play dead.

Have you ever refrained from eating a basket of chicken wings because it played dead? Do punch it in the nose. Like sharks and bullies, bears have a special enzyme in their bodies that makes them cry and run away when they’re hit in the nose. If you can’t get close enough to strike, disorient the bear for a moment by singing the theme song to “Two and A Half Men.” Bears are known to find the lyrics intoxicating. Do run. Depending on the season, a bear’s body shape oscillates between fat and morbidly obese. He won’t catch you.

No animal embodies the raw beauty, mystique and austerity of the Canadian wilderness like the Canadian bear. Some would even argue that the bear, polite to a fault and known to enjoy a cold lager, is a more apt national symbol than the foul-smelling, if industrious, beaver. Though widely admired, the Canadian bear’s true nature and habits are largely misunderstood. The layperson’s knowledge of the species is polluted by rumours, lore and outright falsehoods. Now, the onset of winter, is as good a time as any for a bit of ursine edification, as bears are foraging ever more widely and boldly in search of the food that will sustain them through their hibernation. If you spend time at the cottage, or live on the fringes of civilization or at the dump, you might just encounter a bear this fall. Heed the following advice to ensure that you foster healthy and safe relationships with the bears in your life:

4. Cornered by an enraged bear? Don’t waste your time with cast-iron frying pans or shotguns. The only defences against a bear in this state are a tank, a trebuchet, or a pitch-perfect rendition of the song noted above. 5. Never come between a female and her

cubs. Rather, approach the cubs from the other side. Bring a jar of peanut butter as a token of friendship.

6. Finally, never look a bear in the eye, as this

will make him feel cornered. Bear authorities are divided on the question of why bears react unfavourably to eye contact. Some say it’s because they’re fiercely territorial; others believe that bears are mildly autistic.

the not so average joe




As long as he was playing outside, James “Daniel” LeBlanc was a happy boy. Not much has changed for LeBlanc over the years. This 24 year old is content as long as he’s outside. So it’s no surprise that his work happens to unfold in the great outdoors. Born in Hamilton, Ontario on a hot August night in 1988 to Pamela and Jim LeBlanc, Daniel was the middle child of three, (and we would never say “problem middle child”). By the time he was three, amidst a divorce, Leblanc and his family moved north to Longlac, then Geraldton, Ontario; heaven for a boy who wanted nothing more than to hunt, fish and build forts! In his younger years (cuz he’s so old now) he had a “thing” for taking small motors apart and rebuilding them. “I’d break things just so I could fix them!”, he laughs. But these days Leblanc is into building intricate car audio systems and rebuilding dirt bikes. He no longer has time for tree forts. After moving back to Hamilton, Ontario at the beginning of high school, Leblanc began working in restaurant kitchens. He needed the cash because by age 17 he was living on his own and trying to make his way in the world. He moved through the ranks, from dishwasher to line cook, but with graduation looming in the near future, he just couldn’t see himself cooking for the rest of his life. A friend suggested he try his hand at landscaping…… hardscaping in particular. “There is something very satisfying about being a part of creating something from an actual design. Something about taking a design from paper, to life.” With several years working for Landscape firms under his belt and absorbing as much as he could, Leblanc now works for Serenity Stone out of Ancaster, Ontario doing some of the most beautiful work in the industry. “I’m learning other aspects of the business now, like quoting and billing…..things that I’d never really given much thought to before.” Leblanc has some definite plans for the future. “I’d like to build pools and do a bit more custom natural stone work, and within the next 10 years I’d like to be project managing or running my own business.” Leblanc will undoubtedly accomplish what he has his sights on in his quiet, unassuming manner. In the mean time….if you can’t find him on a jobsite, you’ll probably find him camping with his wife and three year old daughter… kicking back with a cold one and a fishing rod close by.

RECIPE Bacon wrapped asparagus 2 lb fresh asparagus, ends trimmed 12 slice bacon, uncooked 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1/2 cup butter 1 Tbsp soy sauce 1/2 tsp garlic salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Divide asparagus spears into 12 bundles (3-4 pieces each). Wrap 1 piece of bacon around each bundle, starting 1/2” from bottom of the tips. Secure the bacon-wrapped asparagus with a toothpick. Arrange bundle in a shallow baking pan. 3. Combine brown sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; heat mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture over asparagus bundles. 4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until spears have begun to wilt and bacon looks fully cooked. Enjoy!

FOOD: hands down….Bacon TV SHOW: Treehouse…..with his daughter Alysa MUSIC: Hip Hop/R&B HOLIDAY: Christmas BEVERAGE: MGD beer PIECE OF CLOTHING: My red jersey TIME OF DAY: Supper PLACE TO TRAVEL: Geraldton, On HERO/MENTOR: Mom and stepdad Gary

The perfect volume, everywhere. Strategically placed satellite speakers and subwoofers encompass the perimeter of the property directing the sound towards the listening areas. The result is breathtaking performance and a perfect blanket of sound. The additional benefit is that the music is contained in the areas where it's wanted and not spilling out to disturb neighbors.


Outdoor Spaces TO LIVE & LOVE

Natural Landscape Magazine Fall 2014