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8 Lifestyle May/June 2021
“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.” AMANDA GORMAN
n this space, in recent months, I’ve written about our collective struggles with empathy, coping and having a sense of humour. Now that we’re well past the oneyear mark of living through the global pandemic, it seems like we need to own those qualities more than ever. I love to laugh and always hope others will join in. There’s nothing like a good giggle to clear the air or to defuse a feeling of gloom. So, when I was at the Western Fair Farmer’s Market a couple months ago and saw that one of my favourite local designers had some humorous masks, I was thrilled. Nicole Snobelen is a young woman, a Fanshawe College grad, who has already had several acclamations. She’s been recognized as one of London’s young entrepreneurs to watch in local media in 2018 and the Better Business Bureau of Western Ontario named her one of its Spark award winners in 2019. This year she received a sizeable grant from Canada Life as part of its program to boost businesses that have evolved well during the pandemic. She makes great clothes, but it was the pithy mask shown in my headshot above that caught my eye. Keep an eye on her and her company, Evelyn by Nicole Snobelen, as they continue climbing while lifting others. Nicole isn’t the only London designer to turn her sewing savvy into masks for the masses, as two others I know – Kay Habib, of Skilled Accents, and Rakhee
Chopra, of Rakhee Chopra Designs – have also experienced success while satisfying a public need. Wearing fun, fashionable masks is just one way of coping gracefully with the gerbil wheel of change that we’re on now: keeping up with new rules, public mandates and private stressors. One colleague, who is also an entrepreneur, has added sparkly, elegant masks to her repertoire at her company Shoes, Boots and Bags. Andrea Beatty made me giggle when she said that “adding a sparkling mask below your sparkling eyes makes it all easier.” The masks she carries – each comes with its own jeweled lanyard to cleverly keep it safe around your neck when not in use – are dazzling with a hint (or more than a hint) of bling for a fun fashion hit. They are made by another Londoner, Jacqueline Kent, of Jacqueline Kent Jewelry. All these savvy female entrepreneurs are rolling with the economic punches by offering safe, contactless pick-up or delivery of their products. Be well, be safe, shop local!
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May/June 2021 Lifestyle 9
contents M AY | J U N E 202 1
HOMESTYLE 13 Just add water Benefits of living lakeside
19 Cottage style Relax and stay awhile
44 Lofty ambitions Attic reno yields unique space
49 Spring into action Tips to gear up for summer
TRAVELSTYLE 25 Local love Day tripping made easy
Custom Home Furniture & Decor
34 Head south Port Stanley is a happening place
MADE IN CANADA
36 Head north Widder Station levels up
YOURSTYLE 40 Clean sweep Is a closet reset in order?
53 Mental wellness Embrace gratitude
warehouse74.com 10 Lifestyle May/June 2021
EDITOR’S NOTE: While Lifestyle Magazine wholeheartedly supports local shopping and travel, we urge you to adhere to provincial mandates and check area health unit guidelines before doing so. All activities in stories were permissible at time of writing.
57 60 61 62
Porsche London Covers Designer’s Edge Boutique Firenze Homecastle Windows and Doors
magazine PUBLISHER Lana L. Breier EDITOR Jill Ellis-Worthington WRITERS Ellen Ashton-Haiste Clare Dear Jill Ellis-Worthington Kathy Mueller Wayne Newton Kathy Rumleski Janis Wallace ACCOUNT MANAGERS Annette Gent 519-200-0283 email@example.com
Lorraine Lukings 519-520-7676 firstname.lastname@example.org Jan McGrath 519-243-2932 email@example.com
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Lifestyle is published six times a year by 2251632 Ontario Inc. c.o.b. Lifestyle Magazine 108 Tuyll Street, Bayfield N0M 1G0 519-873-0989 firstname.lastname@example.org Copies are distributed to selected homes, magazine stands and local businesses in London and area.
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May/June 2021 Lifestyle 11
OKE WOODSMITH • GRAND BEND
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TAKE A DEEP
MORE OPTING FOR LAKESIDE LIVING By Ellen Ashton Haiste
Relaxing in a Muskoka chair, glass of wine in hand, overlooking an expansive sand beach and listening to the soft lapping of waves on the shore, as the sun, shrouded in a cloak of pink and gold, sinks into the lake. This might well be the perfect definition of stress-free living. It’s certainly a lifestyle that’s drawing Ontarians in droves to lakeside communities, a trend that has ramped up significantly in the recent months of the COVID pandemic with its international travel restrictions.
May/June 2021 Lifestyle 13
Studies show that interaction with nature can reduce hypertension and improve memory and dementia.
There has long been a trend of people, often baby boomers approaching retirement, looking for homes on the lake, says Bayfield-based real estate broker Brian Coombs, who’s been selling properties along Lake Huron for more than two decades. “But,” he says, “since COVID hit, a year ago, the demand for waterfront living has increased dramatically. There’s more urgency to escape the city; 2020 was
14 Lifestyle May/June 2021
a whirlwind year for real estate.” It has been an equally busy year, with sales going strong into 2021, at Kokomo Beach Club, says marketing specialist Jessica de Lange of the resort community in the Lake Erie village of Port Stanley, developed by London’s Wastell Homes. “Many people are looking for cottages to rent or buy, just because of what’s happening (with the pandemic),” she says. “They’re
looking for second homes or vacation homes with a slower pace of life in a quieter town.” Coombs and de Lange agree that a slower paced lifestyle is a major attraction. “There’s a relaxed, chilled feel,” Coombs says. “We have beautiful sunsets, scenic beaches and walking trails, an active outdoor life.” The variety of water-based activities for an active lifestyle is a magnet, he
TOP Port Stanley is the closest beach town to London and Wastell’s Kokomo Beach Club TOP Port Stanley is the closest beach town development will offer the serenity of living to London and Wastell’s Kokomo Beach Club within walking distance of Lake Erie to hundevelopment will offer the serenity of living dreds as it continues to be built out. within walking distance of Lake Erie to hundreds as it continues to be built out.
LEFT Being able to host family and friends and provide them with access to the benefits LEFT Being able to host family and friends of lakeside living is one of the attractions of and provide them with access to the benefits cottage life. of lakeside living is one of the attractions of cottage life.
RIGHT Kokomo Beach Club will include clubhouse and green space amenities set against RIGHT Kokomo Beach Club will include clubthe backdrop of Port Stanley’s eclectic retail house and green space amenities set against environment, theatre and golf course. the backdrop of Port Stanley’s eclectic retail environment, theatre and golf course.
adds. “Sailing is a big thing here, and are aislot of power boats, adds.there “Sailing a big thing here, lots of water sports, lots of fishing.” and there are a lot of power boats, But proximity to the lots beaches of waterand sports, lots of fishing.” water clinch it, he believes. “Being But beaches and proximity to the close to the water just gives you a water clinch it, he believes. “Being soothing feeling,” he says. close to the water just gives you a It is a fact borne outsays. by scientific soothing feeling,” he research and studies, showing that It is a fact borne out by scientific interaction with nature can reduce research and studies, showing that hypertension andnature improve interaction with canmemory reduce
and dementia. In his 2014 book, Blue Mind: The surprising science thatBlue and dementia. In his 2014 book, shows how being near, in, on, or Mind: The surprising science that under water can make you happier, shows how being near, in, on, or healthier, more better under water canconnected, make you and happier, at what you do, marine biologist, healthier, more connected, and better Wallace J. Nichols, confirms evidence at what you do, marine biologist, that being close to bodies of water Wallace J. Nichols, confirms evidence promotes health and that beingmental close to bodies ofhappiness. water The lake is the big drawing card for promotes mental health and happiness. Kokomo residents, de Lange says, The lake is the big drawing card for
noting sales representatives for the community that anecdotally noting sales report representatives for the most buyers are attracted to the beach community report that anecdotally and slower mostthe buyers arelifestyle. attracted to the beach Although Kokomo Beach Club is not and the slower lifestyle. right on the lake but is located a few Although Kokomo Beach Club is not blocks from the village’s Blue Flag right on the lake but is located a few certified Main This certificablocks from theBeach. village’s Blue Flag tion signals its good water quality and certified Main Beach. This certificasafety. The community is also within tion signals its good water quality and easy walking distance toisthe safety. The community alsoquieter within
hypertension and improve memory
Kokomo residents, de Lange says,
easy walking distance to the quieter May/June 2021 Lifestyle 15
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Erie Rest shoreline, just west of the main beach. While beach life may top other water activities, the village boasts several bustling marinas for those who pursue life aboard their vessel as a summer escape. According to Coombs and de Lange another attraction of waterfront communities is the town amenities. Port Stanley and the Lake Huron communities, from Grand Bend to Tobermory, offer an array of eclectic shops, eateries ranging from casual to fine dining and pursuits from golf to theatre. “It’s really a holistic, well-rounded destination with plenty of options for recreation and things to do,” de Lange says of Port Stanley. In some ways, there’s a symbiotic relationship developing, as the character of the communities attract residents who, in turn, grow the options. Coombs is seeing a trend to more year-round living as opposed to vacationing. “Living along the lake is more vibrant in the off-season than it used to be as more people are moving in,” he says. “There’s more things to do and restaurants and shops are staying open where they would once have closed up from Christmastime to mid-April.” Kokoma is also catering to this year-round lifestyle, with a residentsonly clubhouse, parklands, a walking trail around the community perimeter and even aBeachcomBer maintenance package to London provide lawn care, snow removal and property supervision • Hot when Tubsowners are away.“We want to create the vibe of • Pools & Saunas a carefree, stress-free veryGrills casual • Charcoal & and Pellet n and calm lifestyle,” Lange says. • Pizza Ovens • de Outdoor Kitchens • Gazebos
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SPRING TRAVEL 2021
LOCAL Road trips ByJanis Wallace
YOUR GUIDE TO TRAVELLING LOCALLY
The pandemic has altered the way we see the world, but the upside is a unique opportunity to discover hidden gems close to home. Supporting local and regional businesses has never been more essential. Safety protocols may be different as spring and summer go on, so check local health units' websites before you go. ENJOY THIS GUIDE TO ALL THAT LOCAL TRAVEL HAS TO OFFER. May/June 2021 Lifestyle 25
UN TY SU NSE TS
Wander the west coast HURON COUNTY
HOMEGROWN DELICIOUS East Street Cider started with an interest in wine, an education in business and food sciences, and a love of the Goderich area. The pieces seemed to come together in 2015-16 for David Aylward and Ellen McManus. An industrial building her grandfather bought in the 1950s had available space and a published report touted the county’s suitability for grape-growing. The pair had dreamed of starting a winery, but cider was gaining in popularity, so they opted to establish a cidery using 100 per cent Ontario apples. “A big part of our brand and our vision is incorporating the history of the building,” says David. “It was a great opportunity to rejuvenate the building and create a community-oriented, comfortable space.” The Runciman Foundry, built in 1856, has a storied past as a foundry, bicycle factory, engine works, hosiery company, bottling works, road machinery, marine, and shuffleboard manufacturer. “This is a cool building we want to share with
everyone. There is so much history as industries and entrepreneurial ventures. We see ourselves as part of the evolution, the next generation.” David says they “are trying to focus on creative, refreshing, approachable ciders – good for any occasion that everybody can enjoy.” The flavours blend modern and traditional. David’s choice is Harvest Botanical, a balance of fruity and floral with a crisp dry quality. This summer they plan to add a tasting room for their products and those of other local makers. EAST STREET CIDER 130 East Street, Goderich www.eaststreetcider.com
ALL ABOARD EATS Picture passengers alighting from a train and heading off to the mineral spring spa or the beach. The station became a hub for tourism, and population and commercial growth for Goderich after it was built in 1907. After a five-year renovation, it became home to the Beach Street Station restaurant. The picturesque one-storey, red brick building sits on a foundation of local limestone, and its hip roof, tower, arched entries and stone details must have added to a sense of arrival. Inside, original floors, radiators and decorative plaster are lit by large windows – perfect to enjoy a meal and the famous Lake Huron sunsets. BEACH STREET STATION 2 Beach Street 519-612-2212 www.facebook.com/BeachStreetStation
WALK (OR BIKE) ON THE WILD SIDE As more people look for outdoor activities to do while socially distanced, walking and cycling have become favourite solution. Here are some suggestions as Huron County offers many scenic routes to explore. 26 Lifestyle May/June 2021
THE G2G TRAIL
GOOD TO GO Traipse along the old CPR rail bed to connect with nature, local history and scenic farmlands and beach vistas. Built in 1907 as a route to the Lake Huron port, this 127-km trail now provides a path for hiking and biking from Goderich to Guelph (G2G). Some sections allow e-bikes and horseback riding, while most are wheelchair and scooter accessible. Head out with the whole family – even the dog, if leashed. In 2020, the entire trail was cleared, leveled and stone dusted. Upgrades this summer include clearing a tunnel under the highway at Blyth and a trail guide. THE G2G TRAIL www.g2grailtrail.com
MARSHES AND MORE Follow the Maitland River as it wanders from Goderich to Auburn, along a 48-km hiking trail. Choose a level – from gentle inclines to rough terrain with steep sections, rock scrambling and obstacles such as beaver dams. Blazes, which are painted vertical symbols, mark the trails. You can join an organized hike, participate in Tuesday Trompers or aim to walk it end-to-end to earn a badge. Annual events include the Candlelight Walk, a compost and plant sale, July 1 dawn walk and Camino Maitland. Look for the Old Red Oak, more than 200 years old, 30m high and 3m around. A lime kiln is a reminder of
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the area’s past as a source for building stone that can be seen in area historic buildings. Side trips reveal more items: Colborne Riverside Park; rock formations at Falls Reserve Conservation Area; Morris Tract, a mature hardwood forest; Robertson Tract, a reforested area; the village of Benmiller; the 1885 Ball’s Bridge; and Hullet Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area. MAITLAND TRAIL ASSOCIATION AND HULLET MARSH www.maitlandtrail.ca
LIKING THE LAKES The paved Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is a paved trail that is all about connecting to the water. It starts in Eastern Ontario and traces the shorelines of the Great Lakes up to Gros Cap. The section from Sarnia to Tobermory (about 500 km) offers a boardwalk stroll in Goderich, panoramic views of farmland and beach promenades in Sarnia, Grand Bend, Goderich, Port Elgin and Kincardine. Don’t miss the historic lighthouse at Goderich, one of 11 on this segment. You can see the outside of the world’s largest salt mine and the largest nuclear power plant. Family-friendly and offroads sections are offered. GREAT LAKES WATERFRONT TRAIL www.waterfronttrail.org
SIT AND SIP A love of the land and of family permeates Cornerfield Wine Co. The farm has been in the Durand family for 40 years. In 2014, they planted five acres of vineyards. Huron County’s cooler climate and clay-loam soil left by the last glaciers produce an ideal terroir for
grape growing. The resulting wines are delicate and complex with a balance of sugar and acidity. Cornerfield’s wines include: Cab Merlot, Chardonnay, Marechal Foch, Riesling, Pale Red Rose, the Farmer & Frenchman White and Red and the Last Furrow Sparkling White. Visitors can sit on the patio to enjoy breezes off the lake while tasting the wines. The Durands are happy to talk about their wines and what makes them special. CORNERFIELD WINE CO. 74444 Bluewater Highway, Bayfield 519-955-2723 www.cornerfieldwineco.com/site/home
SO BAD, IT’S GOOD A family tradition inspired Jason Ingram to establish his brewery, Bad Apple Brewery, which is a family destination. Jason’s father made his own wine and beer, so when a suitable property went on the market, Jason and his wife Sarah jumped at the opportunity to create an orchard and brewery. They modeled it on those they visited in Quebec. Visitors can sample Bad Apple’s eight brews in the rustic Tap Room or sitting among the apple trees outdoors. Choices include Jim’s Juicy IPA, Loquacious Bohemian Lager, Irish Red Ale and Apple Blossom Honey Brown. Jason says that there is a perfect drink to match any food or mood. Local musicians and food vendors complement the experience. “It’s a fun, family-friendly environment – a mustsee if you’re in the Huron County area.” BAD APPLE BREWERY 73463 Bluewater Highway, Zurich 519-476-7908 www.badapplebrewingco.com
Picture-perfect outings are the norm at Hessenland Inn, where a romantic dinner, a family exploration of the vineyard or a wedding by the waterfall are some of the options. With five acres of vineyard and 40 of garden, there is plenty of space to frame your photos. “We offer wine tasting, accommodation as well as weddings and events,” says Kelsi Trotter, wedding and event co-ordinator. “Sunset shots are popular, and the waterfall and garden make good family photos. The waterfall is the most popular ceremony site.” Owned and operated by the Ihrig family, Hessenland is Feast On certified, a program that recognizes businesses committed to sourcing Ontario-grown food and drink. Set in the farmland of Huron County, Hessenland draws on its neighbours to provide fresh, local produce. People return for birthdays and anniversaries. “We are a quiet location but we can send our guests to the beach at Grand Bend or to the shops in Bayfield,” says Kelsi. “Every time you come to Hessenland is an experience. Our team is always working to make sure you have the best family experience possible.” HESSENLAND INN 72981 Bluewater Highway, Zurich 519-236-7707 or 1-866-543-7736 www.hessenland.com
May/June 2021 Lifestyle 27
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LOCAL ROAD TRIPS ~ Continued from page 27
Explore the Forest City LONDON
FLYING HIGH Get a new perspective with a helicopter ride. Great Lakes Helicopter offers packages from London and Grand Bend with destinations for fine dining, hiking or coffee at Tim’s. Options range from 10 minutes to an all-day experience. “It’s an exciting thing to do,” says Dwayne Henderson, general manager. “It gets you out. You see the area by air.” Some of the sights include the shore of Lake Huron to Bayfield; a sunset flight finishing at Dark Horse Estate Winery and Pinery Provincial Park. Two packages from London feature a three-hour flight to Cowbell Brewing Co. in Blyth or Eddington’s in Exeter. Henderson says a helicopter package is about both the destination and getting there. “In a helicopter the visibility and experience are incredible. It ticks a lot of boxes. You’ve got the safety of a small group and the destination.” “People think you have to leave the area. There’s a lot to see in Southwestern Ontario,” he adds. GREAT LAKES HELICOPTER 519-650-4542 or 1-877-648-3732 www.greatlakeshelicopter.ca 30 Lifestyle May/June 2021
JUMPING FOR JOY Longing for adventure? Head to the Factory, Canada’s largest indoor adventure park located in the century-old Kellogg’s factory. “It was a vision the owners had years ago to make this an entertainment district,” says Rob Shackleton, general manager at 100 Kellogg. “There is something for everyone – for date night, a family outing or something with buddies.” The Factory is the big draw, says Shackleton. A 20,000-square foot trampoline park, warrior course, kids’ playground, arcade, virtual reality and escape rooms offer fun on every level. The park also boasts the highest indoor rope course in North America, 145-foot zipline, 75-foot freefall, glow dodgeball court, basketball nets, tumble tracks and a 7-km treadmill to challenge your body. A soft play area for toddlers lets them join the fun and a sitting service allows parents to enjoy an adult dinner. The Clubhouse is opening with state-of-theart golf lounge and six simulators. You’ll want to spend two to three hours at the entertainment complex. After your play, there are more options: Powerhouse Brewing Company, Paradigm Spirits Co., Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and London Children’s Museum. THE FACTORY 100 Kellogg Lane 226-213-5160 www.thefactorylondon.ca
WALKING IN THEIR SHOES Discover Whiskey Row, Bankers Row and a 19th-century site where someone got away with murder on a walking tour with intrepid guide Sylvia Chodas. “I just love the history of London. There are so many buildings still standing. The history of London is still at the Forks of the Thames.” She channels that passion into guided tours encompassing four blocks of the core starting at Covent Garden Market. “When the women were at the market, their husbands disappeared into the bars,” says Chodas, explaining the Whisky Row label. It gave birth to the first Salvation Army in Canada in London. The tour heads east, past Bankers Row and Eldon House, to see two cathedrals, the Grand Theatre and the Dominion Building. Chodas offers a highlights tour or a more in-depth one. The latter takes in sites such as Victoria Park, the Delta Armouries and Mechanics Institute, where, just like in the movies, a real murder took place during the performance of a play. You’ll have to take the tour to find out ‘who dunnit.’ Whether you’re interested in the style of buildings or the lives of the people who occupied them, it’s a street-level view of the city’s history. HISTORIC WALKING TOURS by Sylvia Chodas 519-870-1667
Road trips ABOVE Katherine “Katie” McDougall Westman, Crazy Quilt Spread, 1896, silk, cotton. Collection of Museum London; Gift of Harriet Westman, 1962
GALLERY GAZING Peek into Museum London’s vaults to see treasures from the museum’s permanent collection Taking the Long View. An hour-long virtual interactive tour is led by an art educator, providing new insights and perspectives. You’ll explore types of art, the language of art, watch a curator tour, share opinions and create something of your own. Available Thursday 6-10 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for individuals or groups. Register at: http:// museumlondon.ca/programs-events/ event/6957/ Two other exhibits run until June 13. Inuusivut Nunavummi: Our Lives on the Tundra explores the first generation of artists who contributed to the commercial development of Inuit art in their respective communities across the Arctic. Under Cover: Quilts From the Collection explores the stories women told through quilts – about themselves, their family or broader comments on social, economic, and cultural forces that influenced materials, patterns, and methods of construction.
ABOVE Pudlo Pudlat, Landscape with Caribou (Umingmuk Kalunaniituk), 1977, stonecut and stencil print on paper, ed. 19/50 Gift of Richard and Beryl Ivey, London, Ontario, 1996
VIRTUAL VICTORIAN Step back into a time of elegance with a self-guided tour of Eldon House. Brenna Ardiel, program co-ordinator, says staff will guide you through the rooms of London’s oldest residence and answer questions about the house and the Harris family who built it in 1834 and lived there until the mid-20th century. Their heirlooms and furnishings reflect the lifestyle enjoyed by four generations. You can also take a 45-minute virtual tour with a historical interpreter.
Southern exposure ELGIN COUNTY
DOWNTIME When you need to get away from it all, there’s a little haven in Elgin County where you can stop and smell the flowers or listen to the birds. The Solitude Nature Reserve provides a natural setting to recharge. Trails meander around the property, including one accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, and there are six sites for overnight camping. Pause in the gazebo to take in the stillness of the
ELDON HOUSE 481 Ridout Street North www.eldonhouse.ca 519-661-5169
MUSEUM LONDON www.museumlondon.ca
May/June 2021 Lifestyle 31
Road trips PORT STANLEY BEACH
LOCAL ROAD TRIPS ~ Continued from page 31
pond and hear songs of orioles, warblers, wrens or the croak of a northern leopard frog. Wildlife is plentiful, including white tail deer, bald eagle, blue heron, painted turtles and sand cranes. Wildflowers attract a wide selection of butterflies – swallowtails, monarchs, summer azure and painted lady. A Memorial Tree Garden features native trees. SOLITUDE NATURE RESERVE 45388 Dexter Line 519-671-0199 www.solitudenaturereserve.com
SUN AND SAND TIME This harbour village has been an important port for moving products and people for hundreds of years. Port Stanley’s King George VI Lift Bridge, spanning Kettle Creek, is the oldest of its kind in Ontario. Newly reopened (May) after a major refurbishing, the bascule drawbridge allows boats to pass easily to the lake. On the west side of the bridge, take a stroll along the beach or the walkway that circles the harbour, ending at the pier and lighthouse. Bring your swimsuit, paddle board or jet ski and jump in the lake. Shops, galleries and restaurants on the east side prove the truth of the village slogan – Come for the shore, stay to explore. A walking tour – with an audio MP3 guide - highlights historic buildings, such as a 1910 bank, 1840 Thompson House, 1870 Russell House and 1822 Bostwick Warehouse. Hop on the London & Port Stanley Terminal Railway to experience one of the province’s oldest railway routes. Coal, lumber, tourists and dancers were carried to the port, beach and Stork Club. PORT STANLEY www.portstanley.net 32 Lifestyle May/June 2021
TASTY TABLE OFFERINGS If your interest in cooking has recently been renewed, Howe’s Farm Market and Country Store offers farm-to-table produce to lift your dishes to the next level. Established in the 1800s, it is the longest generationally run strawberry farm in Ontario. As well as the land, the family has passed their stewardship values from one generation to the next. They employ the best growing practices for each crop to maximize quality, environmentally friendly and sustainable results. They’ve won awards for the underground drip irrigation system, and other practices include integrated pest management, notill production and use of pollinators. Of the 425 acres, one-third is dedicated to wildlife through old growth forests, ponds, fence rows and wetlands. In 2012 they opened the farm market on John Wise Lane, Aylmer, and added a second location at the former Salt Creek Market and Bakery just north of St. Thomas on Highbury Avenue in 2018. Check out the strawberries, melons, pumpkins, sweet corn, beans, fruit boxes, pickles, pumpkin blondies, pie pockets, cookies, cheesecake and fresh strawberry pie. HOWE’S FARM MARKET AND COUNTRY STORE 11143 Highbury Avenue South, St. Thomas • 519-633-9338
HOWE FAMILY FARM MARKET 48556 John Wise Line, Aylmer 519-773-3779 www.howefamilyfarms.ca
A FLAVOUR SAVER At the west end of Elgin County, the Natterjack Brewing Company Ltd. is a craft brew-lover’s delight. Flavours such as a Belgian blonde with pistachio and cardamom, a smoked lager with peated malt and an American ale with chocolate malt are brewed. Natterjack was founded in 2016 to honour the memory and passion of Matthew Derek Soos, who grew up in West Elgin and was a graduate of Niagara College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program. His family continues his interest in unique ingredients and encouraging unique people through their brew flavours and a scholarship at Niagara College. NATTERJACK BREWING COMPANY 25292 Talbot Line, West Lorne 226-289-1472 www.natterjackbrewing.ca
Great Lakes Helicopter - Lifestyle Magazine Ad 2021 2021/03/22 - Monday 14:56:13
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May/June 2021 Lifestyle 33
PHOTO CREDIT: ELGIN TOURISM
A bridge to the future By Jill Ellis-Worthington
PORT STANLEY BOOMING Despite a year of dealing with the fallout of a worldwide pandemic, Port Stanley is proving itself to be the ‘little village that could.’ “We’ve had three new stores open, and none close, during the past year,” says Dustin Allen, chair of the BIA and owner of Ports Pets. The three businesses offering various types of home décor that opened during the pandemic are Diamonds and Toads, ReVibe and Drift. Adding to retailers’ challenges has been the closing of the King George VI Lift Bridge for a period of time this winter. A 14-month long comprehensive rehabilitation of the bridge is expected to be completed by the end of May 2021, allowing traffic to flow through downtown and to the area known as Main Beach. Originally constructed in 1938, Brian Lima, director of engineering services for Elgin County, says the project was undertaken after a “detailed inspection of the bridge in 2019 and was commenced in spring of 2020.”
While no physical alternations were made to the bridge’s structure, the project includes “sandblasting and recoating the steel structural elements, doing some structural steel improvements, rehab and replacement of various electrical, mechanical and bridge control systems,” details Lima, and is expected to extend the life of the bridge by at least 25 years. Traffic control signals and navigational lighting controls were also replaced. The fact that the rehabilitation project was already planned to start last spring and coincided with the pandemic was fortunate, says Lima. “As a result of the pandemic, travel restrictions helped us maintain our schedule and minimized impact that would have been felt had the pandemic not occurred.” Allen says that the bridge improvements, coupled with the new pier and visitors’ centre, will prove a boon to the lakeside village in terms of tourism but that local support has been vital in maintaining businesses. “People are making an extra effort to come around and making multiple stops when going back and forth (to each side of the village).” Visitors are also often making an extra
effort to take advantage of the village’s best attributes. “Some came around to get ice cream and people watch before or after going to the beach,” adds Allen. This summer, with the bridge allowing direct passage through town as usual, Allen expects things to return to as normal as possible considering current circumstances, with the pier acting as one of the major attractions. The Tourism Elgin Visitor’s Centre, opened in 2018, offers parking and permanent bathrooms that also elevate the visitor experience. “The new pier is open and accessible to everybody and it’s not something you have all over the place. There aren’t a lot of piers like that in beach towns so it’s a positive thing to have,” he adds. With traffic flowing to the town’s star attractions – Little Beach with its noundertow family friendliness, and Main Beach, with its long stretch of sand and surf – Allen and the merchants of Port Stanley expect the summer to be busier, but he emphasizes all will be done with an eye to COVID safety protocols in place. “There’s a bylaw officer reminding people to social distance,” he explains. n
● FOR MORE INFORMATION • Elgin Tourism: www.elgintourist.com • Port Stanley: www.portstanley.net
34 Lifestyle May/June 2021
PHOTO: ELGIN TOURISM
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Food, folks and fun
WIDDER STATION IS GO-TO DESTINATION By Janis Wallace
f you’re named for a railway station, you want to be a destination – and that’s exactly what Widder Station is today. When Allen Stubbs built the golf course in 1993, with three other partners, he dreamed of buying it someday. When that day came three years ago, Allen and wife Kathy started to enhance the golf experience and expand what was offered. “There’s a lot on the go at Widder. We doubled our membership for 2021. It’s more than just golf,” says Allen. He lists some of the ‘more than’ attractions: new carts to ride on new paths, trails for walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, a new 10,000-squarefoot event facility and improved Tap House, glass garage doors that open for 200-plus seating, outdoor entertainment area with stage, dance floor, bar, patio, washrooms and fire pit. With outdoor activities gaining in popularity last summer due to pandemic restrictions, Widder Station opened the patio to fast-casual format. “Last season was the first time we offered table service and it worked out very well,” he says. “That was exciting. There were lots of comments about the atmosphere, the menu, the quality of the food.” Encouraged by the response, they decided to build Widder Flats and an outdoor event space that is COVIDfriendly. Inside is a new wedding/celebration venue with a brewery, full catering kitchen, and a wedding suite is planned. The stage will spotlight musical acts, with dancing encouraged on the new outdoor floor. Headliner concerts on long weekends are part of the plan. They already feature music in the Tap House. More than 30 local craft beers, including the brewery’s own Train Wreck, wine, spirits and ciders are offered with a menu featuring local beef. “The building inside is amazing,” says Allen. “It’s barn beam construction, built by Mennonites. It’s rustic but professional.” Visitors can take a stroll down the 80-foot Western street-
scape of six store fronts for the brewery, bar and coat room. “We’re excited for people to see Widder Flats,” says Kathy, who is from Arizona. The theme was inspired by Tombstone where Allen and Kathy were married. During the winter, the Stubbs added three trails on the course: 2 km, 2.5 and 5 km. They’ve attracted enthusiasts from Lambton and Middlesex Counties looking for some fresh air fun. Appealing to more than golfers is a strategic decision. Widder is now a partner with Harvest Host, a membership program for RVers. It is a location for free 24-hour RV camping with the proviso they participate in Widder’s activities, such as the dining room, golfing or bar. Kathy says they called their program Stay and Play last summer and attracted campers from across Southwestern Ontario. As more people explore their home regions, she expects the program “will explode this year.” Golfers are still at the heart of Widder Station. “People want something to do,” says Allen. Last summer, many duffers dusted off their clubs and hit the greens after years of sitting idle. Millennials are also taking up the sport. To meet the new demand, the course has several improvements, including tee decks, signage at each hole, 75 carts and new paths.
The Stubbs are also creating a team to manage the multi-faceted business. Drew Wilson is the new director of golf. After coming on board in October 2020, director of marketing and events Lauren Mazzotto has grown the facility’s social presence on Instagram and FaceBook. “It’s been resonating with people. The energy they feel on social they feel when they come here. We are a one-stop shop. If you’re a golfer – great! If not, there is food, drinks, entertainment. We’re family-friendly and dog-friendly.” “When we took over it was members only,” says Kathy. “Now we have non-members stop for a drink or a bite to eat. It keeps getting better and better.” People drive from London, Sarnia, Chatham and Goderich for the food and the craft beer. “It’s a beautiful place to be,” she says. “We’re excited to expose Widder Station as a destination,” says Allen. “It is built with a train station theme because Widder was a hamlet outside Thedford in the 1900s.” When the CN tracks were laid, the village was moved and renamed Thedford. Widder may become a hamlet again: 50 residential estate lots are available.
“Some members will not recognize Widder,” says Allen, “but there is so much to see and do.” n
● FOR MORE INFORMATION WIDDER STATION GOLF, GRILL & TAP HOUSE • 8395 Decker Road, Thedford, N0M 2B0 • 519-296-4653 • www.widderstation.com May/June 2021 Lifestyle 37
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May/June 2021 Lifestyle 39
BREATHE FRESH AIR INTO YOUR STYLE By Jill Ellis-Worthington
We’re shedding winter’s weight, dark colours and heavy fabrics as we move into spring and summer. We want to up our SQ (style quotient) while maintaining the budget. Ridding ourselves of winter weight does not mean divesting ourselves of pounds put on over the past year while we have been isolating, it means losing the extra weight of the stress that having a messy, disorganized or clogged closet gives us. We need to lose the weight of the guilt we have as a result of keeping pieces that still have the tags on them because we’ve never worn them or items we’re hanging on to that are much too big or too small. All sorts of ghosts live in our closets, but Victoria Baird encourages us to rid of ourselves of all this dead weight, so our wardrobes can reflect our present realities. Realizing that the pandemic has wrought many changes to both our bodies and our perspectives, she adds, “What you keep is holding you back if you’re holding on to a person, place or size you once were. Letting go is very freeing because it lets you be the best version of who you are today,” says the image consultant. In her business as an image and style consultant, Baird works with clients to clear their clutter, ensuring that they have head space and closet space to organize the remaining items into unexpected combinations and add select pieces. Baird starts her client’s closet detox process with an assessment form. You can replicate this experience at home by asking yourself some revealing questions: What do you like most about your body? What do you like least? What three words describe the style to which you aspire? Who are your fashion icons? Do you impulse shop? If yes, what are the results? What are your personal and professional goals? Do you accessorize? Are you comfortable with and good at putting outfits together or do you wear the same items in the same combinations? Do your present pieces of clothing fit the way you work and live now? Answering these questions honestly will point you in the right direction but then you need to dig in and try on each piece. Start by feeling confident with hair and makeup in place. Stand in front of a full-length mirror or have a friend take photos of you. Use your cell phone to look at pictures side by side for a more objective assessment, advises Baird. Seeing
40 Lifestyle May/June 2021
May/June 2021 Lifestyle 41
42 Lifestyle May/June 2021
CLOSET DETOX ~ Continued from page 41
people primarily on Zoom has rendered it a waist-up world, but if you are not using a full-length mirror, Baird says you’re only getting half the picture. You won’t see if your look is balanced. Work in a space with good lighting to see if fabrics are faded or tattered. We often dress quickly and don’t notice. When you’re wearing each piece or outfit, decide how it makes you feel. Does it still fit well? Are the colours flattering? Does it reflect the three style words you chose? Does it make you feel like a person who is on the road to meeting her goals? Do you have accessories that will make it pop? Are there other pieces that will work with it to make a new combination? Baird says, “If you’re doubting it, get rid of it.” Kim Ariesen, of Studio Style, echoes this. “Clear out pieces you haven’t been able to incorporate or haven’t used, whether it’s a trend piece or a staple. It’s time to move along older piece you haven’t worn; you can let go of them.” Use three garbage bags to sort the discard pile: garbage, donate, consign. “Once you have the bags ready to go, get them out of the house right away so you don’t second guess,” says Baird. Now that the closet contains only pieces you love and make you feel great, write a list of items to purchase that will fill in the gaps. Will a brightly coloured pair of trousers breathe new life into that blazer? Does your LBD need to be updated with a new belt? What new jewelry pieces do you need to add sparkle to a favourite blouse? List in hand, decide on your budget. You’re not trying to fill the closet again but rather fill out your wardrobe so you feel like one of the fashion icons you admire. Allowing more space between clothing items is a good thing. Time to go shopping and Baird says there has never been a better time
Make sure your closet reflects who you are now, not the person you were a year ago.
VICTORIA BAIRD because pandemic guide guidelines mean local retailers are limiting the number of customers in the store, so you’ll get extra attention from sales staff. When you are shopping “having a list and a plan will help you avoid one-hit wonders,” says Baird. She discourages falling for sale items that can be only worn one way or for one season. She also encourages clients to ask about return policies before purchasing as pandemic rules have changed return policies. “If possible, you want to be able to take it back if you get it home and it doesn’t work.” This will avoid having to pitch regret purchases in future closet detox sessions. You have the power to end the cycle. Smaller boutiques, offering unique pieces, are the perfect places to check items off your shopping list. “Pairing your basics - like ankle pants or capris in navy, white, beige and black – with floral tops in bright colours makes your wardrobe versatile,” says Trish Wiggell, of Bijou Boutique. “There are so many colours this summer and florals are really big.” Adding “magic pieces” will update the staples in your wardrobe, according to Ariesen. Those magic pieces add interest to your outfit in the form of a deeply hued or pastel top, a brightly coloured bead bracelet or a luxurious, long scarf in rich colours.” Her five years as an image consultant and 30 years working in the beauty industry have taught Baird that looking at things with a critical eye gives a new perspective. “By mixing and matching pieces, we were able to find 26 new outfits in a client’s closet,” she gives as an example. It is time to detox and rock this summer as your own fashion icon. n
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May/June 2021 Lifestyle 43
ONE OF 10 RENOS ON THE LHBA PARADE OF RENOVATIONS. TO VIEW:
VISION RENOVATION BRINGS NEW LIFE TO AN OLD ATTIC By Ellen Ashton-Haiste
44 Lifestyle May/June 2021
Third floor attics in older homes often have character that makes them ideal for creating new and unique living spaces. “In the older houses it’s a bonus space that adds to their mystique,” says Greg Hassall, owner of Riverside Construction. “We always like working in heritage homes. It can be more challenging, with a few more bumps in the road than with newer houses, but you get a chance to do things that are a little different and enhance the properties.”
OPPOSITE PAGE The renovation of this partially finished attic space resulted in the homeowners having a dream primary bedroom and ensuite which occupies what was once a closet.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Reconfiguring the space revealed two columns of Ontario’s famous heritage yellow brick that now serve as charming decorative accents.
• A barnboard accent wall along the stairway emphasizes the rustic beauty of this new space.
• The room at the top of the stairs was restricted, necessitating building a dormer and raising the ceiling.
• Oak flooring was laid throughout the bedroom area as part of the renovation.
This was his experience with a recent renovation in an Old South London home that transformed a partially finished attic into a deluxe master suite, complete with an ensuite bathroom. Hassall says it was a “rudimentary space, conceptually and structurally in need of a little TLC.” Riverside designers developed a layout that allowed them to maximize the space, adding a large bathroom, as well as some unique cosmetic elements. The new bathroom was fitted into a former large closet area with sloping ceilings, which Hassall says worked well for the oversize tile shower where a bench seat was positioned beneath the slope. The ensuite also features a double basin vanity and heated ceramic tile floors. One of the initial challenges was a beam across a dormer window at the top of the stairs that restricted headroom. This necessitated constructing a new dormer and raising the ceiling, which required structural wall
May/June 2021 Lifestyle 45
LOFTY VISION ~ Continued from page 45
Taking down the walls revealed another heritage accent in a couple of yellow brick columns, one adjacent to the bathroom shower and the other between the bedroom windows.
• Whole Home • Additions • Exterior • Kitchens • Bathrooms • Basements www.rsclondon.com • 519.614.9044
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work on the home’s lower levels, as posts were extended down to the foundation. All the attic windows were replaced and James Hardie siding was added to upgrade the surrounding exterior walls. Like many older attics, this one had been freezing cold in winter and sweltering in the summer heat, so insulating the new space proved to be a challenge. When the walls and ceiling come down, with them came a storm of sawdust, the original insulating material. The sawdust was a first for Hassall but he says that, regardless of the material, proper insulation is an integral part of any attic conversion. Taking down the walls revealed another heritage accent in a couple of yellow brick columns, one adjacent to the bathroom shower and the other between the bedroom windows. Hassall is uncertain of their original purpose, speculating that they may have been interior chimneys since they do not match the red brick exterior of the house. But he says they create an attractive juxtaposition of the old with the new. They are also complemented by a barn board accent wall, along the stairway. It was an element the homeowners were intent on incorporating into the new space. Other features of the new master suite include a walk-in closet, plus two bonus his-and-her’s closets. New oak hardwood flooring was laid throughout the bedroom area. n ● FOR MORE INFORMATION RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION 440 Victoria Street 519-614-9044 • www.rsclondon.com
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SPRING HOME & May/June 2021 Lifestyle 49
15 HELPFUL TIPS
SPRING INTO ACTION
WITH THIS HOME MAINTENANCE
By Ellen Ashton-Haiste
he arrival of spring heralds an inclination to get your home ready for the arrival of the leisurely days of summer. From inspecting the exterior of the house for signs of winter damage and doing necessary repairs to sprucing up outdoor living spaces, homeowners are going through their spring maintenance checklists. Here are some helpful tips to aid those efforts.
50 Lifestyle May/June 2021
As the first line of defence against weather, it is crucial to ensure the roof is in good condition and has not suffered from the ravages of winter. Carefully inspect for signs of damage, such as missing, lifting, curling or cracked shingles and wear. Look for wear and tear around vents. Major problems should be repaired by a qualified roofer. (www.cooperators.ca)
Spring is typically the wettest time of year, with melting snow and rain, so it is time to clear eaves-
troughs and downspouts. Winter ice and snow can cause damage that may lead to improper drainage. Repair leaks to ensure that water flows off the roof and away from the foundation and basement windows. (www.cooperators.ca)
helps with the airflow to the fireplace or stove and prevents precipitation entering the flue. Caps also keep creatures, such as squirrels or birds, out of the flue. (www.cooperators.ca)
This is also the time to service the air conditioner and replace filters. Shut off power to the outdoor unit and clean the grill and fan of debris. Rake around the unit and cut back branches to allow for proper airflow. Inside the home don’t forget to change the furnace air filter. (www.cooperators.ca)
Inspect the material that waterproofs the edges where the chimney meets the roof – also known as flashing – for gaps, bends or cracks where water might penetrate. Look for signs of damage at the top of the chimney. This may be the perfect time to replace the flue cap, that
4. AIR CONDITIONER
3 4 1 5. FOUNDATION
Spring is a good time to check the exposed foundation around the exterior of the home for damage, like cracks and spalling. Openings through the wall, like furnace and dryer vents, should be checked to make sure that they are clear of debris. (www.cooperators.ca)
6. REPAIR WINDOWS
Caulking and repairing windows is also important to ensure a safe and dry home for the summer. Take a closer look at the caulking around windows as well as doors and vents. Deteriorated caulking should be scraped out and replaced. (www.cooperators.ca)
7. WASH WINDOWS
Once the repairs are complete, it’s time for washing. A crucial step here is an exterior hose-down. Close the windows and use a garden hose to spray the outside. This will remove the first layer of dirt and make the work easier. Then, pick a cloudy day. The absence of sunlight will help minimize streaks. And heat makes window-cleaning solution evaporate faster than you can wipe it off, also causing streaks. Touch the window glass. If it’s hot to the touch, wait for a cooler day. (www.bhg.com)
A crucial step here is an exterior hose-down. Close the windows and use a garden hose to spray the outside. This will remove the first layer of dirt and make the work easier May/June 2021 Lifestyle 51
10 scrub the grates with the soap solution. Let the grill cool, remove the grates and soak them in warm, soapy water for 30 minutes then scrub with the wire brush and rinse.
8 8. GARDENS
To get the garden growing and beautiful, clear out weeds, old mulch and debris. Work the soil to loosen it for the first wave of planting. Apply a thick layer of new mulch wherever possible. It’s much more effective at keeping weeds at bay if it is in place before they start sprouting. Trees and shrubs can use a good pruning at this time of year. Early spring is the perfect time to cut back. (www.waysidegardens.com)
9. OUTDOOR CUSHIONS
To freshen cushions stored through the winter, lay them on a deck or sidewalk and spray with water to dampen. With a brush, apply a solution of two tablespoons dish detergent and a half-cup of Borax in a bucket of water. Allow to sit five minutes. Hose down to rinse. Press the moisture from the cushions and lean them against a sunny wall to dry. (www.hgtv.com) 52 Lifestyle May/June 2021
12 10. DECKS AND OUTDOOR FURNITURE
To ready outdoor furniture and decks for summer lounging, wipe down chairs and tables with a mixture of warm water and a squirt of Dawn liquid dish soap. Then hose off and let air dry. Use a mixture of one cup white vinegar in a gallon of water to scrub the deck and rinse with a hose. (www.goodhousekeeping.com)
All you need for a clean barbeque is warm water, grease-cutting dish soap and a poultice of white vinegar and baking soda. Start by firing up the grill and letting it rise to full heat for 30 minutes to singe stuck-on food or grease. With a wire brush,
12. DRYER VENTS
Over months and years, lint can accumulate in these ducts. Add hot air and it can ignite, creating a fire hazard. These can be professionally cleaned or do-it-yourself using a vacuum crevice tool or dryer vent brush. Dryer vent cleaning kits are available at hardware stores or online. (bungalow.com)
13. SHOWER HEADS
To clean up shower heads, fill a plastic bag partway with white vinegar and place the bag over the shower head to immerse the entire fixture. Fasten the bag with string or twist ties and let soak for several hours. Then wipe with a wet cloth. (www.waterpik.com)
14. SMOKE ALARMS
Check installation and batteries for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that can help save lives by
15 providing critical early warning. Install detectors on each level of the home, including the basement. Change the batteries as often as recommended by the manufacturer or when you hear the warning chirp. (www.cooperators.ca)
15. FRESH FLOWERS
The garden isn’t the only spot to enjoy colourful blooms. Fresh flower arrangements can brighten up the home’s interior as well. Springtime brings a wealth of possibilities. Sweet-smelling lilacs pair well with vivid tulips. Seasonal staples like poppies, daffodils and grape hyacinths provide an eclectic arrangement. Or mix and match a bouquet of lively roadside wildflowers. (www.housebeautiful.com)
THE HEART KNOWS
PRACTICING GRATITUDE PAYS DIVIDENDS By Janis Wallace
ount your blessings. The adage is easier said than done, especially in 2021. But people who are aware of the good things in life, and express gratitude for them, reap benefits from better sleep to better relationships. “Research shows that people who counted their blessings were happier,” says Jordan Thomas, registered social worker and psychotherapist at the London Centre for Trauma Therapy. “In a study in 2017 (Joshua Brown and Joel Wong, Indiana University), they created three groups for three weeks. Group one was asked to write a weekly letter about things they were grateful for. Group two was asked to write about the problems in their life and Group three wasn’t asked to write anything. The results were clear. Group one showed significantly better outcomes on health scores.” The benefits accrued over time and extended for weeks after the study. “We have gratitude when we value every moment we have,” says Dr. Amjed Abojedi, researcher and registered psychotherapist, Resilience Counselling. “Gratitude is important because it plays into motivation and how we value things, especially today.”
THE SCIENCE BEHIND GIVING THANKS Thomas says gratitude is an important practice. “Make it a habit to wire your mind. Enjoy the moment, have more connection with the present not the future.” MRI scans show “gratitude helped grey matter function and release serotonin, the feel-good chemical,” says Thomas. “The reasons are what we focus on, the mind sees more of. The premise behind gratitude is when you consciously look for good things, the brain gravitates towards and finds more. As humans, we have a nega-
People who are aware of the good things in life, and express gratitude for them, reap benefits from better sleep to better relationships. tivity bias, a worst-case scenario, as part of our survival mechanism. If we focus on the positive, our beliefs and attitudes change.” Abojedi agrees. “When we wire our brains to value things, we feel good things happen to us, we’re moving forward. There is a wide range of things we miss when we focus on the missing things in life and do not express gratitude. We’re under high pressure and expectations. It takes time, effort and energy to blame our-
selves for the missing part. Be fair to yourself. Express gratitude for what you achieved.” The Indiana University study supports this concept. It showed gratitude separated people from toxic emotions, such as resentment and envy.
THE FEEL-GOOD BENEFITS “When people face trouble in life, they go into one of two groups,” says Judy Mackechnie, registered marriage and family therapist and psychother- May/June 2021 Lifestyle 53
THE HEART KNOWS ~ Continued from page 53 apist. She compared the two group reactions to Tigger and Eeyore from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories. “It’s the same with gratitude. If you get down too much, it’s hard to get back up.” She also says it is important to acknowledge negative feelings. The difference is in not always looking at what’s missing. This is a challenge in a world dominated by curated social media feeds where perfection, or the illusion of it, appear to dominate. “Social media pressure is a big part of our perception today,” says Abojedi. “We’re looking for what we cannot achieve. It’s important to review our belief system, how we see things and appreciate them. When we try to be perfect, we’re looking for a guarantee of security in our society. But that’s not right – gratitude can give us this.” “When we focus on what we’re grateful for, we alleviate feelings of guilt,” says Thomas. “We release more serotonin and dopamine. The brain gets little hits of dopamine and over time that helps sleep, regulate mood and our metabolism.”
PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
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Like anything worth doing, establishing a gratitude habit takes time and effort. It may be as simple as setting aside a few minutes to consciously think about your blessings that day. Like Nike’s slogan – just do it, just start. “Create a habit,” says Abojedi. “Be more aware. After a while of practicing awareness, look for gratitude. Start a routine, such as three things you’re grateful for today, what you achieved, who you met, what you shared. Do this on a regular basis.” He says if your to-do list had 10 items and you accomplished nine, feel gratitude for the nine completed, don’t think about the one you didn’t do. “Find one thing you’re grateful for,” says Mackechnie. “One thing can help change us. Go out for a walk, let someone go by, say thank you to someone.” She recommends a daily walk especially on a trail that accesses woods or water. “Walking is one of the things that really helps. The body takes some of the stress out. You can be grateful for being in that calm.”
“The most important thing is to look around you – and yes, some things are tough – but remember a moment that made you laugh or feel good." Most recommend a regular activity, such as making a daily list of three things you’re grateful for. Research shows the more senses you employ, the more parts of the brain are engaged. So, writing down a list is stronger if you use pen and paper. Reading, watching children play, listening to birds sing, feeling the breeze on your face are all simple things for which you can be grateful says Mackechnie. “It takes time for the brain to change,” says Thomas. “If you build the practice, there will be big shifts in neurotransmitters.” She also suggests paying it forward. “When you do something kind for someone else, you get a hit of feel-good and the brain wants more. Practice by doing something nice for you. Have a cup of tea, light a candle, soften the edges of a bad day. Write a thank you note.” It may seem impossible when a pandemic has wrought immeasurable changes. “People are doing wonderful things for others during the pandemic,” says Mackechnie. “The most important thing is to look around you – and yes, some things are tough – but remember a moment that made you laugh or feel good. It doesn’t put the dark side away, but if you hold that with you, you miss an awful lot. You have to have a sense of humour.” “The pandemic is extraordinarily isolating,” says Thomas. “It’s detrimental to our mental health. Look for silver linings. Any social connection is important – always, but especially now.” Abojedi says the pandemic is a good example of looking at what you gain rather than what’s missing. Before it, many people complained they lacked time to do things. “Now they have time to enjoy being with other people, their family. He advises not to focus on what’s missing, such as the freedom to hang out with your friends. “Value the relationships and connections. Be open to little things that you value and have meaning. Be kind to yourself.” n
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ABOVE AND INSET New Porsche showroom on Warncliffe Road South.
New and improved location for Porsche dealership
By Ellen Ashton-Haiste
ocation, location, location is often touted as a key to business success, and that’s just what Porsche of London is experiencing at its new Wharncliffe Road South showroom. It is an ideal site on a stretch of road that is home to a number of automobile dealerships, says general manager Steve Rempel. “This is where a lot of people come to shop for a car so it’s nice to be in this neck of the woods. When you have people who are looking at different product choices being here puts more consideration in our favour.” With easy accessibility from Highways 401 and 402, it is convenient for out-of-town shoppers, a plus given the next closest Porsche dealership is in Oakville. The move has aided the
dealership in pursuing its investment in electric car charging, along with its launch of the all-electric Taycan. There are numerous additional benefits to the new store that, at 27,000 square feet, is double the size of the previous location and sits on a parcel of land just over two acres, accommodating annual sales of some 450 to 500 vehicles. The larger interior features a state-ofthe-art fitting room, where customers can view choices for leather, colour, trim and other options to customize their purchase. The former location had a similar area but, says Rempel, “it was nothing like this new and vibrant space. For someone looking for something special, who wants to put time and thought into how they want their dream car built, it’s the perfect place to do it.”
The space also allows the dealership’s “classic ambassador” to share his particular expertise. Sales professional Jarod Arand is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Porsche products from years past, including the 1970s to the ‘90s. “It’s unbelievable the amount of this product still on the road,” Rempel say. “There are buyers looking for all years and all types, so it’s nice to have someone who’s dedicated to looking after that clientele.” After moving into the new space just before Christmas, only to be immediately thrown into pandemic lockdown mode, Porsche of London is anxious to work with buyers now gearing up for the summer season. n
● PORSCHE OF LONDON • 1265 Wharncliffe Road South • 519-601-1322 • www.porschelondon.com May/June 2021 Lifestyle 57
Enjoying the great
COBBLE DESIGN PUTS IT WITHIN REACH
trend by homeowners to enhance their outdoor spaces is reflected in Cobble Design’s successful 30-plus-year journey from paving installer to full-scale landscape design contractor. The Huron County paving stone business was established in 1988 by brothers Cam and Brian Steckle, undertaking projects such as interlocking brick driveways. But the brothers soon found themselves being asked to expand their services to include landscaping elements. In response, they brought a part-time landscape designer onboard. This position quickly escalated to full-time status as demand for
58 Lifestyle May/June 2021
the services increased. By the early 2000s, the scope of alfresco living was expanding as clients sought to create backyard oases with outdoor kitchens, dining and lounging areas, often including fire pits and even full-size fireplaces. So, a master stone mason joined the team, and a full masonry division was created within the company. “A lot has changed in 30-some years,” says Cam Steckle. “In the last 10 years, outdoor living has been trending more.” He says it makes the work both more interesting and more challenging. “Jobs have become very complex. There are many, many different elements, a
lot of research into products and a lot of design work. The scope is all encompassing.” Ponds and water features, outdoor spas with hot tubs or pools and nightscape lighting features are other elements high on the open-air lifestyle wish list. One of the trends along the lake is installing tram systems for the many homes and cottages that sit high on hilltops, overlooking the lake. The tram works with a carriage and pulley system to transport residents to the beach below. Cobble Designs now boasts its own lakeside tram division. “It provides the best of both worlds,” Steckle says of the system. “At the
With much of their work focused on properties near Lake Huron, Cobble Design aids homeowners in taking best advantage of their outdoor living spaces, by creating patios that offer entertaining zones with water features, kitchens and living areas. Also popular for lakeside homes is one of their specialties: creating tram systems to convey homeowners and their guests from the bluff to the beach below.
elevation you get a great view, and you don’t have to do stairs to have accessibility to the beach.” Whatever the project, maintaining a quality standard is of paramount importance, Steckle says, attributing that to the steady growth the company has experienced over the years. Being a family-run business is an advantage, he believes. With members of the younger generation beginning to take roles in the company he says there is a family member doing onsite supervision for most jobs. He adds that the company’s talented design team can put a high-quality plan in place prior to implementation so that the client knows, going in, what to ex-
pect. “These projects are quite involved and quite extensive, so people want to know what they’re getting,” Steckle says. “We try to make things as painless as possible when it comes to schedules, to get in and get out and get the job done on time and on budget and to provide a quality job that will last a lifetime. That’s what people want.” Success in achieving that is evidenced by hearing from customers that the result is even better than they expected. “That’s the ultimate goal for us, and we’ve actually heard it said many times over the years,” Steckle says. “When people get more than they thought they were getting, that’s a good day.”
To back up that philosophy the company offers a five-year warranty on all its structural work, which Steckle maintains is very good by industry standards that often require only two years. Cobble Design generally services an area within a 45-minute radius from its headquarters, midway between Zurich and Bayfield, taking them from north of Goderich to south of Grand Bend. Steckle says there is also a fair bit of work in London, often for clients with cottages in their region. They will venture further afield, he adds, citing a project they are now doing on Manitoulin Island. “Wherever we can be competitive and wherever people want us, we’ll go.” n
FOR MORE INFORMATION • COBBLE DESIGN INC. • 74198A BRONSON LINE, ZURICH • 519-565-7373 • WWW.COBBLEDESIGN.CA May/June 2021 Lifestyle 59
It’s definitely a big growth area for us. Seven years ago, we really didn’t do much commercial work and now it’s at least a third of our business.” KEVIN FELLNER President, Covers Designer’s Edge
Windows of all shapes and sizes
Covers Designer’s Edge delivers for residential and commercial clients
By Ellen Ashton-Haiste
omeowners seeking the latest and greatest in window treatments often look to Covers Designer’s Edge. But the division of Covers Canada, launched in 2014 to provide in-home consultations and custom solutions for residential clients, is also seeing significant expansion in its commercial services, says president Kevin Fellner. “It’s definitely a big growth area for us,” he says. “Seven years ago, we really didn’t do much commercial work and now it’s at least a third of our business.” A large portion of this is condo and apartment complex builders. The company has worked with most London developers, Fellner says. It does virtually all Tricar projects, both in the city and out of town. It’s currently working on the new One
Richmond Row downtown high-rise and will be involved with the Riverstone retirement apartments in Sifton’s West 5 community. Other projects include a range of commercial spaces from medical centres to school renovations. A major job now under way is the new community centre in East London. “That’s a big project,” Fellner says. “It’s an aquatic centre and there are a lot of motorized shades. There’s more technical know-how required in projects like a community centre, where the shades will often be tied into the control systems.” Motorization technology is a specialty that Covers Designer’s Edge has established as clients look for smart automation in their homes and businesses. While it’s not generally
standard in the condos and apartments, Fellner believes that is coming. Builders are incorporating it in amenity areas and there’s an increasing demand for it from buyers as an upgrade, he says. This specialization is a factor in the growth of commercial work for the company. Another advantage, Fellner says, is the ability to fabricate products locally. “We often don’t have a long window of opportunity to get in, measure and install so we have to have a quick turn-around. To be able to fabricate the products here is key for us, both from a cost perspective and in quality control.” He also credits the company’s installation teams. “They’re trained, they’re up-to-date and they know motorization, all key elements.” n
● FOR MORE INFORMATION • COVERS DESIGNER’S EDGE • 297 Exeter Road • 519-652-0222 • www.coverscanada.ca 60 Lifestyle May/June 2021
Bringing the world to London Boutique Firenze offers giftware with heart
ABOVE Bettina Weber, Boutique Firenze owner.
By Ellen Ashton-Haiste
n recent years Boutique Firenze has become London’s go-to retailer for articles imported from Italy. This unique boutique focusses on specialty gloves and pashmina shawls, as well as silk and cashmere scarves. While those will always be core products there’s a growing selection of merchandise to attract shoppers, says owner Bettina Weber. “We’ve evolved into a gift shop with many lovely products from Italy and also those that support Canadian artists and small businesses,” she says. Weber works closely with First Nation artists, many from the Pacific Northwest, and with marketing their work. These offerings include scarves, mugs, soft deerskin purses and stationery items like colouring books, calendars and journals, all designed by Indigenous artisans. “The artwork is
just so beautiful,” she says. “It’s a very different, very bold design.” Other Canadian articles are crafted by small businesses across the country. Weber carries beeswax candles from The Wicked Bee in Woodstock. This company prides itself on sustainable and environmentally-friendly products and manufacturing. Recently added to the inventory is beeswax food wrap, handmade in Hamilton by Mind Your Bees. It is a washable and reusable product, that replaces plastic wrap to keep cheeses, baked goods, fruits and vegetables fresh. Weber also supports newcomers to Canada. She sells chocolate products from Peace By Chocolate, one of Canada’s refugee success stories. The Hadhad family, once owners of a chocolate factory in Damascus that shipped product across the Middle
East, was forced to flee Syria. They came to Antigonish, N.S., where they started fresh, in their garden shed, and have rebuilt a thriving business. Since Boutique Firenze has long sold cotton products – including chef’s aprons and market bags, breathable cotton facemasks have been added to the roster. These are produced by World Tailors located just up the road from the Adelaide Street shop. This social enterprise works with refugee and immigrant women, teaching them skills and building community. There are also many Italian products, Weber says, from Venetian Murano glass jewellery to toiletries, including soaps from three different companies. The common denominator for the giftware, she says, is that it must be meaningful to her. “It has to sing to me. I don’t want to have it ‘just because’.” n
● FOR MORE INFORMATION • BOUTIQUE FIRENZE • 189 Adelaide Street South, Unit 3 • 519-649-4122 • www.boutiquefirenze.ca May/June 2021 Lifestyle 61
Windows & Doors
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An ever-growing awareness of savings from energy-efficient windows and doors keeps Homecastle Windows and Doors busy with year-round installations. The company has been serving the London area for 32 years and its showroom is located at 535 First Street. But there’s an equally valuable asset that attracts referrals and repeat customers to Homecastle, says owner Jim Versteegh. That’s a strong commitment to customer service. “Our in-house installers definitely offer a personal touch to our clients,” Versteegh says. “They’ll move furniture, take down blinds and put them back up and they’ll even make sure your cat doesn’t escape on their watch.” That, along with pride in quality workmanship and use of long-established suppliers of Canadian-made products, are the earmarks of the company’s success. Homecastle provides a wide range of window and door products, including vinyl and wood windows and entrance, garden and patio doors. n
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