Lifestyle Magazine: November - December 2014

Page 1


LHBA Ace Awards coverage of winners and finalists

Everything for the Holidays fashion, shopping, venues, decor

Chef Jonathan Collins Š

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4 Lifestyle November/December 2014

move in fall 2015

contents november

| december 2014

9 11 15 19 28 33 35 57 43 55 45 48 63


52 61 31

Homestyle Merry and bright Deck the halls with all that sparkles

The lap of luxury North London offers a distinctive high-end family home

Re-Style, Re-Purpose, Re-Love The 3Rs have been renewed

LHBA Ace Awards Find out who are this year’s big winners

Countertop Marketplace Check out options for a simple kitchen update

Holidaystyle Gift Marketplace Something for everyone

Shop ‘til you drop There is plenty to do while on the hunt for gifts

Yourstyle Festive fashion for holiday fetes Formal or casual – find your celebratory style

Travellife Colours of the season Surround yourself with pretty poinsettias in Huron County

Sweet winter weekend Experience NOTL’s Icewine Festival

Bestlife Cooking up good times Chef Jonathan Collins teaches how

Hot holiday spots Plenty of party venues for groups large and small

Happy holidays? Find ways to cope with seasonal stress

Culturelife The art of artful giving Pick the right piece for the right person

She’s back! Auntie Mame is at the Palace Theatre

Bizlife Millennium Construction

November/December 2014

Lifestyle 5

6 Lifestyle November/December 2014

LIFESTYLE PUBLISHER Lana L. Breier EDITOR Jill Ellis-Worthington WRITERS Ellen Ashton-Haiste Clare Dear Jill Ellis-Worthington Beth Stewart Heather Toskan Richard Young SALES MANAGER Wilma Van Vaerenbergh 519-476-5571 ACCOUNT MANAGERS Barb Houston-LeClair 519-317-8482 Lorraine Lukings 519-520-7676 Jan McGrath 519-243-2932 Beth Moyer 519-686-0951 Elaine Norris 519-702-5583 GRAPHIC DESIGN EDITORIAL & AD DESIGN Nancy Greenfield Wendy Reid AD DESIGN Bill McGrath PRODUCTION Nancy Greenfield PHOTOGRAPHY Richard Bain John Morse PRINTING Sportswood Printing WEB ARCHITECTURE Sean Hunt –

A Hot Cup Of Cocoa With A Friend Will Warm Your Heart And Soul Come in out of the cold and experience the warmth of Retirement Living by Sifton

Social activities and events Personal wellness services Maintained walkways and grounds Professional and friendly staff

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 Copies are distributed to selected homes, magazine stands and local businesses in London and area.

Canada Post Agreement #41277015

Call today to book a personal visit! 200 North Centre Rd. | London, ON


No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher accepts no responsibility for unsolicited material. All rights reserved. Printed in Canada. November/December 2014

Lifestyle 7

editorial EDITORIAL “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”


he holiday season means different things to everyone. For some it is a joyous time spent with the people that we love the most, to others it is a deeply felt time of spiritual observation. Some families spend time shopping and cooking together, while some just love to decorate their homes in a flurry of festive enjoyment. In this issue of Lifestyle Magazine, we have stories that hit the highlights of the holiday season, so there is something for everyone in this issue. Some of the special features reflect great ideas for holiday hosting, decorating, shopping and coping. With all the merrymaking surrounding the season, stress can also be elevated. I recently had an opportunity to chat with Sarah Hilton to gather advice about coping with stress, anxiety and depression during the holiday season. Her company – Stressed Out Solutions – develops mental health initiatives in the workplace, and she has great advice on page 63. Celebrating often means dressing up and stepping out! Heather Toskan shares the latest trends for looking your festive best on page 57. On page 9 look for sumptuous decorating ideas, while on page 33 shopping destinations in and around London are highlighted.

Photography by Kamini Le Capelain of Silent Poetry Hair by Nina Badr of NU Hair and Makeup Studio

8 Lifestyle November/December 2014

Hamilton Wright Mabie

Fall renovation season is also in full swing, so if a whole-home or kitchen makeover is on your list of late autumn projects, check out Ellen Ashton-Haiste’s stories pages 28 and 31. Those with pending home building or renovation plans will want to take a look at page 19 to see the local stars in the world of residential construction and renovation. If you are looking to gift your sweetheart with a lasting memory or if you just want to escape together for a bit in January, plan a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake to sample icewines and view the beauty of the escarpment. See page 55. Heading into the New Year often urges us to be more conservative in our spendthrift ways evoked by holiday shopping. What better way than learning to re-use found objects and giving them new life or learning to appreciate those who do? On page 15, read about three area businesses who are renewing household objects and redefining the traditional three Rs of reduce, reuse and recycle to recycle, repurpose and re-love. This feature also has some great DIY tips from blogging star Shelly Shepherd. As the days grow short and the nights long and cold, we turn inward and gather close to hearth and home. The staff of Lifestyle Magazine is happy to be able to bring so many great ideas for making your home the best it can be and for enjoying it while celebrating the festive season. From all of our families to yours, may your holiday season be truly joyous – Jill Ellis-Worthington

merry may your home be


bright W

By Jill Ellis-Worthington

Above And right Holiday spirit shimmers and shines from elegant, crystallized décor. Sparkle paired with tradition is featured heavily this year, with white being the predominant colour. Silvery adornments can accessorize any mantel. Detailed yet dainty embroidered pillows highlight winter snowflakes for a touch of the season.

arm up cold winter nights – when they are at their longest around the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21 this year – by combining mirrored décor items that you already have around the house with complementary bling items, like sparkling or glittery ornaments and accessories. Kay Habib, of SkillDécor, advises layering contrasting textures to promote a lush atmosphere. “Putting matte items next to sparkly ones creates a lot of interest,” she says, adding that this layering effect can also be applied to fabrics by staging rougher fabrics, like burlap, next to silks or soft linens. Contrast supplies drama. Start with a focal point, like the Christmas tree or mantle, to establish your decorating theme, and build from there, echoing the colours or textures used across different rooms of the house for a cohesive look. White is the predominant colour this holiday season, used with light blue and silver, or with gold and yellow. Traditional Christmas colours are seen as very deep shades of red, highlighted with lime green. Dressing up your home need not be expensive, as rolls of ribbon can be used to distribute a decorating theme throughout the house, taking it from bows on the tree to wrapping the wreath to highlighting table settings. So bring on the bling, it’s time to shine.

Sparkle up the SeaSon with tipS from a pro

Sparkle & shine

~ Continued on page 10

r gla m ou

tra dition

of g h c u with a to



With Style!

Glamour & glitz Continued from page 9

INSET Every table can be turned into a winter wonderland with the right touches of glamour. Layering can bring an element of warmth, while complementary but diverse patterns can be eye-catching and sophisticated or whimsical and jolly.

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10 Lifestyle November/December 2014

ABOVE Establishing a theme on a mantle, with the lovely oval gold luster glass vase with crackle or a variety of red mosaic vases, can carry a decorating theme from room to room. Traditional colours are always popular during the holidays, and this season red and green are showcased in deep red and lime shades, paired with gold. Try using natural, matte items next to vibrant décor – such as the winterberries pictured here. Yuletide elegance is not all about mantels and tables; don’t forget the tree.


SkillDecor, Kay Habib 226-926-2792 Products from Pier 1 Imports

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Living in the lap of luxury High-end home offered in north London

By Ellen Ashton-Haiste


nybody can build a house, but what Millstone Builders of London strive for is to build a home, says Dan Polakovic, sales representative with Realty Executives Elite. A Millstone home in Broughdale Gates – a private culde-sac at 1956 Richmond Street in north London – which Polakovic and his wife Rachael have listed for $1.4 million, does indeed exude the ambiance of a family home but with myriad luxury touches. Set back from Richmond Street on a quiet, treed enclave, the exterior features a distinctive façade, including hundredyear-old brick from a church in south London, cast stone trim and blocks, as well as pediments cast from a customdesigned, hand-carved mould. This home boasts an expansive 3,400 square feet of above-ground living space, plus another 1,600 square feet in the finished lower level. The wow factor starts in the soaring foyer where four spherical chandeliers, suspended from the second-storey ceiling, mirror a circular pattern in the mosaic tile flooring.

Continued on page 12

TOP LEFT The exterior of the

home is clad with hundred-yearold brick from a south London church as well as cast stone trim and blocks. TOP RIGHT The kitchen includes an island with raised walnut breakfast bar and eating area with patio doors to the rear yard. LEFT The master bedroom suite, across the side of the home, features a cozy sleeping area bracketed by an ensuite bathroom and a spacious walk-in closet. RIGHT To the left of the foyer is the formal dining room, its centrepiece: a crystal chandelier. November/December 2014

Lifestyle 11

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World Class arChiteCture can be found in this luxurious london, ontario home. Millstone homes presents 1956 Richmond Street, Unit #8 where traditional style meets modern luxury. a stately 4+1 bedroom with approximately 3,400 sq ft above ground living space nestled in a prestigious, gated enclave in the north end of the city. Soaring ceilings and unique architecture throughout. a spacious and open main floor. The kitchen is a ‘chef’s dream’ with many special features including built-ins, luxury appliances featuring a sub zero fridge and a two way fireplace open to the sitting room. experience a taste of elegance in the hotel like master suite complete with a wet sauna shower and other stunning spa like features. approx. 1,600 sq feet finished in the lower level complete with a private theatre room. The exterior boasts a spacious, private and elegantly landscaped lot. an all brick and stone exterior and a large 3 car garage.

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To the left of the foyer, an office/den features a stained oak, built-in wall unit, paneling and a coffered ceiling. To the right, a formal dining room showcases moulded trim, wall and ceiling treatments and the centerpiece crystal chandelier. At the back of the home, the great room is bright and airy, with a triple set of expansive windows. It is separated from the kitchen by a double-sided gas fireplace with a mother-of-pearl surround. The focal point of the kitchen is the island with a raised breakfast bar, featuring walnut corbels and surface, and a lower, granite-work counter. An adjacent eating area has patio doors leading to the rear yard. A side door leads to a stamped concrete patio – which matches the front driveway – behind an attached, oversized, three-bay garage, with both front and rear access. White kitchen cabinetry and a creamy granite island counter are offset by black granite on the perimeter counters, dark paneling enclosing an expansive walk-in pantry and an oversized, sub-zero refrigerator. Appliances also include a Wolf gas range, under a walnut mantle with mother-of-pearl surround, flanked by carved, glass-fronted cabinets. A hallway to the right of the foyer leads to a two-piece bathroom, as well as mudroom and laundry, with washer and dryer built in beneath a granite counter. There’s also a butler pantry here and wide closet, including a builtin organizer.

OUTSTANDING PROPERTY for sale Across from the hallway a stairway leads to the upper level landing, overlooking the foyer. A hallway accesses three bedrooms, a four-piece bathroom and ends with the master retreat. This suite extends along the side of the house, with the sleeping area bracketed by an ensuite bathroom at the back and a walk-in closet at the front. The spa-like ensuite bathroom is designed with pampering in mind. A freestanding tub is backed by a floor-to-ceiling, glass waterfall. The wall-to-wall, glass-fronted shower features a steam unit, horizontal shower system and heated bench with water-massage jets. The expansive closet includes two walls of wardrobe space, with lower banks of shelving and soft-close drawers, as well as a central walnut-topped island with cubbies. The lower level features a home theatre with dual, in-wall speakers, a 110-inch screen and theatre seating. There is also an exercise room, a spacious recreation and games room, a four-piece bathroom with showertub and an additional bedroom with a walk-in closet. This level features oversized windows and Berber carpeting throughout, including in the finished, under-stairs storage space. Flooring on the upper levels is marble, custom-cut mosaic and wide-plank, engineered hardwood. All closets have eight-foot-high doors and built-in shelving. There are 15 chandeliers through the home, including in each of the upper guest bedrooms and two lighting the kitchen island. b

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Lifestyle 13

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homestyle Giving second life to items that might otherwise go to a landfill is a new three-R environmental movement


-cycle -purpose -love By Ellen Ashton-Haiste


The original environmental three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – have been touted for decades and with increasing urgency as Canadian landfills begin to reach capacity. Now a new and important three-R movement is emerging. Recycle, Re-purpose, Re-love is giving second life to furnishings that might unnecessarily find their way into the landfill. Three London businesses are embracing this concept, each in different ways but all finding their efforts welcomed. Paul Dromgole is the owner of Heist, a shop that opened two and a half years ago in Wortley Village. He is creating unique furnishings from vintage, industrial and mid-century modern items. He often sees potential in a piece of scrapyard metal that many would discard as junk. A metal frame, for example, has been re-invented as a table, with a coat of sealer and the addition of reclaimed barn board threshers. Wood is a favourite material in Dromgole’s makeovers. “I think it softens the metal,” he says. A three-drawer medical cabinet came in rusted with a ruined top. Sandblasting to remove the rust, a coat of grey paint, clean-up of the original handles and, the pièce de résistance, a square of black walnut to replace the top resulted in a piece that could be a side table, nightstand or kitchen storage. “More and more people are seeing value in well-made, hand-crafted pieces,” Dromgole says. “They don’t want the generic pressed board. And they appreciate reusing a still-functional piece in a new manner.”

the PAINTED PEACOCK It is “a big thing” for today’s consumers, agrees Deborah Kennedy, who opened The Painted Peacock a year ago on Dundas Street in London’s Old East Village. “People are buying older pieces. They last longer and look better. There is substance to them.” With some restoration and a coat of paint, Kennedy transforms these into oneof-a-kind items that fit the store’s motto: “Where old furniture pieces become new masterpieces.” Continued on page 16

the PAINTED PEACOCK Continued from page 15 She sources quality items from antique dealers, auctions, garage sales and even, a couple of times, the roadside. She also does custom work for clients who want new life for a treasured heirloom. “It’s great that these large pieces are not going into the landfill,” she says. In fact, the eco-friendly element is another huge trend she sees in her clientele. “Everything is going green but, until I opened here, I didn’t realize how much the public is concerned,” she says. She meets the green demand by using Canadian products, including artisan chalk paint from British Columbia and acrylic, low-VOC, made-for-furniture paint from Toronto’s Homestead House.

ReDECOR consignment Lorean Pritchard and her son, Sebastian, are giving furnishings a new life in another way. In April, they opened ReDecor Consignment on Sarnia Road outside Hyde Park, the only consignment outlet in the London area for furniture and home décor items. “People like the idea that their beloved pieces are being appreciated and re-loved by a new owner,” Lorean Pritchard says. In the six months it’s been open, ReDecor has attracted some 140 consignees and a base of regular customers. Pieces range from living and dining room sets, arranged in vignettes throughout the store, to accent

16 Lifestyle November/December 2014

pieces like artwork, lamps, fine china, glassware or garden artifacts. “They’re good quality pieces,” Pritchard says. “It would be a shame to put them out at the end of the driveway.” Items are accepted on an 80-day consignment but nothing ends up in a landfill. If a piece does not sell in the allotted time and the original owner does not want it back, it’s donated to Life Spin, a London agency providing support for individuals surviving on low incomes. b

DIY Repurposing: Anyone can do it Shelly Shepherd believes everything in the home has a second life “Repurposing is about ingenuity and making a conscious effort to make the world a better place for generations to come,” Shepherd says.

more creativity, morph into snowmen to liven up gift bags. (

Some 60,000 people around the world agree. That’s how many readers she gets each month for her blog 100Things2Do.

 How many things can you do with a plastic shower caddy?

The inveterate DIYer started the blog as a summer challenge to find 100 things to do with her kids. “But it’s evolved to crafts, DIY, organizing and family ideas.” Here’s a sampling of her projects, with links to detailed instructions.

 Don’t throw out those milk bag tags. They can keep

chords for electronic devices organized or, with a bit


You’ll find 10 here but they might inspire more. (

 The top of a fruit stand can make a great tea caddy –

or an anything caddy. ( 2014/01/organization-tea-station.html)

 Even empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls have a

second life as unique bird feeders. (www.100things2do.

Heist – 249 Wortley Road 519-719-1140 The Painted Peacock – 884 Dundas Street 519-438-0505 ReDecor Consignment – 1055 Sarnia Road 226-884-4144



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2014 London Home Builders’ Association Awards of Creative Excellence

Presenting the Industry Leaders

Builder of the Year – Wastell Builders Group

renovator of the Year – CCr BuildinG and remodelinG

Builder of the Year 2013 & 2014* Make a Wastell Home the choice for Where You Live. When considering your new home, build with confidence knowing your new home is being built by London’s most reputable and respected local homebuilder. — Make One of Our Communities Where You Call Home — 1. a community to grow in





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20 Lifestyle November/December 2014




Industry aces are honoured at ACE awards


econd-generation family business seemed to be charmed at this year’s Awards of Creative Excellence (ACE Awards), presented at a gala dinner October 9, hosted by the London Home Builders’

top Best New Exterior – Bridlewood Homes ABoVE Best Overall New Home Design $800,000+ – Oke Woodsmith Building Systems

By Ellen Ashton-Haiste

Association and celebrating the most creative and professional work in the local homebuilding industry. Builder of the Year, Wastell Builders Group, was founded in 1979 by Garry and Elaine Wastell, is now headed by son Doug. Renovator of the Year, CCR Building and Remodelling, was launched in 1989 by Arne Madsen, whose son, Peder, is now picking up the reins. “It is an advantage growing up in the industry,” says Doug Wastell. “My father has been a big influence in what I do, and helped avoid common pitfalls. I take advantage of all his knowledge.” Peder Madsen agrees. “It does depend on the family dynamic,” he says. “But my dad has been helping groom me into the position and it is working really well for us.” CCR has taken home past awards for specific projects but this was the company’s first for Renovator of the Year, just the second year in the running for it. The best part, Madsen says, was “seeing my dad’s eyes light up and seeing him holding that trophy.” Arne Madsen works hard and doesn’t do it for the glory, his son says. “He honestly just loves to see the projects finished up the way he envisioned.” It was a back-to-back win for Wastell, who took the top

builder award last year; their fourth in total. The awards, established by the LHBA 22 years ago, encompass more than 30 categories, recognizing all aspects of the industry, including sales achievement, health and safety, marketing and a host of design categories. Homeowners, contractors and marketing professionals from outside the area carry out the judging. LHBA-member builders and renovators vote supplier and sub-trade categories on. Receiving the award is a “humbling feeling,” Wastell says, in that it comes from peers across the province and from customers “who love the houses we build enough to win us this award.” He also credits company staff and “consistently good” subtrades, some who took home awards of their own. “We’re using award winners as well as being one.” The awards are important for the industry, says LHBA executive officer Lois Langdon. Winners receive recognition and validation for their work. “It also sets the bar for others to strive for. From the public’s point of view, it gives an idea who the achievers are, not just the winners, but all finalists. If they’re finalists, they’re already at the top of their category.”

~ Continued on page 22

November/December 2014

Lifestyle 21



Special achievement awardS HealtH and Safety award The Tricar Group Steve Martens SaleS acHievement Sifton Properties Limited Donna Czach Sub-trade of tHe year Casey’s Creative Kitchens Supplier of tHe year Strik, Baldinelli, Moniz

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mowbray Sifton award Jim Kennedy, London Development Institute

lifetime achievement award Bob Edmundson, MacNeill Edmundson Professional Corporation

deSign awardS beSt new KitcHen in a Home up to $500,000 Ironstone Building Company Design Credit to: Dynamic Kitchens by Jem-Dor Woodcraft beSt new KitcHen in a Home over $500,000 Harasym Developments Design Credit to: Woody’s Custom Cabinetry beSt new batHroom in a Home over $500,000 Bridlewood Homes Design Credit to: Woody’s Custom Cabinetry beSt new exterior Bridlewood Homes Design Credit to: Orchard Design Studio beSt overall new Home deSign $301,000-$400,000 Patrick Hazzard Custom Homes Design Credit to: Orchard Design Studio 



Best Overall New Home Design $401,000-$525,000 Gary Field Homes Best Overall New Home Design $526,000$650,000 Patrick Hazzard Custom Homes Best Overall New Home Design $800,000+ Oke Woodsmith Building Systems Project of the Year Johnstone Homes Best Living Space (Indoor or Outdoor) CCR Building and Remodeling Best Renovated Kitchen up to $50,000 Vandermolen Homes Design Credit to: Casey’s Creative Kitchens Best Renovated Kitchen over $50,000 Melchers Construction Best Renovated Bathroom under $25,000 Melchers Construction Design Credit to: Pure White Design Best Renovated Bathroom over $25,000 DUO Building Best Renovated Exterior DUO Building Design Credit to: Blueline Design Services Best Renovation Under $20,000 DUO Building Best Renovation $21,000-$50,000 CCR Building and Remodeling Best Renovation $51,000-$100,000 DUO Building Best Renovation $101,000-$150,000 CCR Building and Remodeling Best Renovation $151,000 and over DUO Building

Marketing awards Best Traditional Print Ad The Tricar Group Design Credit to: Orchard Design Studio Best Interior Merchandising Wastell Builders Group

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Best Web Presence Old Castle Renovations


Best Showroom or Design Centre GCW Custom Kitchens and Cabinetry  November/December 2014

Lifestyle 23



to all of the Finalists and Winners of the 2014 LHBA Awards of Creative Excellence!

We would also like to congratulate Donna Czach, Sales Representative in RiverBend Golf Community, for winning Sales Achievement of the Year! Wishing the London Homebuilders’ Association another year of great success.









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Top To boTTom Project of the Year – Johnstone Homes Best New Kitchen in a home up to $500,000 – Ironstone Building Company, Design Credit to: Dynamic Kitchens by Jem-Dor Woodcraft Sub-Trade of the Year – Casey’s Creative Kitchens Best Renovation $151,000 and over – DUO Building  November/December 2014

Lifestyle 25



It’s all In the


ABOVE Finalist Melchers Construction

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•Atchison Plumbing and Heating •Blueline Design Services •Braam’s Custom Cabinets •Bridlewood Homes •Cambria •Cardinal Fine Cabinetry •Casey’s Creative Kitchens •Castell Homes •CCR Building and Remodeling •Copp Building Materials •Delange Construction •Distinctive Kitchens of London •DUO Building •Dutot Build Design •Dynamic Kitchens by Jem-Dor Woodcraft •Gary Field Homes •GCW Custom Kitchens and Cabinetry •Harasym Developments •Ironstone Building Company •Johnstone Homes •Melchers Construction •Oke Woodsmith Building Systems •Old Castle Renovations •Orchard Design Studio •Patrick Hazzard Custom Homes •Progressive Countertop Systems •Pure White Design •Pym and Cooper Custom Homes (London) •Saratoga Homes •Scherba’s Great Floors •Sifton Properties •Strik, Baldinelli, Moniz •The Tricar Group •TRY Recycling •Urban Signature Homes •Vandermolen Homes •Wastell Builders Group •Woody’s Custom Cabinetry n


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November/December 2014

Lifestyle 27

new trends

countertops  SoapStone Durability and resistance to heat and chemicals, qualities that have made soapstone the material of choice in school science labs, are making it an increasingly popular option for countertops. A natural stone, it’s dense, non-porous, doesn’t stain and isn’t damaged by heat. However, colours are limited, generally ranging from pale green to grey.

 neolith Neolith is a new option. Created from natural materials, it is resistant to scratching, staining and withstands temperatures from high heat to extreme cold. It’s available in a range of colours and a new process of impressing a pattern creates veining that resembles natural stone. It’s seen here in a countertop from exclusive local distributor Coni-Marble.

 Quartz A maintenance-free product, engineered from natural stone and available in a plethora of colours and patterns, quartz has become an increasingly trendy countertop. Cambria quartz, distributed locally by Progressive Countertops, recently launched several additions to its 100-plus design palette. Seen here is Nevern, where the swirling veins, simulating natural stone, are enhanced by sparkling silver flecks.

For much oF the 20th century, laminate counter tops prevailed in Canadian kitchens. But in the latter decades of the century that changed. Solid surface products – like Corian and Avian – appeared more frequently. Natural stone – such as granite and marble – remained the purview of the elite. In the 21st century, the countertop landscape morph­ ed again. Stone moved from elite to must­have. Today’s homeowners are seeking new and varied products.

“There’s so many options on the market,” says Deborah Clemens, general manager at London’s Coni­Marble. The demand for quartz, an engineered product made from natural stone combined with resin, has exploded, says Howard Wilton, co­owner of Progressive Countertops, the Strathroy­based regional distributor of Cambria quartz. “In the last two to five years, we’ve seen it go from 20­25 per cent to 60 and even 70 per cent,” Wilton says.

new trends

countertops  ConCRete With a natural appearance and texture, and durability when sealed, concrete counters are growing in popularity. High on the advantage list is the ability to create a unique or personalized colour or pattern, using custom-mixed pigments to match any paint or fabric swatch. Finishes can range from a rustic, board-formed look to smooth, marble-like veining.

 GRanite In two decades, granite countertops have gone from highend elite to a must-have for many homebuyers and builders. The beauty of natural stone, pared with long-term strength, is appealing. Complementing their countertops, London’s RGS Granite offers a full line of natural stone dining tables, sofa consoles and accent pieces, in over 50 styles.

 BaMBoo It may not be the most common countertop material, but for those who like a natural wood appearance, want a harder surface than many woods offer and have environmental concerns, bamboo is an option. As a renewable, sustainable resource, it is eco-friendly. It’s available in several grain orientation styles to suit user needs and preferences.

Granite has become “almost an expectation” for homebuyers, says Camille Malette, who operates RGS Granite with her husband, Nick. A new kid on the block is Neolith, a solid surface product created from natural materials that’s extremely durable and available in a range of colours and designs, distributed locally through Coni-Marble. “It’s the next wave of countertops,” says Clemens. b

INFO Coni-Marble Manufacturing 31 Artisans Crescent 519-453-0100 Progressive Countertop Systems 70 Canaan Street, Strathroy 519-245-0019 RGS Granite 65 Clarke Road, Unit 15 519-601-5737

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Breathing ROOM

This north London home’s renovation has cleared the congestion

By Ellen Ashton-Haiste


hen Gail and Rick Hoevenaars bought their north London home 24 years ago, it had the prerequisites they were looking for: four bedrooms, a main-floor office, a comfy front porch and a neighbourhood that felt just right. But one drawback was the kitchen, a narrow space sandwiched between a dining room and small family room, across the back of the house. “I didn’t like it, even then,” Gail Hoevenaars says. This year, they decided to fix that problem and contracted Millennium Construction and Design. “We completely updated the home’s main floor,” says Mark Vaandering, Millennium’s director of sales and design. The family room, dining room, kitchen and a front living room were opened up to create a spacious great room and kitchen at the rear. The extra space from the renovation also allowed for a new dining room to be added to the front of the home. “Everyone says it looks like there is so much more room,” Gail says. “I like the feeling of inclusion, feeling that I’m not stuck in the kitchen. In fact, it’s become a gathering place.” The new kitchen is bright and airy, with white cabinets and fantasy brown – a cream base with brown veins – quartzite counters on the perimeter and the 3.5-by-8-foot island. The kitchen also features a gas cooktop and two stacked ovens, a built-in microwave, desk area and a beverage centre. Gail is thrilled with the expanded work and storage space; not only is there more storage but it’s dedicated storage, Vaandering says. He points to a window seat in the dining room, with spacious drawers and bookshelf cabinets on either side, as well as built-in cabinets flanking the great room fireplace. In the great room, the former brick fireplace now sports a travertine stone hearth and overmantle. Windows have been replaced with garden doors leading to a stone patio. The Hoevenaars took advantage of having the walls taken down by adding studs and installing a sound system that’s accessible throughout the home, including the patio. “We are loving that,” Gail says. She sums up the family’s view of the renovation: “It’s so comfortable now, cozy and warm, peaceful and serene. It just feels like home.” b

INFO Millennium Construction and Design 606 Upper Queen Street 519-850-7830 November/December 2014

Lifestyle 31




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marketplace  GIFTs For TeMpTable TasTe buds With gift boxes featuring extra virgin olive oils imported from around the world and balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy, it is easy to satisfy the cravings of the most discerning on your holiday shopping list. Gift boxes of four to six bottles start at $22. olive your Favorites 21 York Street, Stratford 519-508-1757

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From olives to olive oil, balsamic vinegars and cheeses, with all the accessories, these sample packs allow you to taste a bit of everything and offer that experience to someone special on your list. They start at $28 and are customizable. The pristine olive Tasting bar 462 Cheapside Street 519-433-4444

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GIFT oF naTural reFlecTIon London’s sole retailer of bonsai trees sells a wide variety of these whimsical plants, cultivated and shaped by leading artists. Gift one to anyone on your list who could use a little more Zen in his or her life, starting at $25. Forget Me not Flowers and More Covent Garden Market 519-850-3300

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Christmas puddings are synonymous with traditional holiday gatherings. If an unusual but delicious present is called for, a King George Christmas pudding is definitely the answer; priced at $24.95. bradshaws 129 Ontario Street, Stratford 519-271-6283

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All that is old is made new again with a fresh coat of chalk paint and a stroke of creativity. A reimagined cribbage board that has been converted to a bench is a great gift for the fisherperson in your life or a wonderful present for cottagers. The mac.gillet Gallery, The Covent Garden Market 519-685-8500 ext. 77718

Consumable gifts are a great idea for those on your list who hate to dust knick- knacks. Cheese baskets and boxes start at $34.99 and are customizable by preference or region, while trays start at $39.99. smith cheese Covent Garden Market (519) 434-9643

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34 Lifestyle November/December 2014


Holiday Shopping at its best

Discover five unique shopping destinations. Each is a special place to find the perfect presents for everyone on your list and each has its own attractions and events to help celebrate the festive season

Hyde Park Just a short drive to Hyde Park takes Londoners away from the hustle bustle and into a quieter pastoral setting. The boutiques and shops along Hyde Park Road offer a plethora of present ideas. From fashion, to supplies for our feathered friends, to one of the city’s best markets, shopkeepers are ready to help you find the right gift. The Santa Claus Parade is November 29 at 10 a.m. and leaves from Sherwood Forest Mall, ending in Hyde Park. LambetH On December 6, Westminster Plaza welcomes Christmas to Lambeth. Located at 2454 Main St., the plaza will host a day of festivities for families. Brought together by The Art Gallery of Lambeth and Jaydancin and Zoe’s Marketplace, this all-day event (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) will see tents set up in the parking lot, housing vendors selling all sorts of gift and craft items. There will be workshops to watch and hands-on activities for the kids. Cider and coffee will keep everyone warm as they enjoy a day of fun.

Port StanLey On November 28 at 6 p.m., kick off the season with the annual Dicken’s Days Parade, hosted by the Lioness Club of Port Stanley, including carriage rides and hot drinks. On the weekends, starting December 6 and ending December 21, kids can enjoy riding the rails through Elgin County to visit Santa himself. Rides also include live entertainment, hot apple cider and mince tarts. The Art Emporium’s 1-2-3 Square Foot Show offers the opportunity to take in some art while finding a special gift. It’s on until November 17. St. tHomaS At the historic Canadian Southern Railway Station and North American Railway Hall of Fame (CASO), from November 7 to 9, the St. Thomas-Elgin Artists’ Guild (STEAG) is holding the eighth annual ‘Twas the Art Before Christmas Art Show and Sale. It’s a juried show and you can vote for your favourite piece of art. There’s live music, a complimentary coffee bar and treats. The show displays a variety of art styles sure to please everyone’s tastes.

On November 21, at 5:30 p.m., head downtown for the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and a visit from Santa. The next day is the annual Optimist Santa Claus Parade, starting downtown at 6 p.m. The Holiday Fantasy of Lights, in December, will feature over 100 colourful displays at Pinafore Park. Stratford With Ontario Street (the main one downtown) festooned with greenery, charming Stratford is ready to welcome holiday guests. Each of the downtown shops offers unique gift ideas, from toys and games, jewellery and china, to fashion finds. Santa’s Parade of Lights takes place November 23 and starts with carolling at City Hall at 4:30 p.m., with free drinks from Tim Horton’s, served by the Optimist Club of Stratford. The parade begins at Allman Arena and ends at City Hall, with Santa and his sleigh and reindeer on the final float. If you can’t make it out, it will be telecast live on Rogers. 

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Lifestyle 37

Port Stanley PortStanley



Play by the lake!

SEASON BOX OFFICE: 519.782.4353


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Join us for our Christmas Open House November 14 - 16 519.782.7727 207 Main Street, Port Stanley, Ontario Taking Christmas orders now for 250g & 600g jars. Try Port’s own Roasted Trail Mix, in Cherry, Cranberry and Blueberry. FEATURED PRODUCTS AT

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38 Lifestyle November/December 2014

Featuring fair trade gifts from around the world! 302 Bridge St., Port Stanley 519-782-7247

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COME MEET SANTA! Ride The Santa Treats Train!

December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21, 2014 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM & 2:30 PM Mince tarts & hot apple cider for Santa’s Children Enjoy a ride through Elgin County in early winter from the warmth of a heated car. Watch your children’s anticipation grow as we near our destination to meet Santa. Live entertainment may appear on some trains. For Full schedule & ticket pricing contact: 519-782-3730 1-877-244-4478

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Santa Claus will arrive by fire truck to light the 8,000 tree lights & officially launch Christmas in Downtown! Children are encouraged to bring Santa their “wish lists”. Free hot chocolate, cider and entertainment provided by Talbot Teen Centre & cookies by the Seniors Centre. 6 prizes of $50 in Downtown Dollars will be given away!

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Your Sty le November/December 2014

Lifestyle 39


Give the men in your life the Gadsby’s Christmas experience. CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE Saturday . November 22 . 2014 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Live Music & hors d’oeuvres 56 Ontario Street | STRATFORD | 519.305.3555 | 40 Lifestyle November/December 2014

Christmas in a

Oxford County

Oxford is a winter wonderland of events, attractions and quaint shops to bring you holiday cheer. Plan your visit today.

Historic home tours - Annandale House Bakeries – Artisan sales – Unique country shops Winter lights by wagon ride – Night time parades - Fireworks Theatre – Choral performances – Folk concerts Pubs - Cafes - Dining – New Years celebrations 519-539-9800 1-866-801-7368 x3355

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74101 Bronson Line, Zurich (519) 565-2122 42 Lifestyle November/December 2014



Red and green and full of fun


Huron Ridge Acres Poinsettia Festival and Candlelight Event an annual tradition

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42 ontArio st. s., grAnd bend

By Richard Young

ach November, the Steckle family invites visitors to Huron Ridge Acres to browse and shop in daytime, or take in the splendour of poinsettias under evening candlelight during its annual Poinsettia Festival and Candlelight Event. Shoppers can choose from over 10,000 colourful poinsettias, in over 20 different varieties, on display in the family-run, year-round greenhouse on November 20 to 22 and 27 to 29. Fresh-cut trees and evergreen planters, garlands, evergreen bunches, wreaths and festive decorating accessories are also available for purchase. As usual, shoppers can enjoy gingersnap cookies, hot apple cider and live music while they browse. An added attraction is the model train running amongst the displays. “Our goal is to create an ambiance where people can drink in the beauty and fragrance of Christmas that will have a calming effect on their spirits, rather than the frenzy of the shopping malls,” says Carol Steckle.

Located near Zurich in Huron County, the Steckle farm has been in the family for 150 years. The greenhouse has been operating since 1973. Dave and Carol Steckle have built a family legacy, as their three children grew up helping in the greenhouse after school. In 1991, their son Kevin, a Ridgetown College horticulture graduate, joined the business as a partner. Now a third generation is helping build Huron Ridge Acres, as Kevin and Lorraine’s children can be found there after school and during the summer break. In addition to its horticultural products, Huron Ridge Acres offers , custom planting, a Plant n Go Bench where gardeners can create their own masterpieces, and kids’ and Christmas workshops. “Our festival weekends are a highlight of the Christmas season and we look forward to greeting both returning and new visitors,” says Steckle. n

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Catering For Large Functions November/December 2014

Lifestyle 43

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bestlife Having cooked for princes, presidents and prime ministers, Chef Jonathan Collins is a busy man with a new cook book series, a television series and web-based cooking show covering the basics.

Deliciously entertaining Chef Jonathan Collins keeps busy with new TV series and Holiday Cookbook


By Richard Young

o say that chef Jonathan Collins brings an impressive resume to his latest ventures as the host of a sixpart TV show “Cuisinart Culinary School” and the author of a new Holiday Season cookbook would be an understatement. A 2006 graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, Academie d’Art Culinaire de Paris, Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute, Collins has cooked for prime ministers, presidents, royalty, and international celebrities. At the same time he has compiled an impressive record of service at leading establishments, including a residency at 24 Sussex Drive, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s home.

For Collins and his wife Cynthia, cooking is very much a family affair which began when the couple decided to chuck their corporate world trappings and their publishing and marketing firm to enrol at the Culinary Arts Institute. “We looked ahead for the next thirty or forty years and realized we weren’t really passionate about what we were doing,” says Collins. “We concluded that we wanted to spend more of our day-to-day working life with our family. It was both a professional and personal decision.” Collins says his passion for food grew out of childhood experiences in his grandfather’s garden, his father’s greenhouse and his ~ Continued on page 46

Deliciously entertaining Proud to be the kitchen of choice for Chef Jonathan Collins

CHEF JONATHAN COLLINS “Some of my best memories growing up were in the kitchen around a great meal. Unforgettable food starts at home. Cook real food!”

Designing fine custom cabinetry in traditional & modern styles.

516 John St. North, Aylmer, ON 519.773.3793 46 Lifestyle November/December 2014

Continued from page 45

mother’s kitchen in southwestern Ontario. Collins remains rooted in the region, now making the family home in St. Thomas, Ontario. Collins’ wife Cynthia pursued studies as a patisserie chef while Jonathan went in the opposite direction. And the rest, as they say, is history. Ownership and management of Shutters on the Beach, a beachside restaurant in Chef Collins’ hometown Port Bruce on the shores of Lake Erie, followed for two years. A residency as chef for Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented opportunities to cook for individuals like U.S. President Barack Obama, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Weston family and Mexican President Felipe Calderón. Collins admits that it became his calling card. “We began marketing ourselves to all takers,” says Collins, adding that they never really said “no” to anyone for a guest appearance. “That’s what it takes,” he says. Collins eschews the term “celebrity chef,” insisting that it has become a “worn-out term.” He prefers to think of himself as far more content driven than being obsessed with celebrity status like some of his counterparts. The Collins family is no stranger to television. Collins started with appearances in Montreal and then on CBC’s “Steven and Chris” where he is now in his fifth season as an expert chef. The family also produced a family cooking

show called “Hungry for Family.” Collins is extremely proud of his new six-part TV series, “Cuisinart Culinary School,” which is now available for viewing at any time on YouTube. Sponsored by the prestigious culinary cookware manufacturer, the series is immersed in food culture and stresses the fundamentals. For example, the first program deals with knife skills, while others explore fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices; meats and poultry; fish, shellfish and seafood; pasta and custard, pastry and cheesecake. “We went the YouTube route for the series because I truly believe that streaming will become the norm for most viewers in the very near future, if it isn’t already,” says Collins, adding that he and his family did everything on the series. Collins has high praise for Cuisinart products, calling them tops in quality and reliability and he cites the great workmanship of Möbelhaus Furniture and Cabinetry in helping make the series a success. Cuisinart’s Facebook page went from 7,000 likes to over 20,000 following the debut of the series, something Collins and his family find very flattering and satisfying. So what’s in store for the Collins family in 2015? At present, Chef Collins is compiling a three-book Holiday Season Cookbook titled “French Immersion.” 

Shop in Elgi� THIS

Holiday Season Stay at home to shop for gifts and decorations this holiday season. Shopping locally will save you time and give you the opportunity to purchase original, hand-crafted products while supporting small business in Elgin County. The main streets of Elgin County’s towns and villages are the perfect places to pick up gifts that are truly one-of-a-kind and are sure to please everyone on your list. Natural skin care products, hand-made pottery, homemade fudge, sweet local honey and artisan candles are just a few of the unique products available. Deck the halls with a ceramic art sculpture or stained glass window or choose an expertly framed piece of art from one of Elgin’s many galleries and studios. OppOsite page Collins is pleased with the workmanship of Möbelhaus Furniture and Cabinetry and has high praise for Cuisinart products. aBOVe For Chef Jonathan Collins and his wife Cynthia, cooking is very much a family affair. They share their passion for food with fans through books, television and web series.

The family’s TV series “Hungry for Food” enters its second season and Collins will continue mounting guerrilla-style pop-up restaurants in exotic locations. “We appreciate being able to come into people’s homes and helping them cook real food,” says Collins. n

A culinary gift is a perfect choice for that hard to buy for person. Help the chef in your life spice up their cooking with locally grown herbs or delicious jams, jellies and salad dressings. For those that prefer to be catered to, try a gift certificate to one of Elgin’s quality restaurants or bakeries that offer everything from delightfully sweet treats to hearty country fare to fine dining opportunities – all using local ingredients. You can’t go wrong with a bottle of expertly crafted wine from one of Elgin’s local wineries. For more Elgin County shopping ideas visit:


Chef Jonathan Collins Collins Cuisine Cuisinart Culinary School television series November/December 2014

Lifestyle 47

Holiday cheer By Jill Ellis-Worthington

Eat, drink and be mErry for it is time to party

48 Lifestyle November/December 2014



ather friends, family, neighbours, coworkers, club members, teammates and those from any of your assorted other groups and enjoy some seasonal cheer together at one of the area’s many great venues for soirees and fetes. If entertainment is on the top of your list, as well as fine dining and sharing a cup of holiday cheer, head out to the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa, near Ingersoll.

Attending tribute shows proves to be a popular choice for corporate gatherings or larger groups of friends, according to general manager Alon Gurman. Held in the grand ballroom that seats 230 guests, these evenings are usually sold out, he adds. “It’s easy for them (companies, teams or groups of friends) to do by reserving tables and piling their gifts for exchange on one of them. It’s a fun evening, with music and dancing.” A holiday buffet, with seasonal favourites like turkey and stuffing, is served. If a quieter setting is desired, the Elm Hurst offers an array of rooms that seat from 12 to 50 people. Many companies have a pre-set, three course dinner served, while others choose to go à la carte. All the dining areas are decked for the season with different rooms sporting decorations. With 46 guest rooms and three suites, planning overnight accommodations for your corporate or other type of gathering means that no one has to volunteer to be the designated driver or risk driving in possibly inclement weather. In Hyde Park, Crossings Grill and Pub also has various private rooms that seat up to 40 guests. The Whiskey Room, to the right of the main entrance, provides a private dining area – with an air of bygone eras – for 16 diners. Larger gatherings are often held on the second floor, with a bar located in the hallway and guests circulating among the various rooms, all sporting their holiday best. “It’s a nice, old place,” says Christina McGrath, general manager, “so we like to keep some character with the decorations.” Groups are offered a choice of a three-course, prix fixe menu that centres around fresh, local ingredients appropriate to the season or their own spread. “We often do custom appetizers,” ~ Continued on page 50

Get on your feet and celebrate A more active approach to party planning may be in order, so try one of these unique ideas. SPIkES InDOOr BEach VOLLEyBaLL With four soft sand courts for rent, a rock climbing wall and a licensed lounge, Spike’s can accommodate up to 150 guests for a beach-themed alternative holiday party for your crew or office staff.

ExTrEME InDOOr gOLF Extreme Indoor Golf offers partygoers an indoor experience of 27 world-renowned golf courses with their realistic aboutGolf simulators. Semi-private and private lounges can host your group to a festive winter round of 18 holes, with no offseason.

FLEETway For family-friendly fun, Fleetway is your source for a variety of options – like glow bowling, golf, rock climbing and billiards – sure to bring a smile to everyone’s faces. Host your staff and their families in the special events rooms, accommodating up to 72 people, and treat them to an ice cream cake from the onsite Dairy Queen.

TOP LEFT Crossings Grill and Pub, in Hyde Park, offers private rooms for casual, fine dining for smaller groups in its Whiskey Room or for larger gathering on the second floor. MIDDLE LEFT Table-side service and holiday tunes played on a grand piano are some of the highlights for many who gather at Michael’s on the Thames to enjoy seasonal food and drink. BOTTOM LEFT The quiet ambiance and sophisticated menus entice many to hold their Christmas parties at the Elm Hurst Inn, while others are attracted to the fun of tribute shows, featuring local luminaries like Doug Varty as Rod Stewart.

Holiday CHeer Continued from page 49

says McGrath. “We can do set menus for groups to work within various budgets.” To add an air of entertainment, groups can also have a private “whiskey dinner” served. Each of four courses is somehow infused with whiskey and a different type of whiskey is served with each. A Crossings staffer presents each course and discusses the qualities of each libation. Near downtown London, Michael’s on the Thames has been a fixture on the banks of the river for 31 years. It is famous for serving Caesar salad prepared at the table, but the table-side

service extends to other dishes such as cherries jubilee, broom leg duck and Dover sole. These are available for groups visiting the restaurant to celebrate the holidays. A special holiday menu is available from mid-November until Christmas, featuring some seasonal favorites. “Tourtiere is definitely a Christmas tradition and is a specialty of our chef Denis Clavette, who is from Quebec,” says Joelle Lees, general manager. From the balcony that allows 50 guests to view the Thames River in indoor comfort to the cozy Captain’s Quarters on the lower level that holds 30, the various rooms of Michael’s on the Thames are free of charge to groups, as long as they are ordering food. A trained sommelier helps individual guests and groups choose vintages

from an extensive wine menu to complement their meals and a baby grand piano serenades with holiday favourites. “We decorate for the holidays quite a bit,” says Lees, “the fireplaces really look wonderful.” n INFO

Crossings Grill and Pub 1269 Hyde Park Road 519-472-3020 Michael’s on The Thames 1 York Street 519-672-0111 elm Hurst inn and Spa 415 Harris Street 519-485-5321

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When you need a present for the person who has everything, make it a piece of art 1 NUMBERS 1-3 – 1 Anne Marrec, “Les Candidate,” acrylic on canvas, 36 by 48 inches. 2 Robert Roy, “The Sea is Beautiful,” oil on canvas, 24 by 36 inches. 3 Freshwater baroque-pearl and sterling necklace by Saousan McLay. All are available at Posh Fine Art and Jewellery.

By Beth Stewart

3 2


f you are looking for a memorable gift for that special someone or for that person who has everything, think art. Yes, art is personal. Art is intimate and buying art is challenging, but when done right it is incredibly rewarding. Art may be all about personal taste, but how can one develop discerning taste without exposure? Remember the first time you were encouraged to try a new (to you) food item? Art is like that. Sometimes it takes a little nudge and a dollop of education to develop one’s appreciation. Anna Ritchie, co-owner of Rivertown Galleries, says this is the perfect time of year to find or create that “very personal piece” for someone you love. Rivertown has a wide selection of paintings, prints and various object d’art to help you on your way. A new canvas Giclee print from London artist Bill Conly is an outstanding idea, whether framed or unframed. Conly’s pieces, with their vibrant colours and anthropomorphic houses, are guaranteed to warm the cockles of anyone’s heart.

52 Lifestyle November/December 2014

Rivertown also has an exquisite selection of small Inuit soapstone carvings from Nunavik, twisted wire art trees by Philip Johnson and beautiful globes by Kitras Art Glass. Looking for über affordable? The Old Masters mug collection from McIntosh Trading is sure to elicit squeals of delight when unwrapped, as are funky, up-cycled, copper-penny earrings and pendants from the East coast. Ritchie says Rivertown always does a lot of custom framing at this time of year, so take that special family photo or memorabilia and make it displayworthy. Former Muskoka gallery Posh Fine Art and Jewellery has recently relocated to Aylmer, where it now occupies a substantial portion of Ian and Saousan McLay’s 1883 heritage home.



NUMBERS 4-6 – 4 Wire art trees by Philip Johnson. 5 Assorted prints by Bill Conly. 6 McIntosh Trading four-mug set, Grande mug and tea for one. All are available at Rivertown Galleries.

Posh – an acronym that stands for “port out, starboard home” – has a large collection of paintings by Québécois artists. These are comple­ mented by Saousan McLay’s hand­ made, baroque pearl jewellery and a smattering of estate sale pieces. “There’s a story to everything here,” promises Ian McLay, who is more than willing to spin a few tales. How do you buy art for someone else? Ian McLay has plenty of advice. First, you should consider the recip­ ient’s personality. “Are they lively or subdued?” he asks. Second, consider their interests. Are they interested in boats and water, landscapes or the hu­ man form? Third, consider the location in which the piece will likely be placed. Ultimately, Ian McLay says go with your gut. “Most people have one look at a piece and say ‘I like that,’” he explains. The bottom line? “If they don’t love it, they can always exchange it,” Ian McLay says – a sentiment also shared by Rivertown Galleries. In a nutshell, when gifting art: be brave; be aware of a recipient’s general likes and dislikes; test the waters be­ forehand by visiting galleries and muse­ ums with them in tow; look locally; ask about returns and exchanges and, when stumped, think abstract art – it makes for a great conversation piece. Now, armed with advice, go forth with confidence and knock a few names off your list. b

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Lifestyle 53

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Sweet sparkle



ary 17 & 18


Liven up winter with a trip to beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake By Jill Ellis-Worthington

VQA vintages will be paired with icewineinspired culinary creations by the Signature Kitchen Chefs from 17 area restaurants involved in the marquee events.


orse-drawn carriages, quaint shops, cozy bistros and a plethora of hotel and bed-and-breakfast establishments make Niagara-on-theLake a great weekend escape at any time of the year, but making it a romantic winter getaway during the annual Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival adds a whole new level of excitement and sensuous pleasure. Several events highlight this year’s festival. Daily tastings will be held at area wineries during the entire month of January, which is known as Icewine Month in NOTL. To get the party started, on January 17 the Sparkle and Ice Gala will be hosted in the historic courthouse on Queen Street. Area winemakers will be front and centre to

start the wine tasting off in grand style. VQA vintages will be paired with icewineinspired culinary creations by the Signature Kitchen Chefs from 17 area restaurants involved in the marquee events. The night will heat up with live salsa music inviting couples to move to the beat. In addition, the evening’s sparkle factor will heighten when the winner of a genuine diamond is revealed at the end of the evening. Each guest will receive a cubic zirconia stone upon entering and at the end of the evening the diamond will be revealed before the crowd exits to the square for an icewine toast. The Niagara region’s longest outdoor icewine bar will be a featured favourite during the weekend of January 17 and 18. Stretching 32 feet in length and stocked ~ Continued on page 56 November/December 2014

Lifestyle 55

SWEET SPARKLE Continued from page 55

with products from 26 wineries, festivalgoers will be able to explore the full gamut of icewines from sweeter white Rieslings to drier Cabernet Franc vintages and everything in between, including a sparkling version. Many different varietals are available. NOTL’s charming Queen Street, in the heart of downtown, will be turned into Icewine Village and transformed into an icy winter wonderland. Couples can stroll along while enjoying products from all of the wineries and icewine inspired culinary creations from the kitchens of the region’s weateries. On the evening of January 18, the Flash and Panache: Icewine Cocktail Competition returns as a crowd pleaser. From 9 to 11 p.m., local mixologists will offer their own

Presented By 56 Lifestyle November/December 2014

signature cocktail creations for guests to taste and the judges to decide which drink will win top honours. One example from last year’s event is Maple Fire and Ice – served by the Prince of Wales Hotel. It contains Konzelmann Vidal icewine, Absolut Elyx Vodka, Sortilege Maple whiskey, dark crème de cacao, red Tabasco and a garnish of house-made dark chocolate. On January 24 and 25, experience the Shop, Sip, Sample and Savour: Niagara-on-the-Lake Insider’s Tasting

Pass in the city’s Heritage District. Step out of the cold and into one of the 100 shops to warm up. The Chefs of the Signature Kitchens will be back with dishes they’ve created to pair with icewine. This will coincide with the Icebreakers’ Comedy Festival, featuring comedians and VQA wines and signature icewine cocktails, in various venues around the town. Special rates for romantic getaway packages will be available from Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake with various hotels, food and event ticket combinations available. n


Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival


festive fashion By Heather Toskan

Whether you are hosting a home party or attending a lavish soiree, looking great is a gift of the season

he holiday season offers plenty of inspiration to cast aside your daily attire for more festive fare. Whether you’re putting on the glitz or dressing more casually for upcoming holiday festivities depends largely upon the degree of formality that your holiday events entail. “You can dress casually for informal home parties and get-togethers with friends and family, but dressing with style is like a gift that shows that you care about yourself and the event you are attending,” says Jo-Ann Fisher, the founder of Hangar 9 by Fisher and Company. ~ Continued on page 58

Shown at left Moving past jeans and a dressier top as your go-to look for home-based or casual gatherings shows style and is a gift to the function’s hosts and other attendees.

FEstivE Fashion Continued from page 57

Leather leggings and pants paired with dressy tops and knits easily outpace the old stand-by of dressing up a pair of jeans. “Leather and pleather leggings and elegant cashmere tunics and sweaters are perfect for informal holiday parties. They’re also a great idea for those whose holidays involve travel,” notes Giuliana Athans, the owner of Moda di Giuliana. Comfy knit dresses and ensembles fashioned from separates of pants, fancy tops and vests are all stylish choices for those hosting and attending holiday soirees. Such ensembles also work well for celebratory evenings out with friends or the gang from work. “Draping and flowing knit dresses and tunics may be highlighted with sparkles or made of velvet burnout material for a sophisticated European-inspired look that’s easily dressed up and down,” says Elizabeth Buczek, a co-owner of Cora  Couture.

Left Juxtaposing elegant fabrics against studded jewellery or chunky footwear, over-sized bows and lots of beading, as well as highlighting dressy fashions with casual outwear, are on-trend looks this winter.

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58 Lifestyle November/December 2014

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ABOVE A longer tunic worn with slim-fitting pants or leggings and boots is a casual but stylish alternative that will work for drinks after work or home parties this holiday season.

Pair dresses with boots and leggings to go casual and transition to a dressier look with sparkling jewellery, a beaded shawl or fur evening collar and strappy high heels. “I also suggest pairing flowing and slim-fitting pants and leggings with dressy tops and fashion boots for informal work functions and home parties,” says Buczek. “Don’t assume that an invitation to a home party is a signal to dress down unless the hostess says so,” notes Athans. “A written or printed invitation to a party generally signals that cocktail wear is indicated even if the invitation doesn’t specify black tie,” says Athans, who notes that guests at home and work-related festivities should avoid wearing revealing styles. Although some work place socials are relatively informal, it’s a good rule of thumb to over-dress, rather than risk appearing too casual. Black remains an evening-wear standard, with lavish helpings of navy, cream and charcoal rounding out the seasonal palette of neutrals. ~ Continued on page 60

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Lifestyle 59

FEstivE FasHion Continued from page 59

Fashions from Canada, New York, L.A…

LEFT Though some shy away from wearing red, burgundy is a popular choice during the holiday season.

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RIGHT Animal prints are firmly ensconced among classic looks for any season.

Brilliant hues of emerald green and cobalt blue, along with multiple shades of red that range from the subtlety of blush pink and warm cinnamon to burgundy, are also on call. Tops and dresses of all lengths fashioned from richly textured materials like lace and silk are often decorated with beads and sequins to make holiday dressing as simple as wearing one dazzling piece. “Tone-on-tone, fully sequined and beaded skirts and dresses make glamorous holiday dressing a snap,” says Fisher, who adds that “creating a glamorous look can also be quickly achieved by draping a natural or colourful dyed fur collar over a blouse or dress.” n INFO Moda di Giuliana 630 Richmond Street • 519-672-3834

Richmond Diamonds Fine Jewellers 428 Richmond Street, London, ON 519-601-9099 60 Lifestyle November/December 2014

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Our favourite

aunt takes the stage

Fun and frolic at the Palace Theatre By Richard Young London Community Players, the Palace Theatre’s resident community theatre company, is mounting “Mame,” the first full-blown musical theatre production in its forty-year history, from December 4 to 14. “Mame” is a musical theatre staple with some great, memorable songs,” says director John Gerry. “I have challenged myself and the cast and crew to have fun with it, to experiment and make it a louder, faster and funnier chamber production with two baby grand pianos on stage.” The production is just one of numerous other plays on the Palace Theatre’s 2014-2015 playbill, which began in September with the critically acclaimed “Noises Off” on the Main Stage and “Death of a Salesman” in the venue’s newest addition, Procunier Hall. Opened originally as a silent movie theatre in 1929, the refurbished Palace Theatre is located in the Old East Village cultural district. The 350-seat theatre (plus 85 in Procunier Hall) continues to play a major role in the area’s renaissance alongside Aeolian Hall, the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market and numerous independent shops and cafes which have sprung up in the last several years. In addition to live theatre productions, the Palace also plays host to live music, dance presentations and special touring revues like Coronation Street: Men at Work. It also screens movies throughout the summer months and is home to London Youth Theatre Education (LYTE), its resident program for young would-be thespians.

“The Palace is both a leader and a mirror of the neighbourhood’s rejuvenation, producing greater entertainment opportunities, more foot traffic and, with all the other new and established ventures nearby, a better reason to live and shop nearby,” says Paul Seale of the Old East Village Community Association. “As the Palace grows, so grows the neighbourhood.” Deborah Mitchell, who tackles the titular role of Mame, appreciates the venue’s importance in community theatre. “I love the Palace’s stage and organization and the support system that Faith [Coates, general manager] and David Long [LCP president] have established,” she says. Mitchell, a community theatre veteran, is well aware of some of the legendary names who have played Mame and says she will bring her own interpretation to the production. “I think of myself as an actor whose primary task is the communication of the author’s story and message. I love inhabiting other characters and revealing their ‘truth’. Also, I love to sing and the Jerry Herman score is just terrific,” she says. Mitchell enjoys working with director Gerry. “He allows you to bring your personality and bag of tricks to parts, something I really appreciate.” While the Palace Theatre’s place in the local arts scene is well-established, Coates says it remains a work in progress. “I believe it is imperative to create collaborative and inclusive arts spaces that can be used by all

TOP The Palace began life as a silent movie theatre in 1929. FAR LEFT Mame director John Gerry. ABOVE As Mame, Deborah Mitchell follows in the footsteps of notable stage greats, like Angela Lansbury and Ginger Rogers.

community groups,” she says. “That is our primary goal.” To be sure, the Palace goes far in accomplishing this goal. For a schedule of events at the Palace Theatre, visit n INFO

Palace Theatre 710 Dundas Street 519-432-1029 November/December 2014

Lifestyle 61












e “Th



Paul Davenport Theatre, Western University November 21 at 8 p.m., November 22 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., November 23 at 2 p.m. For tickets, contact the Grand Theatre Box Office 519-672-8800 /

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e m i t t s e i The happ of year But not for everyone

Stress, anxiety and depression are as much a part of the holidays as red, green and gold – advice on how to cope

By Jill Ellis-Worthington


ovember and December are often very busy with extra activities scheduled for families, like school plays, trips to the mall and rounds of visiting relatives. Those months can be financially tough with all the extra money spent on gifts, decorations and food. When we are forced into the company of people we don’t often see and don’t especially like at family or work-related gatherings, anxiety can escalate. Sadness can turn to depression when the family pictures have been changed by death or divorce. Stephanie Aikin, 45, spent her first Christmas alone last year. After an ugly separation from her estranged husband of 14 years, it was the first holiday not Continued on page 64

spent with her children, who were with their father, or her parents, who had recently become snowbirds. She’d been depressed and anxious for a long time, as a result of the difficult relationship, but the holidays exacerbated her feelings. “It was hard to get out of bed some mornings,” she says having lost her job and home as a result of the marital situation. “Christmas was my favourite holiday,” she says, so when it became another in her laundry list of woes, Aikin knew it was time to get help and she sought counselling.

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“Of course it sounds simple,” says Hilton, “but when you are caught up in something, just step back and breathe.”

12:52:07 PM

According to Sarah Hilton, of Stressed Out Solutions, the three main negative emotions – stress, anxiety and depression – around the holidays aren’t uncommon but many are loath to express their discontent during what is assumed to be a time of universal joy. If you are sleeping more or less than usual, feeling tearful or agitated, or experiencing headaches or stomachaches, these may be symptoms of depression and anxiety. But there are proactive steps that you can take. When confronted with a feeling of being overwhelmed – whether in a long line at the mall or standing next to a boor at a cocktail party – take a moment to breathe. “Of course it sounds simple,” says Hilton, “but when you are caught up in something, just step back and breathe.” This can help rebalance your thought process and let you move through it more gracefully. During the holiday season it is important to surround yourself with people who support you. “Have a go-to person who you can book extra time with over the holiday,” she says. Whether that is a special friend to chat with over lunch or your regular counselor, setting aside extra time before crises occur can help alleviate the issues. Hilton also advises that “you set a no-rule rule.” This means remembering to take care of yourself and remembering that you don’t have to do everything that’s expected of you. Continued on page 66

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Continued from page 64 Hilton notes that substituting some of the less pleasurable parts of holiday preparation for activities that you enjoy is also a good coping method. “Increase the time spent doing things that make you feel great, like walking, reading or going to the gym. If it’s good, do more of it over the holiday season.” Like Aikin, feeling overwhelmed and knowing that it is time to get help is key. Recent celebrity deaths due to mental health issues have emphasized the importance of talking about problems and seeking help before it is too late. “If you’re concerned about someone else over the holidays, let them know that you’re in their corner. We have to speak out about that,” says Hilton, adding that even people who are smiling can be suffering from depression so it’s important to ask. b

Making the best of it

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Whether it is a family brunch, where you’ll be sitting next to Uncle Jim, who always drinks too much and gets nasty, or a high-pressure cocktail party for work, there are some functions that you’d like to give a pass but must attend. Here are Sarah Hilton’s tips for maintaining your mental wellness at such times.

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Sarah Hilton Stressed Out Solutions 519-476-9649

Distinguished Homes for Today’ s Lifestyle

t Oke Woodsmith, we do much more than build houses. We take design ideas from A our clients, meld them with our own, and keep our collective relationship on track during the construction process and beyond. It’s not just our communication skills that attract clients to our company, however. We keep ourselves, and our tradespeople, up-to-date on advances in building science. We’re building not just for the decade, but also for the century.


ur hope is that the next generation will renovate and update our buildings a hundred years from now.

NATIONAL AWARD WINNING BUILDER 70964 Bluewater Highway 21, Grand Bend, Ontario ~ 519-238-8893 ~

The White House

Fabulous Summer Lace by OF


Fabulous Fall Toppers by OF EUROPE view our website:

Also At the white house


bra bar 256 oxford street e. 519-679-8511 Open Thurs. & Fri. ‘til 8

view our website:


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