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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 S PA C E S I S S U E O T TAWA ' S G U I D E T O L I V I N G I N S T Y L E




Tanya Collins Redefines Glamour at Home PLU S I N S I D E

Loads of Sources Practical Tips!


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With new flooring like this, feeling more fashionable is only natural. For flooring that’s anything but boring, step into Lowe’s. Our trendsetting new selection now offers hundreds of designer specialty flooring choices. Like European inspired porcelain tiles, handmade 100% wool rugs, and unique hardwoods such as bamboo, eucalyptus and cork. No matter what your budget is, we can help you find the perfect flooring for your home at everyday low prices. Because what good is fashion sense if it doesn’t make financial sense. Whitewashed Barnboard Laminate © 2013 by Lowe’s. All rights reserved. Lowe’s and the gable design are registered trademarks of LF, LLC.

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March/April 2013 VOLUME 15 • NUMBER 2




Tanya Collins redefines glamour at home. We invite you to take a journey with Tanya as she visits some amazing Ottawa homes, showcasing fabulous fabrics and über-cool design. Read about the benefits of light, playful and fashionably-designed homes in which to entertain and raise a family. Or, check out the urbane style of unexpected colour combinations and patterns that bring a happy quality to a historical home. Tanya brings it home!

Target: Cornwall is on a Roll


Cornwall’s economic development department is on a roll as it attracts younger families from the Ottawa area to work in this beautiful city on the St. Lawrence River. Target, one of the United States’ largest retailers, has built a 1.4-million square-foot facility in a business park close to the 401 in Cornwall, Ontario.

Live Life Beautifully at The Azure


“When it comes to architecture, Ottawa is not getting a lot of attention internationally,” observes John Thomas, founder of Azure Urban. That’s about to change.

Bold New Accessible Design


This is not your typical house renovation. It is the story of a young adult wanting to make a fresh new start. The result is a custom-built, wheelchair-accessible bungalow that is truly in vogue!

Four Contractors: Loads Of Good Advice


A renovation can make a homeowner’s dream come true, or it could turn into a person’s worst nightmare. Save yourself thousands of dollars by getting advice from Tanya’s go to guys for renovations.

Fabritec Kitchen


columns & stories Publisher’s Message ............................6 In Search of Style ................................. 8 Fashion .................. ...........................11 Thirst Impressions ..............................14 Money Matters .................................. 16 Gallery................................................ 19 New Design of the NAV CENTRE ........ 57 Canadian Coast Guard ...................... 67 Travel ................................................. 73 Opinion: Gary Corbett ...................... 78


Surface Developments’ Exciting New Artistic Residential Project


“Canvas” was inspired by acclaimed Ottawa artist Christopher Griffin and will transform Old Ottawa South. o Honour our troops



A budget-friendly makeover of a kitchen from Canada’s premier cabinet maker.

publisher’s message by dan donovan

publisher/managing editor

Dan Donovan editor/head writer

Spaces Tanya Collins is one of the premiere interior design and decorating firms in Canada’s capital. Established in 2006, Tanya has quickly developed a clientele who appreciates her passion for style, design and her highly-personalized and intuitive approach.

Harvey Chartrand, copy editor/features writer

Jennifer Hartley office administrator

Alessandra Gerebizza

web manager Rob Cornforth contributing writers

Anna May Burke, Harvey Chartrand, Tanya Collins, Gary Corbett, Shelley Cross, Dan Donovan, David Ginny, Alexandra Gunn, Jennifer Hartley, Michael Pinkus, Kash Pashootan, Hank Reardon, Heather Seftel-Kirk, Karen Temple, Simon Vodrey, Jasmine Williams cover photo

Paul Couvrette, TANYA’S DRESS :

Tanya’s trademarks are her ability to see space used to its fullest potential and her flair for creating timeless and fashion-forward interiors. By creating dynamic design tension with unexpected pairings — feminine curvy shapes with masculine linear lines, intense colour, graphic patterns, and abstract art with traditional furnishings, antiques and rustic woods with modern architecture, vintage with custom-designed and mass-produced with one-ofa-kind — her interiors look more evolved and personal rather than contrived and “done.” For the past three years, Tanya has been a regular columnist for Ottawa Life Magazine and our readers have come to expect her latest insights in each issue.

Alice and Olivia by Stacey Bendet TANYA’S HAIR: Taze Vushaj & Mykal James, Hair Republic photographers Bernard Boccara, Paul Couvrette, JL Flémal,

Gordon King, Deborah Ransom, Jason Ransom, Brennan Schnell, Emma Truswell

student interns Clayton Andres,

Lena Vakulenko

events Regan Harney fashion Alexandra Gunn director of sales accounts Joe Colas C.G.A design Karen Temple technical support John Temple corporate advisor J. Paul Harquail,

We hope you enjoy this special edition – a glossy, grand and glamorous affair that showcases some of the elegant homes and chic spaces of Ottawa, as redefined by Tanya. This issue is a visual feast for the eyes, packed with loads tips for your home reno and lifestyle. We begin a new feature on the Canadian Coast Guard and continue with both the Pensions and Peace of Mind and Health-Care series. Finally, if you need to get away, enjoy our stories on Slovenia and Belgium. n

Charles Franklin corporate counsel Paul Champagne advertising information

For information on advertising rates, visit call (613) 688-LIFE (5433) or e-mail Canadian Publication Mail Product Sales Agreement #1199056. Ottawa Life Magazine, 301 Metcalfe St. Lower Level, Ottawa. Ontario K2P 1R9 tel: (613) 688-5433 fax: (613) 688 -1994 e-mail: Website: Ottawa Life is listed in Canadian Advertising Rates & Data (CARD). Ottawa Life subscription rates: one year $30.00, includes postage, plus HST (six issues). Two years $50.00, includes postage, plus HST (12 issues). Add $20 per year for postage outside Canada. Subscriber service is 613-688-LIFE (5433). Ottawa Life Magazine is printed in Canada on recycled paper.

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in search of style by alexandra gunn

LoveROCKIES & the F

or the picture-perfect wedding, all you need is love, the right man and a beautiful dress. Anyone who has followed this column over the last few months will know that much of the focus has been on the creation and development of my wedding gown by David McCaffrey of McCaffrey Haute Couture. Finally, the big day arrived and all was revealed. Send Alex your fashion & style dilemmas to Follow Alex on Twitter: @AlexandraGunn Alexandra Gunn is the Life & Style reporter for Sun News Network. 8 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

Two weeks before the wedding, I was fitted one last time and then my gown was packaged for the flight from Ottawa to Alberta. A lot of

consideration went into designing the dress to ensure that it would play a role in the overall feel of the day. The details of the dress incorporated delicate French lace, a feminine silhouette and elegant accents. It was important that the dress be versatile. For the church ceremony, the dress was paired with a bolero and a veil with minimal jewelry to give it a classic and graceful feel. At the reception, the bolero was swapped out for a jeweled belt and a statement necklace for a bit more pizzazz.

The train was bustled prior to the reception giving the back of the dress a beautiful cascading effect. It was luxurious, timeless and yet worked with modern elements. A jeweled clutch carried the essentials of the day and a pair of Valentino heels added a hint of glamour. However, at all times, no matter the changes from day to night, the dress maintained the reverence of traditionalism. In addition to that, I wanted the dress to fit in the environment, to respect the glory of the awe-inspiring Rockies and the nature of the area. The décor of the reception emulated rustic elegance with mountain greenery arrangements and centrepieces, pine cone nametags and snow owls to top the wedding cake. Somehow, McCaffrey managed to incorporate that feel and the dress fit in beautifully with all of the natural beauty and the ambience of the day.

and rose bouquets to match the bride. The reception was held at Silvertip Resort in a mountain wilderness setting. Every detail was magical right down to the ice sculpture created for the day, a replica of the Three Sisters Mountains in Canmore, from which ‘something old’ and ‘something blue’themed drinks flowed. It’s hard to believe how much work goes into one day. However, equally amazing was the creative dressmaking process, witnessing step-bystep how a concept became a magical wedding gown reality. n


McCaffrey Haute Couture BRIDE’S SHOES: Valentino PHOTOGRAPHY: Jason and Deborah Ransom RECEPTION VENUE: Silvertip Resort Canmore CEREMONY VENUE: St. Michael’s Anglican Church

The bridesmaids wore purple gowns with beige jackets and carried peony

DÉCOR & FLORALS: Gunn Interiors STATIONARY: Someone Letterpress Printing 9 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

As a Registered Condominium Manager, I believe it’s very important to develop and maintain solid working and professional relationships to work as a team with my condominium boards. To build the trust and confidence required to do that, you have to know the ins-and-outs of the industry. The property management company I work for requires that its managers achieve the RCM designation from ACMO. ACMO’s education program practices a solid understanding of building systems and maintenance, accounting, communications, project planning and condo law. All of which are essential for an efficient, well-managed operation. My RCM designation gives the condominium board, and owners, the confidence that their home is being professionally managed.

DAY TO DAY DAY AFTER DAY. Pat Parrish, Registered Condominium Manager


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fashion by alessandra gerebizza

Flat-Out Fabulous

Feel grounded this spring with these eye-catching fashions from BGGO Boutique in Ottawa's Glebe.

Photographed at the soon-to-open Fauna restaurant and bar located at 425 Bank Street in Centretown. Chef/owner Jon Svazas's menu will be seasonally

driven with locally-sourced ingredients. Be sure to check it out!

STYLIST: Alessandra Gerebizza PHOTOGRAPHER: Brennan Schnell, ASSISTED BY: Natalie Burns Clothing: BGGO Boutique in the Glebe. MODEL: Allison Beattie, Angie’s Models and Talent. HAIR & MAKE-UP: Ewa Tarkowski, Pierino Scarfo Salon. FURNITURE: VANITY Love seat from Mikaza Home, 1101 Bank St. 11 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

Choose Cornwall. Alan La Barge did. The new General Manager of Eleven Points Logistics is hard at work getting Target’s Cornwall Distribution Centre up and running. Over the next several months, hundreds of people will be hired to fill a variety of positions. Cornwall is a great place to start a career. Housing costs are very affordable, and the City has new recreation facilities, new college programs and a new hospital. Cornwall is a place where you can succeed… where your family will thrive.

Ask for your free information package.


profile by hank reardon

TARGET: Cornwall M

innesota-based Target, one of the United States' largest retailers, has built a 1.4-million square-foot facility on 169 acres of developmentready land in a business park close to Highway 401 in Cornwall, Ontario.

Christie Stewart, Project Manager, Broccolini Construction (left), and Mark Boileau, Manager, Economic Development, City of Cornwall, stand in front of Target's new distribution centre in Cornwall.

In recent years, Cornwall – the hub of the Seaway Valley – has seen the arrival of large distribution centres for U.S. retail giant Walmart (1.4 million square feet) and pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart (600,000 square feet), which between them generated about 1,000 jobs. Boundary Properties has also purchased land for a distribution centre in Cornwall, which is increasingly being recognized as a very good logistics location from which to serve eastern Canada. Target is making the move into Canada by purchasing Zellers locations across the country.

Another key factor is that Cornwall has hundreds of acres of serviced industrial land. “It’s interesting to look anywhere from Montreal to Toronto along the 401, which I think is really essential to be in this business, but it’s underestimated how important it is to have serviced industrial land,” Boileau observes. “If you look at all the distribution centres and put them all together, there’s probably 400 acres there of serviced industrial land that was required.Trying to find that much serviced land along the main transportation corridor is not that easy.”

Why did Target choose Cornwall as its main distribution point in eastern Canada?

Cornwall was once heavy in manufacturing, with companies like Domtar and Courtaulds in the area. When they left, it was a hard hit for a community of this size. “But it’s nice that we’ve found a sector that’s well suited to Cornwall. It has allowed the community to bounce back,” Boileau said. In fact, Cornwall currently has an unemployment rate below national average (it’s about 6.4 per cent, according to Statistics Canada).

The location on the 401 is key, as well as proximity to large urban centres like Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. According to Mark Boileau, manager of economic development for Cornwall, another important factor is “a loyal workforce, suitable to work in that kind of environment, given our manufacturing history, because, of course, these types of operations run pretty much 24/7.”

The City of Cornwall’s population is 47,000 and the population of the

region of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry is about 110,000. Cornwall is the business and commercial centre for the area. Target’s facility will be one of the largest inventory and storage depots in Canada. It will be the size of 20 football fields. “I think there’s a lot more confidence in the economy here,” Boileau sums up. “You’re seeing that now with some of the commercial development that’s established here recently. Obviously, you need hundreds of people to operate these facilities.” Boileau also says that while “we’re hoping to find employment not only for people in this city, we would like to try and attract younger families from the Montreal and Ottawa areas who would want to get into this sector. We have fairly competitive housing costs. We also have a lower cost of living in this community, so it’s a very competitive community in that respect.” The Target facility will employ about 400 people when it’s fully operational later this year. n 13 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013


thirst impressions by michael pinkus

Say sí to Spain, Portugal AND GREAT VALUE


ime once again for a tour around the Vintages shelves of the LCBO, and after a bargain-filled January, there is very little to get excited about. There is only a handful of wines from the February release that are truly wonderful for the money spent. Let’s start with the Domaine Grand Veneur 2010 Les Champauvins Côtes du Rhône ($18.95 – #0076331) from the Rhône Valley.It’s sexy and supple with plum, cherry, chocolate. You’ll also find great spice on the finish and all at a pretty good price (****½). My next selection comes from Italy. There is so much going on in the Pelassa Bricco Enrichetta Langhe 2011 ($16.95 - #0305508) that you’ll think you paid more. Lilac, leather, mocha and spice take the lion’s share of the work with hints of raspberry, spiced cherry, dark berries and good balancing acidity. It is a real pleasure to sip, even better when paired with pasta or the meat dish of your choice (****+). One of my favourite Spanish producers, Juan Gil has a great red. The Juan Gil 2010 Red ($21.95 - #0001677) is a true beauty, sexy and smooth with blackberry jam aromas and dark fruit that follows onto the palate. This is one to stock up on for summers to come (****+). For those of you going through white withdrawal and looking to get your Chardonnay fix, there’s a KendallJackson 2011 Vintner’s Reserve that’s out in two sizes: 375ml ($11.95 - #703710) and 750ml ($19.95 - #369686), depending on the size of your Chardonnay itch. Buttery with melon, vanilla cream, apple and peach-cobbler notes. The wine uses oak as a seasoning and not as a main ingredient and that makes it very tasty (****). If you’re looking for something a little more exotic in the world of white wine, try the Statti Mantonico Bianco 2010 ($18.95 - #317644)

from Calabria. This is refreshing with peach, lime, orange zest and some interesting canned pineapple notes (****). Head to Argentina where the Nieto Senetiner 2010 Gran Reserva Malbec / Petit Verdot ($17.95 - #295170) offers terrific value in a wine that delivers lots of dark fruit, red licorice, vanilla and creamy notes then balances it all with some sour cherry (****). Just across the Andes in Chile, you’ll be happy to discover Tabali 2009 Reserva Especial ($22.95 - #107540) with its juicy blend of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Blackberry, black pepper, blueberry, black cherry and sandalwood also make a welcome appearance (****+). Tasmania is one of those unsung gems in the world of Pinot Noir making. Time and time again, I am impressed with that grape in this place. Devil’s Corner 2011 Pinot Noir ($20.95 - #317966) will satisfy. Lovely spice, great balancing acidity, powerful yet somehow restrained fruit that meets up with some delicacy and finesse to me is the complete package and is a wine you won’t soon forget (****). It you’re looking for something from the same part of the world (Australia) that will blow you over with flavour, check out the Rolf Binder 2009 Ma I? Have This Evening Shiraz Mataro ($19.95 #295899). (Yes, it’s really called that.) It’s seductive with lots of fruit, big aromas, massive flavour yet shows elegance and complexity. On a night out or, better yet, a night in, this wine has your back (**** ½). Bargain hunters should flock to this “rather rare bird” (as the Vintages Panel calls it), Caruso & Minini Sachia Perricone 2010 ($13.95 - #211854) from Sicily, made with the Pignatello grape.– It has black licorice, cassis, coffee and cocoa. It is an excellent wine to have

on hand for the upcoming BBQ season. Spain and Portugal have the possibility to boom big in the next few years (and I’m gonna keep saying that till it happens) as the wines are excellent value and of excellent quality. Of the four wines listed below all are four stars and above and none break the $15 price barrier. Portugal: No Ports here, instead it’s a bottle of Castelo de Azurara 2010 Reserva ($14.95 - #314542) which has hints of spearmint as a backdrop for all the red fruit screaming out of the glass (****). The Herdade do Sobroso 2010 Sobro Red ($14.95 - #306563) is a red to just drink and enjoy. There’s some cedar knocking at the back door, but it’s nothing that’s going to take away from the big, black-fruited taste(****). Spain: Pinol Ludovicus 2010 Tinto ($13.95 - #313791) is a Grenache-based blend with four other grapes mixed in for seasoning. Plum, black cherry, hints of chocolate, vanilla are all smooth and supple. It is great value in an easy-drinking red (****). Grab the Tarima 2010 Monastrell ($12.95 - #310151). Where else are you going to find a $13 red that’s this yummy now, and can still easily age 5+ years? It is loaded with plum and cherry and balancing spice that helps keep the fruit from running away with it all (****). Enjoy the wines. Be sure to catch up with my weekly selections at www. n 15 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

money matters by kash pashootan

Four Pillars to Financial Peace of Mind


chieving success with your financial plan is much like building a house. It requires a strong foundation to carry the weight of your financial goals. A complete financial plan will provide you with integration of retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and tax planning. These four pillars must not only be initially developed, but also require ongoing commitment from your advisory team to remain up to date, or it will quickly lose its relevance. Retirement Planning Whether you are working towards retirement or already retired, it is important to consider your financial future and achieving your desired lifestyle. For those who are working towards retirement, generating income of 60-70 per cent of your working years is often sufficient to maintain your current lifestyle. Planning will answer key questions. Will I have enough to retire? Will I be able to do the things I want to do during my retirement years? For those who are already retired, this planning will help put into perspective your withdrawal rate relative to the amount of assets you have to help answer the question that preoccupies many people. Will I outlive my money? Estate Planning Estate planning is another key pillar in your plan. It structures how the transfer of assets will take place. A common misconception is the need to have millions in your estate before considering estate planning. Wrong. If you have something of value that you would like to pass on, or someone you’d like to protect then estate planning is of value to you. A testamentary trust, which comes into effect upon the death of the settlor, may present you with distinct benefits. It offers a number of planning options as it can reduce probate fees. It offers protection from creditors and essentially creates a new taxpayer, 16 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

so income from one’s inheritance is separate from other income. Because of the legal and tax details involved with trusts, professional advice is essential.

financial situation. For those who are retired, this is especially key to ensure income splitting not only for today but also for the future. Investors often have several investment accounts, ranging from non-registered accounts,

Investment Management Knowing your future goals and financial objectives will shape your personalized investment strategy. By working closely with your Portfolio Manager, you build an investment portfolio custom-tailored to your specific goals, without the need to take on unnecessary risk. Your wealth plan will clarify the asset mix in your portfolio that will achieve optimal returns and appropriate risk, based on your time horizon. Fee-based accounts are something to consider, as they replace transaction commissions and administration costs with a single annual fee based on the value of assets under management. With fee-based investing, your interests are better aligned with that of your Portfolio Manager. Moreover, annual management fees for non-registered accounts are tax deductible in the year they are incurred.

corporate accounts, TFSA, RRSP, LIRA. A tax strategy will illustrate how much to withdraw from each account to achieve your monthly income requirement and remain as tax efficient as possible.

Tax Planning Integrating a tax strategy into every step of your financial plan is important because it is the after-tax dollars that matter. Tax planning should not be done in isolation. It should be driven by your overall financial goals and in line with your total financial plan. Taxsmart investing strategies can improve net investment returns, minimize taxes and save investors money. The process entails various types of tax strategies depending on your unique

A solid foundation is important in achieving your long-term financial goals and desired lifestyle. Without integration of the four pillars, your financial plan will lack the support it needs to withstand the changes in the economy, stock market, and most importantly life changes. Choosing an advisory team that incorporates this integrated planning is essential to long-term success. Management fees in Canada are among the highest in the world and so ensure for those fees paid you are receiving ongoing integrated planning. n Kash J. Pashootan is a Vice President and Portfolio Manager with Raymond James Ltd. Information provided is not a solicitation and although obtained from sources considered reliable, is not guaranteed. The views and opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Raymond James Ltd. Securities offered through Raymond James Ltd., MemberCanadian Investor Protection Fund. Insurance offered through Raymond James Financial Planning Ltd., not a Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. We are not tax advisors and we recommend that clients seek independent advice from a professional advisor on taxrelated matters.

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gallery by shelley cross

Ottawa Artist on the Rise Heidi Conrod


aybe it is a painting of a rosy-faced child with piercing blue eyes who captures you with her glance. Or, perhaps it is an abstract of such intense colour that you are drawn into its enduring story. These are some of the images captured by Ottawa artist Heidi Conrod. Each piece is as intricate and bold as the next. Conrod creates depth in her paintings by layering different levels of paint. The painting becomes a story and each layer of paint

expresses a different emotion, a new character and a varying point of view. Conrod’s use of colour has changed over the course of time. Her paint palette began with earth tones and has since evolved into more vibrant tones. Conrod is the first to admit that she has a certain infatuation with colour and almost never uses paint straight from its original tube. Instead, she creates her colour

choices as the art comes to life. Conrod’s latest series of abstracts was inspired by biomorphic forms in nature. (Paintings referred to as "biomorphic" contain irregular abstract forms based on shapes found in nature.) She looks to the details in nature and incorporates “macroscopic and microscopic landscapes” into her work. Conrod is an award-winning artist, taking home the University of Ottawa’s Edmund and Isobel Ryan Visual Scholarship in Painting in 2012. Conrod was also awarded the University of Ottawa’s Jacqueline Fry Scholarship in 2011. She has been featured in a number of solo exhibitions in Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto. Conrod’s artistic roots can be attributed to her father who dedicated his Saturdays to his passion for creating art. Conrod also spoke about her current inspirations, including such artists as Francis Bacon, Cecily Brown, Jean Arp, Arshile Gorky, Albert Oehlen and Gary Evans. Conrod says that she is constantly inspired by her surroundings. Conrod recalls that when she was a child, she was very shy and often struggled to find her voice. She now feels that her art is truly the voice that she was missing. She is able to communicate through each brush stroke, every choice of colour and each finished piece of art. Every time someone relates to one of her paintings is a day that Conrod considers she has done her job well. n Heidi Conrod’s work can be viewed at www. and at Wall Space Ottawa Art Gallery in Westboro. 19 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

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spaces condo living by harvey chartrand


Live Life Beautifully A

zure Urban Developments Inc., Ottawa’s newest developer, has partnered with prominent London firm PLP Architecture, a world-class architecture and design company, to create The Azure (www.theazure. ca), the latest entry into Ottawa’s residential condominium market. The Azure will be a 93-unit condominium building situated at the corner of Richmond Road and Woodroffe Avenue with sweeping views over the Ottawa River and the Gatineau Hills. The Azure will be the first residential building in Ottawa to have been designed by an international architect. “When it comes to architecture, Ottawa is not getting a lot of attention internationally,” observes John Thomas, founder of Azure Urban. “We wanted to bring to Ottawa a different type of condominium than what we’ve traditionally seen in this market. I wanted to bring to my hometown great design and architecture at a price that was affordable to all segments of the condominium market.” Thomas, who was raised in Ottawa but spent the past 20 years working and living abroad in Toronto, San Francisco, Abu Dhabi and Paris, with lengthy

working stints in Kuala Lumpur, formed Azure Urban in 2010 as a vehicle to bring some of what he saw on the global real estate scene back to Ottawa. “I had worked on several projects with PLP Architecture while in Abu Dhabi, including a Four Seasons Hotel and Residences, and thought they were the perfect choice for Azure Urban’s flagship project.” PLP Architecture came to Ottawa in the winter of 2011 to walk the site, which resulted in 17 different design options for the building. Lead architect Karen Cook and her team took into consideration many aspects of the site, including the ideal orientation for sunlight, views and the surrounding homes. They then spent all of 2012 working on a concept that would be ideal for the oblong shape of that particular site, once occupied by a confectionery and an old farmhouse. The result is a luxurious structure that Thomas hopes will be the new benchmark in the Nation’s Capital for residential design and a contemporary jewel for the West Ottawa community. PLP has fashioned a grand architectural statement for this gateway location that takes advantage of its prominent

setting at the entrance to Westboro and the Ottawa River Parkway. The structure is defined by a series of parallel masonry walls that step down towards the Ottawa River, culminating in an undulating skyline which creates private roof terraces with stunning panoramas. The building is an expensive one to build with twin elevator cores clad in elegant charcoalgrey brick with floor-to-ceiling glass on the inside. The Azure has been carefully designed from the inside out to enhance the living experience of its residents. The building is oriented to the east and west to maximize river views and allow sunlight to penetrate all units. Inside, gracious suite layouts incorporate inspired interior design. At ground level, shops and residences animate the street and contribute to the urban densification/town planning goals of Woodroffe Avenue. “We’ve created a 30-foot plaza right in front 21 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

of the building, stepped back from the intersection,” Thomas explains. “The building has been designed with two retail spaces on the ground floor with the goal of servicing our residents with a high standard of practical amenities. We plan to have an upscale Europeanstyle café serving traditional items as well as fresh pastries, cheeses, olive oils and flash-dried food. As a nod to the history of the site, there will be a small confectionery at street level. What we hope to create is a place where residents and the community at large can congregate on warm summer nights or cool winter days.” The Azure has partnered with local interior designer Tanya Collins to craft interior spaces that will set the standard for gracious living and inspired interior design. “A building is more than just an exterior shell,” Thomas observes. “Tanya’s interiors are livable, efficient and luxurious. Tanya Collins has brought to The Azure’s suites her flair for dramatic, modern interior design and has crafted three exquisite interior collections reflecting classic, transitional and contemporary tastes. Our building has an international feel. Tanya designed three interior packages: the London Classic, Paris Modern and New York Deco. The intention was that residents won’t have to design their own units from the ground up and agonize over every detail. It’s already been taken care of for them by a skilled interior designer.” The Azure’s suite layouts are the result of a relentless quest to create Ottawa’s best one- and two-bedroom apartments and are modeled on luxury residences from the design capitals

of the world. One-bedroom units are cleverly laid out and combine 25-foot-wide bays with nine-foot ceilings to create real spaces for living. Two-bedroom units are true luxury residences in the sky – through units spanning the full width of the building with 9.5-foot ceilings and, in some cases, exiting onto 1,000-square-foot private sky gardens overlooking the Ottawa River and Gatineau Park. Finally, as a tribute to the rich heritage of this community, The Azure’s entrance lobby will feature oldgrowth lumber and masoned limestone blocks all recovered and preserved from the foundation and structure of the historic Ullett homestead that previously graced the site. The Azure is linked to the Queensway, the Ottawa River Parkway, major bus routes and possibly, in the near future, the western expansion of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. The Azure’s sales centre opens at the end of March. You may register at in order to receive regular email updates, as well as an invitation to The Azure’s exclusive pre-launch reception. Prices per unit start in the mid-$200,000s and up. “The public response has been overwhelming,” Thomas says. “There seems to be a level of passion about this project. I think what we’ve done here is resonating with people who want something that appeals to their sense of style.” Thomas views the intersection of Richmond and Woodroffe as a gateway location. Perhaps The Azure

will lead to the creation of a Westboro extension in this area, which has traditionally been a bit of a dead spot in the urban fabric. “One of the fundamental tenets of Azure Urban is responsibility,” Thomas sums up. “We want to be responsible to the city in safeguarding landmark locations and responsible to the community in safeguarding their neighborhoods and offering community amenities. We have had a very cooperative relationship with the Woodroffe North community and have been in discussions with them about this project since 2007. The community is quite pleased with our proposed addition to their neighborhood, which is not only testimony to The Azure’s beauty and quality of design but to our sensitivity to the community. We didn’t want to build a 25-storey monolith that blocked sunlight, so instead designed a series of step backs. As custodians of a gateway location, we owe it to the community to construct the most beautiful building possible on that site.” Thomas believes the trend toward better architecture in Ottawa will become a market-driven initiative. “I think the market is very hungry for quality building design that is more reflective of what is happening elsewhere. Developers will need to try harder to differentiate their product in order to appeal to an increasingly savvy and demanding market, and that’s what we’re seeing now. In fact, I hope we’re going to see a race among developers toward better and better architectural design in Ottawa.” n

Answers to Condo Cool Contest from January 2013

We tested your design savviness by ranking 5 of the Azure kitchen concepts In our last issue, we asked you to rate the Azure kitchens from the Condo Cool article from least expensive to most expensive. They are pictured from #2, the least expensive, to #5, the most expensive. 22 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013






spaces outdoor living by harvey f. chartrand


Outdoors T

he trend of bringing the inside comforts of home to the outdoors is quite popular. More people are investing in home renovations, including improvements to their backyards. Outdoor kitchens, barbeques, fireplaces and water features, which all add that extra “room outdoors” feeling, seem to be the current trend, says Jamie Carriveau, President of Exact Interlock, a Stittsville-based company that specializes in all aspects of residential landscape improvements, including custom woodwork, patios, walkways, retaining walls, step systems, driveways and soft landscaping services. Exact Interlock designs outdoor living spaces with the homeowner in mind. “We customize our designs with products like artificial waterfalls and ponds, blended with a variety of highquality stone and wood products,” Carriveau observes. “Water features are especially popular, allowing the client to enjoy the relaxing sound of trickling water amid a backdrop of coloured LED lights.” Custom




increasingly part of Exact Interlock’s outdoor projects. Pergolas can create a welcoming shaded passageway or sitting area with cross beams and open-style lattice upon which climbing vines can grow, adding to the overall “outdoor room” effect. In addition to its residential installations, Exact Interlock heads up a strong commercial division involving municipal work. “We do a lot of work for some of the larger road-building contractors as well as City of Ottawa projects,” Carriveau explains. “These include reinstatement of landscaping that’s been damaged or torn up on residential properties. The Farmers’ Market in Carleton Place and public transit park-and-ride lots are among some of our most recent projects. We enjoy working in all sectors of industry, but residential work is our specialty and brings out the creativity of our highly experienced staff. “Our professional memberships with organizations like Landscape Ontario and the Ottawa Construction Association keep us up-to-date on all trends and news pertaining to

our industry,” Carriveau comments. Exact Interlock keeps its entire staff educated in the landscaping industry by having them attend educational seminars and workshops, and working closely with major suppliers. The company has been in business for nine years and is respected for its quality and professionalism. “Attention to detail is what sets us apart from many companies,” Carriveau says. “We like to go above and beyond to give our clients the highest quality job. Our policy is to meet and most often exceed industry standards in everything we do. We provide a three-year warranty on all of our work to reassure the client that we are doing the job correctly. In rare cases where minor deficiencies occur, we are quick to correct them, but our way of thinking is to do the job right the first time. The impact of referrals in our industry is huge and brings us many new contracts as well as repeat business. The positive response we get from our clients is definitely our number one source of advertising. n 23 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013




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Tanya Collins

Redefines Glamour at Home Fashion-forward Tanya Collins is changing the look of Ottawa, one interior at a time. Her unpretentious designs are personal and evolved. We like to call it "effortless elegance�. Watch out though, her passion for style may be contagious. Enjoy!

photo paul couvrette 25 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

feature home by tanya collins

Texture was used to great effect. The bright yellow African headdress that hangs on the fireplace stonework not only offsets the charcoal grey brick but adds a feathery softness to the hard and rough stone.



Bold New Accessible Design This is not your typical house renovation. It is the story of a young adult wanting to make a fresh new start. The result is a custom-built, wheelchairaccessible bungalow that truly is in vogue!

To make a living environment compliant with accessibility standards, there are a number of parametres that need to be addressed. This includes making corridors and doorways wide enough and having extra room to allow people in wheelchairs to turn. The interior layout of the house was designed so that all functions were on one level so there was no need to have an elevator installed. The main floor comprises two bedrooms at the front (with a full bathroom for guests, roommates, or live-in assistance), a gym/therapy room, an open-concept kitchen flowing in a dining room and living room, a powder room for guests, a laundry/mudroom leading to the garage via a wheelchair accessible ramp, another bedroom/office for an in-home nurse located just adjacent to the client’s bedroom. Finally, a deluxe principal bedroom with full accessible bathroom and walk-in closet. The initial plans, seemed clinical in layout 27 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

with a “nurse’s office/bedroom or station” as the central hub, not unlike one would see in a hospital setting. However, with a team of highly accomplished technical tradesmen, on-site construction managers, engineers and occupational therapists, this house really sets a new standard for independent living, not only from the standpoint of the design, décor and the accessibility features, but also from the standpoint of green living. All infrastructure is LEEDS certified and employs the newest technology for minimizing energy and water consumption. Should the client opt to move for whatever reason, this home is completely marketable to all demographics — a family, working couple, or empty nester. From a décor perspective, the house primarily has the colour palette of black, white and sunshine yellow. Texture was used to great effect. The African headdress hung on the fireplace stonework in bright yellow not only offsets the charcoal grey brick but adds a feathery softness to the hard and rough stone. The furniture was chosen in darker tones for practicality and ease for cleaning while the cotton flat weave rug from Madeline Weinrib (Goldenrod Brooke) in sunshine yellow adds a little fun. Comfort was paramount with the selection of the William Birch-style armchairs, and the custom down-wrapped cushions for the boxy sectional. In the dining room, the theme of boldness and contrast continues with the oversized starburst mirror from Bowring to reflect the light, the Neuvo Jayden pendant from Mikaza Home, the dining table from Dinec from MY Home, and the Louisstyle white vinyl-covered chairs from Camilla House. The kitchen is a study in classic materials with an overall modern clean line. Since the client had in28 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

home care to make his meals, the kitchen did not have to be completely customized. The only element that varies from the usual is the island height, which is below the standard 36” to accommodate the wheelchair. Caesarstone Quartz, colour Misty Carerra graces the island in an extra thick waterfall profile for presence and masculinity. The island pendants are Jonathon Adler Meurice to add a layer of softness with the fabric drum shade. The kitchen was meticulously manufactured and installed by Potvin Construction, located in Rockland. Taupe-coloured penny-sized glass tiles were installed as a backsplash to integrate with the stainless steel appliances. In the bathroom, an appropriate turning radius and suitable clearance between the vanity and the toilet was required for functionality. The vanity was custom-designed such that the client could roll his chair under the sink. The shower floor was kept level with the rest of the bathroom flooring for easy rolling into and out of the shower. As well, a hoist was installed at the ceiling line in case the client preferred bathing. Note all bathroom



this become a modern feature in the house, it creates a space-expanding effect.


BEDROOM: Linen chair – Sunpan Imports;

grab bars are featured in stainless steel as opposed to the white plastic ones that tend to be seen most prominently in the market.

Royal blue silk drapes – C&M Textiles Entrance hall: Console table & stool –

West Elm; Lilia Mirror – Structube Hallway pendants: Design Within Reach,

Moooi Random Light in White


The entrance hall is worthy of mention. Rather than a standard newel post and handrail to the basement, a custom wall of tempered glass was installed to separate the hallway from the basement access. Not only does

The doors to the gym/therapy room have oversized barn-door hardware to give a loft-like effect to the space. It should be noted that even though the wall colours in the bungalow are versions of white, all from the Farrow and Ball paint palette. The doors were stained in dark wood not only for contrast but to contend with the inadvertent wheelchair bumps that often occur. If the doors were a standard white, there would be black marks on them and clear signs of wear in no time. All interior doors were higher than the standard 80” to maximize the feeling of space. Getting the “bones” and proportions right first makes a huge difference, irrespective of décor. All in all this home shows that a chic interior is within everyone’s reach, regardless of special requirements. n


spaces by tanya collins







Fabulous Fabrics

Take your favourite heirloom or flea-market find and give it new life by reupholstering it. Fashionable fabrics will turn any piece into an expression of your own personal style.


9 8








1 Quadrille China Seas – Island Ikat – Royal Blue - $196/yd • Trade Only 2 Schumacher: Trina Turk – Super Paradise – Punch – 174321, $134.40/yd • Trade Only 3 Lee Jofa: Groundworks - Kelly Wearstler – Bengal Bazaar – Magenta, $264.00/yd • Trade Only 4 Schumacher: Trina Turk – Tangier Frame Print – 174741 – Sea Grass, $134.40/yd • Trade Only 5 Robert Allen: Dwell Studio – Batavia Ikat – Aquamarine, $49.90/yd 6 Schumacher: Trina Turk – Peacock Print – Pool – 174280, $134.40/yd • Trade Only 7 Schumacher: House of KWID - Imperial Trellis – Citrine/Ivory, $247.20/ yd • Trade Only 8 C&M Textiles: Croc White Vinyl, $53.98/yd 9 Robert Allen: Dwell Studio – Casablaca Geo – Toffee, $55.90/yd 10 Lee Jofa: David Hicks – Fiorentina Black/Cream, $298/yd • Trade Only 11 Robert Allen: Dwell Studio – Holland – Brindle, $55.90/yd 12 Robert Allen: Dwell Studio – Grand Gate – 502 – Scarlet, $45.90/yd 13 Hable Construction: Navy Checker H03-02/01, $150/yd • Trade Only 14 Robert Allen: Dwell Studio – Coco – Copper, $55.90/yd








n n n





feature home by tanya collins

THE Informal, Chic artful & Fashion-Forward MIX DĂŠcor

All decked out in monochromatic colour with overbearing formality? Not this home located in the Village of Rockcliffe Park. It was transformed from a sea of cream and beige to a light, playful, fashion-forward, and frankly more youthful home in which to entertain, raise a family and just plain live.

The first order of business was establishing how to create better flow and functionality to each of the rooms in the house. The clients longed for an attached en-suite bathroom and an expansion of their existing closet space within their bedroom as well as an extra bedroom/office for guests. With the principal bedroom being the priority, a second storey addition was built and two existing bedrooms along with a tiny existing en suite were reconfigured to increase functionality and to maximize sight lines within the home’s original footprint. The main rooms were redesigned and furniture rearranged to better suit the



space. As it existed, the rectangular living room only had one seating area and was not a family-friendly or comfortable entertaining space. The dining room was similar. The pieces were all formal antiques that were beautiful but not too inviting for family living. Some were repurposed to other areas of the home while others were sold for auction. A combination of rustic, modern, ethnic and glamorous pieces took their place allowing the room to be used every day for eating and studying not to mention to up the “hip” quotient. In the living room, the classic yellow tub chairs were kept and the existing

ABOVE LEFT TO RIGHT: Opting not to incur the expense of increasing the footprint of their home a new second storey addition was built over the side garage. BATHROOM: The final en suite and closet differed slightly from the initial design but work fabulously. p BATHROOM Cobblestone Carerra Marble Tile: Olympia Tile, Custom Vanity: Richard Heller/Tanya Collins Design.

p BEDROOM Upholstered Headboard and Bedframe: Camilla House, End Tables: Urban Barn, Lamps – West Elm, Zebra Stool: HomeSense

t DINING ROOM (PREVIOUS PAGE) Pendant and chairs: Mikaza Home Sideboard: Structube, Table : Pottery Barn, Drapery : C&M Textiles 33 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

French armchair was reworked and reshaped. The frame was lacquered in white for freshness, the pillow top cushion was replaced with a tightly upholstered seat and back, and the small red dot printed fabric was replaced with an overscale linen ikat fabric for pattern and interest (C&M Textiles, Bansuri Storm). New, more tailored sofas upholstered in a slate blue velvet were ordered to replace the overstuffed shabby chic versions that formerly took up residence in the room. Two seating arrangements were created, one centred around a wall-mounted plasma television, and one centred around the fireplace. The overall effect is one large salon-style living room as often seen in generous penthouse apartments in New York City. With the addition of abstract modern art by Heidi Conrod, light blue/grey silk drapes, fresh paint, signature designer print cushions, and injections of vibrant blue accessories, the effect is certainly more fashionforward, youthful and less stuffy. This eclectic style is much more reflective of the family who lives in the home and fitting for the adult clients who have a very hectic work, social and personal schedules. n


Foyer Mirror: Bowring, Table: Pottery Barn, Lamp: Robert Abbey, Rug: Dash and Albert PHOTOS: GORDON KING

spaces by tanya collins

at Home

Tanya’s Favourite Things

My flamed mahogony antique dresser Used in my front

The Montauk Tuxedo sofas

Love the timeless and modern shape, not to mention the proportions (the back height is not higher than 26”, making the ceilings appear taller in the room and the arms are not wider than 5”, making it less boxy even though it is an angular sofa). It is transitional in most interiors yet so comfy with down-wrapped cushions and extra deep proportions for cuddling and watching movies.

hall, it stores take-out menus, stamps, envelopes, hats, mitts and scarves. Changing the hardware from wood knobs to Louis-inspired ring pulls from Lee Valley really ups the luxe factor.

My salon art wall collection

Each of the pieces means something to me as they were acquired through family, purchased from artist friends or bought while travelling.

• My vintage chair collection All chairs were used finds and then revamped with bold graphic fabric for interest and edge.

My dressing room

Constructed from IKEA Pax closet units with a few embellishments to integrate them with the architecture of the house, I love the hit of purple damask wallpaper. The room is my own little jewel box. It is a fun place to dress up.

Shutters They are super functional. They allow you to control light

and privacy levels for city living and add architecture both on the interior and exterior for that New York Brownstone-style look

The flow/layout of the house

Each room in my 2200 sq ft house is used every day. I love that it is so functional and easy to live in. By opting for one eating zone, no function is duplicated allowing for larger living spaces for my family and for entertaining.

• •

Dining Room Chandelier An art deco original piece purchased at

my uncle’s antique store, Pagnello’s Antiques in Toronto. PHOTOS: GORDON KING 35 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

feature home by tanya collins

Graphic Urbane Style

Unexpected colour combinations and doses of pattern create a happy quality to this historical home.


From its chocolate walls and graphic fabrics to its Murano glass chandelier and classic furniture shapes, this house exudes fresh sophistication. Built in 1908, original architectural features abound, providing dynamic tension for the fashion-forward dÊcor. The William Birch-style armchairs in the living room were reupholstered in a designer fabric; Jamico’s Kensington Fushia flocked damask and the signature yellow graphic lattice pillow on the sofa is Schumacher’s House of KWID Imperial Trellis in Citrine/Ivory. The chandelier in the dining room was imported from Italy to mirror the femininity that predominates in the living room furniture shapes. A chocolate brown paint colour was applied to the walls to provide depth and a masculine edge to the space.

pThe abundant wall space in the large combined living and dining room provides an ideal backdrop to showcase the client’s expanding collection of modern Canadian art. Murana Zuger’s Wizard, Frances Jodoin’s How Slow the Wind, How Slow the Sea, Tim Packer’s Springtime and Alex McMahon’s Untitled no. 2 grace the walls.


The office bookcases, filing drawers and desk were all custom-designed not only to fit the proportions of the room but to suit the storage needs of the clients. To carry through the spirited use of colour in this otherwise utilitarian space, accessory boxes from Semikolon were chosen and a shot of hot pink paint was applied to spice things up. For texture, a blacklacquered bamboo Chippendale chair was used for seating. The foyer provides a space for the client to display her travel photography. An entrance hall tabletop was created from the client’s leftover marble bathroom tiles and a bit of white painted wood moulding. Since the classic heating radiators were a feature of the home, this custom tabletop was the best application to increase functionality in the entrance. The signature designer print featured on the custom foyer benches is Lee Jofa Fiorentina in black/ cream. A custom-designed twin headboard in the child’s room was made from inexpensive white vinyl for practicality while the nail-head detailing was added for a more tailored, grown up look. The child could very well use this into her adult years if she so desired. Bedding was purchased through Restoration Hardware, the desk from IKEA, and the drapery made by C&M Textiles. The playroom was painted a muted lavender colour (the child’s favourite colour) to pair with the vibrant hued blue furniture upholstery. Gold accessories were added for warmth. The Louis-inspired daybed was reupholstered in an indigo velvet with contrast piping in vanilla. The tub chairs were a vintage find recovered in Quadrille’s Island Ikat in Royal Blue. Unexpected colour combinations and doses of pattern create a happy quality to this historical home. It is like having the elegance of Manhattan and the liveliness of Palm Beach all wrapped into one graphic urbane style. n






u Note

how the square lines of the black picture frames contrast beautifully with the geometric Hollywood Regency-inspired mirror.




spaces by jasmine williams

Phil Trott


Tips for Home Renovation


hil Trott knows his way around a renovation site. Before landing his current job as a civil engineer and home inspector for structural upgrades, he worked in construction for several years. He has seen every mistake and has guided all kinds of homeowners, from first timers to house-flipping pros. Before you pick up that sledgehammer, here are his tips for a successful home renovation.

Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Canadian Wood Council for more technical information.

1) Do your research “If you’re planning a renovation, no matter what size, even if you’re hiring designers and architects and project managers, it’s always good to be educated,” says Trott. For a homeowner, this means understanding your drawings and plans, knowing the right questions to ask, and realizing where your money is going. Trott recommends the City of Ottawa web site as a good place to start. The site has a building and renovating section ( homeowners/building-and-renovating) with plenty of helpful features. It lists the different interior building codes and the qualifications you should be looking for in your trades workers. It also has sample plans and checklists to help you stay on track. Trott also suggests checking out trade association web sites like the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, the Canadian

“The paper plan is the dry run,” he says. “It sounds obvious, but a lot of people don’t know what should be on drawings.”


2) Make detailed plans Before you contact a contractor or a project manager, it’s important to know what you want and where you want it. According to Trott, the best way to do so is to draw your renovation plans out on paper.

Trott recommends making the drawing as detailed as possible by including even the appliance in your plans. Additionally, you can ask friends, family members, and contractors for their input on the plan before you start. It is must easier, and cheaper, to make changes on a paper plan and you can spot potential conflicts before the renovation starts, says Trott. 3) Get several quotes You have a working plan in place, now it’s time to look for the right construction company to put it into action.

“When comparing, it’s never going to

be apples to apples,” says Trott, who stresses the fact that the lowest quote is not necessarily the best. He adds, “Usually, you get what you pay for.” Trott recommends asking lots of questions and discussing rates for all possible scenarios. Otherwise, companies can set the rate for extra tasks such as finding asbestos in your attic or moving unexpected electrical wiring and you have to pay for it. Additionally, he advises homeowners to specify the type of fixtures and appliances they plan to use as that can also make a big difference on the final numbers. 4) Be flexible It’s understandable for first-time renovators, especially after weeks of perusing home and interior design magazines, to imagine the exact openconcept stainless steel kitchen of their dreams and desire to recreate nothing less. Trott says it is much better to be flexible.

“A lot of people get set on one thing, and you have to be open-minded,” he says. Being flexible allows for vital input from your contractor or project manager, who has much more experience and would likely know RENOVATION PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

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better about what will work and what won’t for your space. He adds that a lot of people also convince themselves that a certain design feature will be too complicated or expensive before consulting the experts.

aware of the cheaper options available. Trott suggests adding more insulation to the attic or ceiling as an easy and inexpensive fix to cut down on heat loss. He also recommends reusing materials like hardwood flooring, which can be sanded down and repurposed.

“Ask what it would cost before assuming it’s going to blow the budget,” says Trott. For example, he states that knocking down a loadbearing wall may seem risky, but with the right people for the job, it is definitely possible.

6) Do-it-yourself While it is still very important to get a professional for the more specialized work, Trott says that despite what a company might tell you, there are many areas of the renovation process that homeowners can do themselves.

5) Spend your money wisely “You want to make sure you get the best bang for your buck,” says Trott. These days, with homeowners being more environmentally and financially conscious, renovating to improve your home’s energy efficiency is a popular move. However, before you go replacing your old leaky windows for new energy-efficient ones, be

“Sometimes contractors don’t want you to get involved,” he says. “But when the quotes come in it can be quite shocking.” If you’re watching your wallet, Trott proposes doing some of the demolition process yourself with the help of a few friends and some safety equipment.

7) The incremental approach Coined by Trott himself, this approach is best explained with an example. Say you have a leaky foundation. Before you roll up your sleeves and dig a huge trench around your house for waterproofing, start with the small stuff. Maybe it’s simply a blocked eavestrough or a disconnected downspout, which Trott says could be fixed by simply having water drain further away from the house. Or you could try landscaping your lawn and putting a layer of clay under the topsoil which can also help with drainage.

“Try all of those things first and see if it solves the problem,” says Trott. “It could save a lot of headaches.” A home renovation is one of the biggest projects most homeowners will ever face. But, if you’re prepared and you follow these tips, you’ll be flipping omelettes in your new kitchen in no time. n 41 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

spaces heather seftel-kirk



Moe Abbas


Lindsay Nicol

Steve Barkhouse

renovation can make a homeowner’s dream come true, or it could turn into a person’s worst nightmare. An industry in itself, home renovations are the inspiration behind television shows, the reason for doit-yourself courses and instructional programs, and support a huge big-box store economy supplying contractor materials to anyone with the money to buy. How do you make sure your home renovation is one you can brag about, instead of one your neighbours talk about when you aren’t around?

these are generally good options.”

START WITH A PLAN The most basic question to ask is do you need a renovation? Lindsay Nicol, president and owner of Crossford Construction, says people generally consider renovations when they are looking at lifestyle changes – adding space, changing function - but adds that regular maintenance is important as well. “Hubs in your home like the kitchen and bathrooms need regular maintenance and attention so if you’re thinking you should do something but aren’t sure what or where to start,

Richard Heller, owner of Richard Heller Renovations, says the initial planning for a renovation can and should take months, often beginning well before any professionals are involved. “It’s so important to have a clear plan of what you want, to understand your goals and the intent behind the renovation. Remember that a renovation of any kind is a disruption and whoever you choose to do the work will be in your home, and really a part of your life, for a period of time. Choosing someone to


While most people consider renovations for their own use, there is a market for renovations for realestate investment and resale. “The important thing to remember if you’re considering a renovation for resale is not to go over the top. Every home buyer will have different tastes and different styles so making a home presentable is more valuable than adding a finished basement that may not be to everyone’s tastes,” he adds.

Richard Heller

work with you shouldn’t be a quick decision, nor should the decision about what you want to do.” Steve Barkhouse, president of Amsted Design Build, says people have a lot of fear when it comes to renovations and that, while the variety of television shows today do eliminate some of that fear, they are also misleading. “You watch a show and someone comes in and says let’s knock out a wall and move this there and do this and they accomplish it over two days or a week or whatever. What television doesn’t show is all the prep work and investigation that went into making that decision, or the fact that it took 20 guys behind the scenes to make the job happen that quickly.” Barkhouse says on-line information can provide a starting point. Browsing catalogues can also help narrow down what you want and like. “There are criteria every project needs – organization, creativity, time, knowledge, patience and money. Every project is different and knowing who


is responsible for each element of that project is critical. Part of a renovation is all about who you hire.”

estimates and even 3D images so you can visualize what the transformation will be.”

HOW TO HIRE A GENERAL CONTRACTOR Nicol says the key to a successful renovation is hiring the services of a general contractor. Besides offsetting the anguish of handling this job of co-ordination and organization yourself, he says the greater benefit is the network you tap into with skilled, qualified trades.

NOT EVERY CONTRACTOR IS THE SAME When seeking a contractor, Nicol says it’s important to understand that price is important but that it’s the right price, not the lowest price. “Price means nothing if the person or company doesn’t have the credentials to back up what they’re promising. You want to ensure they are in good standing with relevant governing bodies like WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board), and that they have proper insurance. The Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association has lists of RenoMark certified contractors and if they aren’t members there, legitimate contractors are still generally connected with one association or another, so check for that.” (RenoMark certifies the contractor has agreed to maintaining a standard for quality and adhering to a professional code of conduct.)

Moe Abbas, founder of Ottawa General Contractors, agrees. While people can work as their own general contractor for small jobs, he doesn’t recommend it if you require more than two trades. “If you’re hiring someone to paint your home or change flooring you’re likely ok to handle the co-ordination on your own. A quick improvement you’re doing yourself is also fine. When you get into anything that involves more than two people, suddenly you’re dealing with scheduling and permits and insurance and different governing bodies. As a general rule of thumb, I would say a kitchen, bath, basement, addition, and anything that requires plumbing, insulation or structural work, should be done under the direction of an experienced contractor.” Abbas explains that every renovation, even one that seems simple, needs a design so you know all the specific details ahead. “The benefit of a design-build contractor in particular is that they can provide specs, detailed

Abbas suggests a general contractor with a staff. “A one-man show can be fine but they may not have the insurance coverage you need, may be too general to have expertise and if they get sick or overwhelmed, you’re stuck. A company with staff shares the workload and responsibility so a job is not dependent on one person alone.” When considering contractors, Abbas cautions that length of time in the business is not as important as volume of experience. “Someone who has

been in the business ten years and does two projects a year will not have the breadth of experience as someone who has been in the business five years and undertakes ten or twenty projects a year.” Barkhouse says the process of interviewing a contractor should take time, although he says if in five minutes you don’t like the person you’re speaking with, five minutes may be all you need. “You’re establishing a relationship that is going to take time and is going to impact your home so the person you work with has to be someone you feel comfortable with, that you can communicate with, and yes, that you like.” Barkhouse suggests a typical interview can take an hour or more and that people should be prepared with some standard questions. “Make sure permits are part of the discussion. Ask about references and insurance coverage. Many contractors will have third party-surveys. Ask what kind of schedule they will keep. If someone is planning on working on your project part time and at the same time as others, you may be paying more for set-up and clean-up as they come and go.” “You need to ensure the contractor has time to present their company,” he adds. “And that you have time to fully explain what you want done so make sure the meeting isn’t rushed, or, if you only have a set amount of time, that you decide up front how much time each of you has to present your case.” 43 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

Barkhouse says homeowners need to understand that they are being interviewed during this process as well. “A good general contractor may not charge more for the service they provide but they do have the luxury of choosing their clients. People are shocked when they call a contractor to give the green light for a project and find they are being turned down.” For instance, Barkhouse won’t take a job if the client insists on staying when he wants them to relocate. “Renovations can be especially hard on young children, the elderly and pets. Often, we’ll recommend people leave when they assumed they could stay, as much for their convenience as the fact that we can get the work done faster if we’re not working around them.” Heller says most of his clients prefer to stay at home and that this is workable as long as there is good communication. “People need to know what to expect, what the inconveniences will be, and what the alternate plan for them is. Sometimes we’ll plan critical stages like replacing floors around holidays so people can be out of the home with no inconvenience.” GET A DETAILED QUOTE Detailed quotes identify costs homeowners don’t expect and help compare apples to apples. Things like electrical and tile work can be more costly than people expect. A quote that breaks down these costs also shows you what the market and material charges are for. In fact, when

comparing proposals, Nicol says it is important you receive a detailed breakdown outlining all costs so you can accurately compare them and understand all of the costs involved. “If there are budget issues, a detailed accounting can help you tweak your original plan to bring it back to a comfortable level for you.” Heller says a detailed quote can help identify potential pitfalls and what they can cost in money and time, as well as places costs might be cut. “There are things people can do to reduce costs that I don’t mind helping with – things at the start and end of a job like tearouts and painting. I always prefer to do the bulk of the job with my own team so I can control quality and ensure a job is done right, but if a client wants to save money by painting themselves, that’s fine with me.” MAKE SURE YOU ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS Nicol says due diligence, on the part of the homeowner and contractor, is crucial. “As a homeowner, you need to understand what is going to happen and make sure you ask a lot of questions. Sure, there is the question of whether you are able to stay in the home while the work is being done, but there are others such as, does furniture need to be moved or stored and is there a cost associated with that? Can pets stay in the home or do they need to be kenneled? Make sure you ask for references and actually speak with them.”

“The contractor will want to do a

Six Books that Every Design Aficionado Should Have on the Shelf 44 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

thorough inspection of the home prior to supplying any quote to ensure unexpected surprises that may add extra time or costs,” he adds. “A good contractor will want to identify these potential issues ahead of time.” Barkhouse says while many jobs end up being more involved than a client initially expects, a professional will significantly limit the unexpected. “There are almost always tell-tale signs of problems people may not expect but that show up on close inspection so I can prepare the client ahead about things they may not have considered. If I miss something and we don’t find it until we get into the project, well, I missed it so I cover any related costs. 99 per cent of job changes are client driven, not driven by the unexpected.” UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS Nicol says people need to think about the process of a renovation – the design, budget, scheduling and performance – and understand that communication is essential. “It is so important to put in the time and effort to find someone you trust. A job that goes south will stay bad for a long time because it can be hard to find someone to come in to fix someone else’s mistake, and it’s going to cost you more money and time. There are a lot of horror stories out there, mainly caused by a lack of planning and choosing the wrong person for the job.

While time lines are generally part of any contract, Abbas says you’ll eliminate some stress if you assume

things may go a little longer than anticipated. “Generally you can expect a time frame like five to six weeks. I would be leery of someone who gives you an exact date unless they tell you they’ve built in a bit of a cushion. Even then, I would assume it may take a bit longer. If it doesn’t, that’s great but if something does come up, you won’t be disappointed.” Noting that a renovation can almost always run a minimum of two to three weeks, Heller says he prefers to be on one job at a time. “Continuity is important. I like to be focused, not dragging equipment and material back and forth between jobs. He advises clients to consider tackling a renovation when it can be done all at once. “Trying to open a wall this year, changing the floor next year just means more stress over a longer period of time.” Completing the project in one fell swoop just lends to a betterfinished product. EDUCATE YOURSELF Explaining the payment process people can expect, Abbas says a down payment is always required, as much as a commitment to the contract as to pay for supplies and materials that will need to be purchased. After that, payment is based on achievement of milestones. “The actual deposit will depend on what is being done and the materials that need to be purchased. Setting payment dates for completion of portions of the project is standard. Homeowners should expect to hold back 10 per cent of the total fee

for 45 days – and this is something most people don’t know – or until the contractor provides them with a statutory declaration confirming all of the subtrades have been paid.” Abbas says this hold back is just one of the complexities the average person wouldn’t understand and something that supports hiring a qualified general contractor. With 20 years in the industry, Nicol says he and his staff work to stay up to date with technology and new products but it’s up to the clients to educate themselves ahead of time and make themselves available during the project. “Look at magazines to see what is out there and what you like. Engage a professional to guide you but understand there are a lot of choices to make. Deciding between what’s good and what isn’t, what suits you and what doesn’t, can be overwhelming. People need to budget some time before and during the project to be available for site visits and to make decisions either at the start or as milestones are reached.” Abbas agrees education is critical. “A lot of our work involves educating people so we’re happy to answer questions. I always say, if you’re unsure, make a call and ask someone. It could save you thousands of dollars and a lot of stress.


The bottom line is do your homework, be flexible and work with a good team to make your home renovation a dream instead of a nightmare. n


Restoration Hardware's Keynes Prism Single Pendant, 14” Retails @ $429.00

Madeline Weinrib's Steel Mandala Cotton Flatweave rug 8’ x 10’ Retails @ $2687.50

Montauk 's McGill Sofa 91”L x 39”D x 26” H Retails @ $3600.00 in base fabric (Cotton)

Jonathon Adler's White Trousdale Lamp Retails @ $995.00

Dare to Compare

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Andalusia Dhurrie rug in Feather Grey/Ivory available at West Elm 8’ x 10’ $59843

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Turned Floor Lamp available at West Elm 11" x 66" $36385


Prismatic Glass (P5182-09) in brushed nickel Available at Progress Lighting 12 5/8” $27100



by karen temple


Upgrading your home is within reach T

o reach your Crock-Pot, do you have to get on your knees and haul out the Mixmaster, deep fryer and the blender? If so, then it’s time for gliding shelves. Gliding shelves are the perfect way to use every inch of your kitchen cabinets. All of your appliances and supplies will be within reach and, best of all, organized. These shelves are strong. Each holds up to 100 lbs. And the beautiful part? Installing gliding shelves is so easy. A consultant will come to your home and show you samples so you can see the end product firsthand. Your existing cupboards will be measured and the consultant can make suggestions to improve the overall function of the kitchen. For example, she said many of our cupboards were designed inefficiently and the storage in our island was completely dysfunctional. Used mostly to store plastic storage containers, one risked having the whole pile topple over each time you reached into the island. The consultant removed the centre stile and reconfigured the interior layout. That change, combined with altering the shelf height, made the island a mecca of utilitarian space. The consultant is incredibly thorough. She takes her time taking exact measurements and making an accurate drawing of your cupboards. She gives you a final price and delivery date right on the spot. All of this was accomplished without emptying any shelves. We opted to have gliding shelves installed in our kitchen but they are versatile and can be installed almost anywhere. They would be fantastic in a bathroom vanity or even a linen closet. The folks at Gliding Shelf Solutions would even install them in your RV.



Our Baltic birch pull-out shelves were reasonably priced and made right here in Ontario using the highest quality material. If you’re a DIYer, you can visit the web site for measuring information and order the shelves for shipping directly to you. But if you are like most of us, you’ll opt for the free consultation and installation. Adding gliding shelves to your kitchen is the easiest way to increase the value of your home and, with the lifetime warranty, you can make the purchase with confidence. n • 1-877-895-9766





by tanya collins





A makeover that works is always one that is budget-friendly and achievable with off-the-shelf furniture and accessory items. Other than one on-line order, the transformation of this one-bedroom rental apartment was accomplished with items from many big box retail and home décor stores here in Ottawa.



The fixed elements such as the kitchen cabinetry, bathroom vanity, laminate birch-coloured flooring and tile were not changeable. Additionally, aesthetically speaking, the client did not have any strong requests. He mentioned that one of his favourite colours was rich cognac so it was incorporated into his space. Accenting the end walls in the main living area with that colour made it appear less long and narrow. By putting strong colours on end walls, you can improve a room’s sense of proportion. Whenever a room feels more square, the eye just feels more comfortable. The client also talked about enjoying the coziness and sense of warmth while staying at a hotel in London, so his bedroom was wrapped in this colour as well. The client spends a significant portion of

p LIVING ROOM: Rug: West Elm Souk Rug Sofa: Urban Barn Manhattan Apartment Sofa Double Bed (79”W) Polo Smoke Fabric with Down Wrap Cushions Desk: Mikaza Home Witty Chairs: Bowring Gramercy Armchairs FLOOR LAMPS: Structube Tripod with White Drum Shade DESK LAMP: Structube Newton in Satin Nickel COFFEE TABLE: Mikaza Home Yin Yang Small in Black Base ORIGINAL OIL ABSTRACT PAINTING: Heidi Conrod (See profile on page 19)


his time on the computer while at home, so his desk is in the best spot in the apartment, in front of the large picture window in his living room, overlooking the beautiful river view. In addition to the river, he’ll get the colours of the foliage with the changing seasons rather than a blank wall with limited light. In terms of cost, the sofa was the most expensive item, just over $2000. It was considered a worthwhile investment since it served two functions, not only as a place to sit and relax (with down- wrapped cushions) but as a quality bed for guests that stay overnight.


In the foyer, an awkward nook between the end of the kitchen cabinetry and the front door was too small for any furniture.To make the space functional, a carpenter installed ¾” thick shelves with a 3” square trim board installed on the face to make the shelves thicker in appearance as well as to hide the support structure. The paint-grade wood was primed and painted the trim and wall colour. As a result, the space can store a lot of items, functioning as a bookcase. It’s a perfect spot for baskets to store mitts and other smaller items like sunglasses and mail that need to be contained. Billy Baldwin once said “Good taste has no price tag” but décor changes were budget friendly and can be put into practice in almost any space. n


p BEDROOM Bed: Urban Barn Queen Ella Bed In Lyric Silver End Tables: Bowring Bedford Night Stands Lamps: Bowring Crillon Table Lamps Bedding: White from Loblaws/Grey from IKEA Feather Duvet Cover and Pillows: Costco

t FOYER Grey Felt baskets: Loblaws Chrome hooks: Home Depot — less than $4.00/hook Chrome “designer” double track lighting: Home Depot

PAINT COLOURS Main Wall ColoUr as well as trim and doors:

Benjamin Moore Oxford White CC-30 Accent ColoUr for main space and bedroom:

Benjamin Moore Townsend Harbor Brown HC-64 Bathroom ColoUr: Benjamin Moore Chelsea Grey HC-168 Kitchen Island Base and Crown Moulding: Benjamin Moore Jet Black 50 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013



spaces by tanya collins

Wallpaper Envy! Add some drama to your space, with some of these amazing patterned and coloured wallpapers. Decide which ones you like and which ones suit your budget. Purchased through a designer, you can get these papers for less than retail pricing. 4







1 GRAHAM AND BROWN: White/Silver Circles, Mode Collection, Darcy 57218 - $70.00/roll 2 SCHUMACHER: House of KWID, Imperial Trellis, Trelliage/Ivory, 2707212 - $276.00/roll 3 GRAHAM AND BROWN: Branches, Vitality 50-065 - $75.00/roll 4 GRAHAM AND BROWN: Frames, 52050 – $45.00/roll 5 ALLEN AND ROTH: Quatrefoil in Oyster Colour, 0332822, Lowes - $30.00/roll 6 SCHUMACHER: Kasari Ikat, Sky, 005992 – $96.00/roll 7 FARROW AND BALL: Brockhampton Star, BP515 – $255.00/ roll 8 DESIGN BY COLOR WEB-SITE: Orange Damask: Randall’s/Home Depot, BC1581977 - $65.98/double roll.



by david ginny


Ever hear the story about the couple who went out for a new faucet and came home with a new kitchen? That’s what happened to us recently and are we ever glad we went with our instincts. Completely renovating a kitchen can be a major undertaking. For us, however, it turned out to be a minor renovation with a major payoff.


We had our melamine kitchen countertops replaced with a granite overlay. The transformation looked so good that it made our original older kitchen cabinets look their age even more. We went looking for a solution that would allow us to replace just our cabinet doors, since the cabinets were perfectly fine. We considered painting but after sourcing quotes that were in the multi-thousand dollar range, we did some web research and identified a well-known family business, Fabritec.

1990s and in 2006 made the Fabritec family business one of the largest and most respected kitchen-cabinet manufacturers in North America. Fabritec’s success has gone mainstream and the company has been successful in superstores like Réno-Dépôt and stores specializing in kitchen cabinets in Canada and the United States. Fabritec has always been a successful player in a market where style and competition go hand in glove. The business is still run by the Bourgeois family, who are focused on providing excellent service and an endless array of quality cabinets for their customers. Fabritec offers a wide range of products. We were looking for white, solidwood cupboard doors to complement our new granite countertops. They had to be built to withstand the daily abuse of our busy family. Fabritec’s know-how results in state-of-the-art manufacturing processes more than meet industry standards. If you are looking to replace the whole cabinet, Fabritec produces kitchen cabinets with fully-finished interiors and exteriors. The company produces 13-inch-deep upper cabinets, fullextension drawers with self-closing mechanisms, durable tongue-andgroove assembly and come in a choice of over 50 different finishes.

Specializing in the manufacture of kitchen doors, windows and cabinets, Fabritec’s business has grown steadily since it began in 1984. By the mid1990s, with a reputation for quality craftsmanship coupled with firstclass manufacturing, the company’s Quebec-made kitchen cabinets had crossed the border into the United States and for the first time, Fabritec went from being a local and regional producer to an international manufacturer. Additional growth and acquisitions by Fabritec in the late

My spouse wanted cupboard door fronts that were contemporary, stylish yet understated. We spent much time talking about what the “look” of our kitchen would be – even more time than we had on any other room in our house. We wanted to get the kitchen “right for us” because it is the room where we relax, talk, entertain and enjoy ourselves. We measured our cupboards and ordered them. We had the option of getting them installed but we felt we could do it ourselves, since we were basically taking down the older doors and replacing them with new ones. We are completely satisfied with the result. Working with Fabritec has only been a positive experience. n

A Fabritec rep does everything possible to guarantee a positive experience. From selecting the finest materials available, to preparing your cabinets for shipment to your home, Fabritec ensures that every kitchen is created with care and attention to detail. Every part of your kitchen is made to order. Nothing is pre-assembled. Each section of the cabinet is custom made just like old-world furniture.

Cupboard Door Design Possibilities from Fabritec GLASS ACCENT DOORS: A wide array of glass accent doors is available in various colours, enabling further expression of your personal taste. All Fabritec doors are made with tempered or safety glass. Ask a sales associate for all the possible combinations. WOODEN DOORS: Twenty-five models of wooden doors with seven finishes, nine choices of glass, six choices of painted doors and five finishes for exotic doors. PAINTED DOORS: From old New England charm to Manhattan contemporary, painted doors make the ultimate design statement. Check the web site for available colours. EXOTIC WOODS: Denser and often harder, exotic woods (like mahogany, ebony or rosewood) combine lasting density and solidity with a diversity of natural colours, creating an original look. These doors are available in clear finish only. ENHANCED FINISHES: Fabritec uses a glazing effect to give furniture a natural and antique look. A stain of your choice is used to colour doors and is hand wiped for a natural look. THERMOFOIL DOORS are high-strength plastic fibre that is thermo-moulded onto a MAD (medium-density fibreboard) base. Thermofoil offers elegance and ease of cleaning that make it a winner with customers. Thermofoil is available in a vast range of door styles with a striking resemblance to wood. 53 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

spaces by harvey f. chartrand


a Brighton Beach Neighbourhood


urface Developments is an Ottawa-based real estate development company specializing in design-focused residential projects ranging from infill single-family homes to condominiums. At the heart of Surface Developments’ philosophy is a belief in the transformational potential of creative design and its capacity to create not only beautiful homes but also vibrant and exciting neighbourhoods. “We’re focused on building for the future and creating spaces and places that are engaging and bring a greater quality of life, not only to our clients but also to the neighbourhoods that our homes help create,” says company president Jakub Ulak. Surface Developments’ newest and most exciting project to date is Canvas, located on Brighton Beach Park and facing the Rideau River in Old Ottawa South. “It’s the embodiment of our design philosophy,” Ulak says. “We’ve matched a premiere location with fantastic river views and a refined architectural expression to create four exclusive residences of unmatched character.” The inspiration for this project comes from the work of acclaimed 54 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

Ottawa artist Christopher Griffin. “We’ve commissioned an entire collection of paintings and it’s these eight canvasses that form the heart of this innovative new project,” Ulak reveals. “Each house comes with one of these exclusive works of art and all eight will be enamel printed onto transparent movable panels which will be mounted on second-floor balconies to act as wind and privacy screens. These movable glass canvasses will turn the street into a dynamic outdoor gallery!” Here is Jakub Ulak in his own words, describing the project. OTTAWA LIFE: How did you come up with the idea of adding art to a residential development – not just art for its own sake, but as an integral, functional part of each unit’s design? Jakub Ulak: The buildings occupy a very prominent location fronting on Brighton Beach Park and look directly out onto the Rideau River. This kind of prestige location required a building of particular significance. We were also quite conscious of the fact that we wanted to make a positive contribution to the streetscape in the neighbourhood. Both of these factors

led us to explore the integration of art as a possible conceptual framework for the project. We were curious about how art could inspire the design of the building and so our collaboration with Christopher Griffin started very early on in the process. Most people don't realize it, but the paintings are actually imprints of the original sidewalk that was there prior to us constructing the new homes. It was important for Christopher to have the memory of that place woven into the new structure. And for us it was important that the art was not just an appliqué feature but in fact an integral part of the architecture. So the balconies at the front of the building extrude out towards the street and form metaphorical frames for the canvases. And the canvases themselves are mounted in overlapping tracks, forming wind and privacy screens that can be opened and closed by the occupants. This creates a fascinating dynamic component to the architecture and allows not only the art to change but the building itself as well. It turns the streetscape into an amazing outdoor gallery where someone walking to the park can get a different view of the artwork on any given day.

OTTAWA LIFE: What is it about Christopher Griffin’s art that appealed to you and made it ideal for the Canvas project? Jakub Ulak: Christopher was a natural choice, not only because of the recognition that he's received for the quality of his work, but also because he has extensive experience in integrating his art into built form. I've been a fan of his work for many years, but what prompted me to engage him in this project was his previous work on concrete murals which form a part of the exterior cladding of buildings. They have a stunning transformative effect on the architecture and we have in fact also commissioned one of these works of art for the elevation of the building that faces the park. This was done as part of a live art installation in the fall of last year and integrates beautifully with the rest of the building. This is another art component of the project that was integral to the design evolution of the building's architecture. OTTAWA LIFE: You don’t often hear of commissioned/original works of art being

incorporated into the exterior design of a residential project.

Jakub Ulak: The mural work is something that was pioneered by Christopher and exists only on two other projects in the city. The canvases, on the other hand, are something I have never seen before and I'm pretty sure that they’re a first for a building in Canada. I’m very proud that this is a project that we could realize in the City of Ottawa. OTTAWA LIFE: How does the perception of the art differ from inside/outside the house? Jakub Ulak: From the very beginning, we had the distinct desire to ensure that the art was something that could be appreciated not only from the street but also by the future homeowners. This is what led us to mount the art on transparent panels. The result is that the art changes not only because the panels can move, but also depending on whether it is viewed from the inside of the house or the outside and also depending on the time of day or night. On the interior, the panels colour the light that comes into the kitchen

which casts beautiful reflections on the quartz countertops, high-gloss cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances. At night, if the lights are on inside the house, the panels glow like beautiful coloured lanterns. OTTAWA LIFE: What impact do you predict the Canvas project will have on the surrounding neighbourhood? Jakub Ulak: My hope is that it will inspire more innovative and thoughtful architecture. It is important that we preserve our architectural heritage and legacy, but at the same time, we must provide room for projects that showcase design innovation. The introduction of these kinds of projects to established neighbourhoods creates vitality and rejuvenation. Pluralism in terms of design and built form is an essential ingredient to establishing livable and desirable communities and it's my hope that there will be more of this in Old Ottawa South and other areas of this amazing city. n



NAV CENTRE’S idyllic surroundings, total service commitment, and all-inclusive packages are perfect for your next corporate meeting, event or retreat—because even heroes need a night off.

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spaces close to home but far from ordinary

The New Design of the NAV CENTRE

A sleek, modern look with an inviting atmosphere is just part of what to expect at the newly renovated NAV CENTRE, situated along the majestic St. Lawrence River in Cornwall. The NAV CENTRE is getting rave reviews for its new look which features a NORR-designed and engineered SPA and several new eateries, including the NORR-engineered Propeller Restaurant. Its clean lines and airy atmosphere are sure to bring comfort to the weary traveller or guest. The NAV CENTRE is a one-stop shop destination for groups and families looking for a reprieve close to home but within easy reach of the national capital. Cornwall has lots to offer but there can be no doubt that the NAV CENTRE is the jewel of the region. For more information about the NAV CENTRE, visit or call 613-936-5800. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The ultra-modern SPA design was done in partnership with NORR; The sleek look of the exterior of the NAV CENTRE is matched

by its 端ber-modern interior design; The NAV SPA will leave you relaxed and rejuvenated; The Propeller Restaurant has great lighting and the same sleek modern furniture style exhibited in all other public and private spaces of the hotel. 57 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

We believe

Public education is the cornerstone of tolerance and democracy in Ontario To ensure student success, public education must provide – • Equal access to a comprehensive and well-rounded education • Class sizes that allow individual attention • Professional resources and programs provided by school board staff • A safe, positive and well-maintained learning environment • Shared decision-making with parents, teachers and education workers

A message from Ontario’s public high school teachers and education workers. 58 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

spaces profile by harvey f. chartrand

Telix Incorporated: Local Firm Makes VoIP Extremely Affordable

Anthony Galla

Rob Nino

Telix Incorporated offers Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone systems that are a smart alternative for small- and medium-sized businesses and that can replace traditional PBX systems. Their all-inclusive phone systems offer unlimited North American calling, conference calling, voicemail to e-mail, remote workers and many other features that would cost extra with other telecom providers. What you get is a fully functional phone system at a very affordable price. Here is what CEO Anthony Galla and Business Development Officer Robert Nino, the founders of Telix Incorporated, had to say about what differentiates Telix from the competition. Rob Nino: Telix VoIP Solutions significantly reduces monthly phone costs compared to a traditional phone system. We structured our pricing plan to provide savings on average of 60 per cent compared to traditional analog systems. When customers have multiple locations, these cost savings can be greater. When comparing Telix systems to a traditional phone system, we know we come out ahead. Our all-inclusive features, combined with our commitment to personal customer support, set us apart. There are still some business owners who do not realize that VoIP technology is extremely reliable. We take pride in educating them on the viability of our VoIP technology. Anthony and I launched Telix once we were confident that the technology and our infrastructure were reliable and that we could provide a smooth transition with zero downtime. Our research showed us that there were three key areas that needed to be addressed within the telephone industry: customer service, cost and quality. We were confident the service had to be local. The cost had to be competitive with the market. The quality and reliability had to be solid. This is a big part of what has made Telix successful. We packaged

our high-quality services in such a way that we can offer a return on investment in some cases in less than six months. Anthony Galla: We offer the most upto-date VoIP technology. We are constantly upgrading software and hardware to stay current with today’s technology. We want our customers to know that we provide the best that’s available by today’s industry standards. We work closely with all ISPs to ensure network connectivity and reliability. Rob Nino: We simplified our services to be all inclusive. Anthony and I are very engaged and we believe this differentiates us from the competition. In many cases, we are replacing multinational Telco systems. Our customers tell us that our personal approach and quick response is a much-needed and appreciated business practice. Anthony Galla: Telix systems are costeffective. By lowering operating costs and increasing employee productivity, the switch to Telix will increase your company’s profitability. Telix gives remote workers the ability to be connected without being in the office, an extension call away.

We enjoy being personally involved in every aspect of the install. Not only does this give us a better idea of the customer’s needs, but it allows us to guarantee our quality of service. We will not provide our service unless we feel the prospective customer’s Internet connection is reliable. Before, during and after-sales services are important for our continued success. Existing customers have referred many clients to us because we continue to excel in customer service. They know that if they make the call to customer support, someone is going to answer the phone. You’re not put on hold or have to wait two hours for customer support to get back to you. We provide an alternative telephone system where companies can increase their productivity and profitability. We also do a fair amount of troubleshooting with any company that is having an issue with its current phone system. Our experience shows us that the bigger telecommunications companies have so many policies and procedures that many customers get frustrated while being tied up in the process. There’s a wonderful niche for a company like Telix to service people above and beyond. We treat our customers the way we want to be treated. n 59 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

CANADA’S GENERIC PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY Manufacturing For Export Generic pharmaceutical companies export more than 40% of domestic production to more than 115 countries worldwide. Most of the pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity in Canada is owned and operated by the generic pharmaceutical industry. Investing In Research & Development The generic pharmaceutical industry employs approximately 12,000 Canadians and invests $615 million annually in scientific jobs, research and development. The industry operates the largest life sciences companies in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. Innovating For Savings Generic drugs are dispensed to fill 60 percent of all prescriptions in Canada, yet account for only 25 percent of the $22 billion Canadians spend annually on prescription medicines. Between 2007 and 2011 the availability and use of generic prescription medicines saved Canada’s health-care system $26-billion.


Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association 4120 Yonge St., Suite 409 | Toronto, Canada, M2P 2B8 Tel.: (416) 223-2333 Fax: (416) 223-2425

health-care series by simon vodrey

The Winds of Change



he 2011 Census of Canada revealed that continued immigration is changing the face of our country. Not only is Canadian society increasingly multicultural, we are becoming one of the fastest-growing populations in the G8. Wendy Nicklin is the President and CEO of Accreditation Canada, a notfor-profit organization that develops and implements the standards that enable a health-care provider to assess and improve performance. Nicklin says that, “Canada’s changing demographics have been a reality for more than the past few decades, but it has been escalating over the past decade or so.” A growing Canadian population driven by large numbers of new Canadians with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds has important implications for the delivery of health-care services, as well as for the health-care system itself. In particular, it requires Canadian physicians and other medical practitioners to become more conscious of the cultural makeup of the patients they treat. Nicklin added that, “understanding different cultural values is very important when it comes to providing quality care for Canadians.” A September 1996 article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, written by Janice Hamilton, (Multicultural Health Care Requires Adjustments by Doctors and Patients)

affirms what Nicklin is talking about. “Efforts to provide culturallyappropriate health care are being made in hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices across the country.” More recently, Nicklin noted that health-care organizations “regularly scan [for] the characteristics of the population they serve in an attempt to improve the services themselves and also the delivery.” However, almost 17 years after Hamilton’s article was published, Nicklin maintains that more remains to be done when it comes to building awareness about the diverse cultural makeup of patients in order to deliver more efficient, effective and affordable care. One of the key areas that can be improved upon is communication between health-care practitioners and patients. It is an important step in creating an improved health-care system for all Canadians, regardless of their cultural background. However, it is not always easy to achieve. This is especially true if there is a language barrier between the health-care provider and the patient. As Hamilton pointed out, “crosscultural communication can be difficult for both doctor and patient.” She stressed that “…if the patient understands and agrees with the treatment, and the physician understands the patient’s views and ensures that the treatment is appropriate, the outcome will be better.” Of course, when a growing

percentage of patients have neither English nor French as their mother tongue, this mutual understanding may not occur. Not surprisingly, according to Hamilton, “sometimes language difficulties cause misunderstandings or misdiagnosis.” Today, according to Nicklin, Canada’s health-care practitioners need to better understand that “the languages that your health-care workers speak are extremely important if you want to have a health-care system that is effective and responsive to Canada’s evolving population.” In other words, to better communicate with your patients, you need to have a greater number of health-care providers who are able to speak more than one or the other of Canada’s official languages. Yet it is also important to remember that cultures vary not only in terms of language but also in terms of perception and attitude about the role of the health-care system and about the doctors and hospitals that function as the system’s visible representation. Years ago, Hamilton shed light on two of the most common types of cultural variations that can be a factor in hampering the effective delivery of health care to all Canadians in an increasingly multicultural Canada. First, “there is a cultural variation in attitudes towards physicians.” For instance, individuals of certain 61 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

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backgrounds may disagree with, or refuse to accept, a diagnosis delivered using the Canadian medical system’s standard, empirical evidence-based, medical procedures and testing. Instead they may insist upon the delivery of a diagnosis — and then eventually a treatment — which uses the diagnostic methods familiar to them from their country of origin. The second cultural perception issue relates to hospitals. As Hamilton noted, “the hospital may also have a different role in other countries.” For example, “some parents become frightened when a doctor wants to admit a child to the [hospital] for tests or observation.” It often turns out that, in the country of origin, hospitalization means the patient is at death’s door. Nicklin, on the other hand, expresses how important it is for the Canadian health-care system and its practitioners to recognize that “certain diseases or

ailments have more predominance in different parts of the world.” What this means is that our health-care system must conduct the research and allocate the resources necessary to treat those diseases, ailments or disorders which now may be more common in the changing demographic of our country. Essentially, as Nicklin explains, medical practitioners and researchers have to realize that “there are many different determinants of someone’s health and they’re important to focus on.” Income, social status, education, literacy, social environment, childhood development, gender and nutrition are just a few of the determinants affecting an individual’s health and, therefore, both the volume and cost of the care required on a lifelong basis. As Canada looks to improve its health-care system, increasing cultural sensitivity and communication will only increase efficiencies. n

Wendy Nicklin is the President and CEO of Accreditation Canada


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Millions of Canadians rely on insured employer plans for drug coverage. In some cases, the costs can be more than what the Millions of Canadians insured employer for drug coverage. In some cases, the costs be more than what the employer can afford rely and on there is a risk that theplans coverage will be lost. Canadian health insurers havecan recently committed to work employer can afford and there is a risk that the coverage will be lost. Canadian health insurers have recently committed to work together to share the costs of recurring high drug claims among the industry, together the costs of recurring drug claims among the industry, which to is share a win-win for employers andhigh employees. which is a win-win for employers and employees. CLHIA is proud to support the Canadian Drug Insurance Pooling Corporation and CLHIA is prouditstoimportance support theforCanadian Drug Insurance Pooling Corporation and recognizes all Canadians. For more information, visit recognizes its importance for all Canadians. For more information, visit 64 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

pensions & peace of mind by simon vodrey

In the Line of Fire:

Long-Term Disability Insurance Coverage


ew things in life are guaranteed, including long-term disability (LTD) insurance plans. While longterm disability protection may be offered through an individual’s employer, not all plans are created equal. Basically, there are two types of LTD. The first is the Insured Benefit LTD where the plan sponsor (the employer) pays a premium to an insurance company which then covers employees. Thus, it is the insurance company itself, and not the employer, assuming the financial risks involved. In this capacity, insurers are required to set up reserves against future payments. In other words, when an individual goes on longterm disability, the insurer has to set aside enough money up front to cover the expected payments for that individual. So, even if the employer sponsoring the plan does go bankrupt, the coverage and benefits that the employee receives will continue. In addition, insurers in Canada are subject to a stringent regulatory regime requiring that reserves are held separate from the general funds of the insurer and that they hold an additional capital cushion over and above their other liabilities. At the end of the day, employees on longterm disability with fully-insured benefits can be assured that their LTD payments will continue for however long they remain disabled and unable to work. The second type of LTD insurance plan is the Uninsured Benefit Plan or Administrative Service Only (ASO) plan. With an ASO, it is the employer who pays all the benefits to employees and a third-party administrator simply helps to manage the plan. Under such an arrangement, the third-party company focuses

primarily on examining claims and administering payments on behalf of the plan sponsor. More often than not, uninsured LTD plans function as a “pay-as-you-go” plan. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), which represents Canada’s life and health insurers, notes that these “pay-as-you-go” plans “rely on the plan sponsor being able to continue to generate adequate cash flow each year over the lifetime of the plan and to pay benefits for the duration of the benefit period.”

Private-sector employers need to provide long-term disability insurance benefits against the financial collapse of the employer. With an uninsured LTD, the plan sponsor is not required to establish a reserve fund against longterm disability payments. In that case, should the employer enter bankruptcy, there likely would not be adequate funds available to cover the future long-term disability payments of employees. It is not unknown for employees to face a complete loss of coverage in such circumstances. While the vast majority of employers who offer disability benefits do so

on an insured basis, those who do it on an ASO basis are generally large employers. CLHIA President Frank Swedlove explains that although “situations [where employers go bankrupt] don’t arise that often, when they do, they tend to arise with large national companies and affect a lot of people.” One high-profile instance was the evaporation of the LTD benefits for former Eaton’s employees when the iconic Canadian retailer went bankrupt in 1999. Another that hit the Ottawa region hard was the recent bankruptcy of Nortel. Recognizing these challenges, Canada’s insurance industry has examined many proposals to ensure the continued delivery of LTD benefits in the event of a plan sponsor’s financial collapse. As Swedlove notes, “the industry believes that the most effective solution is to ensure that all long-term disability plans in Canada are offered on a fully insured basis only.” The federal government has taken note of the risks associated with uninsured LTD plans in light of Nortel's bankruptcy. The Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act has been used to amend the Canada Labour Code, requiring federally-regulated private-sector employers who provide LTD insurance benefits to use insured rather than uninsured plans. Swedlove believes this is a good starting point, but that more still needs to be done to cover all Canadians because “the changes to the Canada Labour Code only affect companies that are under federal jurisdiction, but the vast majority of companies here in Canada are under provincial jurisdiction.” To bring all the players to the table to create a better system to protect all employees would ultimately benefit everyone. n 65 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013


greenstream by simon vodrey

From Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast Canada is a maritime country which generates a substantial amount of its GDP from exporting natural resources in today’s increasingly interconnected global economy. Its waterways serve as the maritime transportation network that contributes to the health, vitality and prosperity of the Canadian economy. Without safely navigable oceans and inland waterways, Canada’s position on the world stage would be compromised. And since Canada is home to one of the longest coastlines of any country in the world, the stakes could not be higher. The responsibility of keeping Canada’s waterways navigable, as well as ensuring the safety and well-being of the crews and vessels that use those waterways, rests with the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. The birth of the modern Canadian Coast Guard occurred on January 26, 1962, when Prime Minister John Diefenbaker established the CCG and outlined its three main responsibilities: “First, offering dedicated search-and-rescue services; second, maintaining Arctic

sovereignty; third, responding to technical advances and increasing vessel traffic.” Today, 51 years later, that mandate remains unchanged. The CCG’s roots extend back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The waterways in the Dominion of Canada were extremely treacherous. There were no safety standards to which ships had to be built and navigational aids were rudimentary at best, if not absent altogether. By the time the British North America Act of 1867 (now the Constitution Act, 1867) was ratified and the Dominion of Canada came into being, the waterways in the new Confederation were becoming more crowded than ever before. At the same time, the pace of shipbuilding worldwide was accelerating and many recently constructed commercial vessels were using relatively new (and substantially faster) steam-powered propulsion, as opposed to the longstanding naval reliance on the wind. With these developments, the number 67 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013


of passengers traveling by sea was increasing annually. The combination of these factors meant that the risks of — and consequences from — marine disasters were on the rise. In 1867, amidst this unregulated and fast-paced new marine environment, the federal government inherited a number of what the modernday CCG calls “elements of marine infrastructure – navigational aid systems; life-saving stations; canals and waterways; regulating organizations and enforcement vessels; and supporting shore infrastructure.” These elements of infrastructure were under the purview of the Department of Marine and Fisheries established in 1868. In 1930, the Department of Marine and Fisheries was broken up into two distinct ministries. In 1936, marine-based responsibilities and infrastructure came under the control of the Department of Transportation (DOT) — a move that brought with it the now familiar CCG duties of icebreaking and the maintenance of marine navigational aids. The Canadian Coast Guard is the principal civilian maritime operational arm of the Government of Canada. Its activities and services are varied and complex, providing resources and support to the maritime element of Search and Rescue (SAR) operations and saving some 2,000 lives every year. It manages innumerable navigational aids to help vessels stay on course and is instrumental in the monitoring of naval traffic. It provides essential information to mariners and is involved in aquatic scientific research. It responds to naval-based environmental emergencies like oil spills. The CCG also provides icebreaking services, ensuring that Canadian shipping channels are icefree.” These activities continue to be carried out on a daily basis in the three separate CCG regions of operation which were consolidated in October

from the five created shortly after the inception of the CCG. The previous long-standing five regions of operation (the Pacific, Central & Arctic, Quebec, the Maritimes, and Newfoundland and Labrador) were streamlined into three larger zones of operation known as the Western region, the Central and Arctic region, and the Atlantic region. Jody Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the CCG, said this decision was made “as part of the Canadian Coast Guard’s strategic and operating review process.” Thomas ex pla ined that simu ltaneously reducing the number of operating zones while expanding their size would allow the CCG to function more efficiently and effectively, thereby “reducing costs to Canadians without reducing services to Canadians.” When the CCG was founded in 1962, it commissioned over 40 vessels ranging from search-and-rescue cutters to large icebreakers. Since then, its fleet has expanded to 119 vessels and 22 operational helicopters. It also has a staff of some 4,500 employees, about half of whom work on land. Like their sea-based colleagues, the landbased CCG employees often perform essential services that are required to help the CCG carry out its mandate of promoting accessibility to, and safety on, our nation’s waterways. Some of the essential services include the maintenance of marine communications and navigation, electronic naval technological development and engineering services. Whether operating on land or sea, the CCG comes under the umbrella of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) where it provides material and human resources for the Search and Rescue Program (SAR) in matters involving federal jurisdiction and responsibility. This is perhaps the best-known function of the CCG. n

Jody Thomas is Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Canadian Coast Guard Facts To the Rescue In early June 2010, the CCG contributed to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill relief efforts by sending 3,000 metres of off-shore boom to Louisiana. Several Coast Guard regions joined forces to make this offer of assistance possible, all while maintaining a reasonable response capacity in Canada. Best Coast Guard College in the World The Canadian Coast Guard College (CCGC) has a stellar reputation as one of the best Coast Guard colleges in the world. It has provided a free, world-class marine education to thousands of Canadians since its creation, in 1964. Located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the CCGC is the place to go for aspiring ship’s officers. Upon completing their studies, graduates are guaranteed a job on a CCG vessel. Keeping Canada Safe The Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) of the CCG are a year round, 24/7 operation. Traffic Services personnel watch the waters and listen to radio transmissions to keep Canadian waters safe, secure and navigable.

Stay tuned to our series on the Canadian Coast Guard. The next issue will pick up where this brief historical overview leaves off, with a more detailed discussion and analysis of the essential services provided by the CCG, a behind-thescenes look at the vessels, vehicles and technology that allow the CCG to deliver its services. There will be a few surprises, that will appeal to the seasoned naval historian and the casual reader alike. 69 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

The Northern Gateway Project will deliver energy to the world, as well as significant economic benefits for Canada.

Northern Gateway is generating healthy debate and Canadians are asking, what are the benefits of this pipeline for our country? The Northern Gateway Project will create jobs, open up a new gateway to trade partners in the Pacific Rim, and strengthen Canada’s economy.

New jobs will be created… Many people will be employed to build this project. Over 3,000 high-paying construction jobs will be created during the building phase. And over 1,150 new long-term jobs will open up when it’s completed–jobs to monitor and maintain the pipeline, jobs at the Marine Terminal on BC’s north coast, and indirect jobs in areas such as food and hospitality, accommodations, and transportation.

New global markets will open opportunities for new growth… As it stands, Canada relies on just one customer for its oil exports. The Northern Gateway Project will provide access to the growing economies and the huge markets of the Pacific Rim eager for our energy, which will increase Canada’s Gross Domestic Product by at least $270 billion over 30 years. So not only will Canadians see an increase in employment and long-term job opportunities, they will see our country’s economy strengthened as a new gateway to more trade partners opens up.

People will learn specialized work skills… Canadians will be given the opportunity to learn the skills needed to work in the energy industry. Enbridge has created the Gateway Education and Training Fund, a $1.5 million commitment that will support training initiatives that focus on pipeline construction skills. The knowledge and experience acquired during the construction phase will serve them well as the demand for skilled workers in the energy sector here in Canada and around the world continues to increase. Discover more about the economic benefits that Northern Gateway will deliver to Canada and join the conversation at

It’s more than a pipeline.

It’s a path to our future.

©2012 Northern Gateway Pipelines Inc.

greenstream by anna may burke


Is the Gas Gouge Real? PART II


ccording to the Canadian Fuels Association, Canadians pump 75 billion litres of petroleum fuels annually (more than 200 million litres every day) to travel a total of 325 billion kilometres a year. That is the equivalent of eight million trips around the world. That’s a lot of travelling. It’s no wonder then that we pay close attention to gasoline prices.

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Does what you pay get your back up every time you hit the pumps? Given the amount of travel and gas consumption in Canada, the average Canadian could be forgiven for thinking that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes, that the gas companies get together to ensure that Canadians are ripped off at the pump. After all, this time last year, retail gasoline prices had jumped substantially over the span of two months, setting off consumer alarm bells. But, as is the case with many situations, it is more complicated than merely jacking up the price of gas at will. Many factors go into that number you see on the sign before filling up.

crude oil producers, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The result is that prices for Canadian crude oil follow world prices. We don’t make them. As demand for energy increases, chances are the cost of gas will increase. The Paris-based International Energy Agency estimates that global demand for energy is expected to rise by 35 per cent by 2035 as economies in both developed and emerging countries continue to grow and the standard of living improves in the developing world. On top of that, while we may be a big producer, the fact of the matter is for Canadian and international oil and gas companies, access to conventional petroleum reserves is declining, which makes the commodity more valuable. Bad news there is that it is unlikely gas prices will go down.

The CFA identifies four main factors that affect the price at the pump. There is the cost of crude oil, wholesale price of gasoline, local market dynamics and taxes.

So that’s at the global level. But there is a bit of a domino effect because the price of crude oil affects the wholesale price of gasoline, which is the price that gasoline retailers pay. The wholesale price comes from oil refineries. They set their own wholesale prices daily, based on levels set by commodity trading, the continental market for refined petroleum products and distribution charges.

Crude oil is a globally-traded commodity whose price is influenced by what happens around the world. Things like supply and demand, international geopolitical factors and inventory levels all impact the price. It’s kind of like what happens when California gets hit with bad weather and it affects the cost of strawberries. It’s a similar kind of thing. While there are many perceptions on how big the industry in Canada actually is, we’re really only the 7th largest

Throw into the mix marketing costs, operational expenses and competitive forces at the retail level that drive local market dynamics. What exactly are they? Marketing and operational expenses include such things as wages, property taxes, utilities, and local promotional costs. Retail prices are also a function of competitive forces in each local market and of what other services and prices are available at the site to attract customers and generate additional revenue.


And then there are taxes. Those are complicated. Taxes on gasoline can vary from province to province and occasionally from city to city (especially in British Columbia). Transportation costs vary and, according to the CFA, the volume of gasoline sold at gas stations can affect pricing. That may all be true, but being so close to the U.S., it is hard not to notice that when you cross the border, the price of gas drops significantly. Presumably, all of those same factors affect their pumps, so why the difference? It all boils down to taxes. Other than that, the average price of a litre of gasoline in Canada is quite similar to the price in the United States. That’s compared to the States. Internationally, historical data shows that Canadians pay less for gasoline than consumers in many industrialized countries. For example, looking at prices in January 2010, Canada paid significantly less per litre than Germany, Italy, France, UK, Spain and Japan. When you see that number at the gas pump and see that it varies very little from gas station to station, it’s easy to jump on the “we get hosed” bandwagon but when you look at it, many factors do explain gas pricing. That said, with so few real players in the industry, could there be lower gas prices if the major gas companies were in true competition? Probably. And that’s the frustrating part. While there are many factors involved, one still is left with the feeling that there could be better transparency and possibly more savings that could be passed on to consumers. But at the end of the day, when you compare Canada with other countries, the price of gas really isn’t that bad. n 71 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

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travel by emma truswell




elgium is all about indulgence, whether it is in food, history, beer or architecture, France’s northern neighbour is worthy of exploring. Ypres, now know as Ieper, in Flanders Fields Country, or Westhoek, is the perfect destination for history buffs, due to the town’s powerful associations with World War I. Over 150 military cemeteries are scattered throughout the Ypres Salient, serving as solemn reminders of the terrible sacrifice of war. Canadians are sure to want to stop by Essex Farm Cemetery, where John McCrae penned the famous poem “In Flanders Fields.” Still standing are the concrete shelters of the Advanced Dressing Station where McCrae worked as a Canadian Army Doctor in May of 1915, which are open for tourists to explore.

information such as age, name, gender, and hometown. Bracelets are read at four booths that cater information to suit each tourist’s interests, pulling from over 750 different stories to personalize the war for each individual. Come nightfall, stop at the Menin Gate for the Last Post Ceremony. Since the 11th of November, 1929, the Last Post has been sounded at the gate every night at 8 p.m., with the exception of the four years of German occupation from 1940 to 1944. Crowds line the street on either side, bowing their heads in respectful silence as buglers from the local volunteer Fire Brigade

The town of Ieper itself is an impressive replica of the medieval city that was almost entirely destroyed during the war. Restored Gothic style buildings line the streets, the Belfry of the magnificent Cloth Hall towering over the town square. It is this expansive site that houses the In Flanders Fields Museum. The newly renovated museum has state- of- theart technology, including visitors’ bracelets that contain their personal

ABOVE: A view of the canal in Ghent. BELOW: John McCrae Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery.

play Last Post and Reveille under the memorial arch. The walls are inscribed with nearly 55,000 names of those who died or went missing in the Ypres Salient between the outbreak of war and August 1917. The romantic city of Bruges was next, with winding canals, intimate cafés and cobblestone streets. This picturesque town and UNESCO world heritage site is the ideal getaway for couples. Whether you explore the city on foot, by bike, or seated in a horse-drawn carriage, no Bruges adventure is complete without a tour through the city’s scenic canals. Enjoy waterside gardens and architecture from as far back as the thirteenth century. Next stop was Ghent, which is often overlooked by tourists in favour of the more traditional Belgian destinations. It may be a medieval town, but this city has a fresh, youthful energy. Picking up on the city’s funky vibe is the recently opened Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof. With a convenient location only minutes away from the city’s prime tourist destinations, this


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shop and factory, Gerbaud, and enjoy delectable chocolate creations. He works with only the highest quality chocolate and avoids sugar in favour of natural sweets, such as figs.

luxurious four-star hotel has made its home in a splendid eighteenth century mansion. Ghent is home to over 620 monuments and historical sites, which are brandished nightly with gorgeous illuminations that beg for a late-night stroll through the city streets. Scenery can also be enjoyed while drifting through Ghent’s winding canals on a boat ride complete with champagne and appetizers. Hit the shop Van Hoorebeke for some of the best chocolate or grab some mustard from Tierenteyn-Verlent, a charming little shop that has been making mustard since 1790. 74 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

No trip to Belgium is complete without a visit to Brussels. Aweinducing beauty is around every corner. Take a stroll through Brussels Park after admiring the magnificent Royal Palace, or trek up Mont des Arts toward the city’s cluster of museums and attractions. For a completely lowstress option, purchase the Brussels city card for as little as 24 Euro, which provides discount vouchers for local shops and restaurants, unlimited travel on public transportation, and admission into most attractions. Visitors to Brussels can stock up on traditional Belgian cookies at Dandoy, one of the oldest cookie shops in the city. Check out Laurent Gerbaud’s

No Belgian adventure is complete without paying tribute to its beer. Delirium Tremens Café, just off the famous dining strip Rue des Bouchers, has a selection of over 2000 different beers and its very own beer bible. This establishment made it to the Guinness Book of World Records in 2004 for the most commercially-available beers, with a total count of 2004. Rightfully so, Belgians are very proud of their beer. A must-try is Kriek, cherry beer – a uniquely Belgian product. This fruity beer uses open-air fermentation with natural bacteria only found in the fields surrounding Brussels. From romantic retreats to out-of-thisworld food options to an experience of some of the most powerful reminders of war, Belgium has something for everyone. So when you plan your next European vacation, be sure to Think Belgium. n


travel by jennifer hartley

slovenia N

estled between Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast and Hungary to the northeast is one of the most beautiful and yet relatively unknown European gems, Slovenia. Whether it’s food, geography, landscape, architecture, activities or even climate, diversity permeates everything. It may sound cliché, but there really is something for everyone in this small but activity-packed country. Slovenia is steeped in history and culture for those looking for the traditional Euro experience. If you are into wine, you are in for a treat as there is some incredible winemaking going on here, and if you’re into the outdoors, adventure-type sports (kayaking, white water rafting, extreme rafting) or more calm outdoor sports like hiking, cycling, running (there are some 10,000 km of marked hiking trails to be explored) or canoeing, you need to head to this incredible country. Slovenia will far exceed your expectations. Back in 2007, the European Union (EU) established a new award, the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) to promote sustainable tourism for lesser-known EU members. Countries submit locations based on the theme of that year. With the exception of 2007, Slovenia has won an EDEN every year. And rightfully so. The country is stunning. In fact, Slovenians take great pride in the natural beauty and the richness of their natural resources. Over fifty per cent of the country is covered by trees and over a third of the territory is protected. And for a country of its size, there is an amazing number of

microclimates. On the same day, if you’re willing to do a few hours of driving, you can be kayaking in a tank top along the border between Croatia and Slovenia in the morning and then be up in the Alps near the Austrian border needing a thick sweater in time for supper. But wherever you are, you can enjoy a good bottle of Slovenian wine. In fact, wine making is big in Slovenia. One per cent of Slovenia’s territory is covered by vineyards and it is part of their culture. You see shacks and huts everywhere on vineyards that are there for families making wine together. One of the country’s most celebrated winemakers is Jozef Prus, whose estate is located in the area of Metlika, Bela krajina. Metlika, in the heart of wine-making country, is a quaint village and dates back to the 14th century. A visit to the Prus estate, which is literally a stone’s throw from Croatia, is a must. He has won wine world championships and has been the country’s top winemaker for the last three years. Not only can you sample Prus’ award-winning wine (which is also inexpensive), you can enjoy some “Belokranjska pogaca” flat cake which is similar to bread. The dish was awarded the status of a protected designation of origin by the European Community and Prus Estates is one of the 20 places in the country where you can get the authentic bread. Hopefully you can actually meet Prus himself as he is larger than life (and there is even a Canadian connection. His grandfather earned the money to buy the land for the vineyard working in a mine in Canada).

Slovenia is outdoor sports-junkie mecca. Skiing in the winter is phenomenal. You are in the Alps after all. But summer enables you to take advantage of the country’s abundance of outdoor activities. Kayaking, hiking, canoeing, cycling are particularly enjoyable. Canoeing on the Kolpa River is all about soaking up the nature around you and rich biological diversity (the Kolpa river is home to about 30 different species of fish and you can encounter about 100 different species of birds) all the while drinking beer while you paddle. It’s also pretty amazing that on one side of the river is Croatia and the other side is Slovenia. You can jump out and swim at any point. The whole thing is relaxing. The Triglav National Park (named after the highest mountain in Slovenia) is located in the northwest of Slovenia, more precisely in the Julian Alps (named after Julius Caesar). It is the country’s only national park. If you are travelling there from Ljubljana, you will drive through mountain passes to get there (Vrsic Mountain 75 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

Pass in particular). This may raise the hair on the back of your neck but it is worth every second. Slovenia should actually include driving as an adventure sport. Winding through the twisty roads may be slow but it also provides some stunning views. Slovenia truly is among the most beautiful countries in Europe. Thrill seekers will absolutely adore white water rafting in the Soca Valley, which is very close to Triglav. The Soca River itself is stunning, runs close to 100 km and the colour is a stunning turquoise. Rafting aficionados flock here in droves to experience the Soca but even a dorky Canadian novice can be accommodated. The Soca Gorge is definitely worth catching. Grab a meal at the Pristava Lepena (which is also a resort). The food is outstanding and be sure to try their Marble Trout (a fish of the area). It will make a fish lover out of anyone. The town of Bovec, close to the Soca, is a great place to hang your hat. It has a real sporty feel to it as a lot of the adventure sports companies are there. It is reminiscent of surfing culture and it oozes hipness. For a fab dinner, check out Martinov Hram for authentic foods of the region and enjoy the view of the mountains. It’s an amazing town. While sports, mountains and nature are considered by some to be the main attractions to the area, it turns out there is a lot of WWI history. The Walk of Peace is an outdoor museum with the most important remains and memorials of the Isonzo front in the Upper Soca region from WW1. The path runs 100 km so you can check in at the Walk of Peace Information Centre at Kobarid and they will set you up on where you should go. One piece of neat trivia, Slovenia was the setting for Ernest Hemingway’s book A Farewell to Arms. He served in Slovenia as part of the Italian Army in WWI. In fact, given it is European, the country bubbles over with history. Ljubljana, the capital city, is jammed with medieval streets and old buildings and churches. The Ljubljana Castle, which reigns over the city atop a hill,

is worthy of the funicular ride up. There are great views of the city and a great café and restaurant to get your caffeine, food or beer fix. Below, the city bustles and has that Euro feel to it. Café and bar culture abounds and Slovenians, as a general rule, like to have fun and enjoy a glass or two. In fact, the Slovenian anthem is actually a toast. They enjoy life. The capital city is divided in two by the river Ljubljanica. Take time to explore this city on foot and check out the bridges as they have beautiful sculptures and are stand-alone works of art. There is a great flea market in the heart of the city also worthy of exploration. About an hour from the capital is the village of Idrija. It is the oldest Slovenian mining town situated in the western part of the country in Goriška Region. Famous for its mercury mine and lace making, Idrija is a fascinating destination with spectacular scenery. A visit the 500-year-old mine is de rigueur. Heading underground in Anthony’s Shaft will blow your mind. The entrance is one of oldest preserved entrances into any mine in the world. Be sure to check out Idrija lace as well. It is everywhere and has a great story for women. The reality of mining meant the loss of husbands. To cope with financial stresses and the loss of income, women began making lace to make money. Their work took off, empowering them in the process. Be sure to try “idrijski zlikrofi”, which are little dumplings and well worth

the carbs. When it comes to cuisine, Slovenian fare is on the hearty side. You will never leave the table hungry. Those with a sweet tooth will adore the strudel-type dessert. There are over 100 types to try. Another trip to the Alps is definitely called for. The regal, haunting Alps in the Solcavsko region with their stunning Alpine peaks are literally breathtaking. There are three glacial valleys, a nature park to roam around in hiking, cycling or running (but the altitude can wreak a little havoc on your breathing). Be sure to stay at the Hotel Plesnik in the Logarska Dolina glacial valley. Surrounded by mountains, it is the perfect place to take in the majesty of the area. There is a panoramic road that runs about 25 km, up to the Austrian border. It is remarkably untouched by development or tourism. It is practically a religious experience to be up there, alone among the grandness of the mountains and nature. That road is actually quite symbolic of the country. Slovenia is beautiful. It has history, it has culture, it has delicious food and amazing wine and yet surprisingly, it remains untouched by mass tourism. It has that Euro feel without having been destroyed by mass marketing or multinationals. And the people are amazing. They are extremely hospitable, proud of their heritage and enthusiastic about sharing their country, opening their homes and hearts to visitors. It is unavoidable to love the place. Get there. n 77 OTTAWALIFE APRIL 2013

opinion by gary corbett

Kevin Page: A Hero for Our Time


hen Kevin Page, Canada’s first Parliamentary Budget Officer, steps down next month after five years on the job, he’ll do so with a respect and admiration accorded few professional public servants – not because he went above and beyond the call of duty (many do) or because he has been particularly outspoken on public matters (many are, especially whistleblowers), but because, like most professionals in the public service, he doggedly maintains that government should tell the truth, even when it refuses to do so. The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) was created following the 2006 federal election, in the wake of the Liberal sponsorship scandal. It has not been an easy ride for Page, the public service and the people of Canada. Although the PBO should be independent, it serves at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. In effect, the PBO watches over the spending of the person who created it. That in a nutshell is the problem. On the matter of the government’s annual deficit, the government claimed it would be $30 billion. Page said it was $56 billion. Page was right. War, never an inexpensive proposition. The government claimed the Afghanistan mission would cost $2.8 billion. Page said it was closer to $9 billion. Page was right. Who can forget those F-35 jets? The government said the jets would cost $15 billion. The PBO, after exposing some financial finagling by the government that conveniently left out decades of maintenance costs, said the jets would cost $40 billion. Once again, Page was right. None of these attempts to speak truth to power have endeared Page to the Prime Minister who hired him, and who likely expected he would, if not toe the party line, at least not rock the ship of state. But the real test of honesty and integrity


has come with the implementation of the Harper government’s austerity cuts. Can’t afford to maintain Old Age Security benefits for 65-yearolds? Well, actually, yes we can, said Page. Throughout the past year, the government has insisted that the cuts will affect only “the back office.” Frontline services, presumably health, safety and protection of the environment, won’t be touched. Page’s assessment of the government’s own numbers has repeatedly thrown cold water on these claims. In return, he has received the kind of chill the Conservatives reserve for their worst enemies. His requests for more information have gone unanswered or faced interminable delay. His calculations have been dismissed out of hand or publicly called into question. His role and reputation as a watchdog were attacked with an intensity usually reserved for environmentalists. Even taking the government to court to reveal details of its proposed cuts and expenses has met mostly with a deafening silence. It’s not just the numbers, it’s what the numbers say. Their consequences speak to the value of Page’s contribution to current debates. In November 2012, seven months after the government introduced its austerity budget, the PBO could still find specific information on only 500 of the 19,200 jobs to be eliminated (7,000 are supposed to be lost through attrition). How, for example, will the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ensure compliance with federal regulations on food safety while crash dieting on $19 million in cuts? How will the $46 million cut from Aboriginal Affairs address the concerns of communities now responding to the Idle No More movement? How will Health Canada triage the enormous cuts to its own programs? The government waves

these worries away with the easy phrase “operational efficiencies.” Some things no longer exist simply because, to Conservatives if to no one else, they have ceased to matter. Science and the environment have come in for particular attention. The Experimental Lakes Area, a worldrenowned freshwater research facility that proved the effects of acid rain and has been instrumental in developing environmental policy, is eliminated. Environment Canada labs dedicated to studying cancer-causing pollution emissions from smokestacks are shut down. Nor should anyone forget the loss of Statistics Canada’s longform census to current and future knowledge. Evidence is the new enemy. It says something about the times we live in that a government can be elected to power on the promise of greater accountability, appoint a watchdog to ensure that accountability, and then delay, debate and discredit that watchdog’s attempts to ensure accountability at every turn. But if Parliament and the people of Canada never learn the true cost to taxpayers and to the country of the Harper government’s austerity cuts, it won’t be the fault or on the watch of Kevin Page. To his credit, Page has done what the job demanded. And that should leave us worried about his replacement, if indeed a replacement is ever found. Unsurprisingly, the process is delayed. George Orwell once wrote: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Kevin Page is not a revolutionary, but if telling truth to power and, more importantly, insisting that powerful elected governments tell the truth to those who elect them are heroic acts, then Kevin Page is a national hero. n Gary Corbett is President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.


Ottawa Life Magazine  

April 2013 Spaces issue- Ottawa's guide to living in style.