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MAGAZINE Celebrating Etobicoke business



Dr. Sky Naslenas

B.Sc, DDS, M.Sc, FRCD(C) Staff Orthodontist, Hospital for Sick Children Associate in Dentistry, University of Toronto Founder, Orthodontic Studio

Dr. Naslenas is a leading authority in the field of orthodontics. She also holds an associate staff position at the Hospital for Sick Children, where combined orthodontic-surgical approach is utilized to treat children with craniofacial anomalies such as cleft lip and palate, and other physiologic/developmental challenges. Dr. Naslenas has years of experience, not only in orthodontics in general, but also in delivering the treatment utilizing the most aesthetic (invisible) orthodontic braces.

Dr. Naslenas is proud to announce the opening of the new Studio at Roncesvalles!  Top 10% Invisalign® providers for adults & teens  Craniofacial expertise for a better balance and development  Latest technology & personalized treatment plans  Most current and up-to-date treatment options  Aesthetic (invisible) orthodontic braces  Headache management with Botox injections  Excellent results in the most caring manner

307 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto 647.346.7024 ·

Handbags and Accessories Wearable art. Elegant designs, unique pieces, high quality material and finishing.


FOR SALE Welcome to 38 LOTHIAN AVENUE. $1,928,000 Beautiful contemporary 3+1 bedroom custom built home in prime Springbrook Gardens / Norseman Heights. Stunning open concept main floor design. Bright, spacious rooms with gorgeous hardwood floors, solid mahogany front door, top of the line Miele built in appliances. Cipollino caesarstone counter tops, Polk audio indoor / outdoor built in surround sound, crown moldings, built in closet organizers throughout and a beautiful saltwater sports pool! Excellent location, walk to Our Lady of Sorrows School, Bloor Street, Kingsway shops, restaurants, TTC, theater and close to all highways and airport.



Spectacular bespoke one-of-a-kind house! 5 bed, 7 baths, SMART home with over 8,000 sq ft of pure luxury.


Toronto’s condo market is booming. If you’re considering buying a home in advance of construction, be well-represented. I know the sites, the condo docs, the floorplans, and I will make sure you get the best price and bonus package. Remember, the site agents work for the developer. I work for you.





J. davis house - mid-town

the george towns - leslieville




Committed, Invested and at Your Service! FOLLOW ME AT:



(416) 417-8836

(416) 441-2888 EXT. 288



8 10 20 42


Snowflakes designed by Freepik from Flaticon

CONTENTS Editor's Letter keep it local Automotive Real Estate 7

Letter from the editor


n this second issue of Q Magazine, we focus on showcasing the fascinating evolution & growth of Etobicoke. All around us, we can feel and see the vibrant and entrepreneurial energy that is creating new restaurants, cafes, spas and real estate projects every month. Today, Etobicoke is one of the GTA’s fastest growing neighbourhoods. Everyone at Q Magazine feels fortunate to be able to celebrate both the new and the established businesses that are shaping this area’s identity and serving their community. All over Etobicoke, local businesses and entrepreneurs are marking their success with development and expansions. Kingsway resident and orthodontics authority Dr. Sky Naslenas has opened a second location on Roncesvalles. Meanwhile, the Royal York Football Club, led by Leon Brown, has developed new programs and offerings, in addition to their uber popular Tiny Tots program where children aged three to four can learn to play the beautiful game. On another hand, Humberview Volkswagen’s successfully completed a 14-month, inside out and top to bottom,

$5 million renovation that began last June. It’s so inspiring to watch great ideas come to life through hard work and determination! We can’t cover an area’s development without featuring its real estate scene. Etobicoke’s leading realtors share with us their insights on the hottest topics, from relocating international executives to creating your investment portfolio and redefining concierge service. We are also honoured and excited to present you Canada’s preeminent Home Financing Advisor, Scotiabank’s own Domenic D’Urzo and his remarkable team. We hope this issue expresses just how vibrant Toronto’s West end is becoming, along with the very people who live, work and play here. Launching next spring, our online version will also bring the stories to life through videos, interactive, exclusive content and more! My team and I are looking forward to your feedback and recommendations. We invite you to follow us on social media for the latest on Etobicoke business & lifestyle. Maya S. Merchant, Publisher

 QMagazineToronto  @qmagazinetoronto  @QMagazineTO 8

On the cover

MAGAZINE Celebrating Etobicoke business



On this issue’s front cover, we collaborated with the talented multimedia artist and illustrator Farida Zaman, whose work has been featured at the Latin Grammy Awards and in The New York Times, The Wallstreet Journal, and Time Out London. Farida gets the credit for the Toronto Transit Commission’s revamped posters and ride guide that were released in January 2016. For our cover, she created postcard-style tableau that highlights Etobicoke’s most iconic areas, landmarks and neighbourhoods. Farida is currently an instructor at Toronto’s Avenue Road Art School and also runs art workshops and weekly fine art and illustration classes for adults and children. In addition, she has led workshops at the Ontario Center for Art and Design (OCAD University).

illustration :

Farida Zaman ·

Seeking highlights and hidden gems of Etobicoke! Hey, don't keep it a secret! We're always looking to meet inspiring entrepreneurs and artists, find new great places to shop, discover must-have products created locally, and get the details on the best places to eat. Let us know at 9

SHOP EAT BUY   PLAY   


LOCAL keeping it in the community: support businesses in the area where you live, work and play


Royal York Football Club: Your Training & Development Destination by :

Aviva Vetter

photos :

Sameer Makwana

Spearheaded by Leon Brown, a former professional player with over 8 years on the soccer circuit, Royal York Football Club grew out of his passion for the beautiful game. Launched in Toronto West in 2009, the Club’s mission is to introduce, inspire and teach children of all ages and levels the game of football through a skills based approach. This fall the club recruited Lee Merricks as the Club Technical Director. When Lee met Leon the two immediately hit it off. From his time as a youth player with English Club Blackpool to his current role, Lee Merricks has made soccer his business like no other. Impressed by Leon’s vision and philosophy, Lee joined the team to oversee the creation and development of both coaching programs along with the delivery of the technical training aspects of the game. “What stood out about Royal York FC was its relatively small size. Being small is a plus. It allows for more of an elaborate personalized hands-on approach with a great deal of focus on meeting the individual needs of each player. The emphasis is on quality versus quantity” states Lee of the Club’s philosophy. Royal York FC offers a number of programs to meet the needs and wants of every aspiring player. Whether their desire is to start young and join a training program or play recreationally, there’s a wide variety to choose from, 12

Lee Merricks was named Club Technical Director this fall. He brings 19+ years of coaching experience to RYFC.

including playing soccer games in the House League program. Girls and boys can begin their soccer path with the Club as young as age three by enrolling in the popular Tiny Tots program. At age nine, kids begin to become skilled and focus on the technique of soccer. Further development is offered through specialized technical training programs—the goal being to eventually bring the player to hit their maximum skill potential. The development aspect focuses on skill, speed and body movement. The Club also has classes that specifically cater to girls’ development and technical building. “Education has always been the best tool in my pocket in terms of coaching. After nineteen years of being involved with football, working on different sides with diverse levels and capabilities, I’ve learned that success doesn’t come overnight. It takes practice, education and perseverance to realize goals,” says Lee. According to him, the cream will rise to the top because of ability and talent, but it takes 13

Girls and boys can begin playing soccer with the Club as young as age three. Soccer builds: • physical agility • coordination • self-esteem • confidence • character

• teamwork • social interaction • communication

dedication while paying close attention to development to be successful. Getting players involved in the game as early as possible and into the position that is right for their compatibility are also keys to success. A child’s ideal start point can be as early as three or four years of age. The Tiny Tots program is one of the best examples as most players enter at this level. The timing of an end point - the soccer path a player eventually takes as he or she develops his or her game—can differ greatly. A player may find his or her path through university or be scouted professionally, which can happen at a different age for each person. The Club’s role is to educate and provide training and guidance throughout the development stages, so that a player is ready when his or her time comes. Everyone involved in the player’s life work together to give guidance and postulate a realistic outcome..

Getting in as early as toddlers—the building block stage— equips players with the right tools they need to thrive while improving skill. On a social aspect playing soccer shapes self-esteem, confidence and character, which is linked to teamwork. Progress in soccer goes hand in hand with teamwork. Every person on the field has a unique role and making sure we all collaborate through communication is key. Learning to play and work with others can sharpen a child’s ability to cooperate and interact. “While physical agility and skill refinement are important, kids also have to be allowed to be kids, so in my perspective, letting them grow at their own pace plays a large role in the bigger picture as well. My role is to look after the kids and intervene at the right time as they progress. A great way to get introduced to the game for girls and boys ages five to eight is our House League. It is player centric, meaning that there is a high emphasis on the small size of the groups. This allows for everyone to be involved in the game with less sharing of the ball. This approach will fast track player’s in-game confidence and allow them to rapidly develop their individual technical ball skills. This method promotes more leadership roles and encourages children to acquire more interest. This approach also allows for more touches on the ball, which supports skill development. Royal York FC is already on the right track when it comes to strong skill and agility development. But incorporating various elements like having Danny Dichio from Toronto FC give back to his local community Football Club by sharing his experience and knowledge about the game is inspiration for us all, especially for players who aspire to take their game to the next level. Go to to learn more about our soccer development training programs.

Royal York Football Club · 701 The Queensway, Etobicoke · 647.717.2846 ·




(ages 3-4) Tiny Tots

(ages 5-6) House League (Co-ed)

(ages 5-6) Mini Masters

(ages 7-8) House League (Co-ed)

(ages 5-6) Football School (Co-ed) (ages 7-8) Football School (Boys)


(ages 7-9) Skills Program (Boys)

(ages 9+) Youth Rep Team (Girls)

(ages 7-9) Skills Program Girls (Beginners)

(ages 9+) Youth Rep Team (Boys)

(ages 7-9) Skills Program Girls (Advanced) (ages 7-9) Development Technical Boys (Advanced)


(ages 8+) Private 1 on 1 Technical Training

(18+) Womens Team

(ages 8+) Private Group Technical Training

(18+) Mens Team

(ages 9-14) Individual Development Program

(30+) Adult Pick Up Soccer

(ages 9-15) Goalkeeping Technical Training

(30+) Adult Recreation League

(ages 10-12) Junior Champions (Co-ed)

Create your own House League team and get a chance to play one season for FREE

Come on Royal Yorkers! Put together a team of six for our House League, with your classmates, family members or neighbours. We will draw one group to play one full season FREE (March 19-May 21). A value of $170 per player ($1020 total)! Go to to register now. Deadline to participate in contest: Feb. 3rd 2017


Preventative Orthodontics: Early Treatment for Lifelong Benefits by :

Aviva Vetter

Preventive orthodontics is the key to healthy teeth in later life. The benefit of visiting an orthodontist at an early age could mean avoiding more invasive treatments in the future. “Embarking on prescribed non-invasive treatments as a child can result in proven health benefits and improved facial balance so teeth don’t have to be moved drastically down the road,” says Dr. Sky Naslenas of Orthodontic Studio, a trusted expert and leading authority in the field of orthodontics. In addition to her private practice on the Kingsway and Roncesvalles, Dr. Naslenas also works at the Hospital for Sick Children, where she is committed to working on cases which involve craniofacial anomalies, cleft lip and palate syndrome, and other developmental challenges. Orthodontic treatment begins at the age of seven or eight years. Whether a child makes their way to an orthodontist through a referral from their family dentist or because a parent recognizes some tell tale signs that orthodontic treatment might be needed, early treatment is paramount to saving a great deal of anguish as an adult in terms of invasive treatments. At that point, attaining the same outcome may only be achieved via extraction or surgery. Some of the indicators that either a family dentist, or a parent may notice, include excessive overbite (when upper teeth overlap the lower teeth), undue crowding of the teeth, crossbite (when teeth are mal-aligned), underbite (when lower teeth overlap the upper teeth), tongue thrust habit (placing the tongue in the wrong position while swallowing, thereby pushing teeth out of alignment) and finger sucking. Thankfully, Dr. Naslenas offers her services at two locations, Kingsway and the recently opened clinic on Roncesvalles.This new location allows Dr. Naslenas to provide her services to a larger patient base—children and adults with busy schedules—who could take advantage of her services closer to home. Joining her at

8 year old treated with an upper retainer for 6 months to reduce the protrusion, no braces.

Roncesvalles is one of her university professors and a long time mentor. Bridging community practice with academia provides patients with a well-rounded cutting-edge approach to orthodontic treatment planning. An initial visit to one of the Orthodontic Studio locations doesn’t necessarily mean treatment will be rendered at that time, although it could be the case. Instead, it provides Dr. Naslenas with a baseline to monitor growth over the coming years, which will allow her to jump in at the exact time that treatment may be needed. Skipping this preliminary stage could result in a missed opportunity for a child to correct a problem with less invasive intervention and, a better end result. Early treatment begins with growth modification of the jaw bones during a child’s facial development stages, such wearing a palate expander - used to widen the upper jaw, resulting in a better fit of the upper and lower teeth. Once all of the permanent teeth are grown in, the next step is manipulating the teeth with methods such as braces into a perfectly interdigitated bite. After Phase I treatment, a nighttime retainer is needed to maintain the results until maturity is reached. During this time, teeth are monitored periodically to ensure that they stay in place. Since teeth have the ability to shift throughout a lifetime, even with treatment, it’s important to remain in contact and schedule a visit every few years. Should this window to work with a patient's growth potential be missed, options are still available as an adult but may require procedures like tooth removal to create space instead of the palate expander, and treatment with braces may be longer with a little less comfort. Unlike twenty years ago, the stigma to getting orthodontic treatment as a child is no longer there. Parents today welcome and even seek out advice for improving their child’s dental wellbeing. Treatment is usually suggested for

14 year old treated with a palatal expander for 9 months, followed by braces for 14 months.

10 year old treated with a lower jaw advancement appliance and a palatal expander for 6 months, no braces.


“Unlike twenty years ago, the stigma to getting orthodontic treatment (as a child or an adult) is gone. Parents today welcome and even seek out advice for improving their child’s dental wellbeing.” two reasons, to make sure the teeth are aligned aesthetically, and to ensure a functionally proper bite. A non-balanced bite could set up some teeth to endure greater force than others, which predisposes them to cracking, crowns and perhaps the need for more invasive restorative treatments. In the long term, Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) symptoms can develop, such as joint discomfort and pain. Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is categorized as having joint and muscle problems that originate in the jaw, which can have a negative effect on the way you talk and chew. It can even lead to an early onset of arthritis, as one joint could experience more pressure than the other. Over the years braces, just one of the ways to avoid this condition, have come a long way in terms of aesthetics and ease of care during treatment. In fact, young people turn to this treatment because of their appeal and proven results. Times are changing on the insurance front as well as more companies are extending their coverage to include these options.

Research has shown that orthodontic treatment helps with sleep apnea, as the widening of the upper jaw not only alleviates crowding, but also helps with the intake of air. A mouth breather can be converted into a nasal breather, bringing more oxygen to the brain, demonstrating a decrease in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), thereby improving school performance. ADHD is characterized as a condition with symptoms such as an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity that inhibits functioning and proper development. The health benefits of orthodontic treatment have been shown. The aesthetic options available make it more appealing to go through treatment discretely. There is a myriad of options for all, big and small.

Dr. Sky Naslenas Staff Orthodontist, Hospital for Sick Children Associate in Dentistry, University of Toronto Dr. Naslenas is a leading authority in the field of orthodontics. Earning her Masters of Science degree and Orthodontic certification from University of Toronto, Dr. Sky is a trusted expert in her field. Dr. Naslenas also holds an associate staff position at the Hospital for Sick Children, where combined orthodontic-surgical approach is utilized to treat children with craniofacial anomalies such as cleft lip and palate, and other physiologic/developmental challenges.

Orthodontic studio @ Royal york: 3029 Bloor Street West, Etobicoke · 416.207.0885 Orthodontic studio @ Roncy: 307 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto · 647.346.7024 ·

The Sentient Craft Floristry of

By: Jessica Moren

Oleander Floral Design is a quaint neighborhood flower shop in the heart of The Kingsway that has been thriving for over 12 years. Passionate founder Jennifer Brennan and her devoted team create exquisite bouquets with love in all sorts of colors and for all occasions. With its smiling welcome, beautiful new decor and freshness of its flowers Oleander is thrilling both locals and visitors alike. Does emotion fuel the kind of work you do? Emotion is a huge part of our business. The first phone call of the day could be someone ordering for the arrival of a new baby, or the loss of a relative. The next is someone who is newly engaged and wants to discuss wedding flowers. The work is never dull! Emotions are a big driver in this business. Whether it’s excitement, sadness, someone in love… we enjoy being there for our customers, and listening. What inspires your designs? Every season brings us a different colour palette, flower selection and is a big part of what inspires us so much. Designing an arrangement is about eye, feel, mood and energy. It is a highly creative process with our customer always in mind. We try to glean what we can from them: their needs, the occasion, a favorite flower but we also love it when people tell us, “we’ve seen your work, go for it.” It gives us license to do what we do best! 18

What would you say is different or unique about your flower shop? A great deal of thought goes into our creations. We take into account the elements and principles of design along with a natural instinct. We design arrangements in a variety of styles including modern, botanical and romantic, European, traditional, English garden…even architectural. We are an intimate neighborhood shop that celebrates colour, seasons and the love of flowers with a pride in what we do. We go above and beyond for our clients. We have a personalized approach and we customize. How did you get into the floral design business? I have always loved flowers, and was inspired by my mom’s glorious gardens. I have always worked in a fast paced environment and every day brings new challenges and occasions. A friend told me about The Floristry program at Humber College on a whim and I jumped at the opportunity to sign up and haven’t looked back since. Tell us about your team? We are a well rounded team of outstanding designers; one of my team members has been by my side for nearly 20 years now. Whether it’s Debbie, Katie or Bonnie, they can look after our customers’ needs with a smile.

How are you involved in your community? Every year we receive countless donation requests and we do our best to support our immediate community. There is a local business owner who has a dog rescue, so every April we donate $1 from every bunch of tulips sold to their cause, and our customers come in to support it. In May, we donated $1 of every hand-tied bouquet and vase arrangement to the Juvenile Diabetes Association. We also donate to local schools, daycares and fundraising events. It’s all about saying thank you and giving back. Does the shop have any exciting plans coming up? Yes! We’re launching a series of floral design workshops and the feedback we’ve had from window posters and social media has been so overwhelming. Our first workshop sold out in 24 hours! We’re going to be doing them regularly. We’ll have wine and cheese and music. Nothing but flowers and fun! Oleander Floral Design · 416-236-8273 2902 Bloor St W, Etobicoke ·



AUTO MO TIVE brought to you by The Humberview Group

Writers: Emily Atkins, John Mahler, Kara Kuryllowicz Photos: Courtesy of Humberview Group, Sameer Makwana 21




TIRES by John Mahler

When it comes to driving conditions, winter is to be taken seriously. We all change our footwear with the seasons. Who wants to slip wearing a sports shoe when the ice and snow arrive? A winter boot is much safer. Your car would like the same advantage and help to keep you safe in the winter weather as soon as it gets below 7 degrees.

All tires’ grip comes from the ability to be flexible. On a microscopic level the tread rubber flexes and fits into the tiny imperfections of the pavement. Both the tires’ surface and the road are made up of many hills and valleys. These two surfaces interlock. The tires use this interaction to push off and go down the road. Tread compounds are very temperature sensitive, companies such as Continental can engineer a compound that likes hot temperatures and doesn’t lose grip as summer heat soars but it gets hard and brittle when it gets too cold. Or they engineer rubber compounds that are flexible in sub-freezing temperatures, but they don’t grip well in summer heat. Most vehicles these days come equipped with allseason tires from new. These are tires which use a compromise rubber compound which can take some summer heat and some winter cold, they operate in a 22

temperature window. They do not provide the highest grip in either summer or winter. Until recently, tire manufacturers could and would brand any tire as “M&S”, indicating Mud and Snow. The problem was, there were no standards set for grip levels and consumers were fooled into thinking an M&S branded tire was the same as a winter tire. Transport Canada and the Rubber Manufacturers Association plugged that loophole in 1999 with standardized tests which set minimum grip levels for tires meant to be used in winter. Any tire that passed the testing won the right to have the “Severe Service Mountain Snowflake” logo (snowflake inside a three peaked mountain) as part of their sidewall information. And so the official definable winter tire was born. Winter tires are often portrayed as “snow tires”. In reality, winter tires are not only designed to perform in snowy

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY WINTER TIRES? Check for the Mountain Snowflake Winter tires are often portrayed as “snow tires”. In reality, winter tires are not only designed to perform in snowy conditions, buttires also provide optimal cold like weather temperatures. Eventhey in the Summer are best forperformance high heat,inbut All-Season tires, absence of snow, your winter tires will continue to provide the performance and safety you expect, turn hard and do not grip as well in freezing cold. thanks to the unique compound capable of withstanding extreme temperatures.

Enter Winter Tires and All-Weathers, with this mountain snowflake

As temperatures drop, standard (non-winter) tire’s characteristics show diminished elasticity showing they pass Transport resulting logo in a reduced contact areaboth and decreased overall grip.Canada's severe service

winter test. Don't likeduring seasonal tirewinter changeovers? All-Weather! Winter tires are particularly effective the fall and seasons underGo di�icult environmental conditions (snow, ice and slush) and at temperatures below +7 degrees Celsius. Winter tires also provide 50% or more winter traction than all-season tires. conditions, but also provide optimal performance in cold weather temperatures. Even in the absence of snow, your winter tires will continue to provide the performance and safety you expect, thanks to the unique compound capable of withstanding extreme temperatures. As temperatures drop, standard (non-winter) tire’s characteristics show diminished elasticity resulting in a reduced contact area and decreased overall grip. Winter tires are particularly effective during the fall and winter seasons under difficult environmental conditions (snow, ice and slush) and at temperatures below +7 degrees Celsius. Winter tires also provide 50% or more winter traction than all-season tires.


gets especially slippery because the weight of the car creates a microscopic film of water. The sipes take this surface water on ice and expel it out the back of the tire as it rotates. Some winter tires use additives like hard crushed walnut shells, volcanic sand, or other minerals in the rubber to give the tire a grittier surface for more ice traction. Others use microscopic air pockets or bubbles in the rubber. As these bubbles get opened by tire wear they provide another place for water to hide and get squished out from under the tread helping the sipes get better ice grip. In Quebec, the government did extensive testing which lead to a mandatory winter tire usage law. One test was stopping from 50 km/h on snow packed asphalt at minus twenty degrees; a car took 39.1 metres to stop on winter tires, and 50.7 metres using all-seasons. A minivan took 38 metres to stop on winter tires and 51.1 metres on all-seasons.

Winter tires usually have more tread blocks than all-season or summer tires. The tread blocks are often offset to provide more biting edges for snow traction. The edges of the blocks are sharply defined for snow traction. The open void areas These numbers are typical of all testing in winter of winter between the blocks are larger so that snow does not build up tires vs all-season tires regardless of road surface. In a recent and clog the tread. The wider opening also helps slush get test on ice, the winter tire stopped 15.3% shorter than nonLOOK FOR THE THREE PEAK MOUNTAIN SNOWFLAKE SYMBOL fired out the back of the tire. winter tires. Lastly, it is important to remember that winter tires should always be installed in sets of four; installing two The tread block surfaces have small squiggly cuts called can led meet to serious Tires displaying the three peak mountain snow�lake symbol or accidents. exceed iThe following illustration from sipes. Sipes are closed when we see them but under the Continental Tires explains why: ndustry established snow traction performance weight of the car, they open slightly providing ice grip. Ice requirements and have been

designed speci�ically for use in cold weather and severe snow conditions.

INSTALL FOUR WINTER TIRES, NOT TWO Two winter tires on the front only

Two winter tires on the rear only

Installing two winter tires on the front axle only will increase grip in the front, leading to a false sense of con�idence and decrease grip in the rear, causing OVERSTEER.

WARNING Never install only two winter tires on the front of a vehicle. This is particularly dangerous and could result in a complete loss of control.

Installing two winter tires on the rear axle only will increase grip in the rear, but may surprise a driver with decreased grip in the front, causing UNDERSTEER.

CAUTION Installing only two winter tires on the rear of a vehicle will lead to unwanted and sometimes surprising handling characteristics. 23

Humberview Volkswagen is awarded the Elite Volkswagen Gold Pin & Wolfsburg Crest

The ‘Gold Pin’ is a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment. A dealership is nominated for this award by Volkswagen Headquarters in Germany, unbeknownst to the dealer. Dealerships are not aware of the complete criteria to be considered for nomination, making it one of the most coveted acknowledgements. The criteria that dealers are aware of, and of utmost importance, is that of continually improving the Customer Experience over consecutive years.  The Gold Pin is also granted to a dealership for demonstrating the core values of the Volkswagen Brand: Result-Oriented, Leadership, Collaboration, Initiative and Integrity.

“As a dealer, we are completely overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for being recognized with the Gold Pin. None of this would have been possible without our highly skilled leadership and dedicated team of employees who consistently go above and beyond the expectations. We are thankful for the community we are a part of and look forward to many more successful years.” - John Esplen, President, The Humberview Group.

John Esplen

The Wolfsburg Crest Club is given to a dealership that meets 7 of the highest standards for sales and service excellence.  Attention to detail in every aspect of the business has landed Humberview Volkswagen this prestigious award.

WOLFSBURG CREST CLUB 2016 Humberview Volkswagen prides itself on delivering the best customer experience to every individual who enters the doors. We are beyond thankful to be recognized as a Wolfsburg Crest Club dealer. Having recently completed a 30,000 sq. foot renovation, we are excited to be able to offer our customers the newest technology, features and dealership enhancements in the industry. Team Humberview VW would love you to come by and see for yourself what if means to be a part of this forever ‘Exclusive Club’ as winners of the ‘Gold Pin’ and ‘Wolfsburg Crest’.

Jim Leckie

President The Humberview Group

General Manager Humberview Volkswagen 24


Brand New Space Delivers the Best Possible Volkswagen Experience By Kara Kuryllowicz

In Toronto’s west end, Humberview Volkswagen’s 14-month, inside out and top to bottom, $5 million renovation began last June and was a part of the dealership’s commitment to meeting the VW brand standards that ensure VW customers worldwide have the best possible experience. Whether shopping for a brand new or pre-owned vehicle or reaping the benefits of Humberview Volkswagen’s hightech service and maintenance services, customers of all ages evidently appreciate the new and better-than- ever environment. The 38,000 sq ft space now includes two dedicated fully climate-controlled showrooms for new and pre-owned vehicles, which respectively accommodate 12 and 10 vehicles with another 60 vehicles easily accessible in the outdoor lots. As a result of Humberview Volkswagen’s laser focus on what ultimately benefits its valued customers, Humberview Volkswagen’s Customer Service Index scores are among the top three in Canada. In addition, for the first time this year, Humberview Volkswagen became a proud member of the 2016 Wolfsburg Crest Club which is awarded exclusively to the dealerships that meet the highest standards for sales and service excellence. Q Magazine talked to general manager Jim Leckie about the dealership’s most significant changes at 1650 The Queensway: 26

How are consumers responding to the new and certified pre-owned vehicle showrooms? Consumers genuinely appreciate the comfort and convenience of both our brand-new and pre-owned vehicle showrooms because they can now see any new vehicle in our line up, or shop for a Pre-Owned vehicle within the comfort of our spacious showrooms—rain or shine. They’re able to take their time assessing the various options with our sales team because they’re never going to get too hot, cold or wet to continue the conversation. Virtually every pre-owned vehicle that’s available at retail in Canada is displayed and eventually sold from an outdoor lot through all hot humid summers, torrential downpours or snow covered winters. With our new dedicated pre-owned showroom customers can look at a vehicle sheltered from the elements, clear of snow and rain. Our Pre-Owned showroom provides customers with the same conveniences as our New car showroom, and we provide them with the same standard of professionalism and courtesy as our New Car buyers.

Our pre-owned customers regularly tell us, “The showrooms really made me feel like I was buying a brand new car and that’s how I felt through the entire process.” How have your waiting areas changed? Customers compare our two new waiting areas to Apple stores—which is a great compliment because we know they’re clean and modern, but welcoming. VW customers run the gamut from young singles and couples in their twenties and thirties to people in their sixties and eighties. What do they have in common? A passion for Volkswagen and a genuine interest and appreciation for the refinement of the product—like the advancement in technology such as our drive assist—esthetics, and value for good old human interaction. Our new waiting area offers two distinct spaces: a breakfast bar and a lounge with soft, low-level seating. Of course, we offer free Wi-Fi and the use of iPads as well as a selection of beverages, breakfast and snack options, from bagels and

muffins to sandwiches. While her Golf was being serviced, an 82-year-old woman played with her own iPad for two hours and watched the younger men and women who were interacting as much with each other as their technology. We also have a new digital Volkswagen Welcome Wall: 36 feet wide and five feet high with a total of 16 big screens, that airs everything from breaking news to Volkswagen vehicle ads and informational, educational clips on tire technology and more. Customers watch, learn and enjoy a great coffee. That video wall actually drives a lot of employee/customer interaction with follow-up questions arising as a result of what they’ve seen. In fact, one prospect pulled off the Queensway and into the dealership to learn more about what he’d seen on the wall while stopped at traffic light. He’d been looking for a new vehicle and thanks to the wall, we sold him a Golf Sport Wagon. It’s the ideal spot to wait while a vehicle is brought up for a test drive or until the service department finishes with a vehicle. 27

We offer shuttle services to CF Sherway Gardens and we’ll also drive you home or back to work, but most people would rather wait. At any given time, we usually have five to 20 people in our waiting areas with children happily watching the 30 tropical fish in our 4 foot by 2 foot aquarium for half an hour or more. How is the service and maintenance drop-off different post-renovation? It is far more high-tech and sophisticated with new instrumentation and capabilities designed to add value, while building comfort and trust between our customers and staff. Ironically, our new, high-tech environment has actually contributed to greater interaction and dialogue with customers as well as greater transparency. We want to be the dealership that has earned customers’ trust and is known for its transparency and integrity. To make that happen, we set the scene every time a vehicle comes in for service. The drive-through allows the owner to register with one of six service advisors, then watch as the depth of their tires is measured and wheel alignment assessed with the results available on colour-coded printouts.


Service technicians will show them the current state of their tires and wheels compared to the manufacturers’ recommended specifications. We explain the safety implications associated with excessive or uneven wear and the impact of misalignment on tire longevity. We also let them know that the state of their tires and alignment reflects road conditions more than driver behaviour. The $129.95 investment in alignment is worthwhile when you’re prolonging the life of a $450 to $1,800 set of tires. It’s our way of showing customers what’s going on behind the closed doors and how our proactive approach is mutually beneficial. As a result of the new technology, our tire sales have increased 35 per cent and our realignment services are up 50 per cent—which indicates our customers have faith in our service teams and our technology. What else sets your new space apart? Our new and dedicated Vehicle Delivery Area was designed and built to give customers complete privacy when accepting their new vehicle.

We want the new owner to feel special but even more importantly; we want to be completely focused on them, providing them with a thorough review of their vehicles' features, whether it is the many safety features, how to sync their devices with the vehicle's BlueTooth, or the steps required to program preferences for two drivers. We want them to be completely comfortable asking whatever questions come to mind or requesting yet another step-bystep demonstration. In our old space, they were typically surrounded by other consumers in shopping mode, who might ask the Sales Consultant a question, or slip into their new vehicle not realizing that a handover was in process and inadvertently disrupting a special moment. Ideally, we spend an hour or more with new owners during the handover but we know that they’re often so excited and there is so much information to communicate that they simply can’t retain it all. Before we created and designated the handover pod, we typically received calls about the vehicle not performing as the owner expected. We quickly discovered the

vehicle was doing what it was supposed to do under the circumstances, but the owner/driver hadn’t understood the collision warning and active lane change systems or had mis-programmed a particular function. We also schedule a 30-day, return pit stop that is enticing because it starts with a free wash and vacuum. We know new owners appreciate it because 70 per cent show up for their pit stops and ask follow-up questions. What continues to surprise you about the Volkswagen brand and its fans? The level of interest, commitment and dedication continues to delight and amaze me. Volkswagen lovers breathe, live and die for the brand—it’s a bit of a cult with a number of our customers and staff members proudly sporting VW-inspired tattoos. They are incredibly knowledgeable about the brand, its history, technology and of course their own vehicles. They become familiar with one another and our staff, and will ask that only a specific service advisor or technician work on their vehicles, which highlights our focus on trust and building relationships.

Humberview Volkswagen · 1650 The Queensway, Toronto · (416) 259-7656 · 29 is Title Sponsor of the Susan Hood Trophy Race, Lake Ontario 300 Challenge and 2016/2017 J/24 Championship Races Humberview Chevrolet Buick GMC & Motorsports Brands and Humberview Volkswagen on behalf of were pleased to announce the following landmark Title Sponsorships. Working with Lake Ontario Offshore Racing, was Title Sponsor of the Susan Hood Trophy Race and the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge. In addition, they were the Title Sponsors of the J/24 2016 North American Championship and J/24 2017 World Championships. These four prestige sailing races are held at the Port Credit Yacht Club of Mississauga. “We are delighted to be the Title Sponsors of these four premier sailing events. Both Jim and I are avid sailors so we understand the level of commitment these racers put forth and are excited to be able to contribute to Lake Ontario Offshore Racing and the J/24 Championship races. We look forward to helping make these races the world class events they deserve to be.’ – Andrew Lennox, General Manager of Humberview Chevrolet Buick GMC & Motorsports Brands.


“Having participated in a few sailing races on my own, I understand the enthusiasm, dedication and excitement that each racer experiences leading up to and during their race. Becoming the Title Sponsor for these four sailing events is a partnership we are keen to establish.” said Jim Leckie, General Manager of Humberview Volkswagen. The Susan Hood Trophy Race and Lake Ontario 300 Challenge, the longest fresh water sailing race in the world, took place June 3rd -4th and July 16th-19th , respectively, at the PCYC. Additionally on September 8th to 11th, 2016, the J/24 2016 North American Championship took place, while the following year they welcome the J/24 2017 World Championship races the week of September 15th to 23rd, 2017. With hundreds of boats not only from Lake Ontario but from around the world, these races bring thousands of spectators to the PCYC and the surrounding community.


Introducing the

2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion By Emily Atkins

Volkswagen-loving families have a new reason to celebrate as 2017 Golf SportWagen 4Motion models begin arriving at dealerships this fall. While the 2016 Golf SportWagon (yes, VW changed the spelling) was very popular, winning AJAC's 2016 Best New Family Car award, the new 4Motion models are already being sought by eager buyers. The addition of all-wheel drive is new for the 2017 model year in the Golf SportWagen, and it is available on four trim levels. It's an option on the Trendline and Comfortline models and is standard equipment on the Highline and special Alltrack models. At Humberview Volkswagen, sales consultant Michelle Carvalho is excited about selling the new cars. "It's got even more of the great safety features that families are looking for," she says. "People have been calling and coming by to ask about them since the middle of the summer." Perfectly suited for Canadian drivers, the 4Motion cars are equipped with all-wheel drive that uses a special coupling to distribute the power from front to rear as required, 32

depending on the road and traction conditions. This means that, especially in slippery conditions, the car will put the power to the wheel where there is traction, making it much easier to power through whatever our winter throws at you. The wagon will be powered by a 1.8-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged gas engine that puts out 170 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. A dual-clutch (DSG) automatic is the only transmission currently available, although VW says a manual may be in the works for later model years. The Golf SportWagen is a rewarding car to drive; for a fivedoor it's compact, nimble and peppy enough to be quick, and handles with typical VW crispness. It also delivers a surprisingly comfortable ride, without the harshness sometimes associated with a wagon's longer wheelbase. Carvalho says the majority of buyers for the SportWagen are families, usually with small children, or couples who are expecting their first. It's great for people who want a wagon rather than a bulky SUV for life in the city, but also want to be able to travel with family and pets without being cramped in a sedan, she says.

She's also had buyers who put the SportWagen to practical use as artists and photographers who want the extra space in the back, but who don't need the SUV's extra clearance. Whether for family or small business, the car is supremely practical, with a large 30 cubic foot cargo area, that's easily expanded to more than 66 cubic feet by dropping the 60:40 split rear seats. The seat release handle is easily accessible from the cargo hold, where you typically are when the seats need to go down. No contortions necessary! Cargo restraint points and a cover add security to the load, whether it's groceries or the new furniture you need to cart home from a big box store. For outdoorsy types, Carvalho points out that with the seats folded flat there's enough room for two people to sleep in the back of the car. That's great for impromptu camping trips, or if it's raining too hard to put up a tent. Other features that she says buyers particularly like on the SportWagen are Bluetooth and roof rails for rack accessories and options like keyless entry with push-button start, starting on the mid-range Comfortline trim, and available blindspot detection. Buyers are also pleasantly surprised by the value they see in the cars. With a starting price of $26,045 for the Trendline 4Motion car, it's easy to see how they come to that conclusion. Prices for the Comfortline begin at $28,745, and $33,795 for the Highline. There's also a special 4Motion edition, called the Alltrack, being launched this year. It is powered by the same engine as the rest of the line-up but has a higher suspension, unique bumpers and front grille and special 18-inch alloy wheels, making a handsome exterior impression. The Alltrack will have specific trim and badging, along with driver profile selection, and a 12-way power driver's seat. It will also have smartphone integration, ambient interior LED lighting, dual-zone climate control, a 6.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, panoramic glass sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, heated seats and washer nozzles, keyless entry with push start, and leather sports seats. A technology package including adaptive cruise control, navigation, autonomous emergency braking, lane assist and park distance control is available, as are Bi-Xenon headlights and a Fender premium audio system.

With a low centre of gravity, the All-Track will provide a unique alternative to more cumbersome sport utility vehicles. Its combination of interior volume, driving characteristics and sporty good looks will surely make it a favourite on Canadian roads. The Golf SportWagen 4Motion, whether all dressed up in the Alltrack edition or in one of the three regular trim levels is going to be a practical standout, sure to live up to—or even exceed—the superb reputation of the front-wheel drive model that won the AJAC award last year.

2017 Golf SportWagen Trendline 1.8 TSI® 170 HP, 6-speed automatic DSG® with Tiptronic® 4MOTION® starting from


 16" Toronto alloy wheels with all-season tires  60/40 split folding rear seats with centre armrest and pass-through  Bluetooth® mobile phone connectivity with voice activation control  Composition Colour – 5" touchscreen radio with CD player and 1 SD card slot  Cargo area with tie-down hooks and cargo cover  Electronic Stability Control (ESC)  Exterior chrome accents  Hill Hold Assist  Rearview camera *Optional equipment:* Connectivity Package  App-Connect smartphone integration (Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay™, MirrorLink™)  Composition Media – 6.5" touchscreen infotainment system with proximity sensor, voice control, CD player, 8 speakers and 1 SD card slot  SiriusXM® Satellite Radio

For additional details: Contact Michelle Carvalho at 416-259-7656 Ext. 6646 or

Michelle Carvalho Michelle has been working at Humberview Volkswagen for two years. She has delivered 197 vehicles to happy customers and is just warming up. She looks forward to the start of each day, when the doors open and new customers walk through the doors. She enjoys listening to customers’ needs and helping them pick a vehicle that suits their lifestyle.

Her favourite part of being a member of the Humberview Volkswagen team is that she can be herself. 'Every day brings new excitement', she says, 'it is a great place to work and there is never a dull moment.' Michelle's favourite vehicle is the Touareg, this luxurious SUV is powerful, fuel efficient and well-priced.

Humberview Volkswagen · 1650 The Queensway, Toronto · (416) 259-7656 · 33


2017 GMC Acadia

By Emily Atkins

There's an updated crossover in town, and it's going to be popular. The 2017 GMC Acadia has arrived at Humberview Chevrolet Buick GMC with a complete makeover and it's stunning, says Dean Neilson, the dealership's General Sales Manager. As one of the first to take the new model for a spin, he's impressed. "The handling and driving experience are just incredible," he says. "It's smooth, quiet and easy to drive." This new Acadia has been redesigned and given a new powertrain for this year, and the results are dramatic. In fact, Neilson says, customers who see the crossover SUV on the lot are asking what it is, since it looks so different from the previous version. 34

It's sleeker design, with wraparound halogen headlights, sculptural details, wraparound rear glass and a new grille add to its flashy, revamped persona. The 2017 Acadia also got slimmed down during the makeover process. The new model is narrower and shorter than before and lost over 700 pounds thanks to a new, lighter body structure. The scaled down dimensions will help the Acadia appeal to city dwellers with active lifestyles, Neilson says. The typical buyer is in the 30- to 50-year-old age range with a couple kids. And they like to be able to get out of town on weekends for active pursuits. He believes that many buyers of the new Acadia will be downsizing from a full-size SUV such as a Navigator or Yukon, to take advantage of its generous capacity that's mated to the smaller footprint and improved maneuverability for in-town driving.

In fact, he says that for many families who come in to buy one, it's the wife who wants the smaller vehicle since she has to drive it in town more. She realizes the practicality of having a crossover that's easier to park and get around in traffic. And, Neilson says, when the husband realizes the Acadia can tow, has 4x4 capability and can handle rough back roads, he's convinced too. The 2017 also ups the ante on luxury, with soft-touch surfaces and aluminum trim throughout, and much less truck-like sensibility, Neilson notes. The available panorama roof, stitched seating, noise cancellation, premium audio, power liftgate, keyless entry and start, and numerous other standard and available features like enhanced smartphone connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, all add to the Acadia's upgraded presence. There's a lot of substance to go with all this style too, especially with new safety features such as lane departure warning, front pedestrian braking, low speed forward automatic braking, following distance indicator, automatic high-beam control, and the rear seat reminder. This last warning activates a reminder when the car is turned off and the rear doors had been used before the vehicle started. It helps prevent harried parents from absent-mindedly forgetting about junior or the dog sleeping in the back seat. From a practicality standpoint, the Acadia also has foldflat third-row rear seats and a standard backup camera, as well as an available 360-degree camera. Second row seating

offers a choice of captain’s chairs or a split-folding bench, offering greater flexibility, with "SmartSlide" that allows for easier access. The 50/50-split third-row seat folds flat for a completely level load floor behind the second row. Passengers in each of the roomy rows have USB ports for charging and there is rear climate control, and a second-row pullout drawer for storage. The Acadia comes equipped with one of two engine sizes. An all-new 2.5L inline 4-cylinder with direct injection gets 9.2L/100km highway for front wheel drive models, and an available 3.6L V-6 engine has an estimated 310 hp and 9.3L/100km highway on FWD models. The Acadia is available in front or all-wheel drive models, with a special All Terrain package that has an advanced AWD system which optimizes traction for the conditions it encounters. The "All Terrain" mode on the traction selector comes on all models and delivers enhanced hill-climb capability. The All Terrain models are distinguished from other trims with a body-colour grille, black chrome trim and unique wheels. Inside they have exclusive five-passenger seating, dynamic All Terrain interior accents, covered storage bins and a cargo management system in the rear cargo floor in place of a third-row seat. For those who want to use the Acadia as a toy hauler, the 3.6-litre engine models can handle 4,000 pounds when


equipped with the towing package. The package also includes an advanced rear vision camera with guidelines to help align the hitch with the trailer, as well as providing views of the trailer while driving. With so much to offer it's no wonder that people are opting for the Acadia in what is a crowded competitive set that includes the Mazda CX-9, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and other seven-passenger options. Neilson expects to sell considerably more of the 2017 model year crossover Acadia’s than he did in 2016. And with a starting price of $35,095, the Acadia really packs a lot of value into its newly redesigned package.

Humberview Chevrolet Buick GMC 1635 The Queensway, Toronto · (416) 259-3030

2017 GMC Acadia SLE-2 starting from


 18" Aluminum Wheels  Power Liftgate  6-Passenger Sitting  SiriusXM® Satellite Radio  OnStar® Guidance Plan for 6 months  Start-Stop Engine Control System  Keyless Open and Start  Audio system, 7" Diagonal Colour Touch Screen with IntelliLink, AM/FM/SiriusXM  Heated Front Seats  Rear Vision Camera Example of available options:  Dual SkyScape 2-panel power sunroof  Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert & much more  Rear Park Assist  Universal Home Report

For additional details: Contact Dean Neilson at 416-259-3030 or

Dean Neilson

Dean Neilson, General Sales Manager, has worked at Humberview Chevrolet Buick GMC for over four years. He has been in the automotive industry for twenty years. He enjoys working for Humberview as there is a unique feeling of both a small-family-run business and corporate entity. “It truly is the best of both worlds, we put people first and 36

that applies to our customers as well as team members.” He is looking forward to being able to serve customers better and showcase all three brands, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC, under one beautiful new rooftop. Humberview Chevrolet Buick GMC is on track to a record year of over 700 vehicles sold!


2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Two-Door Drophead


+ HST & License Bodystyle: Coupe Transmission: Automatic Exterior Colour: White Kilometres: 5,412 km This 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead is finished in white with brown interior with a beige soft top. This is a very rare model, with elegant features including a veneered instrument panel fascia, veneered steering wheel spokes, Rolls-Royce logo on all headrests, wood deck with brushed steel, navigation, full parking camera system and 21inch forged polished 7 spoke wheels.


1992 Ferrari 512 TR $318,888 + HST & License Bodystyle: Coupe Transmission: Manual Exterior Colour: Yellow Interior Colour: Beige Kilometres: 15,989 km The 512 TR replaced the popular Testarossa model. The 512 TR was only offered from 1991 to 1994 with only 2,261 produced. The rare yellow paint makes this Ferrari highly desirable. The European Design 5-speed manual gearbox is paired with the 4.9-liter flat 12 cylinder engine. For that exotic and elegant Sport finish, this 512 TR is finished with 18inch alloy wheels.

2014 Porsche Cayenne $57,888 + HST & License Bodystyle: SUV Engine: 3.6L V-6 Cyl. Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic Exterior Colour: White Interior Colour: Beige Kilometres: 84,243 km Finished in elegant white with luxor beige interior. Enjoy the features of this Porsche Cayenne with navigation, rear parking camera, full parking sensors, heated seats with memory setting, power sunroof, full sport package with sport suspension, automatic climate control, power opening rear hatch, 22inch premium sport design wheels and a 3.6L 6 cylinder engine paired with an 8 speed automatic.

2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith Two-Door Coupe $378,888 + HST & License Bodystyle: Coupe Engine: 12-Cylinder Transmission: Automatic Exterior Colour: Black Kilometres: 9,611 km 450 hours worth of time to build and craft. A smooth 12 cylinder engine reaching 100km/h in just 4.4s. Alive with the latest technology including: Heads-Up-Display projection, 360-Degree view camera, premium 18-speaker audio system, satellite-aided transmission. Rare features inside: Starlight Headliner, Rolls Royce monogram on all headrests, finely detailed with seat piping, heated and cooled elements and much more.

2012 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Four-Door Sedan $115,888 + HST & License Bodystyle: Sedan Engine: 12-Cylinder Transmission: Automatic Exterior Colour: Black Interior Colour: Black Kilometres: 39,300 km Enjoy the luxury of heated and cooled front seating, full high quality navigation with rear parking camera, full parking sensor package, massaging rear memory and power seats with full rear climate control, rear wood grain picnic tables mounted on the front seats, rear power sun shade, soft closing doors and delivering smooth acceleration is Bentley’s W12 engine paired with all wheel drive. This is a Canadian vehicle with clean carproof (no accidents).

225B Dundas St. East, Mississauga · (416) 259-4404 ·

Most Competitive Winter

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1635 The Queensway 416-259-3030

3200 Bloor St West 416-236-1011

*Only valid at these locations. Must present these coupons to redeem discount

Tire Prices Across GTA

WINTER TIRE Packages *

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1650 The Queensway 416-259-7656

*These offers expire May 31, 2017



ESTATE Etobicoke is a strong, middle class neighbourhood, with good schools, plenty of employment opportunities, reasonably good proximity to the city core and a strong business community. With just under 10% average year over-year price increase, the area’s real estate keeps showing strong growth both in transactions and value. We present you here some of the finest realtors in addition to leading industry professionals who specialize in Toronto’s West end.


Trusted Network Fuels Realtor’s Success By: Aviva Vetter

Today’s hectic real estate market is sending every realtor’s schedule into overdrive. But it’s not only agents and brokers who are feeling the frenzy of the market. Highly sought after mortgage specialists, real estate lawyers, staging professionals, inspectors and even photographers have their own waiting lists and as a result are becoming key influencers in the world of real estate. Gaining access to these professionals can have a big impact on your real estate transaction whether you are buying or selling, and hiring a connected agent is the first step in the right direction. Jacqueline Nimer, Sales Representative at Harvey Kalles, prides herself making available to clients the many benefits of a curated team of experts, all of whom have proven themselves over time. These are the exceptional 44

people Jacqueline calls on to help facilitate a comfortable and successful transaction for every one of her clients. All agents offer the basic parameters of real estate—search and evaluate properties for you, negotiate the price on your next home, coordinate inspections, advertise your property and host an open house—it all comes with the deal. But when you have Jacqueline and her team behind you it’s a different experience. Her clients’ files are often moved to the top of the pile and always handled with urgency—and that is where Jacqueline’s added value becomes more significant. Access to a trusted team of professionals helps Jacqueline act quickly on behalf of her clients. “My team helps a client put together their strongest possible offer and we do it quickly—two secrets for getting the house you want in this market,” says Jacqueline. “But it’s equally important my clients interests are protected. For example, getting a reputable home inspector to a property before making an offer is good for my client. But it also removes the condition for purchase and that’s attractive to sellers who are entertaining multiple offers.”

Leveraging the services and experience of her team without additional fees gives Jacqueline great satisfaction. It’s also what differentiates her in a crowded industry, and it’s why Jacqueline’s clients become her friends and then refer her to theirs. A referral goes a long way and is one of the best things that can help a realtor’s business grow—even in today’s social media and online marketing driven world. Throughout her career, Jacqueline has been referred by her clients because of how she and her team work together on their behalf—and that’s what has put her in the top 1% of Greater Toronto Area agents.

“Everyone can use a little help. For me it’s second nature, but in my client’s eyes I’ve moved mountains for them,” says Jacqueline. “I’m proud to give them a personalized, consistent experience with the highest attention to detail and value.” In fact, it’s this type of excellent service that has earned her the respect of her clients and peers. Her advice if you are interested in the industry? Stay genuine, try to always go the extra mile, and make sure it’s a win/win for both parties. While Jacqueline’s expertise is in the Etobicoke and Toronto’s West End neighbourhoods, she goes where her growing list of referrals takes her, and she adds: “my team always comes with me."

Derek and Danica's Experience “We were referred to Jacqueline through a friend of ours who had recently worked with her. To say she came to our rescue is an understatement. Our case included more than just upgrading our current home—we tasked Jacqueline with finding our forever home and selling our existing home at the best possible price.

weeks—we bought the 3rd home she showed us for less than asking price! It was now time to sell our home and sell it she did. To say Jacqueline is professional and works with quality professionals is an understatement. She brought in a staging company and turned a 2 bedroom + den/gym townhouse into a 3 bedroom home.

We, like most consumers, thought we were real estate savvy, and then we met Jacqueline and realized how little we really knew. She asked the right questions, took the time to understand our wants and needs and helped us set realistic expectations. From the start it became clear what we wanted did not exist within our budget. Through Jacqueline's guidance and expertise she was able to ascertain our priorities and quickly find our forever home.

All of this, along with her negotiating skills aided in selling our home at the highest price to date. Jacqueline's services don't end with buying/selling your home. She recommended mortgage brokers, lawyers, home inspectors and designers, while guiding us through every step of the process.

We thought the search would take a year in this real estate market, turns out it took less than 2

Through it all, we built a solid and trusting relationship to cherish. We were so impressed with how engaged Jacqueline was with us that we have since referred two new clients and would highly recommend her to anyone looking to buy and/or sell their home.”

Jacqueline Nimer Sales Representative: Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage Director's Circle (2015)

Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage · 416.417.8836 · 45

Begin Your Property Investment Experience By: Aviva Vetter

The thought of taking the plunge into an investment property can be overwhelming and might leave you asking questions about where to begin. You’re not alone. Paul Nusca, a leading figure in Toronto’s real estate scene sheds the light on some common misconceptions. “The decision to embark on the real estate investment bandwagon hinges on your chosen investment strategy, which of course differs depending on what your goals are,” states Paul. The bottom line is that adding real estate to your portfolio is definitely a good move for diversification. One of the defining factors is to determine whether you have enough cash flow to weather any storm. Make sure you have enough of a down payment to meet the minimum 46

requirements, which is higher than purchasing a property meant as a primary residence. Allowing for cash flow each month, while also making sure your day-to-day costs are covered is also essential. Over the last fifteen years, Paul has established himself as one of Etobicoke’s most sought after brokers, and for good reason, he’s used to counseling his clients on many a real estate transaction and doesn't sugarcoat the truth. Even more so with investment properties, since they can differ greatly from a property you are purchasing to live in. When it comes to putting your money to use in this fashion a number of elements are crucial to your success. One of the main considerations is to take your time in assessing the level of commitment required, followed by how much time you’re willing to devote to making your investment work for you.

A couple of things to prepare for before embarking on an investment include saving for a down payment of at least 35% while keeping in mind that the bank will put your finances under a microscope to assure that you can afford all the payments involved, even during a vacant period. Potential rental income doesn’t count towards your financial review, which is something that can get overlooked by future investors. It’s also important to prepare for any unforeseen eventuality, for example the cost of damages and renovations – which can be applicable whether you decide to purchase a fixer-upper or not. So how do you know that you’re making the right decision to invest? Aside from looking forward to the property increasing in value, the possibility of extra cash flow over and above your ongoing monthly costs like taxes and mortgage can offset some other costs. But don’t get excited at the prospect of making easy money just yet. It’s always better to play on the safe side before making the jump. Ask yourself how much risk you want to take and how much money you have to spend versus how much you can afford on a monthly basis—should the property not be rented out. If it turns out, after doing your initial calculations, that you are tight on some of the monthly costs, look for a property that yields a higher return on investment. A good rule of thumb is to calculate a 40% minimum to break even. This way you can cover your costs and then some. Location is always a factor when choosing where to put your money down. Evaluating the walk score is just one of the ways that can help determine whether the location is

favourable to renters. It’s always a plus if you find a place with an easy commute and close to schools. Renters will be looking for these features, so sticking to these guidelines will likely increase your rentability factor. One thing many don’t consider is what kind of landlord they want to be, which is partly dictated by the type of property you decide on. So another question to think about truthfully is how involved you want to be—a condo is less maintenance, while a house’s upkeep is more work. You may even consider hiring a property management company to help out with the day-to-day operations, which of course will be an additional cost. Buying a house versus buying a condo is also something to consider. There are always going to be more costs associated with owning a house that could require deeper pockets. So if this is your first time, it might be a sounder choice to get your feet wet with a condo. Condos tend to be more popular because they are generally more affordable and people want to try their hand at the real estate game. While every property must be evaluated on a case by case basis, simply because every property is different from the next, there is a common thread, especially with novice investors. It seems most people over estimate the potential rental income and are surprised to learn that they may not get what they initially hoped for. Therefore, it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to work with someone in the know, consider all financial angles and research the market well. “Choose an area that you’re already familiar with. You know what to expect and you already know what’s in close proximity to the surrounding areas,” according to Paul. Making an informed decision after speaking to an expert saves you time, money and lots of stress. Paul has a proven track record and consistently rises to the challenge; he is your go-to realtor for investing in Toronto, especially in Etobicoke!

Paul Nusca Sales Representative: Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. Paul got his start in real estate nearly fifteen years ago. Since then he’s built a service oriented results-driven enterprise. In 2011 he was named the #1 Realtor in Etobicoke for Royal LePage, and the youngest NCC member in all of the GTA. Despite an ever-widening circle of clients, the cornerstone of the service-oriented Nusca approach to selling real estate continues unchanged throughout the years.

Royal Lepage Real Estate Services Ltd. · 416.618.8326 · 47

by Kara Kuryllowicz

Lizanne Dobson loves helping executives relocate to Toronto from across Canada, the U.S. and overseas, because it’s the perfect opportunity to share her passion for the city as well as her real-estate specific knowledge. What’s driving international interest in Toronto? Right now, Toronto is a highly desirable city in one of the world’s most stable countries with a superb standard of living, outstanding cultural mix and one of the strongest banking systems in the world. As a result, there is a real influx of foreign investors, senior business executives, sports and entertainment figures. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2014, Toronto continues to rank among the top five most livable cities in the world. Toronto is also Canada’s chief economic powerhouse with six million regional inhabitants and 40% of the nation’s business headquarters, nearly a fifth of Canada’s GDP and 45% of Ontario’s GDP. The GTA is also a main manufacturing hub with major firms in the automotive, biomedical and computer/electronics sectors. In addition, 40% of Canada’s jobs are located in Toronto and 40% of the entire North American population lives within a day’s drive of central Ontario.


To top it off, Canada is the #1 country in the G-7 and ranked in the top five in the world in which to do business and has been ranked #1 for the soundest banking system in the world for seven years in a row. Toronto and Canada are exactly where a lot of up and comers want to be! What does relocation typically involve with your clients? Most of my relocation clients are moving to Toronto from the U.S., often New York, and various cities in California, to take advantage of a terrific job opportunity. I’ve recently helped a Toronto-based medical start-up find homes for 11 top executives who plan to stay in the city for three to five years. I refer them to U.S. agents to get their stateside home sold or leased and help them decide whether they want to lease or buy here in the GTA. I also support clients that want to relocate to second homes in sunnier climes to escape Toronto winters with referrals to

agents and service providers in hot spots such as Florida, Arizona, Mexico and Costa Rica. Is there a particular challenge you face with relocation clients? There are two predominant challenges: managing their price expectations and working with the fact they know virtually nothing about Toronto lifestyles let alone the city itself. As a result, when working with relocation clients, particularly non-Canadians, I am as much a tour guide and lifestyle coach as a realtor. They help me see Toronto through a different lens that makes me appreciate our city even more. I love being part of such a positive, significant life event that is so ripe with opportunity and adventure! As excited as they are at the prospect of the move, they often underestimate the size, sophistication and cost of Toronto which means I regularly deal with sticker shock. Of course, I remind them that the home they buy or lease here will be in one of the world’s safest and cleanest cities with an extraordinary range of cultural, recreational and sports amenities. In addition, I show them exactly how much most Toronto real estate has appreciated over the years and that investing in Toronto has its rewards. What do you offer relocation clients? In essence, I become their relocation concierge! My relocation process starts with a detailed phone interview to get a sense of their current lifestyle, expectations and budget. I use that information to plan the initial tour with visits to five or six properties in Toronto’s west, central and east ends as well as a welcome package. This gives them a sense of what their budget will buy and provides valuable insights into the various neighbourhoods. The primary goal is to get to know them while showing them Toronto and a handful of prospective properties. I recognize that if I show them too much too quickly, it would be overwhelming. Because this tour often occurs


before they sign any employment contract, it has to be an outstandingly positive experience. I’m very cognisant that newcomers are starting the process without a fundamental awareness of what Toronto is all about and everything this great city has to offer. I rely on my conversations with them to identify their lifestyle and housing requirements and match them with the appropriate Toronto neighourhoods. As with all of my clients—I ask the right questions and really listen to make the best possible Toronto match for them. For example, if they’re used to walking to work in their city of origin, accustomed to a one-hour highway or a 30-minute transit commute—I have to determine which Toronto pockets offer that within their budget and in relation to their workplace. Of course, we also consider proximity to schools if they have children and airport access if they are frequent flyers etc…After the tour, I set up an MLS profile based on their feedback so that they can consider prospective homes while they ponder and plan for the move. Once they’ve signed on the dotted line and confirmed the move to Toronto, we plan their next visit and make any necessary adjustments. Relocating to a new city is much more complex than simply finding a new home so beyond property and move-related information, I offer insights on schools, OHIP, the quickest, easiest way to get your Ontario driver’s license and connect to utilities. I also provide a detailed countdown checklist to help them have a smooth move. Each relocation is different. I’ve occasionally had to help my clients lease a place sight unseen, or buy a home before their spouse has seen more than the photos and video clips! So far everyone has been very happy with their new home in Toronto!

Why are your personal connections and relationships so important to relocation clients? We’re all most comfortable with referrals from people that we know! My personal connections and referrals help them feel confident and comfortable with the move, while also saving them research time and reducing the risk of a bad experience. Whatever product or service they require, from a cleaner to daycare, a new gym or a painter, a restaurant or a financial advisor that specializes in cross-border transactions and financing, my personal recommendations are based on my experiences as well as those of my network. What else sets you apart as a relocation specialist? When I learned that between 2005 and 2014, Canada showed a 43% increase in high net worth individuals (with increases of 63% and 66% in the U.S. and globally) I earned Keller-Williams’ Global Property Specialist and Luxury designations. This benefits my clients because I’m better able to relate to these international, luxury home buyers and get access to databases that help me pre-qualify incoming American and international buyers for my local sellers. This niche market presents unparalleled opportunities across my networks and all over Toronto. Toronto is a spectacular city and a wonderful place to live so helping them make our city their new home is as much fun as it is rewarding.

Questions? Have a friend planning to move to Toronto? Get in touch with Lizanne via the contact information below.

Lizanne Dobson Representative: Keller Williams Neighbourhood Realty A realtor since 2001 and a member of Keller Williams Neighbourhood Realty for three years, Lizanne has strategically maximized her access to relevant, real-estate data and insights while leveraging the power of Keller Williams’ local, national and worldwide connections. Every year, Lizanne and her clients benefit from the annual Keller Williams’ “Family Reunion” conference where more than 12,000 agents share key information about best practises, consumer behaviours, economic indicators and real estate data for Canada and the U.S. to better meet clients’ needs. Currently North America’s largest brokerage by agent count, Keller Williams’ 100,000 agents worldwide benefit from its vast network and industry-renowned training. Keller Williams Neighbourhood Realty · 2968 Dundas St W. 416.236.1392 · · 50

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Susan Sterbinsky, B.A. Sales representative:

Sutton Group – Old Mill Realty Inc., Brokerage interview :

Jessica Moren

portrait :

Craig A. Williams

Success for Susan came at an early age. Upon graduating from the University of Toronto with a B.A. more than 20 years ago, Susan got her real estate license. Within weeks, she climbed the ladder of success and was listing and selling homes alongside the most influential people in her industry. To this day, she continues to build on her initial successes, further developing her knowledge of real estate and building connections to best benefit her clients. What first drew you to real estate? Real estate was in my blood and has always been a key part of my life. My mom, now retired, was a very successful real estate agent and a great role model. She always stressed that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Because of her, I learned the value of hard work at an early age.


What do you offer your clients? My clients rely on my knowledge, expertise and many years of experience. In turn, I rely on a team of specialists such as photographers, stagers, social media marketers, and copywriters etc. to make sure the home is presented in the best possible light in order to meet my clients' financial objectives. As an example, I recently sold a home for $255,000 over asking! On the buying end, I know the importance of their wish list. I have to know my market. Through years of experience in the real estate industry, I am able to satisfy their wish list, knowing that list may change during the process. I recently had a client that wanted a two-story, four-bedroom home, but fell in love with a bungalow. If you're good at what you do, you make the process look easy. However, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes!

“I rely on a team of specialists such as photographers, stagers, social media marketers, and copywriters etc. to make sure the home is presented in the best possible light in order to meet my clients' financial objectives. As an example, I recently sold a home for $255,000 over asking!” What do buyers and sellers need to know about today's market? It's a fast-paced market, where decisions have to be made quickly. Typically, homes sell fast and due to the low inventory levels, there usually is more than one buyer. However, it's not always the highest offer that wins. I had a seller that sold their home to my client (even though we weren't the highest offer) because my client had taught her piano as a young girl, and the seller wanted her former teacher’s family to live in the house. Is real estate really all about the numbers, the data and the statistics? Yes and no! Today, more than ever, the home is an individual's single biggest investment. However, selling and buying a home is also one of the most emotional decisions that any person will make in their lifetime. The emotional aspect is affected by the client’s finances (what they can afford) and by the home's location (certain areas being more costly than others). You do a lot of business in The Kingsway area—what's the appeal? I am an expert in The Kingsway area because I've lived here all my life. While going to university, my favourite subway stop was The Old Mill station and I just knew I would make my mark here. I'm passionate about living in The Kingsway and working here, and I have an incredible understanding of The Kingsway market. When speaking to prospective clients about this area, it doesn't take them very long to realize that I know what I'm talking about.

Sutton Group – Old Mill Realty Inc., Brokerage · 416.277.2232 · 53

From Booking International Talent to Selling Million Dollar Listings By: Aviva Vetter

Deciding to make the move to a new career takes a great deal of passion, courage and determination - especially if you choose breaking into the super competitive real estate industry in one of the hottest markets in the world. Rob Citrullo's timely career shift from entertainment to real estate is a solid example of how hard work and strategic thinking can get you far in life. Of course, being a serial entrepreneur and natural Rob’s successful experience booking concerts, festivals and events exposed him to working with some of the biggest and highest paid performers, and has equipped him with crucial skills that allowed him to tackle the competitive world of real estate. His dealings in his first career served to strengthen his negotiation, communication and marketing skills. For example, bidding against international venues to land a talent is as tough as today’s frenetic buying process. For a deal to go through, all sides in a negotiation must get something out of it. “Whether you are bidding on talent or


extrovert in addition to being a competitive athlete help a lot. Rob has been rewarded recently with Re/Max's outstanding achievement award— Rookie of the Year title. Presented to a first year agent with the highest commission in a given year, this recognition is due to his continuous hard work, consistent referrals and immense network. Rob also made the 100% Club, a notable award at Re/Max.

a property, similar reflexes are used to ensure a financial outcome that benefits all.” It's not enough though. An important factor that sometimes gets overlooked in the real estate industry is the value of face-to-face communication. Rob’s gift of clarity has brought him success in many a negotiation of a top liner for his sold out exclusive shows, which has in turn translated to immediate and continued success in the world of real estate. Being present to discuss and deliberate with key stakeholders and people in the know are common practice in both industries. The skills behind creating publicity and

“I always knew I'd make my way back to my first love—real estate. Learning the ropes through my grandfather's real estate business and then getting my feet wet in everything from leases to renovations, has given me the tools I need and more to be successful while providing my clients with a loyal and unique experience.” Robert receiving the Rookie of the Year award, with Leah Ambler - Broker of Record, Remax Professionals Inc.

driving visibility are one in the same whether it's a headliner or a million dollar property. The road to success hasn't been met with ease, as challenges are part of the journey when you make a career change. It's easier to get skin in the game, while it’s harder to keep your footing. Building a reputation takes time and demonstrating your strengths to beat out the competition is part of the game. Rob's triumph has been achieved through strategic networking and referrals, made easier through his natural sociability and comfort in any situation. Establishing his unique brand is also a continued project in motion.

"I approach every relationship with an eye to how I can further that person's wishes, it's in my blood. One of the best parts about being a realtor is learning about people while conveying my thoughts and experiences about why one neighbourhood is a better investment over another," Rob states with enthusiasm. Since his rookie of the year award conquest, Rob has now set his goals on the Platinum Club—one of the highest yearly awards an agent can achieve. While his eyes are set on reaching the next level, he never loses sight of what got him there in the first place: his clients.

Robert Citrullo Sales Representative: RE/MAX Professionals Inc.

Rob Citrullo is a Sales Representative with RE/MAX Professionals Inc, under the banner Revealed Real Estate. Rob services Bloor West Village, Etobicoke, Toronto West, Toronto Central and High Park areas. He specializes in new construction, relocation, foreclosure property, condominiums, Investments, luxury homes, buyer brokerage, business opportunities and rentals. In his first year with RE/MAX, Canada’s biggest broker with the greatest reach, Rob earned the Rookie of the Year Award as well as a place in the company’s 100% Club. RE/MAX PROFESSIONALS INC, Brokerage · 647-282-1894 · 55

Laura Simpson Sales Representative Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage interview :

Aviva Vetter

photo :

Sameer Makwana

Armed with an undying affinity for real estate and a robust foundation in marketing, Laura decided to embark on the world of realty and in doing so grounded herself as a leading broker in Toronto’s West End. Intrigued by how people define home—from experiencing some of life’s most memorable moments and having the mud room that fits everything to frequenting the café around the corner is what makes Laura tick. As a resident and leading realtor in Toronto’s West End, what would you say makes the area special? The West End demographic consists of all ages and lifestyles and there is plenty of amenities to suit all who call it home. There are fantastic restaurants and coffee shops around every corner. As an outdoorsperson, I appreciate the abundance of green space throughout the variety of communities and along the water front. There are so many different neighbourhoods with great schools and parks, many options for someone looking to grow a family. It is exactly why I chose to raise my family here How do you define 'home' and how does this term relate to your approach to real estate? Everyone defines home differently, that’s partly what makes it so special. For me, that means a home in a vibrant community within walking distance to excellent 56

schools and great coffee shops. When it comes down to it, although specifics change, I think everyone is looking for the same thing—a space where they can be themselves surrounded by the comforts that are important to them. A home that yields a large rate of growth on investment never hurts either! The Toronto real estate market has been seeing double digit growth for the past couple years, how would you describe working in one of the hottest markets in the world? This is a great time to be in Toronto. The market moves fast, it’s busy and I come to work everyday never knowing what to expect. One day I’ll be in a bidding war until midnight and the next I’m helping a client paint her fence – you just never know. The bottom line is that people rely on me for one of their largest investments and it’s a privilege to be part of such an important time in someone’s life. Evolving with the competitive market by seeking out new strategies when listing properties, to replace those that no longer yield the same return is a challenge I enjoy. Representing buyers in this everchanging market requires foresight and perseverance, both qualities I like to think I possess. My drive to succeed is fueled by a competitive market—it’s a natural fit.

“This is a great time to be in Toronto. The market moves fast, it’s busy and I come to work everyday never knowing what to expect. One day I’ll be in a bidding war until midnight and the next I’m helping a client paint her fence.” What's your take on the current Toronto real estate market? What do you see happening over the next few years?

Why Bosley real estate? How is the brokerage different from the rest?

Predictions about the impending burst have been lobbed around for years.

Bosley is a family owned business, which has been around since the 1920’s. The boutique firm is genuine, focused on Toronto neighbourhoods and dedicated in their approach to real estate. The authenticity is really appealing to me. Bosley only employs full time agents who choose to make a career in real estate their priority. I am proud to be affiliated with a brokerage which has such high standards.

Thousands of new people choose to call Toronto their home every year and those people need somewhere to live. We have seen some great short-term growth over the past few years across all forms of housing, and as a longterm investment, you can never go wrong with real estate. Toronto is a city in possession of a diversified industry that supports a strong housing market. I see no reason to expect that to change. What do you think of bidding wars and how do you deal with one? Bidding wars can be a stressful and emotional experience for clients, regardless of which side you’re on. It’s my job to create ease around the experience. I approach bidding wars with fairness, consistency and honesty. No one knows what to expect, but the key to having things run smoothly is open communication. The end result is that no one feels slated and both the buyer and seller are fully in the loop, allowing for informed decision making. What is the most challenging part of your career and how do you overcome it? Emotion sometimes plays a bigger role in real estate than we like to admit. Everyone has different worries when it comes to selling or purchasing a home, because usually the sale coincides with a transition in life. These transitions can be a challenge for everyone involved—and they are most of the time. The excitement of young people looking for their first home to the stress a retired couple feels when downsizing from the home they’ve lived in for decades are just a couple of the life stages I’ve helped my clients through. Managing the day-today functions of a sale while making sure my clients are comfortable and informed during a time that might otherwise be difficult is something I enjoy immensely. Listening to my client’s needs and following through are central to my success as a realtor.

What is your business approach? Success as a realtor is directly linked to your work ethic—you get out of it what you put into it. My business has grown and will continue to develop because I invest heavily both personally and financially into each property I bring to market. This approach has resulted in organic growth through word of mouth referrals. Not only this, but I believe the manner in which I present properties increases my client’s return exponentially over traditional marketing methods, such as flyering. I admire quality and authenticity as part of a philosophy. In fact, that should be at the top of anyone’s ‘what to look for in an agent’ list. What is your motto in life? I approach each day with the mindset of bringing something of value to the table—wherever my focus is at that moment. I strive to move through life with a conscious attitude toward my actions. I try to appreciate the moment, whether it’s good or bad and I always look out for a positive opportunity. I am lucky to be doing what I love for a living, and that’s not something everybody gets to say!


Favourites Shop: Sorauren farmer's market – Roncesvalles Outdoors: Humber Bay Waterfront, Marie Curtis Park, High Park – Etobicoke Coffee: Sanremo Bakery – Mimico "for their Americanos and apple fritters"

Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage · 416.530.1100 · · 57

Domenic D’Urzo Home Financing Advisor Scotiabank interview :

Aviva Vetter

photo :

Wilson Huynh Studio

Domenic’s desire to build relationships and connect people has made him the preeminent Home Financing Advisor in Canada. Working with Scotiabank Home Financing Associates Adele Sayiner and Poonam Dhillon, the team of three has a combined forty years of banking and mortgage experience. Their strength lies in building strategies around client needs, bringing together partners across Scotiabank— from retail branches to ScotiaWealth Management.

stress and guess-work of knowing what you can afford. It can also put you in a more favourable position in a competitive market where there are multiple bids. A pre-approval would allow a homebuyer to submit an offer without a finance condition. This can separate your offer from others and be the difference in securing your bid, especially in a competitive situation.

The first thing that most people probably ask themselves when looking to purchase a property is “How much can I afford?” What’s your advice?

In my experience, people tend to overlook the land transfer tax—a fee imposed by provincial and/or municipal governments—based on the value of your property. The second most underestimated expense is the associated costs for renovations that inevitably come with a fixer upper.

My advice is to speak with a mortgage professional, like myself, to determine what you qualify for—this includes a full financial snapshot (income, assets and liabilities). The mortgage pre-approval will provide a financial range to help determine affordability. This is a critical piece of information to provide to your Realtor prior to visiting properties. At what stage should someone looking to buy contact you? You should contact me as soon as you make the decision to purchase—even before contacting a Realtor. In most, if not all cases, a Realtor will ask you if your finances are in order before embarking on property visits. Having a pre-approved mortgage amount in hand when shopping alleviates the 58

What is the one cost people tend to overlook?

Speaking of referrals, how would you describe your network? I have trusted working relationships with realtors, wealth advisors, accountants, lawyers and investors, to mention a few. For me, it’s about working with partners that are like-minded, who all share the best interest of clients. We take a holistic approach and provide advice beyond the client’s immediate needs. This builds confidence with customers and within my referral network, leading to more satisfied clients.

What can a first time homebuyer expect during the financial process of purchasing a property?

What is the most challenging part of your career and how do you overcome it?

We provide a comprehensive methodology for the homebuying experience—including introducing clients to my network of partners (realtors, wealth advisors, lawyers, etc.). This differentiates Scotiabank from other banks and lenders. Our service to each customer doesn't begin and end with a pre-approval and final mortgage signature. Choosing the right institution is not just about providing you with all your banking needs, but also ensuring the proper advice to build your financial plan and to make the right decisions to secure your financial future. This is what we do best. Having your mortgage, accounts and investments all in one institution is beneficial when it comes to things like obtaining future financing or other long-term goals.

Connecting people, initiating and building new relationships, while maintaining existing ones is just one of the ways I stay on top of things. They say you are only as strong as your centres of influence. As mentioned, a big part of the way I function is through my referral system, which takes time to refine, build and keep going. My passion and motivation for working with others to build trust to accomplish greater goals where everyone benefits, is ultimately how I overcome any challenges that come my way.

Does an application change through a number of hands from the time it’s opened up to the final signature? Your file always stays within our team, from the first signature to the last. During the financial process, every team member is engaged from the outset—consisting of three associates including myself—and looped into every communication ensuring a clear smooth process for all involved, especially for you, the client. Our clients have one seamless experience when dealing with us and we see to it they are treated with the highest care right through to the finalized paperwork. How does Scotiabank differ from other banks in terms of the service it provides to its customers when buying a property? What can someone choosing you over another bank expect? As a Scotiabank Home Financing Advisor, I provide all potential homebuyers with a simple way to navigate through the home buying process. We understand that buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make and that is why we guide customers through the mortgage requirements and will map out a tailored and unique financial path for each customer to make the process as easy as possible. My team works with your schedule and we’re available to connect with you whenever and wherever is convenient for you. Additionally, our approach is uniquely relationship-based. From our first meeting, our goal is to build loyalty, adapt to your needs and busy schedule, while offering efficient same day turnaround on applications. We are in the business of wowing our customers and we have a track record to prove it.

What is the one piece of advice that your father passed on to you that guides you through life? Never forget where you came from and work hard. As a result, I have an appreciation for every position that I have occupied and I never take anything for granted. Do you have a philosophy by which you live? Yes, everyday is an exercise in balancing all my daily roles— advisor, husband, father, colleague, team player and more. I truly believe that part of being successful in life is finding a balance in all life’s fundamentals. All of the individual components; work, family, interests and sports, are cogs in a wheel that push you forward. If one gets stuck, chances are others will too. For instance, I’m adamant about keeping my work responsibilities to traditional office hours, which allows me to hit the gym first thing in the morning—encouraging a strong start to the day—and freeing up time for family and friends, who keep me sane during rough days. We’ve all come across those days from time to time! The efficiency I’ve found in this way of life has given me the ability to achieve my objectives while always motivating me to strive for more.


Favourites Resto: Nodo – The Junction Gym: Optimum Training Centre – Etobicoke Coffee: Zaza Espresso Bar – Yorkville

Scotiabank Home Financing Solutions · 416.417.8274 44 King St West, Toronto, ON · 59

Rob Allan & John Znaczko Partners SIR Group interview :

Kara Kuryllowicz

photo :

Sameer Makwana

SIR Group, the result of a merger between John Znaczko’s Roots and Images and Rob Allan’s Stratus Homes, epitomizes the best of each partner. While the two founders share a passion and enthusiasm for building custom homes, renovations as well cottages and boutique commercial projects, their company’s real strengths are rooted in their respective skill sets and related experience.

Together, the pair’s first-hand construction experience as well as their unique skillsets and personalities continue to deliver homes that reflect their clients’ daily lives as much as their hopes and dreams to meet short- and longterm expectations.

As a child in Poland, John loved everything about building small structures and bridges and went on to earn a structural engineering degree. Working on construction projects in Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Asia Pacific region, he was exposed to an extraordinary array of ideas, influences and innovations. After gaining additional experience with a large Toronto construction firm, he started Roots and Images which focused on historical restorations, commercial properties and custom homes for over 25 years.

Most families know what they want, but the challenge is always finding exactly what you want at a price you can afford. Increasingly, home owners are aware of the listing shortages and subsequent bidding wars combined with the related costs (legal, taxes) as well as the time required to find and see the homes.

Like John, Rob grew up with construction as he helped his parents renovate rental properties and cottages. After attending Indiana University and Wilfred Laurier, he put his business degree to good use in high-level sales, marketing, finance and operations roles but always made time for a variety of construction projects. Ten years ago, he launched Stratus Homes to leverage his construction, client relations and sales and marketing abilities. 60

How has Toronto’s ongoing real estate boom affected SIR Group?

When they also recognize that renovations and upgrades will be required to make that “new” house their next home, they realize that renovating their existing home makes solid practical sense. While we continue to build new homes across the GTA and work on new builds and renos in Muskoka’s cottage country, SIR Group has seen more homeowners taking on renos to avoid the sell/buy cycle.

SIR Group knew that getting the permits for a new build on a ravine property and working with the environmental regulations would require a long time. By cutting the house in half and building an addition, they reduced the duration to just twelve months.

What does SIR Group offer home owners who renovate rather than move? Of course, we provide what should be a given—a stable company that grew from two founders and firms who literally bring an entire lifetime of experience to our clients’ projects. We also have the requisite professional certifications and are firmly rooted in Toronto unlike the so-called contractors who operate out of the back of a truck. We are a turn-key operation. Our clients don’t have to deal with multiple players and coordinate the whole job; that is a huge asset that SIR offers. We select the best match for each project; assigning top architects and interior designers to each site. We also recognize the real value of ongoing, face-to-face conversations that may start in our office but will ultimately end up at the client’s site/home. It builds a comfort level while uncovering their functional requirements and style preferences. The initial discussions and meeting can start as early as couple of years prior to starting the job, this launches our fact-finding process, then guide the owners through their wish list development and subsequently, the real needs and wants at the heart of those wish lists. It’s virtually impossible to create viable visions and budgets, then draw up realistic plans without taking those basic, but involved first steps. The earlier you contact the contractor the better the result. At SIR Group is this all intuitive or have you formalized the process? Our creativity and innovation come into play when it comes to developing our unexpected, effective solutions. However, every question we ask and every action we take is grounded in a systematic process we developed to ensure consistency and repeatability. It takes SIR team and our customers through each phase of the process because every step serves a purpose and produces a required result. When we follow that process, we know we have transparency and ultimately, the clarity that’s a prerequisite to moving forward with an actionable plan.

When should prospects and clients reach out to SIR Group? Get us involved the moment you start dreaming and thinking about the project! That’s the best time for us to tell you straight up what is doable from a structural, cost/ budget, permit and timeline perspective. That’s the key to doing it right the first time. Of course, we can redo plans or undo actual construction, but that always takes more time and money. A family that wanted to double their home’s footprint on a Toronto ravine wanted to build from scratch. However, SIR Group knew that getting the permits for a new build and working with the myriad environmental regulations associated with that location would require at least three years from the initial phase to move-in. Our approach, cutting the house in half and building an addition, cut the time required to just 12 months. What is the key to a successful contractor/homeowner relationship? Constant communication! Honesty! Clients must tell us want they really want so that we can tell them what’s actually possible. Talk about what’s working and what’s not. You can’t fix or improve on the project or the relationship that’s driving that construction if you don’t discuss it. Take the time to explain! Tell us what you want and as importantly, why! If we can’t make it happen, we’ll detail the barriers and offer alternatives that deliver similar results. Every contractor promises quality work, on-time and on-budget—how are you different? We actually deliver on that promise, with every client using our unique in-house process to develop the practical plan required to make your dream a reality.

sir group · 416.253.7400 · · 61

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Q Magazine #2 - Winter 2017  

Toronto West Business & Lifestyle Magazine

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