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U N D E R WAT E R N I AGA R A :

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Scuba Div in g A ro un d th e Regio n

T his year’s ou tdoor trends

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VOL. 01 ISSUE 10

Reach tourists and locals all in one place.

Volume 1 Issue 10 - May./June. 2018

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U N D E R WAT E R N I AGA R A :

G I V E YO U R B A C K YA R D A M A K E OV E R :

Scuba Diving A ro u n d t h e Region

T h i s ye a r ’s o u t d o o r t re n d s

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On the cover: Ryan Serravelle

Today Magazine Niagara Edition is published by Rev Publishing Inc. All opinions expressed in Today Magazine Niagara Edition are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of Rev Publishing, it’s employees or owners. Reasonable care is taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, as of the time of publication, but no responsibility can be taken by Today Magazine Niagara Edition for any errors, omissions or comments made by writers or interviewees that are contained herein. Furthermore, responsibility for any losses, damages or distress resulting from adherence to any information made available through this magazine is not the responsibility of Today Magazine Niagara Edition. All unsolicited manuscripts and/or photographs submitted are assumed to be intended for publication or republication in whole or in part. The right to alter, edit or refuse photos and/or manuscripts intended for publication is assumed. All unsolicited material submitted to Today Magazine Niagara Edition are submitted at the author’s risk. Manuscripts and or photographs intended to be returned must be accompanied by sufficient postage. Today Magazine Niagara Edition does not assume any responsibility for any claims of our advertisers and reserves the right to refuse any advertising.

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//CONTRIBUTORS

VICTORIA GILBERT Victoria is a print journalist, a documentary filmmaker, a writer of fiction and a lover of adventure. Based in NiagaraOn-the-Lake, she spends much of her time wandering the world as a scuba diver, cyclist, skier, thrill seeker and wanderer.

SHERMAN ZAVITZ

A retired teacher, Sherman Zavitz has had a fascination with the history of Niagara Falls and area for many years. Active in many history-related organizations, he has authored five books and has been a columnist for the Niagara Falls Review for over 20 years. He has been recognized for his historical expertise by being appointed official historian for both the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario and the Niagara Parks Commission.

MARIANA BOCKAROVA Mariana Bockarova is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, where she teaches Psychological Resiliency, the Science of Happiness, and the Psychology of Relationships. Her research explores narrative medicine and mental health. She also holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University concentrated in Psychology.

LAUREN CHARLEY Lauren is a Copywriter and Journalist with a passion for travel and sharing stories. Born a tropical baby at heart, Lauren spent a year woking for a magazine in the British Virgin Islands after graduating from The University of Western Ontario. Niagara-on-the-Lake will always be her home base as continues to allow her vocation take her on adventures and discover the world.

GABRIELLE TIEMAN-LEE A writer for REV publishing for over three years, Gabrielle has written for numerous REV publications including Taste, Shopping & Travel. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Journalism program and has written for a variety of newspapers including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette.

CATHERINE PALMER Catherine Palmer is a Financial Services Specialist with PenFinancial. A life-long resident of Niagara, Catherine is happy to be working at a truly local credit union that helps grow the lives of over 20,000 Niagara residents and businesses. You will often find walking her dog Oscar, through the nature trails of Dufferin Islands, or practicing yoga outdoors in Fireman’s Park. Check out Catherine’s financial blog at trulylocaladvice.ca.

DR. CHRISTINA PLASKOS MD, HON BSC PHARM, ABAARM

Dr. Plaskos received her Honours Bachelor of Science of Pharmacology and her medical degree from the University of Toronto. Dr. Plaskos also has continued her education by completing a fellowship at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine which helps shape her practice at Aegis MD. Her mission is for everyone to ignite their well-being! She is a cosmetic and wellness expert.

DAVID SOMERVILLE

CFP

The founding partner at Capital Wealth Management Inc. has a passion for learning that has led him to attain a Certified Financial Planner designation; the highest level of professionalism in providing financial planning advice. Specialized in providing comprehensive wealth and estate planning advice to business owners, medical professionals and individual investors.


JILL THAM Jill’s passion for writing came after seeing the movie Stand by Me. She prefers listening to Niagara bands to practising her guitar and running the track better than shopping. When Jill is not moonlighting as a freelance writer, she is an Elementary teacher juggling her three children. Along with being a regular contributor to Today Magazine, Jill’s articles have been featured in Canadian Running, Pedal, Allergic Living and @OECTA. jilltham.wordpress.com @JillBT

RYAN SERRAVALLE As the creator of Revel from the ground up, Ryan Serravalle has signed nearly 40 agents and expanded Revel’s sphere of influence to two branch offices and a potential third. Ryan is equally motivated by an insatiable desire to “make deals happen” in the same way he is making “Revel” happen as a new and revolutionary philosophy on how to sell houses. He continues to establish himself as a multi-talented individual with experience in all facets of real estate.

ANDREA KAISER Grew up in Niagara, and is no stranger to the Ontario wine industry.You could say she was born into a life of food and wine and now shares this passion for Niagara Flavours through her writing, teaching and work. Well, we will call it work for lack of a better word.

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Join Us For The Best Stand Up Comedy Comedy Every Weekend Thursday 8:00pm Friday & Saturday 8:00pm & 10:30pm Located across from the Fallsview Casino and Connected by Indoor Walkway Free Parking • Food & Drink Menu Available

Purchase tickets: yukyuksniagarafalls.com More information: info@yukyuksniagarafalls.com • 1-800-899-9136 6455 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON


FOOD & DRINK ON THE TABLE 14 L A N G H O T P O T AND BBQ GRILL Fresh, flavourful, and flaming are words that accurately describe the dining experience at Lang Restaurant; the first all you can eat Vietnamese barbeque and hot pot restaurant in Canada. 15 W I L L I E J O H N ’ S BIG EASY Located in the Q Niagara Falls downtown district is Willie John’s Big Easy. For two years, this restaurant has honoured New Orleans culture; introducing both locals and tourists alike to the rich Cajun flare and spirit of the southern city’s food and way of life..

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OUT OF THE ORDINARY Andrea Kaiser was 19 the first time she attended the now annual Cuvée. It was a new concept, a celebration of Ontario Winemaking. A one-of-a-kind event at the time, where you could not only taste the wines, but meet the winemakers.

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SERIOUSLY GOOD FREEZER MEALS Sometimes in the summertime, the last thing you want to do is spend tons of time toiling away in the kitchen. Check out these great time saving freezer meals, that’ll let you spend less time cooking, and more time enjoying the sunshine!

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CELEBRATING FRUITS IN NOTL With a long history in the economy and tourism industry of the region, over 90% of Ontario’s tender fruit crops are grown in the orchards of Niagara’s Fruit Belt.

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE 36

UNDERWATER NIAGARA Scuba diving is not the first activity a person may think of when they come to the Niagara Region, but there are actually a ton of great diving sites to explore around the area!!

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KING CAMP GILLETTE A glimpse at the life of the razer tycoon, and the vision he once had for Niagara Falls.

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GIVE YOUR BACKYARD A MAKEOVER This year, give your yard a makeover to be the ultimate place to host, entertain, or simply relax in solitude. Invest in an affordable addition, or spend a few fun weekends tackling these DIY projects.

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DEBT IS NOT A DIRTY WORD Catherine Palmer from Pen Financial, talks all about debt and what YOU can do about it.

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IGNITE A BETTER YOU Dr. Christina Plaskos works to demystify the fountain of youth.

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MONEY TALK David Somerville tackles the debt crisis facing students and their post-secondary education.

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GET REAL With the influx of warmer weather and the optimism of sunny economics on the horizon, an investment in your own backyard, or properties that encourage outdoor living, could be as profitable as the enjoyment they promise.

HERE. SEE. DO. 63

// I N S I D E 66

CIRQUE DE SOLEIL: CORTEO Following over 10 years of thrilling audiences worldwide with extreme athletics and other worldly storytelling, Cirque du Soleil’s famous circus show Corteo is embarking on a North America arena tour – sharing the one-of-a-kind performance with smaller towns the company previously could not reach with their Big Top circus.

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NIAGARA JAZZ FESTIVAL Jill Tham catches up with Niagara Jazz Festival performer Alysha Brilla to chat about her history in music and her upcoming performance at the festival.

BUSINESS COMMUNITY 73

ASK THE EXPERT Mariana Bockarova tackles the tough situation of working in a place that has high turnover.

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EVERDAY NARCISSISM In clinical psychology, the term “narcissist”, references the personality disorder, in which one has an overwhelming need for admiration, exaggerated feelings of selfimportance, and a lack of empathy or care for others.

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HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA Similar to any tool, social media must be used correctly in order to ensure continued success. The three tips in this article will get you started in the world of social media marketing

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REVEL REALTY A chat with Ryan Serravelle, the owner of Niagara’s newest and freshest real estate brokerage.

EVENT LISTINGS Check out what’s happening in Niagara this summer!   TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 13


L A N G R E S TA U R A N T // O N T H E T A B L E

HEAD CHEF LANG LYN VO RESTAURANT BY JILL THAM Fresh, flavourful, and flaming are words that accurately describe the dining experience at Lang Restaurant; the first all you can eat Vietnamese barbeque and hot pot restaurant in Canada. After travelling around Asia, Lyn Vo and her husband decided to sell their Pho restaurant in Fonthill, ON and open up a different kind of Asian eating establishment. “We eat this way at home and wanted to offer an all you can eat experience to people who want to try our style of home cooking,” explains Vo. This one of a kind restaurant is divided into two areas: hot pot and barbeque. Both styles involve cooking over a flame built into your table. The hot pot side is all you can eat pho, a savoury type of vietnamese soup traditionally made with noodles and thinly sliced meats, seasoning, and vegetables. Diners select their desired broth, meat, fish, or vegetables to simmer in a large pot in the centre of the table. The other side is a smoke free grill. Using tongs, and staff to adjust the flame, meat and vegetables are cooked to your liking. Lang Restaurant offers a variety of meat, poultry, and fish to choose from. “Our meats and fish are marinated in recipes my family brought here from their home country,” says Vo. “We like to give people an opportunity to try them. Some of our most popular menu items are: beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, sausage, squid, beef ribs, salmon, lamb, and muscles,” says Vo. With several raw vegetables to choose from, the meat on your grill won’t be lonely. Zucchini, peppers, onion, mushrooms, eggplant, and corn on the cob are a few grilling items. Unsure of what sauces pair with the different meat, poultry, and fish, Lang staff is always willing to offer suggestions. “Many of our sauces are homemade,” says Vo. “We have a lot of people that need an allergy free option. All of our sauces are without

soy and are gluten free,” says Vo. Not every item in the restaurant is made to order. “We have a buffet of hot and cold items to choose from,” says Vo. Vegetable fried rice, chicken wings, barbecue pork ribs, vegetable chow mein, deep fried spring rolls, vegetable stir fry, and gluten free rice balls are a few of the items to add to your meal. Staff will switch out the grill to provide a fresh one for dessert. Try the grilled cinnamon and sugar pineapple with ice cream to finish off the meal. At Lang Restaurant it is certainly a family affair. “I am lucky my husband works with me or I would never see him,” she says. We are never at home. “The long hours are what makes the restaurant business hard. It is a 24 hour a day job.” Vo’s parents, who own Pho Dau Bo in the plaza beside Lang Restaurant also provide support. “The restaurant used to be Helen’s Florist. My dad is very hands on and helped redesign what used to be Helen’s Florist into the restaurant you see today.” Growing up in the family business, Vo has benefitted from her dad’s “hands on” style of training. “We had a business in aesthetics before the restaurants. My dad came in one day and said he wanted to make a change,” explains Vo. “My dad went to Toronto and Mississauga to work for free as an apprentice to a Pho restaurant owner,” says Vo. Working for free alongside her family as a server at the Mississauga location gave Vo valuable experience to bring back to the Niagara restaurant industry. With two different styles of Vietnamese cooking to choose from it is clear why Lang Restaurant is quickly becoming one of Niagara’s go-to spots for an all you can eat experience. Homer Simpson was right, “you don’t win friends with salad.” Bring your first date, family, or confidants and ignite your taste buds, at Lang Restaurant. “It’s all about the experience here,” says Vo. For more information visit langrestaurant.com


// F O O D & D R I N K W I L L I E J O H N ’ S B I G E A S Y// O N T H E T A B L E

HEAD CHEF WILLIE JOHN’S BRAD MCLAREN BIG EASY BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN-LEE Famous for a cuisine entirely its own, New Orleans has become one of the culinary capitals of North America. This multi-cultural city has created an original and flavour rich cuisine that perfectly marries and reflects its Cajun, Creole and French roots. Located in the Q Niagara Falls downtow district is Willie John’s Big Easy. For two years, this four thousand square foot open space restaurant and entertainment establishment has honoured New Orleans culture; introducing both locals and tourists alike to the rich Cajun flare and spirit of the southern city’s food and way of life. This unique establishment was brought to life by co-owners Bill Delingat and John Pickering. Both Delingat and Pickering share not only a passion for music, but also an extensive background in the entertainment industry. Bringing the flavours to life for Niagara is Chef Brad McLaren. Chef McLaren has helped establish restaurants from coast to coast – working in a variety of kitchens across the country. McLaren has added his own personal touch to the menu which includes: spicy gumbo filled with shrimp, meat and shellfish, traditionally spiced jambalayas with a side of homemade cornbread and tapas of Spanish shrimps, pepper beef and corn ball and crab cakes. Along with the staple menu items, Willie John’s also features a revolving menu of exotic specials and seasonal surprises. But the New Orleans vibe does not end with the menu. “The ambience of the venue features different areas honoring ‘N’awlins’ with street signs honouring different areas [of New Orleans],” says co-owner Bill Delingat. “The raised seating area is known as the French Quarter, the dance floor is the Congo Square, the bar area is Treme and Blues Bayou and the back seating area is Storyville.” Niagara music lovers can simultaneously rejoice with the foodies; Willie John’s has created a platform to host live music

by some of Canada’s up and coming musicians and zydeco bands – thanks to co-owner John Pickering. Delingat said he emerged onto the scene by “bringing a new wave to Canada” when he managed Klub Dominoe – Toronto’s original post-punk and new-wave dance club which featured in house DJ Chris Shepherd [today, Shepherd is one of North America’s top DJs]. Delingat later went on to open the massive Spectrum Nightclub in Toronto working with international promoters the Gary’s and CPI. Owner of Rythmn Ranch Recording Studios, Pickering said through his website that for over a decade he has “found a home with a unique creative environment that has led to the formation of a family of artists, writers and producers with the shared goal of making great music the old fashioned way – by playing it.” Pickering as well is said to be doing a live YouTube station straight from Willie John’s stage. “That will also promote an educational section to help up and coming artists learn the ropes by some of Canada’s best talents,” said Delingat. “We plan to present many of these artists ‘Live on Stage’,” said Delingat. “Bringing the musical magic of Toronto to Niagara Falls.” Willie John’s Big Easy is currently open Friday and Saturday. The owners said they will be adding additional hours soon – expecting to be open up to six days of the week during the summer season.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 15


special advertising feature

THE SMOKIN’ BUDDHA

JOHNNY ROCCO’S

COCO’S STEAKHOUSE

Located in the Old Train Station in the Canal District of downtown

Gusto at Johnny Rocco’s means savour. Savour the flavours of Italy. From our succulent hand rolled Zia’s Rice Balls, to our hand tossed pizza dough, cooked to perfection in our 600 degree wood fired oven. Pair our traditional dishes with our vast array of Italian and local wines. At Johnny Rocco’s gli amici sono la famiglia – Our friends are all family.

Coco’s is a very popular restaurant destination for tourists and locals alike. Guests rave about our famous wood-fired steaks and gourmet pizzas. Watch our staff prepare your fresh pizza from start to finish, it’s a cooking show right in front of your very eyes.

delivers your favourite dishes from around the world. Come experience our laid-back space where global comfort food meets local Niagara food culture. If you can’t make it to sonal supper markets. Fonthill Farmer’s Market N.O.T.L Supper Market Every Wednesday - 4:30 to 9:00

In Good Taste showcases a variety of Niagara’s most melt in your mouth, show stopping, delectable dining establishments and wineries. Whether their menus are unique to a restaurant or a familiar food that is prepared in a way you’ve never tasted before, it’s evident that Niagara is home to a food culture that is growing every day, and while it can be hard to choose where to engage your taste buds first, we hope these profiles give you a good head start.

Crystal Beach Supper Market YEAR ROUND: Welland Farmer’s Market Every Saturday 8:00am - 12:00pm #lovethebuddha

KEVIN ECHLIN CHEF/OWNER 265 King St., Port Colborne, ON 905.834.6000 thesmokinbuddha.com

From Banquets to Bachelor parties, Bridal Showers or Business dinners, our new Wine Cellar in Niagara Falls is ideal! St. Catharines 271 Merritt St. | 905.680.9300

Enjoy the awesome ambiance under the starlit Niagara skies as we offer nightly entertainment on the Terrace from 7:00pm onwards (in season only). Best of all, we offer ample free parking for all our guests! So visit Coco’s next time you’re in Niagara Falls and enjoy good times and great food that only Coco’s can deliver.

Niagara Falls 6889 Lundy’s Lane | 905.358.0004

WINE CELLAR

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6889 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.358.0004 johnnyroccos.com

5339 Murray St., Niagara Falls 905.356-1333 ext. 171 cocosniagarafalls.com


IN GOOD TASTE

MEDITERRANEAN QSINE LIV RESTAURANT AT WHITE OAKS RESORT

THE KASBAH

CAFFE GATTI

SPYCE LOUNGE

LIV Restaurant is the signature restaurant for White Oaks Resort and offers a fantastic dining experience. The menu is sublime, the wine list award winning and ambiance beautiful. Set time aside for LIV, don’t be rushed so that you can savour the whole event. LIV is where you want to celebrate special moments and treat yourself to a night out of fine dining, lingering over a fabulous wine and conversation.

The Kasbah Mediterranean Qsine features the incredible cuisine of Vaughan Bulganian who was born in Armenia and grew up in a monastery in Jerusalem where he learned the true art of cooking Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food.

Sisters Clara and Sarah GATTI welcome you to CAFFE GATTI. SMILES and friendly service await you as soon as you arrive. Serving Artisan Roman style pizza, salads, soups, gourmet sandwiches and ITALIAN cakes/pastries to go along with your choice of beverage.Serving all day Breakfast, Lunch, some Eve-

Street level and in the heart of Niagara Falls’ entertainment district, you will be in the center of the action. Spyce Lounge offers a sophisticated and lavish escape from life’s hustle and bustle with live entertainment every night and a full lounge menu. Whether you want to savor a signature cocktail mixed to perfection, mingle with friends, or watch live sporting events on Niagara’s largest TV, Spyce offers customizable services to help cater your every whim. Spyce is the perfect way to start, end, or enjoy your entire night.

The Kasbah features homemade farm to table Mediterranean delights from Greece, Lebanon, Armenia & more. All menus include vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. The Kasbah is fully licensed with a total of 230 seats (patio, party room, dining, bar & lounge). Come join us for an incredible evening with amazing food, service, wine and Mediterranean music.

LIV RESTAURANT AT WHITE OAKS RESORT 253 Taylor Road, Niagara on the Lake 905-688-2550 ext.5248 whiteoaksresort.com

was born, when the GATTI family travelled EUROPE extensively. It ’s relaxed with beautiful music, while enjoying great food and local/imtouch fresh Italian cakes,pastries, and GELATO to compliment our freshly cappuccino, lattes, and ORGANIC teas. CAFFE GATTI caters in house or to your next EVENT!

VAUGHAN BULGANIAN

CAFFE GATTI

HILTON NIAGARA FALLS

6130 Dunn Street, Niagara Falls, ON 905.357.1000 thekasbah.ca

3 Race Street, St.Catharines, ON 905.641.5009 caffegatti.com

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls 905.354.7887 spycelounge.ca TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 17


DOC MAGILLIGAN’S RESTAURANT & IRISH PUB

KOUTOUKI GREEK CUISINE

HERNDER ESTATE WINES

BRASA BRAZILLIAN STEAKHOUSE

Recently nominated, as North America’s top 10 Irish Pubs and Winner of the Best Irish Pub Chef, North America by Irish Pub’s Global. The entire pub was built in Ireland and shipped lock, stock and beer barrel to our Lundy’s Lane location.

Take a break from your busy schedule! Come in and enjoy a glass wine or a pint of local craft beer. at our magnificent bar. We offer select wines from Greece and the Niagara region. Savour the flavours of our unique cuisine,carefully prepared by our chefs daily. Choose from an array of appetizers as a light snack or indulge in one of our traditional rustic entrees. Immerse yourself in our warm and cozy atmosphere. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff await you. OPA!

A quiet country road, the gentle swell of vineyards beneath the brow of the Niagara Escarpment; turn down the lane, through a unique wooden covered bridge up to an immense, perfectly restored 1867 Victorian barn. Open 7 days a week, year round for complimentary tastings and weekend tours at 1pm. 30 different varieties of VQA wines, fruit wines and icewines keep Winemaker Angela Kasimos busy year round. Licensed patio, wine boutique and two floors of rustic beauty for weddings, private parties and dinners. Hernder also houses Niagara Vinegar a quality line of grapeseed oil, vinegars, reductions, hot sauce and homemade jellies. Come and explore all the good things at Hernder Estate Wines.

Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/ Fallsview Hotel & Suites and across from the Fallsview Casino, Brasa showcases the flavours and cultural flair of Brazil. Following a centuries-old tradition of cooking on an open fire, diners can experience endless cuts of succulent beef, pork, lamb, and chicken carved tableside in the style of authentic Brazilian gaúchos. The gourmet buffet features over 70 hot and cold items to accompany your meal including some Brazilian fare like Brazilian-style potato, seafood buffet and grilled pineapple. It is also home to a sophisticated wine collection with a fully enclosed, wine room containing an extensive selection of world-renowned wines. Brasa is the best place to experience a taste of South America.

“INSPIRED BY TRADITION”

HERNDER ESTATE WINES

HILTON NIAGARA FALLS

5745 Ferry Street, Niagara Falls 905.354.6776 koutoukiniagara.com

1607 Eighth Ave. Louth, St. Catharines 905.684.3300 wine@hernder.com

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls 905.353.7187 brasaniagara.com

Doc Magilligan’s consistently delivers an authentic experience. Combine a stunningly-accurate interior design with great food, drink, music and, most of all, people. Guests are immersed in another world of warmth, conversation, laughter and fun. What the Irish call ‘the craic’…. real fun. Scratch made, comfort food at its best, inspired by heritage Irish recipes. Family owned, one-of-a-kind and open for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

GARY BEYNON EXECUTIVE CHEF 6400 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls, 905-374-0021

Something is always sizzling at Koutouki! Reservations Reccommended Free Parking


IN GOOD TASTE

FRONTIER BBQ & SMOKEHOUSE

BUCHANANS STEAK & SEAFOOD

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

LANG VIETNAMESE HOT POT & BBQ GRILL

Niagara’s first, Southern-style allyou-can-eat restaurant. We draw our inspiration from our neighbours to the South who have mastered the art of BBQ and serve locally-inspired sides for an authentic smokehouse experience. Our meats are smoked in a variety of woods including apple wood, mesquite, and hickory, lending to our unique Frontier flavour. Enjoy house-seasoned smoked meats direct from the grill served by our pit masters; plus over 50 hot and cold seasonal items including our ultimate potato bar with five types of potatoes and over 20 topping choices. Be sure to try our signature brisket and our house-made BBQ sauces.

Dig in to a hand-cut steak, charbroiled to your liking!

The memory of a great meal stays with you long after the table has been cleared. This is why at Ruth’s Chris we thrive on our great food and service. Our menu offers a variety of dining options that will please all of our guests. Our passion lies in our high quality ingredients, attention to detail and that special sizzle. Inside Ruth’s Chris Steak House you’ll also find Niagara’s hottest bar and lounge. Treat yourself at this high-end lounge with your own private booth surrounding the bar and dance floor and a personal host to cater to your every need.

Canada’s 1st All You Can Eat Vietnamese Hot Pot & BBQ Grill.

FRONTIER BBQ & SMOKEHOUSE 6519 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls 289.296.6367 frontierniagara.com

BUCHANANS STEAK & SEAFOOD 6039 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.353.4111 buchanansniagara.ca

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

LANG VIETNAMESE HOT POT & BBQ GRILL 161 Church St, St. Catharines 289-362-2288 langrestaurant.com

A blend of modern steakhouse and chic lounge. The menu highlights crispy calamari, lobster dip, classic shrimp cocktail and Buchanans’ French onion soup to start. This home-grown restaurant offers an appealing selection of hand-cut steaks charbroiled to your liking, tasty seafood, pasta, fresh salads & more. End your meal with our house made Sticky Toffee Crème Brulee and a Starbucks coffee beverage. Lunch $12 - $16, Dinner $16 - $38. Our “Why Limit Happy to One Hour” offers a full size appetizer paired with a VQA Niagara Wine (5 oz) or Craft Brew (12 oz. Pint) for $15 – daily 26 pm. Complimentary customer onsite self parking. Event space for up to 250 guests. Located at the DoubleTree Resort on Stanley Avenue.

6455 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.357.1199 ruthschrisniagara.com

Vietnamese. What we’re trying to do is give the experience of Authentic Vietnamese Food here in Canada. Vietnamese cuisine is unique, and bethe methods of cooking are unique as well. For dinner, there can be a grill in the middle of the table or a boiling pot. Whether you’re barbecuing your meal aromatic broth, you’ll get the full Vietnamese experience at Lang. Choose between our AYCE Vietnamese BBQ, or AYCE Vietnamese Hot Pot.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 19


WILLIE JOHN’S BIG EASY

THE KEG STEAKHOUSE + BAR

PRANZO RISTORANTE ITALIANO

THE WATERMARK

Willie John’s Big Easy bringing you the Tastes of the Bayou and the sounds of the French Quarter located in downtown Niagara Falls. From the melting Pot of N’awlins savor our array of appetizers from Spanish Shrimps to Crab Cakes and for Dinner, a choice of Gumbos, Jambalayas or French Quarter Chicken

Dine overlook ing Niagara Fa l ls in The Keg Steak house + Bar, located on the 9th f loor of the Embassy Suites Niagara Fa l ls Fa l lsv iew. This landmark location offers g uests f loor-toceiling panoramic v iews of the famous Fa l ls and the highest qua lit y steaks and seafood for a dining experience to remember.

Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/ Fallsview Hotel & Suites and in the center of the Niagara Falls’ Entertainment District, Pranzo Ristorante Italiano offers flavorful, hand-crafted favourites prepared to order in a lively open display kitchen. Be sure to try our signature brick oven pizzas and authentic Italian cuisine in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Children eat free with the purchase of any adult meal. There’s something for everyone at Pranzo.

As the signature restaurant in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites, the Watermark elevates guests’ dining experiences to new heights. Voted most romantic, the Watermark’s inventive cuisine, extensive wine selection, and stylish design is only surpassed by its stunning, panoramic views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls. Decorated in shades of blue and white, and located on the 33rd floor, the Watermark’s elegant, contemporary ambiance is reminiscent of the majestic Niagara Falls itself. Our Executive Chef lovingly crafts his creative dishes by using only fresh and seasonal ingredients, from fine-crafted Niagara Region wines to prosciutto from a local Niagara Falls artisan.

FALLSVIEW / EMBASSY SUITES 6700 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls 905.374.5170 fallsviewrestaurant.com

HILTON NIAGARA FALLS

HILTON NIAGARA FALLS

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls 905.353.7174 pranzoniagara.com

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls 905.353.7138 watermarkrestaurant.com

Featuring the sounds of Blues, Jazz and R & B. This summer join us for Gospel Sundays Our Patio is now open until midnight. Ease on in and discover the character of N.O.L.A. Willie John’s Big Easy the place to see and be seen.

WILLIE JOHN’S BIG EASY 4683 Crysler Avenue, Niagara Falls 905.354.2362 williejohnsbigeasy.com


IN GOOD TASTE

FALLS MANOR RESORT & RESTAURANT

MICK&ANGELO’S KITCHEN & BAR

PERRIDISO ESTATE WINERY

BACKHOUSE RESTAURANT

HOME STYLE MEALS FOR THE FAMILY. Falls Manor Resort and Restaurant has been part of the Niagara Falls landscape for more than six decades. Customers count on us to serve up delicious, home-cooked meals at affordable prices. Drop in today and experience award-winning cuisine guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest of palates.

Now under new ownership, Mick & Angelo’s Kitchen + Bar is where family fun and great homemade food go hand in hand. Nicknamed the Locals Livingroom, this is the best place in Niagara Falls to be welcomed with open arms no matter where you are from. Our team makes every Guest feel like they are home.

Welcome to one of the newest and fastest growing wineries in Niagara. Located on the St. David’s Bench, this escarpment ridge reveals rich layers of soil and fertile vineyards, such character is reflected in deep layers of complexity of all wines produced at Perridiso Estate Winery.

Quietly tucked away in a small stripmall in uptown Niagara on the Lake is one of Canada’s best restaurants. Backhouse offers a continuously evolving menu with a commitment to integrated cool climate cuisine and enlightened hospitality. Upon finding Backhouse, the aroma of peach wood burning in the brick oven and glow of the wood-fired grill lets guests know that they are not out for dinner but rather that they are embarking on a culinary journey of somewhereness. Boasting a finely curated local and international wine list dedicated to low intervention winemaking, craft cocktails, and tasting menus, guests are assured to have one of their best dining experiences.

At Falls Manor Restaurant, we are renowned for our gourmet broasted chicken and delicious, warm Belgian waffles.

Our diverse menu and superior drink list is sure to please everyone’s palate. We serve up juicy, AAA-certifed steaks, incredible calzones, fresh pizza, and some of the best wings you’ll ever have.

Niagara Region’s Original Home of Broasted Chicken. We’ve won the Reader’s Choice award for breakfast 16yrs consecutively. Try our Golden Dipped Pancakes or sample one of our Scrumptious Omelets. We offer takeout service for your convenience. Skip the cooking and pick up dinner today.

It’s no wonder Chef Mick has been voted “Best Local Chef ” by the readers of the Niagara Falls Review.

FALLS MANOR RESORT & RESTAURANT 7104 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905-358-3211 ext. 1 fallsmanor.com

MICK&ANGELO’S KITCHEN & BAR 7600 Lundy’s lane, Niagara falls 905-357-6543 mickandangelos.com

We pride ourselves on making premium wines the old fashioned way with minimal mechanical intervention. We hand pick our grapes at optimum ripeness to ensure full flavour and balance. Within a short period of launching our wines Perridiso can be found in some of the best fine dining establishments in the Niagara Region.

PERRIDISO ESTATE WINERY 176 Warner Rd Niagara-On-The-Lake 905 358 4222 Perridiso.com

242 Mary Street, NOTL 289.272.1242 backhouse.xyz TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 21


YOU’RE JUST A SHORT DRIVE AWAY FROM

Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine Country While you’re in town, plan a visit and experience the life of a winery. Nestled below the Niagara Escarpment, we’re a close-knit neighbourhood of wineries each with a unique personality. With over 20 distinctive locations to choose from and a series of Signature Events and Experiences throughout the year, it’s a good thing we’re just around the corner!

Purchase passes to our Signature Events and Experiences and gain access to over 20 unforgettable wineries

Dig Our Roots. Available Year Round With our Winemakers’

Fridays, Saturdays &

Every April

Sundays in February

Immerse yourself in

Fridays, Saturdays &

Fridays, Saturdays &

Sundays in May

Sundays in November

Selections Tasting Pass,

Warm up this winter by

our appellation while

Grape meets grill just in

Let’s make a toast to the

you can taste a carefully

enjoying the sweet and

you unearth what makes

time for summer. Soak up

festive season. Holiday-

selected, notable wine

savoury side of chocolate

this place and our wines

the sun and enjoy a sampling

inspired foods are paired

at each of our member

as it’s expertly paired with

so very special at your

of unique grilled foods and

perfectly with locally

wineries, all year long.

only our best VQA wines.

choice of over 20 unique

VQA wine pairings.

inspired VQA wines.

winery experiences.

WineriesOfNiagaraOnTheLake.com /wineriesofniagaraonthelake

@NiagaraWine #NOTLWine

NiagaraWine


Have a taste of all that we have to offer with over 20 unique wineries to choose from

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TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 23


it’s all on the lane WHERE THE LOCALS GO FOR FAMILY FARE & FINE DINING

35 AFFORDABLE HOTELS, MOTELS & CAMPGROUNDS

welcome to

CANADA ONE OUTLETS & 30+ UNIQUE SHOPS

WAVES WATERPARK, LIVE MUSIC & OH CANADA EH? DINNER THEATRE

LUNDY’S LANE lundyslane.com

NIAGARA’S DINING, SHOPPING & ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT

– Just minutes from the Falls

On The WEGO Redline –


Out of the

Ordinary

I

t is hard to believe it has been thirty years. I would have been 19 at the time I attended the first annual Cuvée. It was a new concept, a celebration of Ontario Winemaking. A one-of-a-kind event at the time, where you could not only taste the wines, but meet the winemakers. I did sometimes wonder what the fuss was all about. I mean why would anyone care so much to meet my Dad? Debi Pratt, long time friend of our family, founding member of Cuvée and Director of Public Relations at the time for Inniskillin, insisted however that people wanted to meet the winemakers at the heart of the rebirth of Canadian winemaking. She explained that people were intrigued to understand the changes that were happening in Ontario. Debi understood that what my father was doing was different and that his commitment to quality in winemaking was visionary at the time. But for those of you who knew my father , Karl Kaiser, he was a quiet, reserved man, just as happy to be behind the scenes working in his cellar. It often took some coaxing by Debi to get my Dad to attend the annual celebration but when someone would take a moment to ask him about his wines, you could tell from that somehow embarrassed smile he often had, that he truly enjoyed sharing his knowledge and passion with others. Perhaps what made him so charming was the fact that he was so humble and unaware of the contribution he was making to Canada. My brother recently shared a story when he asked my Dad what it felt like to have changed the face of Ontario wines - his response - “What did I do?” This year’s Cuvée Celebration in March was bitter sweet as I did lose my Dad this past November and the sting of this personal loss is still fresh. However, it was also a point in time that I finally grasped the number of lives my Dad has touched and understand the inspiration he has been to so many people. He was quite simply a great man who believed in great things. Always proud to share his wines from Canada, even in times that many were not keen to even try let alone be proud to drink them. His gift to Niagara, Ontario and Canada was his vision for excellence in winemaking. His gift to me, aim high and never accept the ordinary. This past March at the annual Cuvée Celebration we celebrated the 30th milestone of excellence in winemaking and tasted out of the ordinary wines; so be proud and raise a glass this summer to Niagara’s exceptional wines and winemakers! TM

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 25


CANADA'S MOST ICONIC EXPERIENCE ONLY IN NIAGARA FALLS, CANADA

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TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 27


Mascarpone Key Lime Mini Pies These mini pies are truly my biggest addiction. The refreshing light, sweet flavor of Key limes and the creamy, airy mascarpone are the obvious stars, but the real surprise lies in the unique taste of cardamom in the graham cracker crust. It’s a magical combination! Makes about 12 mini pies.

Image by: Charity Burggraaf

Blueberry Orange Smoothie Kits

Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m not a morning person. I may have to rise but I don’t exactly shine. However, there is one morning item that provides me some bliss: this smoothie! It seriously tastes like an orange Creamsicle kissed with a touch of fresh blueberries. Makes 2 servings 1/4 cup (60 mL) plain Greek yogurt 1/4 tsp (1 mL) vanilla extract 1/4 cup (60 mL) frozen orange juice concentrate, partially thawed 1/2 banana 1 cup (250 mL) frozen blueberries 1/2 cup (125 mL) water 1. In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, vanilla and orange juice. Pour 1 tbsp (15 mL) each into 8 cups of an ice-cube tray. Freeze for about 2 hours, until solid. 2. Meanwhile, slice banana into 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) slices and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about 2 hours, until solid. Make It Now Place the 8 orange juice cubes, frozen blueberries and frozen banana pieces into a blender. Add water. Blend on High until smooth. Add more water if necessary to get desired consistency. Pour into 2 glasses and serve cold. Make It a Freezer Meal Place the 8 orange juice cubes, frozen blueberries and frozen banana pieces in a labeled quart-size (1 L) freezer bag. Seal, removing as much air as possible, and freeze. Make the Smoothies Add contents of freezer bag and water to blender. Blend on High until smooth. Add more water if necessary to get desired consistency. Pour into 2 glasses and serve cold.

Filling 8 oz (250 g) mascarpone cheese, softened 1 can (14 oz or 300 mL) sweetened condensed milk 3/4 cup (175 mL) freshly squeezed or bottled Key lime juice 2 cups (500 mL) frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), about 6 oz/175 g Crust 11/4 cups (310 mL) graham cracker crumbs (about 41/2 oz/130 g) 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, melted 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cardamom or ground cinnamon Garnishes Additional frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), optional Sliced Key limes (optional) 1. Filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a medium bowl, using an electric hand mixer), beat mascarpone cheese on High for about 1 minute, until creamy. Add condensed milk and lime juice; beat on Medium for about 1 minute, until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping, until blended. 2. Place 12 silicone muffin liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Scoop mixture into cups until three-quarters full. 3. Crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and cardamom, stirring well. 4. Sprinkle crust mixture evenly over each mini pie. Press gently with the back of a spoon to flatten. Freeze for about 2 hours, until firm. Make It Now Remove from freezer. Gently remove silicone liners and invert mini pies onto a serving plate, crust side down. Top with additional whipped topping and a slice of Key lime, if using. Serve frozen. Make It a Freezer Meal Remove from freezer. Transfer mini pies, in their silicone liners, to 2 labeled gallon-size (4 L) freezer bags. Seal, removing as much air as possible, and freeze. Serve Remove from freezer. Gently remove silicone liners and invert mini pies onto a serving plate, crust side down. Top with additional whipped topping and a slice of Key lime, if using. Serve frozen. >>

Courtesy of Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to Save Your Time, Money & Sanity by Karrie Truman © 2017 www.robertrose.ca Available where books are sold.


Live Entertainment Nightly Niagara’s Largest TV Open Daily From Noon Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 +1 905 354 7887 spycelounge.ca |

spycelounge

Complimentary parking for our dining guests.

authentic italian cooking — and brick oven pizza — located in hilton niagara falls/fallsview hotel & suites directly across from fallsview casino resort 6361 fallsview blvd, niagara falls, on L2G 3V9 +1 905 353 7174 pranzoniagara.com |

pranzoniagara

complimentary parking for our dining guests.

children eat free restrictions apply. ask server for details.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 29


Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites

When I need a showoff-worthy hot appetizer, I bust out these tempting bites. Sometimes I make them with green beans and sometimes without, but either way they are always a huge hit. Makes 18 bites. 8 oz (250 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1/4 cup (60 mL) tamari sauce 2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar 2 tbsp (30 mL) unseasoned rice vinegar 1/2 tsp (2 mL) minced garlic 1/4 tsp (1 mL) grated fresh ginger 9 French green beans, trimmed (optional) 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise in thirds 1 tsp (5 mL) cornstarch 18 toothpicks Garnish Sesame seeds (optional)

1. Slice chicken into pieces 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick and about 2 inches long (you should have about 18 pieces). Place chicken pieces in a medium bowl. 2. Add tamari sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger to chicken; stir to combine. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 24 hours. 3. Meanwhile, if using green beans, bring about 2 cups (500 mL) water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add beans and cook for one minute, then quickly remove with a slotted spoon to an ice-water bath. When cooled, cut each bean in half crosswise; set aside. 4. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a small saucepan; pour chicken and marinade into sieve. Drain chicken so that all the liquid falls into saucepan. Set pan aside. 5. Place each piece of chicken on top of a bacon piece. Add a green bean half (if using) and wrap bacon around both. Pierce through the center with a toothpick to secure. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing apart. 6. Whisk cornstarch into marinade in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over mediumhigh heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 7 minutes, until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat; set aside. Make It Now Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

French Dip Sandwiches After years of trying to figure out the perfect blend of seasonings and flavors for homemade French dip sandwiches, I finally got it right. Dipping the tender beef sandwich into this delightfully flavorful jus is out of this world. Even though I say all my recipes are good, this one is really amazing — seriously, try it. Makes 8 servings. 1 tsp (5 mL) salt 1 tsp (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper 3 lbs (1.5 kg) boneless beef shoulder roast, trimmed 4 cups (1 L) beef broth or Homemade Beef Stock (page 350) 11/2 onions, puréed or minced 1/2 cup (125 mL) tamari sauce 1/3 cup (75 mL) Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp (30 mL) yellow mustard 11/2 tsp (7 mL) minced garlic 4 bay leaves To Serve: 8 buns or rolls, Cooking spray or olive oil, 8 slices provolone cheese 1. Using your hands, rub salt and pepper generously all over the roast. 2. In a labeled gallon-size (4 L) freezer bag, combine broth, onions, tamari sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic and bay leaves. Add roast and seal, removing as much air as possible. Make It Now Marinate beef in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour

Bake chicken bites in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink inside and bacon is crispy and browned. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle sauce over bites, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. (You can also serve the sauce on the side for dipping.) Make It a Freezer Meal Using kitchen shears, snip off any pieces of toothpick that are showing. Let sauce cool completely, then place in a labeled quart-size (1 L) freezer bag and seal. Place baking sheet with uncooked bites in freezer; place sauce bag separately in freezer. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours, until solid. Transfer frozen bites to a labeled gallon-size (4 L) freezer bag. Add frozen sauce bag and seal together as a kit, removing as much air as possible. Freeze. Cook from Frozen Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Place frozen bites on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink inside and bacon is crispy and browned. Meanwhile, run hot water over frozen sauce bag until thawed enough to pour into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat sauce in microwave on High for 30 seconds or until heated through. Remove chicken from oven and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle sauce over bites, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. (You can also serve the sauce on the side for dipping.)

or up to 12 hours. Pour contents of bag into a large (approx. 5 quart) slow cooker. Cook on Low for 7 hours, until beef is tender. Remove roast, reserving jus left in slow cooker. Discard bay leaves. Transfer roast to a cutting board and, using two forks, shred. Preheat broiler. Slice buns in half, spray with a little cooking spray or brush with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil for 1 minute or until golden and toasted. Remove from oven, place shredded meat on bottom half of bun and add a slice of provolone cheese. Broil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and cover with top half of bun. Skim any fat off top of jus in slow cooker and ladle liquid into small bowls. Serve sandwiches with jus on the side for dipping. Make It a Freezer Meal Freeze roast and marinade in bag. Thaw and Cook Place bag in refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to 48 hours to thaw. Transfer contents to a large (approx. 5 quart) slow cooker. Cook on Low for 7 to 8 hours, until beef is tender. Remove roast, reserving jus left in slow cooker. Discard bay leaves. Transfer roast to a cutting board and, using two forks, shred. Preheat broiler. Slice buns in half, spray with a little cooking spray or brush with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil for 1 minute or until golden and toasted. Remove from oven, place shredded meat on bottom half of bun and add a slice of provolone cheese. Broil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and cover with top half of bun. Skim any fat off top of jus in slow cooker and ladle liquid into small bowls. Serve sandwiches with jus on the side for dipping. TM

Courtesy of Seriously Good Freezer Meals: 150 Easy Recipes to Save Your Time, Money & Sanity by Karrie Truman © 2017 www.robertrose.ca Available where books are sold.


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CELEBRATING

FRUITS in niagara BY LAUREN CHARLEY

CRUISING THROUGH THE NIAGARA PENINSULA DOWN THE COUNTRY LANES YOU’LL NOTICE PLENTY OF MARKETS, SHOPS, AND STALLS ALL SELLING LOCAL SEASONAL FRUIT PICKED FRESH FROM THE FARM.

With a long history in the economy and tourism industry of the region, over 90% of Ontario’s tender fruit crops are grown in the orchards of Niagara’s Fruit Belt. Strawberries, peaches, cherries, plums, pears, apples, and grapes — when in season, these fruits are celebrated by the locals. We invite visitors to the region to visit the farms and join the events in celebration of the area’s sweet and delicious produce.

THE HISTORY OF FRUIT IN NIAGARA The Niagara Region has a rich history in growing fruit. Rows of straight vineyards and thousands of acres of berries and tender fruits have played an

integral role in making Niagara a summertime destination spot for visitors from around the world. Niagara is Canada’s most heavily populated rural area, with over 45,000 acres of rich soil, which have been put to work over the past hundreds of years by the area’s skilled farming community. The only other areas in the country that could be considered rival to this industry are the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, and the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. A warm and temperate climate with hot summers and milder winters, well-drained soil, and sufficient year-round rainfall are the prime essentials for fruit cultivation, all which the region is blessed to have. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 33


Since the late 1800s Niagara has been a prosperous area for tender fruit growing. The railway system gave growers access to the commercial markets, leading to a highly successful canning industry by the early 1900s. The land which came to be known as Virgil in Niagara-on-the-Lake was cultivated to become one of the most productive fruit bearing areas, leading to a canning factory, now the site of a local winery. The town of St. David’s was home to the CanGro Foods Plant, which produced peaches and pears under the Aylmer, Del Monte, and Ideal labels for 112 years, closing in 2008. Unfortunately, its demise meant that the fruit for these brands would no longer come from Canada. Today, you will find that fruit farming is much less commercial, but there are still plenty of family-owned farms continuing to grow the freshest fruits you can find in season.

PICK YOUR OWN FRUIT IN NIAGARA All throughout the Niagara Peninsula, the rural country lanes are home to many family-owned fruit farms, some who open their land to the public. Out in Pelham, Jordan, Vineland, and the countryside heading towards Toronto, there are plenty of small farms, which welcome families to pick fruit straight from their orchards. In Niagara-on-the-Lake, a trip down the Niagara Parkway, and various concessions and lines, will invite you to see many fruit stands, markets, and pick-your-own fruit farms, each with their own signature products and special charm. Visit pickyourown.org/CNONniagara.htm for an extensive list of farms in the region. Some welcome guests to bring a picnic to their property to enjoy during their day out.

73 Picton St, Niagara-on-the-Lake (Sunday) Get ready for the biggest celebrations of the three events, the two-day 28th Annual Peach Festival. On Saturday, the main downtown area of Queen Street from Victoria Street to King Street will be closed off, so shops can present their merchandise on the street and welcome guests inside. The street is filled with live music and food stalls, selling fresh peaches, pies and jams, and an array of barbecued favourites. This year, five bands will perform on stage throughout the day, with the Toronto All Star Band being featured at noon. In the evening, dance to a live Salsa band, and enjoy culinary creations from Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Signature Kitchens, local wine and craft beer. Sunday, the festivities continue at St. Vincent de Paul Church, with a fair set up with treats, food, and entertainment like Strawberry and Cherry Festivals. In the evening, be a part of the exclusive 1,000 guest event, an on-street dinner in the Heritage District with live music, food and wine. Visit niagaraonthelake.com to learn more about the festivals.

PEACH TRIVIA Peaches in the Niagara Peninsula account for 98% of Ontario’s peach crop, and 81% of Canada’s peach harvest. This delicious tender fruit has been grown since the prehistoric ages, first being cultivated in China. Peaches are considered a symbol of friendship and immortality.

SUMMER FRUIT FESTIVALS IN NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE With a proud history in growing fruits including peaches, pears, prunes, plums, cherries, raspberries and strawberries, it’s no wonder the town of Niagara-onthe-Lake holds annual festivals for some of the major fruits. This summer be sure to take in take in the Strawberry, Cherry and Peach festivals.

STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL WHEN: Saturday, June 16th WHERE: St Andrew’s Church | 323 Simcoe St., Niagara-on-the-Lake Every year on the third Saturday in June, St. Andrew’s Church welcomes visitors to the Strawberry Festival on their property, located by Simcoe Park in downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake. Strawberry pies, crepes, shortcakes, jams, and of course, fresh strawberries, are for sale by local farms. Guests love the delicious barbecue and their famous corn-on-the-cob to eat while watching local entertainment. There’s also a silent auction, bake sale, children’s area, plus tours of the historic church, built in 1831.

CHERRY FESTIVAL WHEN: Saturday, July 7th WHERE: St. Mark’s Church | 41 Byron Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake In the peak of the summer weather, St. Mark’s Church hosts the Cherry Festival each year. Both a BBQ breakfast and lunch is served to accompany fresh baked cherry pie, a favourite of locals. An array of vendors selling designer wares, gently used clothes, handmade jewelry, and other treasures will be set up on the grounds, along with a bouncy castle for kids. New this year, the silent auction will feature premier gifts including vacation packages, concerts, and fancy dinners.

PEACH FESTIVAL WHEN: Saturday, August, 11th & Sunday, August 12th, 2018 WHERE: Queen Street (Saturday) & St. Vincent de Paul Church

NIAGARA HOME GROWN WINE FESTIVAL & THE NIAGARA GRAPE AND WINE FESTIVALS If you’re a wine enthusiast and appreciate the lively spirit of a summer festival, be sure to partake in the festivities of the Niagara Home Grown Wine Festival and the Niagara Grape & Wine Festivals, celebrated in St. Catharines. Kick off the summer with the Niagara Home Grown Wine Festival. Over the weekends of June 16th-17th and June 23rd-24th, wineries host food and wine pairings at their properties. The festival is inaugurated by the TD Tailgate party at 13th Street Winery in St. Catharines, where over 30 wineries come together in one night, for an evening of VQA wines, farm-to-table cuisine, and entertainment. From September 15th to September 30th, the 67th Annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival will be celebrated. With two parades, over 100 wineries participating in food and wine pairings, and the ultimate Niagara Grape & Wine Festival Montebello Park Experience, there’s fun for all to enjoy during this truly Canadian celebration.

STAY ON TOP OF THE SEASONAL FRUITS IN NIAGARA The best fruit comes straight from the stands and farmers markets. Be sure to know when your favourite juicy treats are in season. STRAWBERRIES: June and July CHERRIES: First three weeks of July PLUMS: Mid July- Mid August APRICOTS: Mid July - Mid August PEACHES: Mid July- Late August NECTARINES: July through September PEARS: Mid July - October. Select varieties of pears are harvested throughout the winter. TM


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Photo by: Fawn Messer


// L I F E S T Y L E & C U LT U R E

By Victoria Gilbert

T

he water looked fast. “Let’s jump in at the same time so we don’t lose each other,” says Coral, my dive partner who at this moment, eyes smiling through her mask, looks very confident. Or was it crazy? Standing on the edge of the Niagara River as it gushed toward the world’s most impressive waterfall, I wasn’t sure, but with thick black flippers on my feet and a couple of heavy tanks between my shoulders, backing out wasn’t an option. Chewing hard on the chewy plastic of my breathing device, the oxygen from my Regulator tastes sweet as I take a big breath in and step off the edge of the pier into the Niagara River a millisecond after Coral. An incredible force immediately pulls us along and before I can even form the words “oh shit,” my dive buddy is giving me the ‘OK’ signal to go down. The Darth Vader sound of drawing air in and out as calmly and steadily as possible fills my head as the swirling water becomes clearer and we drop slowly downdown-down into the depths of the river. The stringy, bent river weeds come into sight along the bottom at about 40 feet under and I stretch my arms out, relax my body and settle into the relentless pull and rhythm which makes this drift dive as effortless and thrilling as Peter Pan flying off to Neverland. Scuba diving is not the first activity a person may think of when they come to the Niagara Region. I certainly did not, even though diving has been part of my life for many years. The square building on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines painted red with a white diagonal stripe – the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) logo and DAN’S DIVE SHOP in bold letters, must be for divers looking to buy gear for their vacation down south, or at least that’s what I thought. The young man who first greeted me at was busy arranging a rack of what appeared to be astronaut suits as I entered. “So will you come out on Wednesday night with us?” he asked after a brief chat. “Come out where? You can’t dive here.” I recall saying confidently. After all, this was Ontario and the waters here aren’t exactly balmy. He smiled kindly and gave me a piece of paper with “Wednesday night dives”

in bold at the top and a long list of locations and dates below. “You’d be surprised,” dive master Chris Foisey said, “Come out with us one night. You just bring your gear and a full tank and it’s free.” Dan’s has been operating since 1974 and is one of the world’s oldest established dive shops. They service, train and sell gear for warm waters but also specialize in cold water diving, which is what we have here in Ontario. According to their website “Ontario is a top 10 scuba diving destination in any major scuba diving magazine.” I wasn’t convinced, but I was curious. Now, on the banks of Chippewa, a few kilometers from the Falls, before the hydro dam, drifting down the Niagara River from 40 feet below, flying past river reeds, rocks and the occasional fish, I was starting to become a believer in the underwater world of this region. Simply knowing you are being pulled forward by one of the world’s most famous waterfalls is an indescribable rush. That night after the dive, at the bare-bones bar, “Chippewa House” over beers and fried pickles, the divers trade tales about their local adventures. Stories of wrecks from the 1800s off of Port Dalhousie or of discovering an old beam from the remnants of an 1812 war ship of off Navy Pier in Niagara-On-The-Lake make my heart race. “I love the exploratory aspect of it. Seeing what is around the next corner or being where nobody has ever dove before,” says Matt Mandziuk, a seasoned local diver and the owner of Dan’s Dive Shop. Matt’s dad, Dan, hooked him up to scuba gear when he was five years old. His first dive was in Sherkston Quarry on the coast of Lake Erie. Sherkston became a dive site in 1917 when the water pumps quit working and was flooded. Today it’s a prime spot to learn how to dive and also to explore the random items 40 feet down such as train engines, golf carts, fish and boats. “I have the heart of an explorer,” says Matt. I love going places few people have seen. It gets me jacked. It’s part of why we train so that we can do new and amazing things.” Diving in Ontario begins in April and continues to November when the water is at its warmest and has the clearest visibility. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 37


Local Diving Sites According to Matt it’s best to dive June–October when bottom temp is always around 2C. In the right equipment, diving locally is not cold. A dry suit is just that—dry—so you can wear your fleecy PJs underneath while you take in a shipwreck or watch a school of prehistoric Sturgeon spawn in the fall. It was a stormy hot evening when I met Matt and a handful of divers at the docks in Port Dalhousie. The boat rocked mercilessly as we headed out over dark waters to where a wreck, affectionately called “The Tiller” because of the large tiller at the back of the ship, lay silently since it sank in the mid 1800’s. The boat slumbers 95-110 feet down. It was most likely a freighter, which sank while headed to Toronto, although not much is known about it. “Hold the rope on the safety stop back up,” Matt tells us as we spit in our masks and position our bodies on the edges of the boat. “It can get a little rough near the surface on a night like this.” Rain has begun to fall in little patters on the water as we fall backward off the boat and slowly descend. There is no talking underwater, no cellphones, no thought of what you didn’t finish at work that day or whatever plays on your mind on the surface. There is only silence and the constant breath in your ears as a large boat comes into view before you and the whole world slips away and you glide by sunken history. “You face your fears,” Dan Mandziuk, of Dan’s Dive shop, told me much later on dry land. “It’s pushing yourself, but safely.” At 72 years of age, he’s still a fixture at the shop and dives locally regularly. “If you think you can, you can, if you think you can’t, you can’t,” he says with a twinkle in his eye. He likens diving to driving—experience makes the difference. “It is investing in yourself. If you can reach 8-10 dives, that’s a thresh-hold to saying ‘you are a diver.’” Do it for the thrill, do it for the post dive beer and the fried pickles, or do it for the friendships, which inevitably come after each dive, but if you do venture into the depths of waters in the Niagara Region, it will be an experience you will never forget. TM

Navy Hall, Lower Niagara River, Niagara-On-The-Lake: Depths range from 20-98 feet with good visibility after periods of no rain or low wind (8-10 feet). The fall is the best time to dive Navy Hall as the sturgeons come in to spawn during that time of year. Sturgeons are an incredible prehistoric fish that are endangered and can grow to lengths of up to 7-12 feet.

Chippawa Creek Dive Site: Kings Bridge Park to Boat Launch Drift Enter at Kings Bridge Park or at the Tim Horton’s by Kings Bridge and drift down to the Chippawa Creek public boat launch. Max Depth 40 . Visibility 10-20 average. Look for bikes, guns, bottles. Duration 35-45 mins.

Welland Scuba Park in the Old Welland Canal: Welland Scuba Park offers some fabulous shore dives for the beginner diver and diver who wants to work on skills in a shallow, and controlled environment. A favourite spot in the Canal is the Welland Swing Bridge with plenty of dock pillars and fish, as well as generally better visibility.

Tiller Wreck Dive Charter, Port Dalhousie: This is beautiful and fragile wooden schooner 100 long by 25 wide. The ship is in great shape and features two beautiful masts, a rudder, cargo holds that you can access, a picturesque bow, windlass, anchor and stove. This is an advanced dive for experienced divers. For more Niagara Region dive sites and information about getting certified go to www.dansdiveshop.ca


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By Sherman Zavitz

METROPOLIS AND THE GREAT DYNAMIC PALACE: Visions For Niagara’s Future Amazing! Unbelievable! Extraordinary! These words could easily be used in describing two mega projects once proposed for Niagara. Conceived by innovative, idealistic visionaries, had either one of the projects achieved reality, the appearance and the future of Niagara Falls would have been profoundly affected. During the summer of 1887, the City of Buffalo offered $100,000 to anyone who could come up with a practical method of utilizing the Niagara River’s water power. Leonard Henkle, an entrepreneur and inventor from Rochester, New York, leaped at the opportunity. He set his mind to the challenge, carefully developing an elaborate plan, the details of which were made public in 1895. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 41


His idea was to construct a large, lavish building that would stretch across the entire width of the Niagara River close to the crest of the falls. Named the Great Dynamic Palace and International Hall, it would be a half mile in length and more than 50 storeys high. Most of the building was to be used for commercial and manufacturing interests. However, the top floor – the International Hall – was to be a special place. Accommodating some 10,000 people, it would be something like a United Nations where, as Henkle explained: “Nations of the world would be welcomed to assemble…to be taught to cease the conflicts of war and love one another. The social distinctions between poverty and wealth would then be destroyed.” Responding to Buffalo’s challenge, Henkle planned to use all of the water flowing beneath his grandiose building for generating electricity, confident there would be enough power produced to supply the needs of every community in the United States and Canada. The powerhouse would be in the lowest part of the building and would have “122 pairs of twin turbine wheels.” Revenue from the sale of electricity would be used to finance two other projects. Henkle first planned to build a large fleet of steamships which would sail out of the St. Lawrence River “to every major port in the world.” The second project would involve the construction of two transcontinental railways: one extending from British Columbia to the St. Lawrence River and the second from California to Maine. The two lines would cross at Niagara Falls, using a tunnel through the Great Dynamic Palace and International Hall. While Leonard Henkle’s ideas undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows, especially here in Niagara Falls, his plan paled in comparison to a much different, even more elaborate vision for Niagara’s future revealed a year earlier by another late 19th century “thinker.” However, this other individual is little remembered today for his Niagara connection but rather for his invention – an invention he first saw in an entirely separate vision. On a summer morning during 1895, a 40-yearold travelling salesman with a well-lathered face picked up his straight razor, looked into a mirror

and began to shave. He quickly stopped, however, when he realized the razor was too dull to do a proper job. It was even beyond stropping. The frustrated shaver was King Camp Gillette, a man who had always dreamed of inventing something that would be needed by a large percentage of the population and would have to be purchased again and again. As he stared at his straight razor that fateful

morning, a picture of what we know today as the safety razor came into his mind. He later wrote, “I saw it all in a moment and stood there in a trance of joy.” This vision depicted a thin, uniform steel strip with opposite edges sharpened and held in place with a clamp and handle. A great deal of work and experimenting followed. It was 1903 before he was able to market his new product, selling 51 razors and 168 blades that year. By 1917 he was selling a million razors and 120 million blades annually. Beards were rapidly disappearing. King Camp Gillette was more than an inventor and salesman, however. He was also a utopian socialist who believed that the

competitive system brought about greed and waste. He concluded that society was ready for a great industrial change that would bring about economic order and efficiency. This would then create ideal social conditions and so a perfect world would be achieved. “Under a flawless economic system of production and distribution,” Gillette explained, “there can be only one city in North America and possibly in the world.” Because of its unlimited natural source of power, he felt that the site of this city, which he named Metropolis, should straddle the Niagara River. Gillette’s ideas were detailed in a book he wrote titled “The Human Drift,” published in 1894, the year before his safety razor vision. In the book he explained that Metropolis would be a rectangular city 45 miles by 135 miles. It would stretch from just beyond Rochester, New York in the east to Hamilton, Ontario in the west. The residential section of Metropolis would extend from Rochester, New York to a point about 10 miles east of the Niagara River. Here he envisioned some 60 million people, virtually the entire population of the United States at that time, would live in thousands of 25-storey apartment buildings. All other cities would be abandoned. The industrial district of Metropolis would be centered around Niagara Falls. A logical and orderly system of production and distribution would be established. This would be achieved by each manufacturing industry having only one plant. Therefore, there would be only one steel mill, one shoe factory, one paper mill and so on for the whole continent. All the consumers and workers would be living nearby. With no competition and practically no transportation, distribution and marketing costs, Gillette reasoned there would be a great deal of excess wealth. This money would be used to improve social conditions, creating equality in society. This achievement, in turn, would mean that problems like crime would be eliminated. None of these plans ever materialized, of course. In fact the very competitive system he criticized helped him earn a fortune with his safety razors and blades. Gillette could sell them - but not his vision for Niagara. TM


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Give your Written by Lauren Charley From the Botanical Gardens, to the numerous parks and trails, to private residences boasting astonishing floral displays and landscapes, the Niagara Region is well-known for its interest in gardening and horticulture. When the weather gets warmer, we enjoy the time we can spend outside in the peace and comfort of our own backyard.

Outdoor parties, barbecues, and nights spent around an open fire create fond memories with family and friends. This year, give your yard a makeover to be the ultimate place to host, entertain, or simply relax in solitude. Invest in an affordable addition, or spend a few fun weekends tackling these DIY projects. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 47


Fire pit area. One of the most popular backyard features, a fire pit,

Raised flower beds. Raised flowerbeds are quite easy to install

Pergola with lights or flowers. A pergola is an open passageway that creates a space to walk or an area to entertain. Wooden posts support crossbeams and sturdy, open lattice, creating a foundation to add flowers, vines, and other plants for shade or decoration. Bougainvillea and roses are common choices, adorned with pretty fairy lights. Basic pergolas and archways can be constructed fairly easily as a DIY project. The space created is perfect to set patio furniture, or you can incorporate it into a walkway. Pergolas can be transformed into an outdoor dining room by adding weather-resistant curtains to enclose the space.

Tiki Bar. Bring a little flavour of the tropics to your garden this summer

is simple to add and an attractive space to entertain. Ideally, they are constructed from fireproof material on flat, level land at least 25 feet from a house or building. They are strictly governed by local building codes, some of which may require you build within a certain area, or encircle your pit with sand or gravel and even regulate what you are allow to use as fuel. To build a stone fire pit, start by digging out a circular area and building the foundation by mixing water with concrete. Next, build an outer wall by layering stones of different sizes, and then construct a smooth inner fire brick wall. Finish off by removing any excess debris, and painting, if you’d like, for a polished look. Cedar chairs go perfectly around a fire pit when you’re relaxing, having drinks and making s’mores.

— you can even get the job done yourself in a day. They’re also a great solution if you have back problems to reduce bending when gardening. Most people use wood such as cedar or recycled pallets for the frame of the bed, but stone or concrete can be substituted for a more permanent structure. Basic flowerbed structures are raised-cedar boxes, advancing into landscaping timber structures, closed-in beds, or incorporated into a seated bench area. Once you have built the frame, fill the area with soil and compost, and plant beautiful flowers or seeds to grow your own herbs and vegetables.

by adding your very own tiki bar. Building the bar area itself requires some work, but transforming it from a plain backyard watering hole into an island getaway is as simple as adding thatching to the roof and colourful floral decorations. You can even browse online to get rolled bamboo panels to wrap around the bar, and fun pineapple-shaped and tiki-themed glasses and punch bowls. Be sure to stock your bar with ingredients like pineapple juice, coconut milk, and fresh fruit to make delicious island-inspired cocktails.>>


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2018’s Annual Flower - The Calibrachoa

Covered Gazebo. As lovely as the warm

summer months may be, they also attract many insects, especially the dreaded mosquitos. There are many inexpensive covered gazebos with mosquito nets available if you browse home improvement stores or search the Internet. With a covered gazebo surrounding your patio table, you can continue to serve and entertain your friends while it’s raining lightly and late into the night when the bugs start to bite. Newly renovated gardens in 2018 are starting to “rethink” the concept of alfresco dining, by situating their outdoor eating space away from the house, rather than right outside the kitchen. This creates a relaxing sanctuary for both the guests and their host. Be sure to include areas to serve and chill food, to avoid making trips back to the house.

Forest Bathing. Borrowed from the Japanese

tradition of ‘Shinrin-yoku’ forest bathing is done simply by visiting a forest, wooded area, or some nature conservation, ideally with tree-cover, for a short, relaxing walk. In urban areas, this could be a nearby park or greenway, or the nearest hiking trail. At home you can create your own by building a stone footpath with bridges weaving in and out of a woodland garden, and if you have the space and land for it, add a stream.

Every year, the National Garden bureau selects one perennial, one annual, one edible plant and one bulb to recognize. This year, include a colourful selection of Calibrachoa in your flowerbeds. The annual plant is similar to the petunia, as both are part of the tomato plant family and share, many characteristics including trumpetshaped flowers. The ‘Verdure’ palette The trendiest colours for gardens in 2018 are those from the ‘Verdure’ palette, which are colours found in lush vegetation such as bright purples, reds, eggshell blue and foliage green. Plant colourful herbs like lavender, rosemary, and Thai basil, all part of this colour group, and for a beautiful fragrant smell to carry on the breeze throughout your yard. Get on Board with these 2018 Garden Trends

Water Features and Zen Gardens. Outdoor Movie Theatre. An open-air

cinema is not just for the drive in. With just a few key pieces of equipment and some cozy furniture, you can recreate the drive-in feeling in your back yard. You can purchase outdoor screens online, or simply find a spot to secure a plain white sheet. You’ll need a home theatre projector situated in a spot where it won’t be damaged by the rain, as well as speakers to create a theatrical surround-sound experience. Outdoor camping chairs, or the new inflatable bean bag chairs are perfect for a cozy night watching films on a summer night.

Reconnect with the peaceful sounds of nature by adding water features to your garden. Home improvement and garden centres sell pre-made fountains, or you can build a custom creation using recycled metals, bamboo, stones, and other materials. Meditation is rising in popularity as part of the ‘Nature Rx’ experience, and many homeowners are including Zen gardens in their backyards. A Zen garden is essentially just a space where you can disconnect from your busy life and listen to the sounds of nature. Plants amid smooth stones next to a water feature with a shaded area to relax creates the perfect spot for meditation. TM

Garden Media Group identified 2018 as being the year known as “Nature Rx”; meaning that from plant-based diets to forest bathing, consumers are using Mother Nature to incorporate into strengthening their physical and mental well-being.


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TRULY LOCAL ADVICE//COLUMN

Debt is not a Dirty Word

So what do you do? If you’re like a large percentage of Niagara’s population (and beyond!) you carry some debt. What can you do? Consider consolidation. Consolidating your debt typically means combining several unsecured debts into a single, new loan that is more favorable. Specifically, debt consolidation involves taking out a new loan to pay off a number of other debts. The new loan may result in a lower interest rate, lower monthly payment or both. It may also result in increased cash flow, which allows you to save for emergencies and offers something even greater: peace of mind. So where do you start?

STEP ONE: REACH OUT Bring your bills. Bring your investment statements. Bring your doubts and your dreams. Visit with your advisor and prepare for an honest conversation. They’ll want to know your expenses, your debts, your plans, and your goals. They’ll make the latter achievable by managing and guiding the former. For example, I met with a couple recently that came in with the goal of upsizing their small home. What was holding them back? A consolidated student loan debt that they had been carrying for almost ten years. Adulting is hard. Adulting with student debt that you wish you’d outgrown is even harder.

At every life stage, your financial situation will evolve. I know you want it to evolve beyond a snowball down the mountain of debt. To help you achieve this goal, we can review your situation and assess the best course of action at this stage of your life. That couple I mentioned above had the admirable goal of upsizing their home closer to Lake Ontario. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear as we separated the dandelions from the dirt, that their goal would mean living beyond their means. Although they were working well-paying jobs as self-employed health care professionals in St. Catharines, they had neither benefits nor pension. They also lacked a debt repayment plan. Buying a larger home would be putting the cart before the dandelion-munching horse.

STEP THREE: PLAN With a clear picture of your debt, expenses, and goals, we can create a plan that helps you reduce your debt and live within your means. Don’t worry, living within your means does not mean you have to live a life devoid of all the amazing stuff you love. For example, that couple’s goal of upsizing was not squashed — just delayed. To achieve it, we started by creating a true financial plan that involved drastically paying down their government student debt, as well as their student lines with their bank. To begin, they applied for interest relief and government grants through the Canada Student loans program. We all did a happy dance when they were granted this relief and a large amount of their debt was thus granted. Next we looked at how they could live within their means at this stage of their life. We created a financial plan to help them build emergency savings (even health care professionals get sick), develop retirement savings, and reduce unnecessary expenses. As a key part of this puzzle, we also paid out their remaining student loans with a line of credit. The resulting interest rate and monthly payment amount fit within their new budget and their long-term financial plan. They would be student-debt free and living in roomier quarters sooner than a toddler could start school.

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Admit it. You spent a little more than you intended on your March break holiday. You’re still paying the minimum amount on your credit cards each month, trying to pay back what you hadn’t planned to spend in the first place. You’re hoping to find room on your cards for a summer vacation, but, when you look at your full credit card bill (through eyes hidden behind your hands), you see your holiday spending getting cozy with the new patio set you got for such an amazing deal… last spring. This spend, pay down, spend cycle can seem as crazed as a toddler circling a room after a cake-smash party.

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IGNITE A BETTER YOU//COLUMN

DEMYSTIFYING THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: COLLAGEN? In a world of anti-aging that seeks to achieve and maintain wrinkle-free skin, luscious hair, and a supple body; the word ‘collagen’ is unmatched in its ability to evoke so much desire, confusion, hope, and frustration all at the same time. We desire to have more of it, but are confused how to get it. Yet we have hope that we will find the product or procedure to act as our magic elixir and beautify our skin, ultimately leaving us frustrated because what we have tried on many occasions hasn’t delivered the results we expected. I want to share with you what the science says about optimizing our collagen levels as we age as well as my own experience in working with thousands of patients over the last 20 years to achieve Science-based Sustainable Results (TM) in my practice. Collagen is a protein that comprises 1/3 of all protein in our body. It provides structural support in our skin to give it strength and elasticity. It is estimated that we lose 1% of collagen each year after the age of 30. When collagen levels decline we experience an increase in fine lines and wrinkles as well as a loss of volume. When we enhance our collagen levels it helps to plump out the skin and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. On a daily basis, I not only spend time educating, but consulting with my patients on how to achieve a more youthful, less saggy appearance. Keeping in mind a plan for optimizing collagen must fit within each individuals lifestyle, stage of life (age), and budget. To do this we follow a three-step plan at my practice of Protect, Ignite, Illuminate (TM). First, we need to Protect the collagen that we already have. Sun protection is the number one way we do this. UV rays create oxidation in our skin that damages our collagen. Consuming adequate antioxidants will also help counteract oxidation that occurs through sun exposure, environmental toxins, and even excessive exercise. Finally, managing stress is very important as stress causes increased cortisol levels and cortisol degrades collagen. Next, we need to Ignite collagen by providing the ingredients our body requires to make its own collagen. This occurs in the form of creams, serums, and supplements. Supplemental collagen has been shown to support skin health, joint health, hair and nail health, as well as gut health. When it comes to collagen supplements it is a misconception that the collagen we consume is transported to our skin intact to restore our collagen levels. The supplemental collagen is digested in our GI tract into smaller fragments known as peptides containing a unique amino acid structure that then travels to our skin providing the building blocks our cells

need to make its own new collagen. A 2014 study found that ingesting 2.5 to 5 grams of supplemental collagen reduced eye wrinkle volume by 20% and increased procollagen type 1 by 65% as well as elastin by 18% (1). Collagen supplements should also contain vitamin C and proanthocyanidins (such as grape seed or pine bark extract) as they help with the absorption and protection of the newly formed collagen. Furthermore, another 2014 study found that a combination of astaxanthin and supplemental collagen improved skin elasticity, hydration, and barrier integrity in people with photoaged skin (2). It is best to look for products that contain all of these ingredients and therefore act as ‘multi-taskers’. Creams should contain a combination of peptides, vitamin C and A (retinol) to enhance collagen production. Finally, we need to Illuminate our skin with professional treatments which will deliver the fastest and most significant results, we do this through: lasers, dermal fillers, and plasma (PRP). Lasers such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) help to reduce sun damage, spider veins, and rosacea, but also have an added benefit of stimulating collagen. The light therapy causes vibration in the deeper levels of the skin promoting collagen turnover and new production. Similarly, laser resurfacing and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy causes micro injuries to the dermal layer of the skin causing new collagen to be produced. Filler which predominantly consists of hyaluronic acid provides volume where collagen has diminished. Some of the latest filler technologies even contain molecules that promote our own natural collagen growth. When we invest our money, we would never put all our eggs in one basket. We would have a strategy designed by a financial expert to diversify our money. Enhancing collagen levels acts in the same way. We can’t rely on one supplement, one cream, or one procedure to get the job done, as that will only get us part way there. We need a comprehensive strategy designed by a medical professional that Protects collagen, Ignites new growth, and by using modern science - mimics the effects of having more collagen via injections to Illuminate our skin. With all the advice streaming on social media, we must be careful to invest in the right strategies. Trust the science not opinions to Ignite a better YOU! 1. Proksche, E., et al. Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014, 27(3), 113 -9. 2. Yoon, HS., et al. Supplementating with dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate improves facial elasticity and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -12 expression: a comparative study with placebo. J Med Food. 2014, 17(7), 810 -6.

Dr. Plaskos is the Medical Director at Aegis MD. She is a cosmetic and wellness expert. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 55


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MONEY TALK//COLUMN

The Debt Crisis Facing Students and their PostSecondary Education April is usually a great time for most students who are graduating from College or University. Exams are nearing completion and the next chapter in their lives is just around the corner. The only challenge is that in most cases, students today can’t find appropriate work in their studied field and may have to take a lower paying job initially to build their employment value in the marketplace. Realizing that it could take years before they can afford to own real estate they may move back in with Mom and Dad and last, but not least, is that their post-secondary education tuition that they funded with Government loans is up for payment. For those that have taken on the borrowing path to higher education, the average debt facing these students is approximately $30,000. In today’s competitive job market, a post-secondary education is a pre-requisite for most opportunities in the market place. You will have a very difficult road ahead if you don’t have a degree in your chosen field. Some students are fortunate; Mom and Dad may have been able to save for this rainy day with the use of a Registered Education Savings Plan. Unfortunately not all students will have this good fortune and the only way to help fund their future is by taking advantage of a Government education funding vehicle (OSAP). The latest study I could find shows that the average student in Ontario owes the Government approximately $28,000. Ontario post-secondary tuition cost can range anywhere from $8,000 - $22,000 annually per year. Between 2012 and 2013, more than 400,000

students borrowed money to help pay for more schooling claims the Canadian Federation of Students. Over the past few years, according to the CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity at Western University, 14% of people with federal student loans have defaulted within three years of leaving school. If you are having difficulty making your loan payments a University of Western Ontario survey suggested that you apply for repayment assistance. The Government can reduce your monthly payment in accordance with your income, forgive interest on the loan and in some cases waive payments against the principle. Currently the Liberal government has been forced to write off nearly $200 million in outstanding loans. The Government has also taken steps in order to make paying off student debt easier. They have increased the income threshold so that graduation students now have to earn $25,000 annually before graduates are required to start making payments towards their debt. Every generation has a greater opportunity than the past generation. College and University graduates today will truly shape a new and exciting world for us. The funding of this education is not a cost but rather an investment. Like all good investments it takes time to see the return on your dollars. The important thing I would recommend to graduating students is to stay financially focused, live within your means and don’t be afraid to take a step back in the job market to show your potential. I talk to business owners every day and we need the next generation to realize starting from the ground up is okay. With good habits, time and perseverance, this crop of graduating millennials will be our future leaders.

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GET REAL//COLUMN

New construction as an investment Having spent the better part of my real estate career educating myself on the natures and intricacies of every real estate development, I have come to discover that my clients’ hard earned money is pretty safe when invested in a property. However, investments in properties, most especially those in resale or land, are often long term investments that gain value with renovation, updates, and of course time. Most recently, the Niagara Region has acknowledged a boom in out of town investors who see the area as one that facilitates retirement aspirations, easy access to our friendly border, picturesque waterfront views, and the fame of our wine region. Resale homes achieved unparalleled interest in the past year, and new construction subdivisions like Rolling Meadows and Oldfield Estates in Niagara Falls sold out in less than a week! More and more, Niagara is gaining the reputation as a versatile peninsula offering multiple options for a discerning buyer. With this outside discovery in mind, perhaps it is time, as residents in this highly sought after area, to recognize the additional worth of where we have already chosen to live. It is safe to say that Niagara will continue to grow and prosper as a place that attracts a lifestyle conducive to rest and relaxation, increasing industry, and resplendent neighborhoods within short proximity to Toronto. On this same note, property values in the Niagara Region continue to climb after achieving a near 25% increase over the past year. If you are a numbers person, you will most likely compare this percentage to what you can achieve, or are achieving, in your current investments over the past year, noting an obvious discrepancy in return. So why not consider investing in new construction in Niagara as an alternative way to see greater gains in shorter periods of time? If you’re already putting two and two together, here’s why: If you make the decision to invest in new construction in Niagara you will most likely only have to invest up to 10% to secure a lot, plan and contract to build. Taking into consideration that building a home takes one to a year and a half to complete, your initial minimal investment will already benefit from a year’s worth of increased market value, not to mention continued interest in out of town buyers arriving with the foreknowledge of Go Train expansion into our area in the foreseeable future. Most importantly, many new homebuilders are offering the incentive of an assignment clause. If you are not familiar with this contract terminology, optioning an assignment clause means that you are permitted to sell your new build home before incurring the closing costs– at a higher price. So, essentially, you can make a profit on your new build without setting foot into it. Your other option, once again, a pretty sound investment in itself, is to live in or rent the house for a limited time period at rising rental prices while your new build home, still with its Tarion warranty, increases in value through its infancy. It is common to see our homes as investments, but new construction, especially in the Niagara region, is a dynamic way to achieve immediate gains amidst long and short-term expectations. Most importantly, acquiring another piece of the Niagara Region puzzle is sure to grace your portfolio with the flash of lightning in a bottle that so many investments promise, but very seldom deliver.

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1709 Niagara Stone Road | Niagara-on-the-Lake T. 905-468-7863 | www.MoriGardens.com I AM NOT A SEASONED GARDENER. In fact, after leaving city life behind, I’m facing the chore of creating a front garden and backyard living space in our two-year-old home, where all we’ve got by way of landscaping is some sod and a skinny little tree at the side of the road. Up until now, my green thumb has only ever been used to plunk cheerful annuals into balcony containers. Enter Joanne Young, Garden Designer at Mori Gardens, who kindly walked me through the overwhelm of planning an outdoor space. She’s honed the process into a few easy steps that even a city gal like me can manage. Take a tour. See your space from a new perspective. Identify problems: drainage issues, privacy needs, ugly views. Which plants are keepers? Which should wwgo? Check paths and walkways for repairs. Consider access. For example, herb gardens work nicely when they are close to the kitchen. Use of Space. A weekend coffee on the porch with the paper. Outdoor entertaining. Space for kids to play, and help tend the garden. Will you grow food? Create a sanctuary for birds, bees and butterflies? Are you low-maintenance, or do you love a challenge? Make a wish list. Include every element you’d love in your oasis. Dream big, and see how your outdoor space can evolve over time. Consider budget. Divide your list into stages you can tackle each year. Take into account the most economical use of your resources. For example, if you need brickwork for a shed, a pathway, and a patio, it may be more affordable to tackle all of the brickwork at once than to hire someone for each job. Hone your style. Japanese, English Cottage, Woodland…these were terms I’d heard, but was hard pressed to define. Pore through magazines, Pinterest, and sites like Houzz.com. Collect images that appeal to you, and you’ll notice common themes emerge. Use the Five Senses of Gardening. Joanne’s key to beautiful garden design includes sense of entry (invites you in to see more),welcome (equate the space with relaxation), enclosure (defines space, creates shade and privacy), place (compliments the architecture of your home), and a sense of flow (lines direct the eye around the garden). Draw a bubble diagram. This rough sketch of your space is ideally drawn to scale. Add existing elements, and then allocate ‘bubbles’ to plot new features. Play around before making permanent decisions. Note sun and shady spots, and experiment with lines. Make a plant list. Remember that you can purchase smaller versions of the plants you love and let them grow in. Other considerations include maintenance, problem areas (turn them into features!), your hardiness zone, seasonal transitions, sunlight, and colour. I’ve got everything I need to start dreaming up my backyard sanctuary. If you’re still intimidated by tackling an overhaul on your own, book in with a Mori Gardens designer. They offer a no obligation appointment to find the service that’s right for you..

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 61


HOME TO NIAGARA’S BEST ATTRACTIONS

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Shaw Garden Tour

Springlicious

June 9 Shaw Festival A spectacular annual garden tour in Niagara-onthe-Lake organized by the Shaw Guild that you won’t want to miss, begins at 10:00 am. Ponds and waterfalls, views of the Niagara River, hundreds of varieties of perennials, magnificent specimens of trees and shrubs will all delight our visitors. As an added bonus, several of the gardens surround beautiful historic homes. Marvel at the dry stone wall built by one of the owners. Purchase tickets at www.shawfest.com/beyond-the-stage/all/shawgarden-tour or by calling 1-800-511-7429

Niagara Falls Comic Com

Twain’s Niagara Show

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June 1 to 3 Downtown Niagara Falls Springlicious is the biggest Street Festival in Niagara Falls! Featuring food vendors, live music, artisans, and much more! This family friendly event will run from June 1st to June 3rd on Queen Street, Niagara Falls. More info at springlicious.com

June 1 to 3 Scotiabank Convention Centre Niagara Falls Comic Con features more than 150,000 square feet of exhibitors, comic books, movie cars, cosplay contests, celebrity autographs and photo-ops, workshops, and more! Some of this years guests include Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, Jaleel White from Family Matters, Sean Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy, Dean Cain from Lois & Clark and many more. More info at niagarafallscomiccon.com/

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Floral Showhouse Royal Geranium Show June 2 to 10 Floral Showhouse The Regal Geranium Show at the Floral Showhouse runs for the month of June, featuring regal geraniums, fuchsia, caladiums and more! More info at niagaraparks.com

Canadian Pet Expo

June 7 to 10 Scotiabank Convention Centre The Canadian Pet Expo will be presenting its responsible pet ownership message to over 175,000 pet attendees and their pets throughout Canada. With the addition of some exciting elements, your family including all pets, will enjoy the weekend. Some new events include the Small Animal Village – Parade of Breeds – CPE Disc Competition – Weight Pull – Breeders Village – Reptiles on Display – our largest Bird presence ever – Celebrity appearance including Hulk the real Life Gentle Giant, and more! More info at fallsconventions.com

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June 14 Niagara Falls History Museum History is alive in Niagara... Be a part of it! Come join Mark Twain on an adventure through the world of Niagara. The World Famous storyteller and author comes to life on stage. Learn about the war of 1812 and the Underground Rail Road. Listen to the tales of Twain’s first visit to Niagara in 1869. It’s an evening you will never forget.

White Effect Dinner

June 14 Niagara on the Lake One of the ultimate outdoor social events of the summer combining culinary, friendship and wine admist the backdrop of beautiful Queenston Heights and the Brock Monument. Visit www.niagaraonthelake.com for full event details or phone 905-468-1950.

Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival

June 16 to 24 | Niagara on the Lake The best way to kick off the summer is with a tailgate party in the vineyard and a warm Niagara welcome! Join over 30 Niagara wineries at 13th Street Winery for the TD Tailgate Party June 23, 2018– one amazing night featuring VQA wines, fresh produce and farm-to-table favourites. It is one of the most unique wine and food events with fabulous entertainment, a truly Canadian experience! Included in the celebrations are two weekends of Homegrown Discovery Pass experiences to enjoy, with special events and wine and culinary pairings at wineries throughout Niagara. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 63


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Day of 1000 Musicians

July 21 | Fireman’s Park This will be Niagara Region’s version of Rockin’ 1000, an ambitious attempt to gather 1000 musicians to perform simultaneously for the largest Canadian rock show ever.  Amateur and professional musicians will join forces performing 6 songs in one big production, while raising money for local charities including music for therapy programs in the region. Musician Sign Up: Please visit the website above and fill out the form as a musician.  They are looking for 250 guitarists, 250 drummers, 250 bassists and 250 singers. Public Admisssion: Free (cash donations or non-perishable food items gratefully accepted in support of Project SHARE) More info at www.dayof1000musicians.com

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Niagara Lavender Festival

July 7-8 | NEOB Lavender A day of everything lavender. There is a tasting tent full of culinary delights like lavender ice cream, lavender pizza, lavender lemonade and these are just a few of the items to be offered for the day. Roam the flowering lavender field and pick your own lavender. Shop and eat in the market place with many unique vendors. Tour the facility and see how essential oils are made with the NEOB niagara distillery. Cooking and baking demo’s on how to cook with lavender and its culinary uses. Every year we add something new. Sit back and indulge in a NEOB Niagara experience. More info at niagaralavendarfesival.com

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Peach Festival

August 11 | Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake In celebration of the local peach harvest, come join us for the 28th Annual Peach Festival on Queen St.! Enjoy live music from 5 bands including The Toronto All Star Big Band (performing at 12:00), David Hoy, St.Catharines Pipe Band and The Local Fife and Drum, who will start the morning off at 10:00 am. The Ben Show, a fantastic street performer for all ages, will also be attending this year. The festival will feature a sidewalk sale of the merchants from the Queen St. area as well as lots of tasty, “Peachy” delights from local bakeries and restaurants and (of course!) local growers selling their delicious fresh peaches. The day runs from 10:00am – 5:00pm on the blocks of Queen St., from Victoria St. to King St. On Sunday, the festival continues at St. Vincent de Paul Church. If you have any questions please contact our office at 905-468-1950.

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Cherry Festival

July 7 | Niagara on the Lake Come for the freshly baked cherry pies and stay for the fun at this family friendly event. New this year is a destinations and events silent auction including concerts, dinners and vacation homes. BBQ breakfast and lunch served, designer and nearly new clothing, treasures, jewelery, music, bake table, children activities and bouncy castle. Event runs from 12 to 3.

Simcoe Days

August 6 MacKenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum Celebrate the Civic Holiday, also known as ‘Simcoe Day’, or ‘Emancipation Day’ in the African Canadian community, which honours the first Lieutenant Governor of this province. Join us as the Mackenzie Printery will be featuring the works of Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant Governor, John Graves Simcoe and his contributions to shaping the future of Ontario. Admission is $6.25 for adults and $4.15 for children six to 12 years of age. Children five years and under are admitted free at all Niagara Parks attractions. The Mackenzie Printery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free parking available.

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Shades of Summer

August 12 | Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake A delightful Niagara-on-the-Lake celebration of the peach harvest — tables we’ll be set up in advance on Queen Street in the Heritage District and provide the inspiration for a memorable evening. Tables are for 8 people and will be reserved with your name. You bring dinner, tablecloth, dishes, cutlery, table setings, napkins, glassware and table décor. Wine can be preordered and will be waiting at your table. There will be live music. Cost per table is $280.00. More info at niagaraonthelake.com

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Sip, Sizzle and Savour

August 26 | Queenston Heights Restaurant The annual Sip, Sizzle & Savour Harvest BBQ is back at Queenston Heights Restaurant. This outdoor food and wine tasting event features creations from Niagara Parks Culinary team, along with select VQA wine, spirit and beer tastings. Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for children under 12 and include our full BBQ menu, three drink sample tickets and raffle. 4:00pm - 9:00pm For tickets and further details please visit www.niagaraparks.com


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CIRQUE DE SOLEIL: CORTEO JULY 11 TO JULY 15 MERIDIAN CENTRE DOWNTOWN ST CATHARINES BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN-LEE


Get carried away with the extraordinary life of a single clown. Following over 10 years of thrilling audiences worldwide with extreme athletics and other worldly storytelling, Cirque du Soleil’s famous circus show Corteo is embarking on a North America arena tour – sharing the one-of-a-kind performance with smaller towns the company previously could not reach with their Big Top circus. Corteo will visit Niagara for a seven-performance run at the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines. The shows will run over five days from July 11 through to July 15 and predominantly be held in the evening — with matinees offered on Saturday and Sunday. This classic Cirque show focuses on the life of the clown Mauro, who has passed on, but his spirit lingers amongst the performances. Many of Mauro’s friends join the stage to celebrate his life with not a funeral, but an emotionally charged montage celebrating the here and hereafter of life. “All cirque shows invite you to go on a journey in a fantastic world full of creatures and different characters, but Corteo — it is totally different from that,” says Maxwell Batista, publicist for Corteo. “What makes this show unique is that by using a human being and using his friends in the show, it honours the traditional circus.” “This clown invites us and brings us into all of those flashbacks and the greatest moments of his life,” said Batista. “You will see from the moments when he was a child and he was playing on bags pretending they were trampolines to moments when you get to see the loves of his life — in this case, you will see them flying over the stage on big chandeliers.” These lively recollections of a life gloriously lived and mystical portrayal of life after death blends with Mauro’s own memories of his life, friends and loved ones — along with his regrets and melancholy. All combine to build a festive parade that is guaranteed to entertain and delight all ages. Acrobats and performers swing from chandeliers, fly from suspended bars and crawl to the very tops of poles in order to jump to the beds below, to name a few of the ways the performers fight gravity each night of the production. “You see human beings — real people — doing things on stage … extraordinary, amazing things,” said Batista. “This helps you form a connection with this cirque show more than any other Cirque show.” The show first began in 2005 to rave reviews, travelling all over the globe and sharing its story with more than 19 countries and 60 different cities. When the renowned show concluded in 2015, Batista said they simply could not put the show away for good. Cirque du Soleil’s directors and engineers began working on converting the large-scale circus into an arena suitable performance which could travel to smaller cities and towns that could not accommodate the large scale circus prior. “At first we were like ‘Wow, this show is not suited for an arena,’” said Batista. “There is no way — it is just so big. And it is so hard to move a large show from a big top to an arena and we thought it would be impossible. And then for two years, we are thinking and we are thinking and we are thinking; it is a classic show, it was not time to close.” Following these two years of trial and error, Batista said

the Cirque team was able to build the show into an arena format. Corteo has since returned to its travelling roots with over 51 performers from 17 different nationalities, 23 technicians and over 100 people total in tow. Batista said it is also one of the biggest Cirque du Soleil shows ever created for an arena due to its sheer size, the amount of equipment entailed and the biggest props of any show ever performed by the company. “When you watch Corteo and sit in the arena, you will feel like you are in a small theatre,” said Batista. “Because of the environment, you won’t even recognize the large arena, because it will feel so small. The magnitude of the stage is so big and the lights rest right in the middle of the arena so when you arrive, you will see the theatre environment but it will appear kind of foggy — it will look like it is in a dream.” “We believe it is the best arena show we have to date,” said Batista. The stage setup for Corteo has been adapted to fit the arena format and is now vastly different from your traditional Cirque du Soleil production; as opposed to the traditional circus ring-like stage, Corteo’s stage cuts the arena down the middle, placing half the crowd on one side of the stage and half on the other. Batista said this unique design was a tactful move as it allows members of the audience the opportunity to watch the performance in the traditional sense, but as well, gives them a behind the scenes look at the Corteo world. “The creator of the show Daniele [Finzi Pasca] wanted to make sure that the audience would have a feeling as to what it is like to be on stage and to see what the performers see and feel when they are on stage,” said Batista. “He wants them to experience the point of view of the artist. This is why he has the audience split in half in such a way.” Along with the stage advancements made in order to transition Corteo from Big Top extravaganza to an intimate arena shows, many adjustments had to be made to help the performance adapt to the smaller space. Without access to bleachers and extra space surrounding the performance area, the performers required a new and efficient method for traveling from one side of the stage to the other, without interrupting the flow of the performance. As an answer, Cirque’s Montreal engineers created a machine specifically for this show to allow for a seamless transition — a machine similar to zip line according to Batista — which pulls performers from one side of the stage to the other from underneath the platform. “The audience does not see it, so it just appears that the same performer is magically arriving again and again to cross the stage from the same point A to point B. “It is a very emotional show; it is very theatrical and poetic and makes people feel a mix of feelings and emotions while they watch the show,” said Batista. “During the show, it is very easy to understand the story of the show you are seeing. By the end of the show, everyone is always moved and touched by the story — and not only about the story itself, but by the performances which tell the story. “I think it will be a perfect match as the first show to be held [in St. Catharines],” said Batista. Tickets are currently on sale through cirquedusoleil.com/ corteo. Regular tickets start at $39 dollars and child tickets at $25 dollars. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 67


When I was young I would watch

my dad and uncle playing guitar at family gatherings,” says Brilla.

“I remember wanting to play like them.

TD NIAGARA JAZZ FESTIVAL

July 19-22, 2018 | July 27-29, 2018 St. Catharines | Niagara-on-the-Lake


Alysha Brilla Growing up with parents from different cultural backgrounds, Brilla found solace in music and artists that she could connect with. “I loved Selena the Mexican-American musician because when I was growing up in Brampton there was no one I could relate to. Anyone I could sort of see myself in was really inspiring,” says Brilla. Written by Jill Tham

C

anadian Jazz singer, Alysha Brilla was 14 years old when she picked up a guitar for the first time. Little did she know that ten years later she would sign her first record deal. “People would tell me it would be a difficult journey and I would roll my eyes at them,” says Brilla, who with her silvery and harmonious voice, is reaching audiences across Canada. Brilla grew up in a musical family. “When I was young I would watch my dad and uncle playing guitar at family gatherings,” says Brilla. “I remember wanting to play like them.” Brilla speaks openly regarding the bullying she endured as a young adolescent. “I was picked on because I was different,” says Brilla. “I was an outsider and I had a big gap in my teeth.” Brilla was followed home, insulted, and threatened by her peers. “It was awful. I dropped out of school,” says Brilla, who found writing songs therapeutic as the messages she conveys through her music has carried her through the hard times. After high school Brilla’s mom took a bit of a tough love approach. “My mom said I couldn’t just sit around and work on music. I had to get a job or go to school,” she recalls. “I applied for music production and jazz school.” With limited experience and knowledge in jazz, Brilla decided to give it a try. “I had not studied music before. I got there and discovered a bunch of artists I love like Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong,” says Brilla. After her first record deal, Brilla decided to start her own production company, Sunny Jam Records. “I built up my career using the help of grants and generous fans who wanted to support my music,” says Brilla. “This has given me the opportunity to be where I am now.” With four albums under her belt, Brilla is grateful to be pursuing her passion. “I love being surrounded by music and meeting people from around the world. That is a blessing”, says Brilla, who is humbled by the effect her music and shows have on fans

and audience members. “When I talk to people after my shows, we talk about vulnerable and deep things they may not talk about with others,” she says. “It creates a comfortable space to connect with others.” Brilla has a musical sound that will resonate with novice listeners and long time jazz fans. Her playful and rich sound creates a refreshing mix of old and new styles. “In my voice you will hear Amy Winehouse, Ella Fitzgerald, and my Indian background,” she says. Brilla has a unique outlook on music in the 21st century. “We borrow things we have heard from music,” she says. “I am influenced by a lot of different music. You will hear theme selections in my voice.” Brilla’s shows are guaranteed to be an uplifting experience. “My band has amazing energy and the whole point of the show is to make people happy,” she says. “At the end of the show people always tell me they feel joyful.” On July 22, 2018, The TD Niagara Jazz Festival hosts Brilla in her first appearance to the Niagara Region at the World Music on the Beach at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie. “We are excited to welcome the lovely and talented Alysha Brilla along with many other jazz musicians from different cultures at this free event which is open to the whole community,” says Juliet Dunn, Executive Director of the TD Niagara Jazz Festival. “World music has a direct connection to the roots of jazz music, so it is a natural expansion for our festival,” says Dunn, who is extremely grateful for the generous support from sponsors: TD Bank Group, the City of St. Catharines, the Province of Ontario, the Niagara Region, and the Tourism Partnership of Niagara. “I have always felt I can get across more from writing music than I can from spoken word,” says Brilla. With thoughtful lyrics and an upbeat and unique jazz sound, Alysha Billa will inspire positivity in all who listen to her music. For more information visit: alyshabrilla.com and niagarajazzfestival.com TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 69


Friday, June 15 Saturday, June 16 Sunday, June 17 NOON - 11PM

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NOON - 11PM

Free Parking Free Admission Free Entertainment

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50 / 50 draws Kids Area by Niagara Inflatables

Dontations to Rotary at entrance greatly appreciated NO Pets or Refreshment Coolers

Caswell’s Mount Carmel Center 3770 Montrolse Road, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2H 3k3 Phone: 905 356 1641 Fax: 905 356 5300


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// B U S I N E S S C O M M U N I T Y ASK THE EXPERT//COLUMN

The Emotional Toil that High Turnover Takes...

Mariana gives Evan some advice on how to deal with high turnover in the workplace, and provides some tips on how to cope when your future (and the future of you colleagues) feels uncertain... Dear Mariana, I work for a corporation that has incredibly high turnover. I didn’t know this going in. When I first started a year ago, a woman I was working with was suddenly let go. No one got an explanation after the decision was made and no one was alerted beforehand. What surprised me is that no one really talked about it. I took it as a one-off; maybe she didn’t get along with her manager, or something happened between them to suddenly be let go right before the holiday season. A few months later, another person was let go with no explanation, again. And recently, just a few more months later, two people from the same team were terminated in the exact same way. I worked closely with one of the two that were recently let go. I enjoyed working with him and he was someone I could count on. Based on my last conversation with him, he had no idea at all that he was going to be fired — he was planning his vacation. I can’t help but put myself in his shoes and think what that conversation was like, and what it would be like to receive that sort of news, especially in someone’s later years, because he was actively saving for retirement. I don’t have any of his personal information so I don’t know how to reach him or to ask how he’s doing. I reached out to a team member shortly after hearing the news to ask if he had heard anything and ask if he felt anxious now too, not about job security in particular (although I am worried about that now too — I’ve just purchased a home, my wife is pregnant with our first child, and I have a mortgage to pay), but the fact that at any moment anyone in the company could be let go at a moment’s notice with no back up plan, no two week’s notice and without any explanation. My colleague’s response was “business is business, they did what was best for the company.”

I thought it was pretty lacking of human emotion: is this how everyone in the corporate world thinks? I’m wondering if my feelings are normal or if I should grow thicker skin. Any advice? Thanks, Evan Hi Evan, Thanks for writing in. It sounds like you are in a pretty volatile workplace. High turnover in any environment is not good: It leads to distrust among colleagues and management, little company loyalty, plummeting employee satisfaction, and an overall atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty which culminates in — you guessed it — lower productivity. At the end of the day, having employees feel uncertain about their value and security within a company usually leads to dollars lost, not gained. The emotions you are feeling are perfectly normal given the circumstances. You are identifying with someone you’ve built a relationship with and likely formed an attachment to. Perhaps you saw value in his work and felt as though you could rely on him, in which case you’ve lost a trusted resource who helped you navigate the working

world and do well at your own job. Perhaps you enjoyed working with your colleague, or admired him in some way, and so you’ve suddenly lost a friend. In either case, there’s a lot to unpack, psychologically: Firstly, someone you knew and formed a bond with has suddenly had his life shifted. You may be experiencing distress because, if you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, you are empathizing with him. According to recent research, individuals who are “nice”, or who score high in measures of empathy, are more capable of putting themselves in another person’s shoes, as you’ve noted you’ve done. Because people who are highly empathic are more capable than the average person at mentalizing another person’s situation, they can feel a similar sense of negative emotion if the other person is going through a difficult time. You may be in distress because you are literally placing yourself in your colleague’s shoes. This shouldn’t necessarily be looked at negatively, as your ability to empathize means you have great capacity for compassion, so long as you can be constructive about the negative emotions you feel.  Secondly, a person you’ve built a friendly relationship with has suddenly been thrust out of your life by no decision of your own, and, it sounds like, without a chance for you to say goodbye. As humans, we have a ‘need to belong’; we form bonds with people because these bonds are essential to our survival. We are sensitive to our acceptance and rejection by others, and to however many bonds we hold, so losing a friendship with a colleague and having the emotional resources you’ve invested in that friendship suddenly ‘go to waste’, so to say, from an evolutionary perspective, can be distressing: you now have one less person in your working and personal life to rely on. Beyond the fact that your social circle has now diminished, human beings generally organize our lives by narratives — stories with a beginning, middle and an end. Having no control >>

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 73


ASK THE EXPERT//COLUMN over the ending of this narrative would certainly be distressing. Is there anything you can do — perhaps reaching out to HR and asking them to send him your contact details — that will help you regain a sense of control? Thirdly, sudden termination is a noted pattern in your workplace. Without knowing why your colleagues have been terminated, you may be feeling anxious around making the same mistakes they have made. Because their mistakes are not known to you, however, you may now fear that anything you do could be interpreted as a ‘mistake’, and so you may be finding it difficult to know whether or not you are doing well at work. Because this is the third time your colleagues’ employment has been terminated in a short while, you may also be feeling anxious as you likely cannot rely on the people you work with who may, too, suddenly be gone. This is why distrust is rife within companies with high turnover rates; you simply do not know whether your manager may suddenly choose to terminate your employment, and you have no way of telling who is next to go amongst colleagues and friends. According to research, the best way to move forward and lessen these feelings of anxiety is to speak to your manager, who can mitigate the effects of turnover by imposing certain processes, so that you can more clearly be aware of whether or not you are doing well by these clearly defined boundaries. Asking for more detailed feedback about your work may be difficult at first, but it will lessen the amount of anxiety you feel: At the very least, if your manager’s feedback is that you are not performing well, you will at least have the ability to improve and demonstrate that you are capable of doing so (while also updating your resume). Lastly, you are currently in a life stage filled with change: Apart from becoming a father (congratulations!) and taking on the emotional and financial responsibility that role will hold, you have recently made a large financial decision to purchase a home, so your feelings of anxiety are entirely dependent on the security of your current employment. Not knowing what that security is, as per my point above, yet needing to in order to insure some stability in your future would certainly help the anxiety lessen. I would advise speaking to a financial planner and creating a financial contingency plan: For instance, realistically assess how long it would take you to get a new job, if ever terminated, and start saving to hold you over for that approximate period of time. Further, consider if you could rent out the basement of your new home and for how much, and whether that would help cover the cost of your mortgage if you ever fall on hard times. As per ‘growing thicker skin’ and your colleague’s remarks, generally speaking, unless someone owns the goose that lays golden eggs, the chances that the sudden termination of a colleague without any communicated reason would be taken in stride are quite low. Remember, people have defense mechanisms that are put in place to help us cope and protect us from certain feelings, healthy or not. This may have just been your colleague’s way of coping with her emotions when reacting to the news.   In sum,there’s no need to question your own feelings,but they may be your mind’s way of telling you to do something constructive with them - find a better ending and create a good back-up plan to help you feel more secure. Good luck!


nar·cis·sism

noun excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance. synonyms: vanity, self-love, self-admiration, self-absorption, self-obsession, conceit, self-centeredness, selfregard, egotism, egoism

EVERYDAY Narcissism T

Written by Mariana Bockarova

he word ‘narcissism’ has become a staple in our everyday lexicon. It stems, of course, from the popular myth of Narcissus: A self-absorbed man who falls so deeply in love with his own reflection in a riverbank that he becomes transfixed and immobile, staring at his outer shell for all of eternity. In clinical psychology, the term “narcissist”, however, references the personality disorder, in which one has an overwhelming need for admiration, exaggerated feelings of self-importance, and a lack of empathy or care for others. In its extreme, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can be downright dangerous, but, according to Nancy Van Dyken, practicing psychologist of over 35 years, there exists a much more mild and subtle form of narcissism and one most of us struggle with daily — Everyday Narcissism. I spoke to Van

Dyken in preparation for this article. By her account, this “garden variety” of narcissism, which she discusses at length in her book, ‘Everyday Narcissism’, is a type of narcissism many of us carry in our psyche: five predominant myths about who we are. Van Dyken discovered these myths through noticing patterns of behavior in her clients; she found that only when the patterns of thinking and behaving were clarified by her and understood by her clients, could they be changed. This inspired her to flush out her theory and write a book on the topic. According to Van Dyken, these five myths that create the ‘everyday narcissist’ are taught to us as young children, and give us a false sense that the world revolves around us. Unfortunately, these thoughts only become reinforced with time and age, leading us to greater unhappiness and much less satisfaction in our daily lives. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 75


The five myths are: 1. We are responsible for—and have the power to control—how other people feel and behave. This myth can arise from the simple act of being forced, as a child, to give someone we aren’t comfortable with a hug or a kiss goodbye, for instance. Though our initial reaction is not to, we do so in any case, so as to spare the other person’s feelings. Within this myth, we are taught that we are actors — not agents — responsible for the feelings of others, which are more important than our own. Thinking that we are responsible for other people’s feelings is akin to thinking that we are all powerful, and able to control how others feel. 2. Other people are responsible for—and have the power to control—the way we feel and behave. If we are responsible for the feelings and behaviors of others, this suggests that others are also responsible for ours, in turn. This myth makes it particularly difficult to have agency in our everyday feelings, and, in turn, look towards others to help us feel certain emotions or behave a certain way. In reality, we have full control over what we think, feel, and how we behave. Thinking others are responsible for our emotional states is narcissistic, according to Van Dyken, because it places us at the “center of the universe,” to believe that others should treat us in specific ways to yield a specific response. 3. The needs and wants of other people are more important than our own. This is the myth from which people pleasing emerges. Typically taught alongside Myth 1, this myth may arise from being taught certain values that cause us to act in a way which is antithetical to our feelings. For instance, teaching children to be kind across all situations, according to Van Dyken, may be done with good intentions, but ultimately teaches children that taking care of the needs and wants of others are more important than their own. While this certainly applies in certain situations — a mother to an infant child who can’t support itself, for instance — it should not apply across situations and people, which sometimes requires a not-so-nice attitude. 4. Following the rules is more important than addressing our needs and feelings. As Van Dyken notes, “when rules are made more important than the human being they are meant to serve, people become wounded.” By putting rules before our needs as humans, and teaching compliance and obedience without the caveat that sometimes rules are meant to be broken, the myth that structures are more important than how we live within them becomes inherent. In other words, we can’t be ourselves truly, nor can we value ourselves if we are constantly more preoccupied with following a specific set of rules instead of how we feel within and about them. We thus organize our world as a careful set of rules in order to feel as though we deserve certain rewards if we follow the rules, so to say. 5. We are not lovable as we are; we can only become lovable through what we do and say. This myth is a combination of the previous four, in that we are shaped to take responsibility for the needs and feelings of others, and make others responsible for our own feelings and needs, and thus become transfixed into thinking that we are only as good as what we produce for someone, and undeserving of love, otherwise. For the narcissist, a grandiose sense of self can emerge. For the everyday narcissist, feelings of unworthiness of love emerge. The difficulties that come as a result of these myths is that they entangle and hollow our lives mainly because of how they change our beliefs and, indeed, our reality. Depending on how far these myths are engrained in us, our entire reality can be shaped by trying to people-please, by treating ourselves as victims, and by not taking responsibility for our lives: “As an adult, most of us cannot

be victimized. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but it’s only under rare circumstances. Most of us have choices. We may not like the choices, but as long as we have a choice, we are not a victim. The issue is that victim energy is everywhere — we have permission to say to ourselves, ‘poor me, isn’t it awful’, but when you complain to a friend, the worst thing they can do is say, ‘I’m sorry, yes, you were treated terribly’, because it changes nothing. There is no power in it...and without [power] there is no possibility to change.” According to Van Dyken, only by taking responsibility for your actions and choices, and acting towards modifying one’s behavior can there truly be change: “Understanding [these myths] isn’t enough; you can understand why smoking is bad for you, but it’s still killing you unless you stop...you have to change the behavior in order to get beyond what’s happening to you.” Treating ourselves as if we are victims of our circumstances is one way we keep ourselves trapped into these five myths and the certain patterns of behavior that come with them, and further root ourselves in unhealthy, codependent relationships. If, upon reading these five myths, you feel as though you identify, Van Dyken gives good advice: In order to start breaking free of the thought patterns trapped within these myths, start small by just being honest with yourself and with others. Say ‘no’ to something you don’t want to do. “Don’t question your wisdom” and trust in your feelings. “As we heal,” Van Dyken notes, “we lose our faith in Everyday Narcissism’s lies, myths, and false promises. We replace it with faith in something genuine and true: full engagement with life itself.” TM


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How to Make the Most of Your Social Media Social media is a great tool to solidify your market position. It enables you to grow your business, generate brand awareness and even create connections with your customers faster than ever before. Similar to any tool, social media must be used correctly in order to ensure continued success. The following three tips will get you started in the world of social media marketing. >>

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 79


√Find Your Voice

Now that you have selected your platforms, you must determine your online voice. In order to find your voice, you should define your audience, language, tone, and purpose of what you are saying. All are a part of an important symbiotic relationship.Your audience is anyone you wish to interact with. Ask yourself: who are these individuals? What is their age? Where are they from? What brings them to the social media platform? In many cases, your audience will be a mix of customers, business partners and even the competition. Be sure that your voice accounts for your diverse audience. Finally, consider the language you wish to use. You are able to be both casual and professional at the same time. By presenting yourself as business casual you are able to relate to the millennial and the baby boomer generation.

√Post Often

Social Media is all about telling your brand’s story. To do so, you must post consistently for your story to be heard. Here are some general rules broken down by platform to help you avoid the pitfalls of over posting. Aim to post no more than once a day on Facebook, you want your content to stay upfront on your fans feed but not be overh-

welmed with irrelevant posts. We all have that one friend that posts multiple times a day on Facebook, saturating your feed, and that can be frustrating. As a business, you don’t want to be frustrating your potential customers. On the other hand, due to Twitter’s real time nature, you can post as much as you want as long as the messaging is different. To be successful, aim to post at least 3 times a day. Instagram uses an algorithm which no longer displays content based on when it was posted, so as long as your images are relevant, post as often as you would like! When posting on LinkedIn, be subjective and only post when content makes sense to B2B viewers. Do you have a new job position available? Do you have a great new tip to share? Lastly Pinterest. You should be posting often with a variety of products, looks and designs from your business so that customers can pin and save ideas. Pinterest is essentially an inspiration board, so the more inspiration you can deliver a customer, the better. Social media should be utilized in order to share your brand’s story, and connect with consumers. Not all platforms are beneficial for all industries, so be sure to evaluate your own business and assess the needs. Where do you want your customers to be able to find you online?


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REALTY: NIAGARA’S NEWEST AND FRESHEST REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE Written by Gabrielle Tieman Photography by David Haskell

Many believe that one of the biggest challenges today for home buyers is navigating and understanding the saturated real estate market. Should first time home buyers invest their money in a starter house and reevaluate in five years or should they run while the market is hot and invest in a forever home? Has the time come for you to downsize to a condo or should you continue to invest in your current home? Downtown living or suburban life, new builds versus century-old homes? These are only a few of the questions that can bog down any home buyer or seller; whether it is your first, third or fifth venture into the accelerating housing markets. Here we welcome Revel Realty Inc. to the real estate rescue. This fresh and innovative company is a full service real estate brokerage and property management company which is revolutionizing the age-old real estate firm and approaching buying and selling from a different perspective — designed entirely for the modern residential and commercial buyer. >>

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“With real estate, the most prized possession of every family is their home,” says Ryan Serravalle, founder, broker of record and president of Revel Realty. “The goal when we created Revel was to center around the celebration of family and what is good in life; and one of the most important things in life, for me, is family.”

D

eveloped with a team oriented platform and founded with a permanent staff of motivated real estate professionals, this modern company represents clients in a broad spectrum of classes including: single-family residential, new development, vacant land condominiums, commercial real estate and property consultation — only to name a few — while initiating proven, customized and promotional techniques all which specialize in the marketing, listing and selling of these properties. Revel also offers its clients a full administration team, in-house professional photographers and writers and its own marketing department. They have one of the most reputable New Home Builders in Niagara, a Mortgage specialist and an esteemed real estate lawyer all alongside their experienced brokers. This insatiable, enthusiastic and aggressive approach  allows Revel to accommodate each and every detail of a real estate transaction in the most efficient, client-customized  manner said Serravalle. “We wanted something that was very energetic, very modern, something that was young and forward thinking and that was innovative in its marketing — but also very team oriented,” said Serravalle. “My goal was to set an unbelievable platform for realtors who want to be part of a team that is driven with success and integrity and honesty in this business. “Our team is consistently trained, mentored and educated to serve clients from a team-first environment,” said Serravalle. “We have developed our own training methods and have more senior realtors help mentor new recruits to remain consistent in our service and business.” Serravalle said this team oriented approach to real estate may be taking a new angle on the profession, but it speaks to his own personal beliefs and has been highly successful for his company and team — which has grown to currently include over 80 realtors. “With [traditional] real estate it is such an individualized basis because most realtors are independent contractors,” said Serravalle. “So most [realtors] are working for themselves under the brand that they have chosen. >>


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We wanted to add a component that was more interesting than just a home in a newspaper or a home online, said Serravalle.

But I have a very strong team background, from playing basketball, so I thought if I could incorporate all of those practices and theories into a real estate company, we would have something really special and successful.” And successful they have been. Since launching in 2013, Revel has grown into four office spaces — one each in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Fonthill and their latest in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is set to open in 2018 — to better manage the listings they hold throughout the entire Niagara Region. Their skill set is broad, specializing in both low end and high end residential and commercial properties. Serravalle said their team can help buyers who are searching for residential communities, vacant land condominiums, new construction, undeveloped land, commercial and investment opportunities and every property in between. Revel also has a luxury department in the office which caters to higher end homes and their own in house magazine

which focuses on the cultural aspects of real estate and the lifestyle connected with buying real estate. Serravalle said when he first decided to enter the real estate market in 2007, many people in his life didn’t understand — as Serravalle was then currently employed as a high school teacher in a very stable contract position. “Everyone thought I was crazy to leave such a secure job,” said Serravalle. “It was a great job but it wasn’t fulfilling my passion and my motivation so I decided to leave.” Serravalle said his passion and drive for a team oriented work atmosphere stems from his time playing basketball. Following a successful basketball career — which earned Serravalle  a  full  scholarship at the College of Holy Cross in Massachusetts and two Patriot League Championships [including two berths in the NCAA Tournament] — Serravalle said he knew he needed a career which fueled this competitive drive that had made him so suc-

cessful athletically. “The competition I really liked; the creativity I really liked. I liked that there was no boundaries where you could take it to — both mentally and business wise. I also liked the social aspect of it and the challenges it offered.” As for the future, Serravalle said he believes that Niagara real estate will continue to climb as the region becomes more recognized — a challenge his team greatly accepts with excitement. “[Niagara] offers a lot with wine country and the easy accessibility to the States and Buffalo — with its airport access for business travelers,” said Serravalle. “There are great universities and colleges. Tourism is here in Niagara Falls but we also have great shopping centers, great restaurants, great shows — with the addition of the facilities in St. Catharines. There is so much for everyone.” Serravalle said Revel plans to continue to grow and expand alongside Niagara’s real estate growth, but no matter what they will continue to maintain the same level of teamwork and business integrity the larger they grow. “[Niagara] was undervalued years ago and I think now we are just leveling off to a point where it is going to become comparable to other nice places in Ontario,” said Serravalle. “It is nice to be part of this surge and contribute to it because this region is a great place to live and a great place to raise a family.” TM For more information on Revel Reality and how you can get started f inding the home of your dreams, visit revelrealty.ca


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