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45 P L AY I N G WITH FIRE:

th e ta len ted a r tisa n s beh in d Studio Vin e G la ss on the cover…

OOMPH DESIGN:

DESIGNS & ADVICE BY IAN GRAHAM

34 HOME TRENDS FOR 2018

52


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“Every generation needs a REVELution” – Ryan Serravalle

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70 REALTORS Learn how you can join the revelution. TEAM TRAINING & MENTORING Stay tuned for future Rookie Camps & Seminars held in The Court at Revel.

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Volume 1 Issue 9 - MAR/ APR. 2018

PUBLISHER Rev Publishing Inc. PRESIDENT & CEO Daniel A. Pasco ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Alexandra Mills, John Fillion, Miguel Mori,

Nikki Marino BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER David Mace EDITOR/GRAPHIC DESIGNER Megan Pasche CREATIVE DIRECTOR/GRAPHIC DESIGNER Tina Lanzillotta SOCIAL MEDIA/MARKETING COORDINATOR Layton Risto SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST Sarah Gardiner

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On the cover: Photo by Oomph Design

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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On location:

Studio Vine Glass 5535 Slater Ave, Niagara Falls, photography: Megan Pasche & Tina Lanzillotta


// I N S I D E

FOOD & DRINK 15

CRAZY FOR COCOA Need some ideas on what to do with all that leftover Easter chocolate? Check out these recipes, which incorporate chocolate into every meal! ON THE TABLE 1 3 CHEF ROSS MIDGLEY Interview with Executive Chef at Ravine Vineyard Estates, Chef Ross Midgley. 2 5 CHEF KEVIN ECHLIN

Interview with Head Chef at the Smokin’ Buddha, Chef Kevin Echlin. Run by a passionate culinary leader, this unique high school endeavour is not your typical fine dining establishment; it’s so much more.

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE 34

UNDONE AND ON-TREND 2018 sees us embracing imperfection, impermanence and partiality with the popularity of wabi sari, the new Japanese inspired home decor trend.

43

MONEY TALK: THE RIGHT INSURANCE FOR YOUR BIGGEST ASSET. David Somerville talks mortgage life insurance.

45

PLAYING WITH FIRE Go behind the scenes at Studio Vine Glass, a glass blowing company owned by Claire Anderson and Steven “Woody” Woodruff that where they make beautiful funcitonal pieces and funky works of art.

52

MODERN OOMPH Designing your dream home has never been easier, but sometimes information overload can leave us with oversaturated project dreams and a sense of complete overwhelmingness. That’s where interior designers come in.

62

THE NIAGARA RIVER WHIRLPOOL The whirlpool has been a witness to a number of dramatic happenings over the years, it is after all, one of the most powerful natural phenomena in Canada.

68

ROOTED IN NIAGARA The essence of live edge furniture is that each piece has a rich and sometimes significant history. Where it has come from, what it has been through and what purpose it is about to serve.

75

IGNITE A BETTER YOU Dr. Christina Plaskos talks about aging strategy, and her Aegis 7 Elements.

76

THE DAWN OF THE SMART HOME The term “smart home” is commonly used to define a residence that has lighting, heating and cooling, entertainment and other systems controlled by a computer, which may also be accessible remotely by phone or internet.

HERE.SEE.DO. 83

OUT & ABOUT Events, entertainment and festivals. Read up on what’s happening in Niagara. 2 3 GARDEN CITY COMEDY FESTIVAL 2 3 SONGWRITERS FEATURING JOHN TESH

51

GET REAL: NEW CONSTRUCTION AS AN INVESTMENT Ryan Serravalle talks about the pros of investing inner construction in Niagara.

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TODAY’S PEOPLE Snapshots of you out and about in Niagara. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 9


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WE WANTED TO FILL THIS MAGAZINE WITH SO MANY HOME AND GARDEN IDEAS, BUT THERE WAS NO WAY WE COULD FIT THEM ALL IN.

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Jane is a designer, spokesperson, author and television personality. She is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of interior design and colour.

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Vanessafrancis.com/blog

Tobi is an accredited interior decorator specializing in residential design. She helps clients transform their homes into their own personal vision of style, simplicity and serenity.

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// F O O D & D R I N K R AV I N E V I N E YA R D S ’ S E X E C U T I V E C H E F R O S S M I D G L E Y// O N T H E T A B L E

EXECUTIVE CHEF ROSS MIDGLEY

RAVINE

VINEYARD BY LAUREN CHARLEY

I

nside the restaurant at Ravine Vineyard Estates, you’ll be immersed in a sophisticated, upscale-casual ambiance with a rustic charm. The dining room offers expansive views out to the vineyards for guests to enjoy fine wine accompanied by a fresh and flavourful meal, prepared under the advisory of Executive Chef Ross Midgley. Born in Montreal, and raised in Prince Edward Island, Ross moved to the Niagara Region 20 years ago, and has worked as Ravine’s Executive Chef since 2014. Starting out his post-secondary schooling in History and English, Ross realized his true passion for culinary art 23 years ago, and obtained his education at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown. Ross’ culinary expertise has been honed primarily in the Niagara Region which he calls one of two of “Canada’s fruit baskets”, the other being Okanagan in British Columbia. He first held the position of Executive Chef at Zees for it’s opening in 2004, has worked for Trius Winery, and owned ‘The Kitchen House’ restaurant at Peninsula Ridge winery with his wife. Now he is the master behind an eclectic, ever-changing menu of local, farm-to-table dishes served at the Ravine Vineyard Estate Restaurant. How is working at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery Restaurant different from other kitchens you have worked at in Niagara? At Ravine there is a full 1-acre organic garden on site, so my

team and I are able to see the ingredients as they grow. We also have a smokehouse and of course, the Canning House Grocery Store on the property. Why is it important for a restaurant to support the philosophy of a farm-to-table-approach or to “eat local”? The best food and ingredients come from places, which are close in proximity to the restaurant. I support the farm-to-table philosophy as I recognize the hard work that goes into farming. It takes years of experience to grow foods well, just like it takes experience to learn to cook. I’ve become a better chef by learning about growing. What is special about working in kitchens in the Niagara Region? Although there is a healthy competition, we all work together and recognize that if one property does well, it contributes to the overall reputation for Niagara being a place with excellent dining. Collectively, we have raised the bar by supporting each other. What is the most rewarding part of being a chef ? The most rewarding part of being a Chef for me is being able to grow people. When you work in a kitchen you are exposed to a lot of personalities working together, and as an Executive Chef, I take pride in growing my team. I’ve known young guys who start in my kitchen as a dishwasher and are now the heads of other kitchens. What is one of your favourite dishes you serve at Ravine? The ‘Braised Beef Short Rib with Parmesan and Anchovies Sauce’ is a personal favourite! TM TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 13


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COCOA Need some ideas on what to with all that leftover Valentine’s and Easter chocolate? We’ve gathered a couple great savoury chocolate recipes for you to enjoy, so you can start incorporating chocolate in all your meals! >>

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 15


Triple Chocolate Beef and Bean Chili Recipe courtesy of Saveur.com Serves 6 to 8 Ingredients 1⁄2 lb. dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained 1 bay leaf 2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded 1 dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 2 tsp. dried oregano 2 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. paprika 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1" cubes Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1⁄4 cup olive oil 4 cloves garlic, chopped 2 large white onions, chopped 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste 1 (15-oz.) can crushed tomatoes 1 (12-oz.) chocolate stout beer 1 1⁄2 tbsp. brown sugar 2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped 2 tbsp. lime juice Sour cream and roughly chopped cilantro, to garnish Steps Put beans and bay leaf into a large pot and cover with 3" water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, and stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 60-90 minutes. Drain beans, discarding bay leaf; set aside. Heat a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add chiles, and cook, turning once, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water; let sit 20 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving ½ cup soaking liquid; transfer chiles and liquid to a blender with cocoa, oregano, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon and puree until smooth. Set sauce aside. Add oil to pan and return to medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and, working in batches, add beef to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 4–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl. Add garlic and onions to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring until slightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add reserved sauce, cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Return beef to pot, plus tomatoes, beer, sugar, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until beef is very tender, 1-1 ½ hours. Stir in reserved beans, along with chocolate, juice, salt, and pepper. Serve ladled into bowls with sour cream and cilantro.


chocolate, strawberrY & brie grilled cheese It’s hard to go wrong wtih a grilled cheese sandwich, and there are so many combinations out there to try. Our latest expirment? A grilled cheese with chocolate! Since cheddar and chocolate don’t exactly go together, we turned to one of our favourite cheeses-brie. It’s delicious, but mild taste is perfect for pairing with dark chocolate and strawberries. So with that as the base, we were off to the frying pan. You can use any bread with this, but Sourdough is our preffered choice.

tip! Try roasting the strawberries for your sandwich.

Ingredients Brie cheese Dark chocolate bits Strawberries (roasted or fresh), cut in half Two slices of the bread of your choosing

A guick guide: Grab your strawberries, cut off the stems, and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar over the strawberries, and mix up well. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mix. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Steps Heat up your frying pan, butter both sides of the bread, and layer on brie, sliced chocolate, strawberries and then more brie. Put sandwich on the griddle, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on both sides, making sure cheese is nice and melty.

These work great on top of ice cream, in a salad, and of course, on a yummy grilled cheese!

Eat and salivate!

Don’t like strawberries? Try chocolate plus one of these alternatives:

Cherries!

Raspberries!

Pumpkin puree!


Types of Chocolate Unsweetened Chocolate Pure chocolate with no added sugar (also known as bitter chocolate, baking chocolate, pure chocolate). Used for baking.

Bittersweet Chocolate Needs to be at least 35% pure chocolate with small amount of sugar added. It is also known as dark chocolate. For the most part, it is usually darker and less sweet than semisweet. Use it for baking and eating.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Needs to be at least 35% pure chocolate, with cocoa butter and sugar added. It is the most versatile chocolate. Use it for: baking and eating.

Milk Chocolate This chocolate needs to be at least 10% pure chocolate, with cocoa butter and sugar. It contains less pure chocolate than semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolates. It has a milder flavour than darker chocolate.

Sweet Baking Chocolate Needs to contain at least 15 percent pure chocolate with cocoa butter and sugar. Sweeter than semi-sweet.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder This is pure chocolate that has most of the cocoa butter removed. If it is labelled, “Dutch-process” or “European Style” it means it has been treated to neutralize the naturally occuring acids, which gives it a mellow flavour and makes it appear redder.

White Chocolate Not an actual chocolate, as it is made up of cocoa butter with sugar, milk solids and vanilla flavouring.

Mexican Chocolate This has cinnamon and sugar added to the pure chocolate. Occasionally ground almonds may be added. TM


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Experience Niagara Falls in a whole new light! Featuring $4 million enhanced multi-coloured lighting of the American and Canadian Falls. With an onboard licensed bar, light snacks and music these 40-minute cruises are Niagara’s ultimate nighttime entertainment and value. Set to the backdrop of starry skies, the dazzling city skyline and the amazing coloured illumination of the Falls, these intimate cruises are without a doubt the best way to view the Falls at night. The Falls Illumination Cruises operate on select dates from May 4 to October 27. Visit niagaracruises.com for full Falls Illumination Cruise schedule details. This is a Light Mist nighttime cruise experience.

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S M O K I N ’ B U D D H A’ S E X E C U T I V E C H E F K E V I N E C H L I N // O N T H E T A B L E

HEAD CHEF KEVIN ECHLIN

SMOKIN’ BUDDHA BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN-LEE

Filled to the brim every night of the week, the Smokin’ Buddha has become famous within Niagara’s culinary community since its inaugural plate of noodles was served 10 years ago. This unique culinary experience has the ability to guide you around the world – without the accompanied plane ticket. The restaurant features an eclectic Asian fusion menu, which overflows with international flavours from Korea, India, Thailand and Japan: including flavour rich curries, sweet Korean beef bulgogi bowls, Indian flatbreads and spicy/sweet pad Thai “We like to constantly combine spices and herbs that I always have on hand - things that you would never find in any single common country,” says Kevin Echlin, owner and head chef at the Smokin Buddha. “There are all these different little components that we put together and then away we go.” Echlin said when he and his family moved to Niagara, they couldn’t seem to satisfy their craving for Asian cuisine. Echlin said they continued to utilize their own kitchen to satisfy these cravings – inviting friends over to join with them in tasting and experimenting with the flavours they had come to love during their time spent living in Japan. In 2005, over a bottle of wine, Echlin said his wife gave him the push to start his food venture: a business that would serve the exotic fresh flavours so popular amongst their friends and family. The first products were California rolls and curry pastes, which Echlin said were “sold out of a red Coleman cooler.” “I was first inspired to start with the Port Colborne Farmer’s Market, because I wanted to get out in the community,” said

Echlin. “My wife said to me, ‘Why not see if people buy this type of food’.” Over time, the menu expanded and in 2006, Echlin’s business expanded as well to include the Fonthill and Welland markets. In 2007 the Smokin’ Buddha restaurant opened its doors for the first time in the old train station in Port Colborne. Today, the restaurant has evolved to include what Echlin describes as “feel-good foods from all over the world,” – all of which are made by hand and creatively born by Echlin and his team. “I am not much of a book reader, but I am always reading a new cookbook,” said Echlin. “And not just the recipes, but the background of [the recipe], where the food came from, what the people do in that country, etc. Food always has a story. It doesn’t have to have a million and one ingredients to be incredible. Sometimes only a few ingredients are all you need.” Echlin said he attests his success to a solid network of people - both in his family, his staff and those he has met over the years through his food. “Sometimes you watch people eat, and it’s like they’re making love,” said Echlin. “You can tell when someone is really enjoying the food by the expressions on their face. [Food] makes people feel good, especially healthy food. It is inspiring.” With this continued success comes further growth; Echlin said the Smokin’ Buddha will be expanding into a second building in Port Colborne which will give him and his team additional space for cooking and preparing food for both the restaurant as well as their catering and food market business. “This will give us the space we need to make all of the food we make now and even more,” said Echlin. “It is the next stage of the inspiration.” TM

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 25


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IN GOOD TASTE

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.

Strada weSt eat & Sip houSe Hosts, brothers, Anthony and Tom Roberto welcome you to Strada West, centrally located on Lundy’s Lane. In keeping with family traditions the food is all prepared in house! Their menu features homemade pasta, sauce, hamburger patties and meatballs. The menu also features specialty burgers and sandwiches using bison, lamb, lobster and veal. Pasta dishes include fettuccine, gnocchi and ravioli. Plus they have a great wine selection & 9 beers on tap! Winners of the Reader’s Choice, Best Overall Restaurant Award and Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence. Strada West, Eat & Sip House. Located on the WEGO Red Line and plenty of on site parking, reservations are suggested.

Anthony & tom RobeRto

7805 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls 905.371.2272 stradawest.com


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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.

242 Mary Street, NOTL 289.272.1242 backhouse.xyz

BUCHANANS STEAK & SEAFOOD

KOUTOUKI GREEK CUISINE

DOC MAGILLIGAN’S RESTAURANT & IRISH PUB

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

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!

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.

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.

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

Something is always sizzling at Koutouki! Reservations Reccommended Free Parking

“INSPIRED BY TRADITION” 5745 Ferry Street, Niagara Falls 905.354.6776 koutoukiniagara.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


IN GOOD TASTE

MEDITERRANEAN QSINE THE KASBAH

LANG VIETNAMESE HOT POT & BBQ GRILL

CAFFE GATTI

WILLIE JOHN’S BIG EASY

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.

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

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 Evening events. The cafe’s atmosphere was born, when the GATTI family travelled EUROPE extensively. It’s relaxed with beautiful music, while enjoying great food and local/imported beer or wines. The finishing touch fresh Italian cakes,pastries, and GELATO to compliment our freshly brewed locally roasted coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and ORGANIC teas. CAFFE GATTI caters in house or to your next EVENT!

Ride the Big Wheel to where Olde Man River meets the sea, the place where “The Music” began. Celebrating the spirit of the musical melting pot that is New Orleans, Niagara’s newest go to music venue Willie John’s Big Easy brings you the coolest Blues, Jazz, R&B and Rock and Roll. Experience the tastes of the Bayou. Our 5 star Chef, Brad McLaren serves up River Boat Fantasy of Cajun appetizers.

CAFFE GATTI

WILLIE JOHN’S BIG EASY

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

4683 Crysler Avenue, Niagara Falls 905.354.2362 williejohnsbigeasy.com

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.

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

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.

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

C’mon down and dance to the vibe of Treme. Take a stroll down Bourbon Street. Feel the beat of Congo Square. Immerse yourself in the ghosts of Storyville and the French Quarter. Ease on in and discover the character of N.O.L.A.

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 29


special advertising feature

FRONTIER BBQ & SmOKEHOUSE

BRASA BRAZILLIAN STEAKHOUSE

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

THE KEG STEAKHOUSE + BAR

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.

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.

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.

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.

FrontiEr BBQ & sMoKEHoUsE 6519 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls 289.296.6367 frontierniagara.com

Hilton niagara Falls

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls 905.353.7187 brasaniagara.com

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

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


IN GOOD TASTE

coco’s steakhouse

FALLS MANOR RESORT & RESTAURANT

THE WATERmARK

SPycE LOUNgE

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hilton niagara Falls

Hilton niagara Falls

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls 905.353.7138 watermarkrestaurant.com

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls 905.354.7887 spycelounge.ca

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.

coco’s steakhouse 5339 Murray St., Niagara Falls 905.356-1333 ext. 171 cocosniagarafalls.com

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

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

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 31


HERNDER ESTATE WINES

JOHNNY ROCCO’S

THE SMOKIN’ BUDDHA

PRANZO RISTORANTE ITALIANO

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.

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.

Located in the Old Train Station in the Canal District of downtown Port Colborne, The Smokin’ Buddha 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 South Niagara, find us at these seasonal supper markets.

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.

HERNDER ESTATE WINES

Wine Cellar

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

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

Fonthill Farmer’s Market Every Thursday - 4:30 to Dusk N.O.T.L Supper Market Every Wednesday - 4:30 to 9:00 Crystal Beach Supper Market Every Thursday - 4:00 to 9:00 YEAR ROUND: Welland Farmer’s Market Every Saturday 8:00am - 12:00pm #lovethebuddha

Kevin echlin chef/Owner 256 King St., Port Colborne, ON 905.834.6000 thesmokinbuddha.com

Hilton niagara Falls 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls 905.353.7174 pranzoniagara.com


IN GOOD TASTE

Brickyard BrEWiNG cOMPaNy

CASA MIA RIStoRAnte

Located just minutes outside scenic Niagara Falls in the heart of historic Lewiston, N.Y., Brickyard Brewing Company is the village’s latest and greatest attraction. With an eye on the latest in brewing trends and the attention to detail of old world style this modern brew pub is serving brews and food to please. Chef Vincent Pallaci and Brewmaster John Paul Meteer are helping anchor Lewiston as a premier culinary attraction in Western New York.

Casa Mia showcases their new casual bar! Owned and operated by the Mollica Family for the past 32 years, offers an outstanding dining experience, regardless of the occasion. And serves as a gathering place for food lovers who pay homage to the creativity, flair and culinary expression that defines matriarch and chef Luciana Mollica. The diverse menu abounds with creations, each imbued with vibrant colour, life and flavour. Located in the heart of Historic Stamford Village and gateway to Niagara’s Wine Trail. Niagara’s favourite local neighborhood Italian Restaurant. Complimentary shuttle service from Fallsview District Hotels. For reservations and more info call us at 905-356-5410.

Open daily at 4 P.M. Open Saturday at 11 A.M. Sunday Brunch at 10 A.M. - 2 P.M.

Brickyard BrEWiNG cOMPaNy 432 Center St. Lewiston, NY 716.754.7227 brickyardbrewingcompany.com

Chefs Claudio & luCiana MolliCa 3518 Portage Road, Niagara Falls 905.356.5410 casamiaristorante.com

eat. drink. save. Winery Tours, Distilleries, Restaurants, Craft Breweries and more...

Download the app & save on your favourite experiences TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 33


2018 sees us embracing imperfection, impermanance, simplicity, modesty and craftsmanship with the popularity of wabi sabi, the new Japanese inspired home dĂŠcor trend.


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

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 35


outside

In

Incorporate elements and materials you would normally see outdoors. Authenticity is key – make sure you stay true to your design aesthetic whether it be Scandinavian (light wood), Japanese (bamboo mats, bonsai trees) or Mediterranean (Moroccan tiles), etc. If you enjoy cycling, showcase your bike as wall art, if you are a nature loving camper, bring in some firewood etc... Consider shopping at flea markets and craft shows as well as small shops to find items that reflect your most authentic self. >>


All You Can Eat Beef brisket • Pork ribs • fried Chicken Burgers • Sausage • baked beans Potato Bar • salad bar • corn bread

frontierniagara.com 6519 Stanley Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 7L2 +1 289 296 6367 frontierniagara | frontier_niagara


think simple &

DON’T GET EVEN Symmetry is out for the wabi sabi trend. The key to achieving a laid back look without trying too hard is to use eclectic pairings and an uneven number of objects. Try mixing up different styles of chairs, in groups of 3, 5 and 7. Try non-matching pillows, varying in size, pattern and colour. This is truly your time to unleash all aspects of your design aesthetic without having to think too hard about it working against you. While you want your home to look lived-in, it is important to be able to pare things down a bit in order to allow each object to live, breathe and shine in it’s space. >>


show your

AGE,

Forget what your mamma told you- it’s no longer a faux pas to keep your bed unmade. Layered, wrinkled linens impart a lived-in and comfortable feel. So go ahead, tuck that ironing board into storage - for now . Wabi sabi celebrates the wear of objects over time, so hold off on replacing those chipped, cracked or torn beloved items and consider showcasing them instead. TM

unmake that

BED


Best View of the Falls Illumination Every Evening

CUSTOMIZE YOUR FALLSVIEW DINING EXPERIENCE Three-Course Dinner

$59

*

Five-Course Dinner

$69

*

BUFFET BREAKFAST | SEASONAL HOURS 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 7138 watermarkrestaurant.com |

watermarkfallsview

Complimentary parking for our dining guests. * Prices subject to change. Prices do not include taxes and fees


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.


MONEY TALK//COLUMN

The right insurance for your biggest asset We Canadians love the dream of owning our own home. Actually, we here in the Niagara Region are still fortunate enough that we still can have that dream even with the increase of homes and their values over the past number of years. Of course home ownership comes with numerous responsibilities. One of the most overlooked and misunderstood details on home ownership is having the proper mortgage life insurance in place in the event of a death. Today Canadians owe over 2 trillion dollars in household debt, according to the Bank of Canada. Two thirds of that debt is residential mortgage debt. If you ask anyone these days, they would say that their biggest financial liability is their mortgage debt. To protect this liability, homeowners have options of purchasing mortgage life insurance. Typically, the lender of the money you are borrowing from will ask this question. So did you want to add an insurance plan to protect the mortgage in the case of death onto your loan? When you hear that question, and before you sign up, you may want do the following: 1. Get the monthly premium, amount of coverage and policy options your lender is recommending to you 2. Call your personal insurance advisor and ask them to do a comparison of the lenders plan vs the advisors plan. When buying life insurance for a mortgage or a loan, there is usually a vast difference between a lenders insurance policy and a personalized insurance plan through a life insurance provider. When buying a lender policy, the lender is the beneficiary and if the insured dies, these types of plans simply pay off the debt owing. These plans are generally one size fits all when it comes to your health and lifestyle, so those that are in good health, overpay for those that are not in good health. These plans also have a reducing benefit which reflects the reducing debt, but the premiums do not reduce and the premiums stay level for the life of your mortgage. The final issue with these plans is that if you decide to change lenders or you need to take this insurance with you into the future, there is no portability option, so with an illness, if you change lenders for a better rate you may not qualify for the new lenders coverage. When buying through your insurance advisor you will find that those in good health get much better pricing. Those that don’t smoke get much better pricing and those at an older age get much better pricing. The other benefit is that the insurance amount you sign up for is level for the term of the contract, this really matters. Imagine on the death of the insured, if the mortgage that was initially applied for was 250,000 and years later on the death of the insured the loan value was only 150,000, the surviving beneficiary will receive the 250,000 with only a 150,000 loan. The beneficiary would retain the $100,000 difference between what was paid out and what owed. This is a massive issue if a death happens. The last key issue on these plans as well is that they are portable if you change your lender and if at the end of your mortgage term, you can convert any portion of your initial benefit to a policy for personal needs. This really matters if during the course of your mortgage, a critical health event, say cancer, you could then keep the policy or carve out a portion of your coverage to pass on to a loved one In the end, it really does pay to know the differences of these types of plan and why it’s worth getting a second opinion. David Somerville CFP Certified Financial Planner Capital Wealth Management

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PLAYING with

FIRE

BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN-LEE I PHOTOS: MEGAN PASCHE & TINA LANZILLOTTA

Playing with fire is an average day at work for local artists Claire Anderson and Steven ‘Woody’ Woodruff. The young couple is a new addition to the Niagara Falls art scene as the co-owners of Studio Vine Glass: a glass blowing company founded on the principals of quality and design in Canadian glass. The company strives to combine beauty and function while manipulating, melting and molding the unique material into both household items and fragile yet fierce pieces of art. “You can make [glass] look like almost anything and it is a very difficult skill to learn,” said Anderson. “This is why we like it so much – it’s a huge challenge.” “You pretty much break everything you make for three years,” said Anderson. Blowing glass quickly became an obsession for Anderson and Woodruff at a young age. The already artistic couple – who both attended Saint Paul High School in Niagara Falls – fell in love with the unique art medium while attending Sheridan College. “We are both artistic and went through different types of art forms – painting, sculpture – before finding glass blowing,” said Anderson. “Woody took the class [at Sheridan] on a whim. But glass blowing either takes over your life or it doesn’t and for us, it took over.” Following college the couple traveled the country, honing and improving their craft in cities like Montreal – where Woodruff worked as a scientific

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 45


glass blower building organic chemistry apparatuses – and at a studio in picturesque Merrickville, Ontario before renting their own artistic space in Mississauga. “[Glass blowing] is such a neat niche art,” said Anderson. “There is no ‘go to the glass blowing store and buy what you need,’. “A lot of people do not carry forward because it is expensive and not very common anymore,” said Anderson. “Of all the arts, you really have to treat glass blowing like a business in order to pay for the furnace and means needed to operate the equipment almost 24 hours a day.” But though the craft is difficult, Anderson said there was no question in their minds that they would one day own their own studio. Following time spent in Mississauga growing their business, the pair set out looking for a city to call home. Following an excessive amount of research, they found a retired garage on Slater Avenue in downtown Niagara Falls. Anderson said they knew the moment they stepped into the space – with its vaulted ceilings, deceivingly long interior and proximity to the border and Niagara’s tourism district — that it was perfect. Today they create all of their pieces on premise with their own equipment and encourage by passers to come into the garage and watch the process. But Anderson said be warned, as they currently house three primary furnaces in the small studio, the space can feel like the tropics when they are fired up. “We like it hot, but it can be a lot for some people,” said Anderson. “It is a real white hot that comes out of these furnaces.” The first furnace, which contains a vat of molten glass, remains at two thousand degrees Fahrenheit at all times – ensuring that the glass remains in a liquid state and ready to be worked at all times. The second, aptly named the glory hole, Anderson describes as the hub of the operation. This white hot furnace is used to reheat a piece in between developing steps to keep the glass malleable. “Hot glass is kind of the consistency of honey,” said Anderson. “You have to constantly spin it and work it or it starts to drip – like a liquid would. And it slowly solidifies as you are working with it. These furnaces help us keep it this consistency so we can move and form it. It is incredible how you can manipulate it.” The third is an electric furnace which is used to slowly cool the completed pieces of 500 degree glass over an 11 hour period – which prevents the glass from shattering due to thermal stress. “If you let them cool down too rapidly, it will


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explode – and pretty violently,” said Anderson. Studio Vine Glass currently specializes in unique wine glasses and decanters, jewelry and decorative ornaments in addition to stunning bowls, sculptures and more. “We think a lot about everything we make,” said Anderson. “And we really take functionality into consideration.” This thoughtfulness can be found in what Anderson calls their ‘Bread and Butter’ pieces; brilliantly coloured Aurora Borealis bowls, wine glass with aeration peaks, imperfect-perfect whiskey glasses, tall necked decanters and lipped ice wine glasses. Their tableware can be found at over 40 retailers across the province – including Ravine Winery, Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and a number of Peller locations. Each piece is reasonably priced, ranging from a mere $20-$40 dollars per glass and $150-$250 per bowl and available for purchase either online, through an associated retailer or directly through the Slater Street location. “We try to keep our glass as reasonably priced as we can,” said Anderson. “We like to see our pieces being used.” Along with their table wear pieces, Anderson said both herself and Woodruff both work on sculptural pieces and creative series for galleries in Toronto and Hamilton as well as shows held throughout the year. “We have spent a lot of time building our business so now we are finally able to expand more into the sculptural work that we love,” said Anderson. “We are starting to get a lot more attention and settle into our space as well as our work.” Woodruff ’s Symbiote series featuring varying glass vessels which have had chunks of raw glass pressed onto the exterior to create a fluid, almost smoke like appearance is said to present a dramatic combined beauty of raw refinement that create an atmosphere of elegance and sophistication. Anderson’s current series, which explores the themes of human rights and the commoditization of such human rights, features towering cake plates and glass houses created with casting techniques: the art of building wax forms and then directing molten glass into form where it solidifies. “I try to use concept in my sculptures as well as mixed media,” said Anderson, whose sculptures combine metal shards and different forms of blown glass into cohesive collections – which sometimes do not resemble glass at all. Pop by Studio Vine Glass and watch the action live or visit their website for a current list of provincial wide exhibitions featuring their work. TM


On this page: Claire Anderson & Steven ‘Woody’ Woodruff working one of their popular pieces, the Aurora Borealis bowl. On location: Studio Vine Glass 5535 Slater Ave, Niagara Falls

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 49


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We’re service driven. Call us to speak with an expert!     

   79 Hartzel Rd. 905.682.8450 | 5559 George St. 905.354.2182 | 10 Wellingston St. 905.735.5616    

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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.

Ryan Serravalle is a Real Estate Broker

and the Owner of Revel Realty.

We Build a for your Memories!

AFFORDABLE LUXURY WITH UNIQUE & TIMELESS LIVING SPACES FOR YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY.

H OME S

TONY D’AMORE • 905.328.4529

info@willowbridgeniagara.com • willowbridgeniagara.com


Modern Oomph By Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

Designer Ian Graham’s modern comtemporary

esthetic is beautiful and

upscale without sacrificing

comfort or functionality.

Here he imparts advice on

how you can realize your own

design goals when consider-

ing revamping your interior.

Designing your dream home has never been easier. In today’s contemporary society, digital dream boards overflow with subway tiled kitchens, rustic wood paneling and gleaming Edison bulb light fixtures; HGTV channels overflow with down to earth design duos who rave about the luxury of giving your home a facelift and the internet has made it easier than ever to connect customers with suppliers. The tools to guide your inspiration are as endless as your own imagination. But sometimes, this information overload can do just that – overload our brains and leave us with oversaturated project dreams and a muddled mess of eggshell vs. matte and brass vs. copper. >>

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 53


This is where Oomph Designs and their modern contemporary esthetic is here to help. The award winning multidisciplinary design firm works with their customers to remove the doubt and confusion from designing your home or commercial business. With a focus on branded interiors, personalized graphics and concept/creative, OOMPH celebrates truly unique interiors that are a representation of yourself and/or your company – while adding that extra oomph that their name guarantees. “A little extra [Oomph] really is in essence what people really want,” says Ian Graham, owner and lead interior designer at Oomph Designs. “Hiring an interior designer will save you money and time - they execute your vision without the trial and error,” said Graham. “Time is money and if you are constantly redoing things, especially with residential design, you can end up frustrated and unhappy with the outcome.” Graham said he approaches each project from a creative standpoint with the vision that each interior is as unique as the person behind the project. “You always take into account who you are creating for,” said Graham. “I like to work very closely with my clients to develop their design. It’s the chaos of pulling everything together and making it all work which is the beauty of this job.” For those looking to take the plunge and design their home or business, OOMPH Designs has insightful tactics for conquering your renovations and emerging with the home of your dreams. >>


TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 55


LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE YOUR VISION The ability to communicate effectively is the number one key to designing a home or business. Graham says design websites such as Pinterest and Houzz have had a very positive impact overall on the interior design business. “People are becoming more and more specific as the years pass and it’s because of Pinterest,” said Graham. “The access to so many images is extremely helpful. They can now communicate with images.” And communicating what you do not want is equally as important. “Now, you can quickly differentiate between what you like and what you don’t like and effectively communicate that to your interior designer,” said Graham. “A couple of years ago, a client would contact me, and I would email them images and they would email me back and we would go back and forth like this. Now people come to me with a [Pinterest] board for the kitchen and a board for the ensuite, a board for the overall look, etc. So I knew, before I even met them, what they were looking for and what they are trying to achieve – without the trial and error.”

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX While working on both commercial and residential properties, Graham says he commonly witnesses customers limiting their design esthetic in order to conform to society’s depiction of how their properties should look when completed. Graham said he likes to approach commercial properties from a retail point of view in order to make them unique. “I work on a lot of dental offices and [customers] will constantly look to other dental offices to be inspired and I am like, no,” said Graham. “I tell them, look at anything. Look at the restaurants you like, the cafes you frequent and the feeling that these places give you.” “Just because you are opening a dentist’s office doesn’t mean you need a big flashing tooth sign at the door; just because you are designing a residential kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t draw from your favourite restaurant,” said Graham. >>


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STAY INSPIRED

As incredible Pinterest is as a tool for inspiration, Graham says it is equally important to draw inspiration from your surroundings and not solely a computer. “I am inspired by anything and everything,” said Graham. “Music is a huge inspiration and how it can transport you through time; movies and their visual effects – the fact that someone creates scenes and places that don’t actually exist. And most importantly how people approach things, not so much how they get to the end result, but how they thought through things, how they got to the final point and the journey they took.” Graham said he was inspired at a young age by a Beatles movie to become an interior designer. “Four of the Beatles walked into what appear to be four separate townhouses … and then [the film] showed that in fact they had walked into one open room,” said Graham. “And as a young kid, I thought that was so cool. I didn’t even know what the career was called yet, but right then and there I knew that whatever job that allowed me to create that, that’s what I wanted to do.” Graham also cites travelling as a main source of inspiration. “Visually [Italy] is amazing,” said Graham. “It is the architecture, it is everything. When you go to a cafe, a pizza place, the cobblestone roads, I just love it. This one wine bar was built on a side road on a huge angle. So what they did was they actually made the tables step up this hill. I just looked at it and loved it and it inspired me to really utilize space.”

MAINTAIN A REALISTIC BUDGET – AND BE FLEXIBLE Designing and renovating your home can be expensive. Graham says in order to maintain sanity during a project do your research: educate yourself on the general cost of materials, be verbal about your budget goals and understand that if you want the best you have to pay the accompanied price tag. “People have a hard time with cost and understanding that construction is expensive,” said Graham. “What is involved and the number of people you need in order to properly execute your vision – it adds up.” And do not tiptoe around the price. Graham says ask questions to better understand why the price of renovations might exceed the initial budget. “When you find a tile, and its $10 dollars a square foot, people only factor in that single cost and say ‘oh that is not too much’,” said Graham. “But it isn’t really $10 dollars a square foot. You buy it at that price, but then to install it is usually another $10 per square foot; all of a sudden it is $20 a square foot with labour.”>>


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CREATE A DESIGN PACKAGE

In order to accurately maintain and communicate your vision when delivering your wants and needs to potential contractors, a design package can be created which outlines the specific requirements for your project. This allows your project to be accurately priced out by multiple contractors – allowing you to choose the best person for the job. Without a design package, the project becomes convoluted, because customers are rarely consistent when they describe their project multiple times to multiple companies. “Without a specific design package, a contractor cannot actually nail [a project] down,” said Graham. “Most people will have a conversation and say ‘Okay contractor, I want this kind of kitchen with this, this, this,’ without any specifications, without any drawings, without any materials. But then they will have the same meeting with Contractor B and Contractor C – but they will rarely say the same thing. So any comparison you may have between contractors is thrown out the window because there was no consistency.”

HIRE A GENERAL CONTRACTOR

Hiring a general contractor is important in order to connect all moving parts of the project. Having an effective team and learning to delegate is an important factor that Graham says not only ensures a project runs smoothly, but maintains consistency and a budget that does not fluctuate unnecessarily. A general contractor is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, management of vendors and trades and the communication of information between all involved parties. “I am a big fan of a general contractor,” said Graham. “Any time someone tells me they want to general contract their own projects, I always ask them if they are sure they want to do that. A general contractor knows what is right or wrong, what the process is, what is involved -- if that is not your profession, you just don’t know if everything is running as smoothly as it can be.” General contractors as well keep your budget in mind and can ensure that outside workers are not pushing your project behind larger jobs. “If you’re leading your project, you are a one off to an electrician or carpenter,” said Graham. “And you may not get the best pricing and service because you are a small job. But if a contractor is leading the project, these other professionals want to maintain that connection for future projects.” TM


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THE NIAGARA RIVER WHIRLPOOL By Sherman Zavitz

The Niagara River Whirlpool has been a witness to a number of dramatic happenings over the years. One of those took place on an August day in 1934. A spectacular and popular sight, the Whirlpool is a unique geological formation. Around 60 acres in size and 126 feet deep, here the gorge walls tower some 250 feet above the water. During peak volume flow, such as during the summer months, the river, having just escaped from the turmoil of the Whirlpool Rapids, roars into the Whirlpool where the water is then swept around in a counter-clockwise motion. Forced down under the incoming stream, the water then reaches the pool’s outlet, having now changed direction from north-northwest to north-northeast. During lower water periods, as is the case during the winter months, the water flows in and out of the Whirlpool in a clockwise direction. One of the best ways to appreciate the Whirlpool is to cross it on the Aero Car. Inaugurated in 1916, this popular cable car ride is operated by The Niagara Parks Commission. >>


TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 63


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On the morning of Sunday, August 12, 1934, Mrs. Ruth Hyde, 30, of Bradford, Pennsylvania, visited the Whirlpool as part of an extensive tour on both sides of the Niagara River. At 3:25 that afternoon, she hired another cab, this time on River Road close to where the Canadian end of the Rainbow Bridge is now. The driver, James Abell, was asked to go to the Aero Car. After arriving there, Mrs. Hyde handed Abell a five-dollar bill, told him to keep the change and not to wait for her. She then bought a ticket to the Aero Car. As she was boarding, she gave her purse to the operator, Harold Brooker, asking him to hold it for her until the ride was over. Among the other passengers were Arthur McKinley and his six year old daughter Catherine. They were seated directly across from Mrs. Hyde who McKinley later described as having “bright red hair and a light complexion. She wore a reddish plaid dress.” Nothing in the woman’s appearance or actions gave McKinley any hint as to what was about to take place. The crossing began. When the car was right over the centre of the Whirlpool, the unthinkable happened. As it was later reported in the local press: “McKinley paid no attention to Mrs. Hyde until Catharine, in a shocked voice, pointed out that the red-haired woman was smoking a cigarette. She appeared to be nervous and fidgety. Suddenly standing, she threw away her cigarette and, before a move could be made to stop her, stood on the seat and leaped over the safety gate, going over as gracefully as a diver. McKinley saw the body hurtle through the air and strike the water, the impact being clearly heard.” The Whirlpool quickly consumed the woman, the powerful undertows dragging her out of sight. Later, when the purse Harold Brooker had been holding was opened, the police learned the victim’s identity. There was also a letter. Addressed to her husband, it said she intended to end her life and that her car could be found in Niagara Falls on the American side. When contacted, William was stunned and could offer no reason for his wife’s suicide. Four days later, Mrs. Hyde’s body, with most of the clothing ripped away, was recovered by the U.S. Coastguard near the mouth of the Niagara River. Early visitors to the Whirlpool were invariably awed by the wild phenomenon. One of them was Elizabeth Simcoe, wife of John Graves Simcoe, Upper Canada’s (Ontario’s) first lieutenantgovernor. In her diary entry for April 23, 1793, Elizabeth notes how she “rode to the Whirlpool.” She described it as “a very grand scene halfway between Queenston and the Falls,” and having a “wild appearance.” Thirteen years later, Thomas Cooper, from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, visited the Whirlpool, calling it a “truly picturesque scene….narrow, rapid, foaming…it is an object not to be passed on such a tour. “ While still an exciting, memorable sight, the Whirlpool is obviously not something to be toyed with – getting caught in its iron grip could easily be fatal. The story of Niagara stunter Maude Willard underscores that. Originally from Ohio, Maude was entertaining at a Buffalo


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theatre when she was asked if she would be interested in doing a barrel stunt on the Niagara River. She agreed. >> At 3:40 p.m., September 7, 1901, she and her pet terrier were placed in a barrel at a docking area just below the Falls. The barrel was then towed out into the Niagara River and set adrift. The plan was to have her barrel shoot the Whirlpool Rapids (one of the most dangerous stretches of white water in the World) and then enter the Whirlpool. Once she had shot clear of it, the barrel would drift downriver to Lewiston, New York, where it would be brought ashore. It took only 25 minutes for the barrel to reach the Whirlpool. From that point on, however, the plan quickly unraveled. Instead of escaping from the Whirlpool, Maude was trapped in it for almost six hours before two men were able to capture the barrel and bring it ashore. The cover was frantically ripped off and the rescue crew peered inside. Their worst fears were confirmed. Maude Willard was dead. Her pet dog, however, was alive and well. It had apparently survived by putting its nose into the barrel’s only air hole, thereby getting air for itself but cutting off Maude’s supply so that she eventually suffocated. While Maude’s experience with the Whirlpoool was horrendous and tragic, William Kondrat had an even closer encounter with its wild waters. It was July 1933. A native of Chatham, New Jersey, Kondrat, 18, and a friend were hitchhiking to Chicago that summer. Arriving in Niagara Falls, New York, they asked a restaurant owner where they could have a swim. The young men were told of a pathway that went down the side of the Niagara River Gorge to an old landing just a short distance upstream from the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge. Easily finding the spot, Kondrat, a powerful swimmer, stripped and entered the water, unaware that the mighty Whirlpool Rapids were just a short distance downriver. He soon found himself in a very swift current and decided to return to shore. This, he quickly found out, was impossible to do and moments later Kondrat was shot into the Rapids. A steady nerve, his outstanding ability as a swimmer and incredible luck saw him through. Then came the Whirlpool. As Kondrat later described it: “Three times I was carried into the vortex and pulled 40 or 50 feet beneath the surface. As I tried to fight my way to the top, I could see immense bubbles and the sun, filtered through the green water, being transformed into all the colours of the spectrum. Somewhere I had read that the way to escape an undertow was to swim with it. I tried that and suddenly was tossed 30 feet into the air.” After several desperate attempts to reach land, he finally caught hold of a rock and pulled himself out. Kondrat later described his condition at this point: “My arms were virtually useless. My lungs were full of water. I had the worst headache I have ever experienced. My brain was in a fog and I fell over but didn’t faint. And the strange part of it was, when help reached me, the first thing I wanted was a drink of water.” Witnesses to the swim later verified his story. William Kondrat had accidentally achieved what no other swimmer had ever done. Wearing no safety gear whatsoever, he had gone through the Whirlpool Rapids and then the Whirlpool itself - and lived to tell about it. TM


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ROOTED IN NIAGARA By Julie Tanos I Photos: courtesy of Tree to Table


The essence of live edge furniture is that each piece has a rich and sometimes significant

history. Where it has come from, what it has been

through and what purpose it is about to serve. Local company, Tree to Table, provides a

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lumber to those nostalgic enough, who want it immortalized in their own home. >>

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 69


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Co-founders and Owners of Tree to Table, Ted Kirkpatrick and Adrian Pennachetti, have been best friends since the 7th grade, growing up in St. Catharines and Beamsville respectively. Their friendship continued through high school, where both attended Ridley College and remained strong as they pursued post-secondary studies. While Kirkpatrick’s interests led him to Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo and Pennachetti to McGill University in Montreal, after graduation the two reunited back on home turf and embarked on two different career paths. However, when the opportunity presented itself that would allow the pair to come to together and try their hand at something new, they not only accepted the challenge, they embraced it and have seen it flourish into a bona fide business. Several years ago the region experienced a severe windstorm that took a toll on, among other things, a multitude of walnut trees on the property of Cave Springs Cellars. The winds may have left the landscape in shambles, but it gave birth to a genius upcycling project for the duo. The winery, belonging to the Pennachetti family, is from where the first Tree to Table piece was created. As Kirkpatrick explains, “I was just starting to get into making little wooden knick knacks, like cribbage boards and things. When Adrian’s Dad told us that there were these trees down, and we figured they were walnut trees, we said to each other ‘if we salvage these trees and get someone to mill them, we could probably sell the slabs. But if we dried the slabs, we could make a table.’” So they delved into the bush, hauling out their first batch of wood, had it milled up and began brainstorming possible end products with this new found valuable resource. Timing could not have been more serendipitous, as Kirkpatrick describes, “Adrian’s friends were moving to British Columbia and wanted something from the Niagara Region to take with them, so they asked ‘why don’t you build us a table?’ and we said ‘ok, we’ll do it.’” That was the first project they ever did, under the guidance of someone they knew who was knowledgeable in the field of carpentry. After the inaugural table was complete, the following haul saw them bring back ten trees, then twenty, and eventually the pair outgrew their original ‘workshop,’ of the convenient yet limited location of Pennachetti’s basement. The Co-founder painted the picture, “it was pretty hilarious; trying to get eight foot tables out of a basement of a bungalow!” Over time, greater projects both in number and scale, required not only the accumulation of new tools but also a new space. In mid-2015, they rented a shop to accommodate their increase in supply, but it didn’t last long. The pair recently opened their current location in Smithville, in October 2017, to accommodate their increase in demand. Despite the high acclaim for their upcycled creations, Tree to Table stays humble: “we’re not trained carpenters, we’re not even great wood workers, but once you kind of get a system down of how to do that, then you can streamline it and make it efficient, and so we just got good at making tables.” Browsing through their pictorial gallery of completed tables, “good” would be the last word that comes to mind. Impressive, beautifully crafted and exquisite would better describe what is forged in their Smithville workshop. Aside from milling and drying, time and heart are the intangible components that go into all of their pieces. Each table goes through a lengthy yet thorough process, that can take up to eight months before being ready for delivery to your dining room. However, if the materials have already gone through the necessary steps and are ready, on hand when a request for an order comes in, the pair can then turn out the final product in a considerably shorter


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amount of time. “What we’ve been trying to do in the last year is build an inventory. We’ve had three different styles of legs made and they’re all interchangeable between a six and an eight foot table. Then we’ve built six and eight foot tables in four different types of wood,” says Kirkpatrick. The challenge posed is trying to materialize a stock of ready-to-go table tops in order to allow their online store to be fully operational, while in the midst of keeping up with current customers’ orders. As word of mouth spreads about this local duo and what they’re up to, as well as their online presence, area businesses are already placing orders. For instance, Tree to Table just completed a major project of creating all of the tables for the Garrison House, a family restaurant located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, utilizing some of the more interesting salvaged wood. “All of the wooden, oak beams on the (Welland) Canal, once they’re garbage they take them off and then you can buy them. So we bought a bunch of old, wooden beams from the Canal, remilled them and then made all of the tables at the Garrison House out of that,” describes Kirkpatrick. Their largest project to date that the duo are presently working on is a wine tasting bar for a local business, which consists of a 14 foot long, single piece of oak wood. Yet not all of the finished products are on such a grand scale; “the size of the tree dictates what it is going to be best used for. Sometimes you get pieces and decide all of these are going to be benches, or all of these are going to be coffee tables - but a lot of the time you don’t know what you’re getting into until you cut it open,” says Kirkpatrick. “Sometimes you cut something open and you say ‘this is going to be awesome,’ so you section that off and say ‘let’s try to make something really spectacular with this.’” One of the unique stories of a ‘spectacular’ table that has been made, was for an individual from the area who requested that hers be made from one of the ash trees which was cut down. Recently, crews have been making wide-sweeping efforts to remove the diseased trees from the city, and per this client’s request, she wanted her table specifically made from the wood of one of these ash trees and specifically with all of the beetle marks noticeably in it. That is what was important to her and again, what makes their work so unconventional yet beautiful. While it may seem that there are many options to choose from when it comes to hand crafted, live edge furniture, this is where you can find a Niagara-sourced, locally made product of which to be proud to have in your home. “I think that’s really what distinguishes us,” describes Kirkpatrick, “if you go to Toronto, there’s a lot of live edge furniture makers, but they’re importing their wood from all over the world. Whereas we’re not, which also allows us to keep our prices reasonable.” The team of Kirkpatrick and Pennachetti have embarked on a truly avante-garde furniture company with Tree to Table. They not only help the environment by repurposing logs that are otherwise firewood, but their creations become statement pieces of the rooms in which they occupy. Character, meets sustainability, meets practicality, all rooted in Niagara. TM You can find out more about Tree to Table by visiting their website at treetotable.ca, or follow them on Instagram and Facebook.


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IGNITE A BETTER YOU

What’s your aging strategy? Dr. Christina Plaskos shares her Aegis 7 Elements™

1. Archer, D.F. Postmenopausal skin and estrogen. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012 Oct;28 Suppl 2:2-6. 2. Lephart, E.D. A review of the role of estrogen in dermal aging and facial attractiveness in women. J Cosmetic Dermatol. 2018 Feb 13. 3.Petering, R.C., Brooks, N.A. Testosterone Therapy: Review of Clinical Applications. Am Fam Physician. 2017 Oct 1;96(7):441-449.

Dr. Christina Plaskos, HONORS BSC PHARM, MD, ABAARM, AEGIS MD Dr. Plaskos is the Medical Director at Aegis MD. She is a cosmetic and wellness expert.

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A study in post menopausal women has shown that “both systemic and topical estrogens appear to have positive effects on hormonal aging, increasing skin collagen content, thickness, elasticity and hydration” (1). Furthermore, other reports suggest positive correlations between the levels of circulating estrogens and perceived age, attractiveness, enhanced skin health, and facial coloration in women (2). Taking this a step further, how do hormones affect the way we feel? Estrogens influence aspects of brain biochemistry known to be important for cognitive functions such as mood and anxiety. For example, one study found that three months of hormone therapy in post menopausal women significantly reduced depression and anxiety. It is unclear if the hormones are acting through serotonin pathways or whether it is due to improving sleep quality and reducing hot flashes. In contrast, testosterone therapy, which is generally thought of as a male treatment is also very important for aging women as studies have shown that it may be used to treat hypoactive (decreased) sexual desire disorder in postmenopausal women (3). Unfortunately we cannot look solely to hormones to look and feel our best. It is a synergy of each of the 7 Elements that is most important. Having a qualified team around you including a medical doctor with formal training in hormone therapy and wellness and cosmetic expertise to create a customized plan is the first step in living a healthier and more youthful life as we age.

st

I feel very fortunate that I spend my days helping people look and feel their best. With the advent of social media there is much more information available to help with this, however much of it can be conflicting and it often leaves people feeling confused and unsure what is best for themselves. Should I be using medical grade skin care products or all natural products? What is the best age to start Botox to prevent wrinkles? Is gluten free the best approach? My goal has always been to simplify these questions for people to help lower their stress levels when deciding which habits to adopt or let go. Through these observations and experience, I created the Aegis 7 Elements™ (nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, professional treatments, products, and YOU) to focus on all the key areas of Pro-Aging™. I have defined Pro-Aging™ as being a mindset that focuses on improving oneself each day through positive and healthy behaviours. In our 20s having a good diet, moderate exercise, and small investments in our skin health (which may include Botox and filler) may be sufficient. But in our 30s we may need to focus more on adequate sleep, more intense skin treatments, and stress management techniques. Our 40s may require the use of hormone therapy and other professional treatments along with the foundation we laid in our 20s and 30s. The key being that everyone is different, every stage of life is different, and everyone’s plan needs to reflect these differences. One of the Aegis 7 Elements™ that I receive frequent questions about is ‘Professional Treatments’ and specifically hormone therapy to restore and rebalance what is lost with aging. Declining hormone production as we age has been associated with skin aging, decreases in lean body mass, as well as bone mineral density, sexual desire, intellectual capacity, and mood.

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DAWN SMART HOME THE

OF THE

by Lauren Charley


We’re all familiar with smartphones, as they have become essential in our day-to-day business both at work and in our personal lives. Also becoming increasingly popular in the homestead is the concept of a smart home. The term “smart home” is commonly used to define a residence that has lighting, heating and cooling, entertainment and other systems controlled by a computercontrolled system, which may also be accessible remotely by phone or Internet. Smart home devices are gadgets that can be voice controlled, timed, or set up in a way that makes our time at home even more comfortable. The devices function best when they can be synced to a virtual assistant with smart speakers, which connect to the additional external hardware. Here are the cutting-edge, must-have devices for your smart home in 2018:

Amazon Echo 2017 (“Alexa”) - Smart Speakers

Amazon Echo is a smart speaker device. Smart speakers are voice-activated systems that recognize vocal commands rather than requiring buttons to be pressed, or switches to be operated, to active multiple devices within a home. The original purpose of smart speakers was for the wireless delivery of audio from the user’s media library through a variety of platforms or online music services. Enhanced models of smart speakers vary in features, design, and quality. New models will include the option to sync home automation systems including the heating and cooling, lighting, and security systems, and even large appliances. Smart speakers answer questions by a virtual assistant. Amazon Echo’s virtual assistant’s name is Alexa, and she can answer your basic questions, broadcast weather reports, set timers, and make phone calls. Although Amazon Echo is the best price, some reviews of the product do say that copycat speaker systems have a better sound system. Leading alternatives to Amazon Echo are the GoogleHome with the Google Assistant and the Apple HomePod using the familiar Siri software. >>

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 77


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Almost every homeowner’s dream would be to have a house that cleans itself. Well, we are not far off the idea of a futuristic home which maintains its spotless appearance all by itself. In 2002, Roomba was the first domestic robot vacuum available on the market, produced by the manufacturers, iRobot, who had worked with military robots for over a decade. Following Roomba, in the 2000s the company released different house cleaning products including Scooba, for washing floors, and Dirt Dog, specifically designed to sweep up shop dirt. Some models were designed to clean autonomously, whereas others required the use of a remote control. Of course, there is always an argument on how well a robot can clean compared to natural elbow grease, but it’s a great time-saver for those of us with busy schedules where cleaning often gets put aside. The technology works by using infrared sensors to measure and detect the area, corners, and obstacles in your home, and touch-sensitive bumpers detect when the device comes in contact with objects. When they first hit the market, the manufacturers suggested their products are intended to supplement your regular vacuuming rather than replace it. In 2018, the Neato Botvac Connected offers top quality robotic cleaning for your home. With Neato’s exclusive LaserSmart™ technology, the Combo Brush and Spiral Blade Brush, they are programmed to tend to all the nooks and crannies for a thorough clean of your home, and can cover up to 5,000 square feet per cleaning cycle. The technology is Wi-Fi enabled, and can be controlled by your smart phone, virtual assistant, or by controls on the robot itself. You can even get notifications about the cleaning status of your house.

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Video-door bells with a camera showing who is requesting entrance into a place of business or residence have been around for decades. However, they’re no longer just for luxury homes, or corporate buildings and offices with high-security, as everyday homeowners like the idea of being able to check who is at their door from a screen inside their home, or even remotely. SkyBell HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell will show you who rings the doorbell not only on a screen inside your house, but the device also has the ability to pair with your smartphone. By pairing with your smartphone, you will be sent a notification to alert you when a potential intruder comes near your residence. For parents, you can check to see who is at the door if it rings when your kids are old enough to be left at home. This increase in security is invaluable for peace of mind as we’re aware that intruders often check to see if someone is home before breaking and entering. You’ll have never felt safer when travelling on vacation. Additionally, when your smartphone notifies you of a guest at your door, you can speak with them directly, whether they are a bona-fide delivery person or potential intruder while you’re at the office. SkyBell HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell sets itself apart from competitor video doorbells as it has the best night vision capabilities, producing clear images in the dark. It also allows multiple users to receive notifications and remotely “answer” the door, as well as having a 2-way talk system and a motion sensor. You’re able to record footage and replay moments missed throughout the day. Video doorbells vary in capabilities and functions, and some models even double as porch lights. >>


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Serena by Lutron - Remote Controlled Shades

It can be a pretty tedious task going from window to window to open up your house for morning sunlight or winding down at night. Remote controlled shades are not a completely new concept, but they are a great addition to your smart home. Effortless, durable, and available in various colours, textures and fabrics, Serena shades are easy to install without wires, and are remote-controlled to activate in complete unison. Users can schedule times for their blinds to go up or down, or to be activated when a person enters or exits the home. The geofencing feature allows these controls to be done from anywhere outside the house by connecting with the Lutron App using the Lutron Smart Bridge technology. They also sync with your virtual assistant and smart speakers for voice activation.

Philips Hue - Smart Lighting

Imagine living in a home where the lighting was ever-changing to reflect your mood, the time of day, and had the ability to set alerts through the colourful use of illumination. The Philips Hue wireless lighting system is certainly not essential, but it does make a fancy addition to your smart home, allowing you to create the right ambiance for every moment. These trendy, energy-efficient LED lights can be controlled anywhere in the home using your smartphone or tablet. The Philips Hue lights can be used to set ambiance lighting to help you relax, concentrate, feel energized or even fall asleep. Mimicking the sunrise is a peaceful way to wake up without the aid of an obtrusive alarm. Users can set them to sync with music and games, and with many additional hues available to add to your starter kit, the possibilities for creativity are endless.

Samsung Family Hub - Smart Refrigerator

Modernizing the idea of one of the main kitchen appliances, smart refrigerators do more than just store food. Samsung Family Hub has cameras installed, allowing you to check the status of your groceries from your smart phone. Family members create profiles and sync their smartphones, using the fridge as a ‘hub’ for communication. Its exterior has a large, built-in tablet where you can create shopping lists, leave notes, set dates in your calendar, and even set notifications for expiration dates. This smart fridge also operates as an entertainment system to play music, or mirror a TV of what’s playing in another room.

Heatworks Tetra - Internet-Connected Counter Dishwasher

Due to come out later this year, Heatworks Tetra takes the concept of a modern dishwasher to a whole new level. The appliance sits conveniently on top of your kitchen workspace with enough space for a couple of place settings worth of cutlery, crockery and glassware. The machine uses just over two litres of water and gets the whole job washed and dried in ten minutes. Tetra can be controlled by an app, allowing you to trigger the cleaning, adjust the pressure, or add a cycle remotely.

Meet Aeolus Robot - Home Robotic Butler

Aeolus Robotics, a company in San Francisco, California brings ‘the first generation of household robot assistants into your life and home’. Although the device has yet to be released, the company plans to present the Aeolus Robot later in 2018. The robot is programmed to recognize thousands of household items, and you can attach brooms and mops to help clean your house. If it works the way it promises to, this could be a revolutionary, but very pricey, new addition to your house! TM


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// H E R E . S E E . D O

Out & About events.

festivals.

SAVOUR THE SIGHTS JACKSON TRIGGS MARCH 17 Enjoy an epicurean experience including five courses of fine regional cuisine, each featured in a stunning location of the winery. Relax amidst striking architecture as you savour award-winning wines complemented with gourmet cuisine. This ‘progressive’ dinner takes you on a gastronomic adventure. Tickets and more info at jacksontriggswinery.com. ONTARIO MAPLE WEEKEND WHITE MEADOWS FARMS APRIL 7 - 8

entertainment.

SPRING TO THE MARKET CLUB ITALIA I APRIL 8 The Niagara College Event Management Program presents Spring to the Market. Shop, sample, and socialize your way through our hands-on marketplace, featuring: Expert-led cooking and styling demonstrations, Vendor Alley featuring food, fashion & fresh cosmetics, DIY Workshops, Spa services, Flower Lounge Café, Mystery prizes. All proceeds from this event will go to the Niagara College Nourishing Minds Program in support of students who struggle with food insecurity. Admission is $5 and includes entrance and access to demonstrations.

Sugar makers are inviting you to share in the centuries-old craft of maple sugaring. Come and talk to the producers in your local area. They will be happy to share with you how their operation works. Visit whitemeadowsfarms.com for more information.

JUST FOR LAUGHS ROADSHOW FIRST ONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE I APRIL 10 Each Spring, JFL assembles a crack team of up-and-coming comics and pairs them with an established host to deliver a night of side-splitting comedy in downtown St. Catharines.. Tickets are $49 and are available from firstontariopac.ca/

JOHNNY REID REVIVAL LIVE MERIDIAN CENTRE APRIL 7 | 7-10PM

HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS MERIDIAN CENTRE APRIL 17

Johnny Reid is coming back to the Meridian Centre in Downtown St. Catharines for his 2018 “Revival” National Tour. He will be performing live on Saturday, April 7, 2018 with his long-time big band The Soul Providers and a special appearance by the JUNO Award winning group Glass Tiger.

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are returning to the Meridian Centre in Downtown St. Catharines. Join Globetrotter stars after the game where they will stay for an autograph, photograph and high five session for fans (subject to availability). To get tickets visit mydowntown.ca/calendar/ events/view/harlem-globetrotters-2018 >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 83


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ECO ART AND ECO FASHION SHOW GALA FARMER’S MARKET SQUARE, ST. CATHARINES I APRIL 20 Links for Greener Learning’s (LGL) Eco-Fashion Show and Gala aims to reduce waste by creating new products from upcycled and repurposed materials. All proceeds from this event will go towards improving and expanding the Eco-Chic, 3Rs Boutique project and our community gardens project which supports low income and newcomer families. The event will have three shows: The First Show- will have students from secondary and elementary schools who created their own designs from recycle material. The Second Show: will have models from second hand stores who will be wearing some of the clothes available at their stores. The Third Show- this will be the highlight of the event where models will “rock the runway” in beautiful and creative fashions made from waste material (plastic, fabric, buttons, pop tabs and other materials. Display of EcoChic Products (bags, purses, jewelry, keychains and other items made from waste material). Email contact@linksforgreenerlearning.org

NIAGARA FALLS ELVIS FESTIVAL GREG FREWIN THEATRE APRIL 20-APRIL 22 Canada is the only country outside of the US where Elvis performed on stage. To celebrate Elvis and his connection to Canada, the Niagara Falls Elvis Festival is a three-day festival of Graceland style entertainment and competition. If you have a burning love for Elvis Presley, then you’re about to be all shook up. For more information visit niagarafallstourism.com/events/niagara-falls-elvis-festival-1578/ GET FRESH IN THE VALLEY NIAGARA’S TWENTY VALLEY I APRIL 21 - 29 Join us as we celebrate Spring in Twenty Valley. This food and wine touring program entitles you to sample new vintage aromatic wines, paired with fresh spring flavours from some of the area’s premium chefs and wineries. Spend the weekend touring more than 20 of the finest wineries in the Valley. For more information visit tourismstcatharines.ca/festivals-and-events/get-fresh-in-the-valley/ ECHOS IN THE ICE NIAGARA FALLS HISTORY MUSEM RUNING UNTIL APRIL 22 Temporary Exhibit from the Canada Science and Technology Museum, January 25th to April 22nd. “Echoes in the Ice: Finding Franklin’s Ship” examines Arctic exploration past and present, profiles the explorers involved in the search for the Northwest Passage, and decodes the mysteries of the Franklin Expedition of 1845, when an entire crew vanished in the Arctic during an ill-fated search. For more information visit visitniagaracanada.com/events/ museum-presents-echoes-ice-finding-franklins-ship/ IN THE SOIL ARTS FESTIVAL DOWNTOWN ST. CATHARINES APRIL 27 - APRIL 29 A 3-day celebration of the region’s distinct contemporary arts and culture, featuring over 150 acts and more than 650 artists. Artists from Niagara and across Canada take over downtown St.Catharines for a jam-packed program of live music, theatre, dance, film, streetscape art and family friendly events. Get more info on tickets and schedules at inthesoil.on.ca/ FULL MOON GHOST WALKS DOWNTOWN ST. CATHARINES APRIL 29 - OCT. 27 Take an eerie stroll through Downtown St. Catharines and explore our history and haunted tales under the magic of the full moon. Tickets are $10 each; advance purchase is required. April 29, May 29, June 28, July 27, August 26, September 24, October 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27. For more information visit tourismstcatharines.ca/ festivals-and-events/full-moon-ghost-walks-2/ SPRING HANDMADE MARKET 13TH STREET WINERY I MAY 11-12 The 7th Annual Spring HandMade Market will present 120 curated artisans from across Ontario and Québec offering :HandCrafted Jewellery, Bags, Fashion Accessories, Home Décor, Canning & Preserves, Natural Bath & Body Products, Original Art, Designer & Children’s Clothing, Knits, Wood & Leather, Hand Bound Books, Seasonal Products. TM


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GARDEN CITY COMEDY FESTIVAL MAY 24TH TO 26TH -FIRST ONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE -SHOWTIME COMEDY AND ENTERTAINMENT BY JILL THAM


Cara Conners performing at 2017 Garden City Comedy Festival

When was the last time you had a good laugh? The kind where your ribs hurt. In its third season, The Garden City Comedy Festival is the premiere spot for side splitting comedy. Comedian and festival organizer, David Green, wanted to provide an opportunity for local artists to perform comedy. “When I first started performing stand up nine years ago, there were no places to perform in the Niagara Region and I used to travel to Hamilton three times a week to perform,” explains Green. Green, who has been producing comedy shows in the Niagara Region for the last seven years is pleased with the growth in entertainment he has watched develop in the area. “In the last few years comedy has really boomed. There used to be only one place that had an open mic,” explains Green, who is proud of the opportunities the Garden City Comedy Festival brings to the local residents. Six weeks prior to the festival, Green hosts a competition called Niagara’s Top Comic. “The competition is open to residents in the Niagara Region and the winners get to perform during the festival,” says Green. The festival kicks off on Thursday, May 24th at Showtime Comedy and Entertainment in downtown St. Catharines where Niagara’s Comedy All Stars will take the stage for charity. “We partnership with Pathstone Mental Health for this event. Local magician Alex Kazam is the MC, myself and Jeffrey Stroop will be taking the stage along with headliner Tony Venditti who is a long time performer in Niagara.” “Friday night is the showtime special starring The Doo Wops: a blending of song and comedy with David Mesiano and John Catucci, the host of You Gotta Eat Here,” says Green. “Local legend, Joe Pillitteri will MC the evening.” Last year’s winner of Niagara’s Top Comic, Patrick Alexander, will perform along with Dundas, ON native, Michelle Zhitomirsky. “This year’s Saturday Night Gala at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre will spotlight Seán Cullen, Canadian favourite and triple Gemini winner,” says Green. “Seán has some specials on Comedy Central, was on Last Comic Standing and is known for his legendary impressions.” Opening up for Seán are Chris Robinson with his incredible energy, and Chantel Marostica who is one very funny lady,” says Green. “There is also a secret show right after the gala that will be held at Showtime Comedy and Entertainment. Green is ecstatic to support local comedians getting their start in the business. “It is exciting we can put on an event like this and have a place for people to perform. Especially with sold out shows in larger venues.” says Green. “Being on stage and getting a laugh is the best part of the job.” “It is exciting to see where the comedians go after the Niagara’s Top Comic competition. They get in the spotlight here and then they get pulled to the next level,” says Green. Past winners have transitioned from local gigs to producing their own shows and winning competitions on a larger

scale. “In this year’s show, is Chris Robinson who won a first place prize of $25,000 for SiriusXM Top Comic 2016,” says Green. “Last year’s winner, Patrick Alexander, will be opening up for Comedy Central favourite, Jeremy Hotz, in the Greg Frewin Theatre.” Along with showcasing local talent, Green is proud to bring some big names to the area. “Last year we sold out quickly with K. Trevor Wilson, one of the stars from Letterkenny,” says Green. “We are trying to bring you the best talent that is out there.” The popularity of the festival is gaining momentum and with sold out shows last year, 2018 is guaranteed to surpass expectations. “It is a good fun night full of laughs,” says Green. “We have a plan that includes expanding the festival to four days next year. In five years, we hope to sell out the Meridian Centre with top comedians.” Green is committed to supporting local and inspiring comedians. “Support local comedy and you will be surprised at the talent,” says Green. “The more we support them the more we can grow in our community.” TM For more information and tickets visit gardencitycomedyfestival.com

Patrick Alexander performing at the 2017 Garden City Comedy Festival.

Trevor K. Wilson performing at the 2017 Garden City Comedy Festival

TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 87


SONGWRITERS: FEATURING JOHN TESH BY JILL THAM

One leg at a time. That’s how everyone does it, famous or

NIAGARA not. Described as one of the most humble individuals, radio FALLSVIEW and television host, composer and musician, John Tesh has CASINO MARCH 24

had his own set of trials and tribulations that have given him the perseverance to become one of the most recognizable voices in the music and entertainment industry. Homeless at a young age, Tesh quickly learned the meaning of adversity. “I was asked to leave school and my parents threw me out of the house because of that,” explains Tesh. “I was playing in rock bands and my parents insisted I would starve to death, but my deepest desire was to be a musician.” In a trophy case in Tesh’s home sits the egg timer his mother used to regulate his piano and trumpet practising. “That was a line in the sand. I couldn’t go outside until I finished my practise,” recalls Tesh, who would turn some of the songs into rock beats to help pass the time. “My mother was a tennis player and a nurse and she knew the value of practice,” says Tesh. Tesh was fortunate to have positive influences in his life: complementary to what he learned at home. “Mr. Wagner was my first grade music teacher,” says Tesh. “He was just one of those guys. He put me in the band and it shaped me in many different ways. Having him as a music teacher was a microcosm for life,” says Tesh. Through reflection and playing music, Tesh has come to realize the positive impact his early experiences at home and school had on his musical endeavours. “Kids need to learn to have the discipline to practice something everyday,” says

Tesh. “It is such a shame that we don’t have more music programs, especially at the young elementary level where kids need an outlet. I was tall, skinny and ghastly unpopular,” says Tesh. “Music was my only way out.” After graduation from North Carolina University, Tesh began his career working as a journalist for CBC News, hosting and sports broadcasting a variety of high profile events. Tesh gained status in the music industry when he composed the NBA on NBC theme “Roundball Rock.” It was always Tesh’s life long goal to be a full time musician with a record deal. “It scared me when I ended up on Entertainment Tonight and all I wanted to do was get a record deal. They didn’t think it was cool to have an entertainment guy on their label,” explains Tesh. Frustrated with the lack of support in the music business, Tesh started his own record company. In 1995, Tesh’s moment in music finally arrived. “I bet everything on this big PBS special with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. There were 15 cameras with no guarantee from PBS that anything would come of it,” says Tesh. During the performance, mother nature gave Tesh a kick in the pants. “It started to pour. I kept playing as water was pouring out of the grand piano,” recalls Tesh. Despite the weather, the benefit concert was well received by audiences and various PBS stations aired the concert. Tesh’s hard work and diligence in the industry was finally rewarded. “We went from selling 500 records a week to selling 550,000 per week,” says Tesh. “It came a little late in life. I have never had a


moment that big. It has stuck with me forever.” “You don’t become a successful musician or anything until you are faced with extreme adversity. I have 50 letters on my wall of being turned down for record deals including one from Danny Goldberg. You think you will never get through this and you do, you come back after being beaten down,” says Tesh, who ten years later would sell his record company to Goldberg. After a successful ten year run with the John Tesh Radio Show, Tesh, along with his wife Connie Sellecca and stepson Gib Gerard, started Intelligence for Your Life, a radio show that addresses a variety of topics targeted to audiences across North America. Three years ago, Tesh was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “I got the diagnosis that I was between stage three and four. I am a big time researcher and I started reading everything I could find on cancer,” says Tesh. “I had surgery to remove the cancer.” After beating prostate cancer, Tesh would be diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes. “I wanted to quit and Connie wouldn’t let me. It was a family journey and now I am clear from cancer,” says Tesh. Throughout his cancer treatment, Tesh continued to work at Intelligence for Your Life. “I did the radio show in between vomiting,” says Tesh who credits his strength to his family, especially Connie, his wife of 26 years. “She wouldn’t let me give up,” says Tesh. Niagara residents and tourists will be enthralled with Tesh’s musical talent in his show “Grand Piano Live” at the Fallsview Casino. “This is a different show for us. Having sat in orchestras for several years with the big sound, my wife Connie said, ‘Why do you need all of this, just go and play the piano,’” says Tesh. Tesh has gone from playing in a venue that seats 6000 to an intimate theatre with an audience of 500. “We heavily involve the audience,” says Tesh. “It is less formal than what people are used to.” Through the use of images projected on a screen, Tesh takes the audience through a memorable night of sight and sound. “I put this show together to take people on a history lesson of my life’s journey. So much has happened to me, so many great things and some life challenges,” says Tesh. Tesh attributes his success to discipline, perseverance and the unwillingness to allow anyone to steer him out of “his lane,” advice he gives willingly to people trying to reach their goals. “Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote ‘In the Heights’ and ‘Hamilton’ said in an interview on 60 Minutes that he picked a lane, theatre, and that was all he wanted to do. He didn’t let anything persuade him or let anyone pull him out of his lane,” says Tesh. Tesh and his family reside in Los Angeles, California. “All production is done on our property and my grandkids are always playing around here,” says Tesh. “Being a good parent and grandparent is number one on my list.” With an impressive list of accolades that includes: six Emmys, two Grammy nominations, three gold records, eight million records sold, and over 20 million dollars raised for public television there is still more to come from Tesh. He is currently writing a book called “Perseverance” for Publisher HarperCollins. The familiar saying, “Don’t judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes,” holds true to Tesh’s show. Audience members will be astonished with the journey that Tesh took to get to here. “I always say at the end of the concert you will feel a lot better about yourself,” concludes Tesh. For more information visit www.tesh.com. TM

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Today Magazine March/April 2018