BRIGHTEN UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
The right lighting adds a magical touch to your home’s festive look. The holidays are coming up fast, so stock up on new lights, inflatables and yard décor before the snow flies.
PUBLISHER/EDITOR Robert E. Robinson
CONTRIBUTING Matthew St. Amand WRITERS Alley L. Biniarz Ryan Percy Karen Tinsley
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Carol Garant
ART DIRECTOR Michael Pietrangelo
PRODUCTION George Sharpe
PHOTOGRAPHERS John Liviero, Sooter’s Photography Todd Fraser CTV
Michael Pietrangelo Henry Nadasdi Elisa Bognar Steff Davidson Devon Pastorius CBC Jakob Skrzypa
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Windsor Life Magazine is published by Campbell McGregor Garant Publishing Incorporated. Articles and art may not be reprinted without written permission from the publishers. The publishers assume no responsibility to return unsolic ited editorial or graphic material. Windsor Life Magazine is a registered trademark of Campbell McGregor Garant Pub lishing Incorporated, Suite 318-5060 Tecumseh Road East, Windsor, Ontario N8T 1C1. Telephone (519) 979-5433, Fax (519) 979-9237. All rights reserved. ISSN 11955694.
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A guaranteed return – and more
Guaranteed interest accounts provide interest income, insurance benefits and flexibility.
There is almost always a place for secure, guaranteed investments in an investor’s portfolio. They can help reduce the volatility of a balanced mix of stocks and bonds, and they can deliver a steady stream of interest income to help support lifestyle goals.
A guaranteed interest account (GIA) offered by an insurance company has some interesting additional benefits that can help investors achieve other objectives.
What is a GIA?
A GIA is an insurance contract that pays interest at a guaranteed rate, like a bank-issued guaranteed investment certificate (GIC). A variety of terms are available ranging from short-term to long-term. Either way, at maturity, investors can choose to reinvest their original investment plus the interest they have earned.
Importantly, once purchased, the interest rate does not fluctuate with the markets. On top of that, a GIA offered by an insurance company offers extras like tax and estate planning benefits, as well as potential creditor protection.
Tax planning benefits
Every dollar saved in tax is an extra dollar available to save or invest – and a GIA can provide tax savings in two ways for non-registered accounts. First, investors can defer taxes on GIA interest for up to one year. Second, when investors are age 65 or older, GIA interest income may qualify for the pension income tax credit and for pension income splitting with a spouse or common-law partner.
Estate planning benefits
Most people want their assets to transfer quickly, cost-effectively and privately to their beneficiaries. Because a GIA is an insurance contract, it allows for the naming of a beneficiary. This means the proceeds can be paid directly to the beneficiary and avoid the estate, and therefore probate where applicable, and potential delays and associated costs, as well as public scrutiny in a probate court.
Potential creditor protection
Professionals and small business owners often worry about protecting their personal assets from creditors. If they’re sued or the business runs into financial difficulties, creditors may have the right to seize what they own personally.
GIAs have the potential to help with creditor protection during the investor’s lifetime, as well as after death when the death benefit passes directly to a named beneficiary outside the estate. It is very important to consult with a legal advisor to discuss the rules surrounding eligibility for creditor protection.
Why choose a GIA?
Many investors choose GIAs primarily to help protect part of their portfolio from market exposure and to guarantee a predictable return. Tax and estate planning benefits and potential creditor protection can be attractive extra features.
Depending on the structure of the GIA, investors may also benefit from flexibility to move in and out of the markets in response to volatility or changing financial needs. That’s because some GIAs are offered in contracts that also offer segregated funds. This means that it may be possible to transfer between the GIA and a segregated fund that provides access to market growth. This transfer would be subject to fees.
For investors looking for security and stability in an unpredictable world, GIAs can help safeguard capital and deliver guaranteed rates. Unlike some market-dependent investments, GIAs also qualify for deposit protection from Assuris on investments up to $100,000. Speak with me about whether a GIA may be appropriate for your needs and goals.
Can a GIA provide a guaranteed interest rate? Yes. GIAs offer a guaranteed interest rate from the day money is invested until maturity.
Does a GIA qualify for deposit protection on investments up to $100,000?
Yes. Assuris (which protects Canadian insurance policyholders) provides additional protection. Is it possible to access money invested in a GIA before maturity? Yes. Fees may apply.
Are term choices available? Yes.
Is it possible to designate a beneficiary on a GIA? Yes.
Does a GIA offer the estate planning advantages that come with avoiding probate? Yes.
Is GIA interest income potentially eligible for the pension income tax credit and pension income splitting when the owner is age 65 or older? Yes.
Is it possible to hold a GIA in an RRSP, RRIF, TFSA or non-registered account?
Yes. RRSPs, RRIFs and non-registered accounts can hold short-term or long-term GIAs. TFSAs can hold long-term GIAs.
How can I invest in a GIA?
You have to get them via a life-licensed advisor, as they are issued by insurance companies.
1The probate process and fees do not apply in Quebec. There is a verification process for non-notarial wills but not for notarial wills. In Saskatchewan jointly held property and insurance policies with a named beneficiary are included on the application for probate but do not flow through the estate and are not subject to probate fees. 2In certain circumstances, you can protect your contract from unforeseen bankruptcy by designating a preferred class beneficiary. Since there are some circumstances where creditor protection may not apply, you should consult a legal advisor to find out if you’re eligible for this protection. 3Withdrawals, fund switches and/ or transfers between investment options may be subject to fees and charges, result in tax consequences, and impact segregated fund guarantees.
© 2020 Manulife. The persons and situations depicted are fictional and their resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coin cidental. This media is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide specific financial, tax, legal, accounting or other advice and should not be relied upon in that regard. Many of the issues discussed will vary by province. Individuals should seek the advice of professionals to ensure that any action taken with respect to this information is appropriate to their specific situation. E & O E. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the fund facts as well as the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change fre quently and past performance may not be repeated. Any amount that is allocated to a segregated fund is invested at the risk of the contractholder and may increase or decrease in value.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE, PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL
Barbara Allen, HBA, CFP
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Manulife Securities Insurance Inc.
Senior Financial Advisor
Manulife Securities Incorporated
Direct Line 519-250-0515
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2255 Cadillac Street, Windsor
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ON THE COVER
Best friends Catherine Wreford Ledlow and Craig Ramsay are the winners of season 8 of CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada.
Photography Todd Fraser, Courtesy of CTV
See page 14
AMAZING RACE CANADA
AWAY FROM HOME
Autumn Kings Bring Windsor’s Music Scene International
SENSE OF PLACE
LaSalle Home Was Designed to Love
Kindness Through Gifting Notes to Strangers
Take The Spirit of The Season to The Next Level
VAMPIRE ZOMBIES...FROM SPACE!
New Children’s Book Tells a Story From a Different Perspective
This issue of Windsor Life Magazine is al ways a special one to me. It is our Anniversa ry Edition and each year it acts as a reminder of how far both our community, as well as our publication, have come in nearly three decades.
When we first set down the direction for our then new publication, it was a simple one. The magazine would focus solely on the positive things happening in and around Windsor/Essex-Chatham/Kent.
Of course to focus on the positive things happening we would also have to focus on the positive people making them happen. And to this day that remains our focus. We don’t want to be controversial. We stay away from politics and topics which will likely offend or alienate people, and we do not apologize for that. Our goal is to present amazing people and amazing organizations in our community, doing amazing things which our readers can enjoy at their leisure. I love to see the letters, emails and social media comments on our stories.
Your one step to a successful renovation
None of this would be possible without the support of our advertisers. In some cas es they have been with us since our very first year. Many of them have been with us for five, ten, fifteen and even twenty years. Our approach to the presentation of stories reflects in a manner that makes their sup port a reflection of how they feel about our community. What we publish reflects on our advertisers as well. They depend on us and we do not take that responsibility lightly.
They also know that we, with their sup port, are available to put their message in front of a much larger audience than other publications. In fact, our circulation is dou ble that of any other and in some cases up to 10 times larger.
That impact makes their investment go further and, in a time when cost effective ness is of utmost importance, we fill their need as completely as possible.
We are bullish on the future of our area. There have been so many positive announcements lately about new investments that I cannot think of a better place to be right now.
Going into our 30th year of publishing, we are proud of our community and the positive influence that Windsor Life Mag azine has had and you can depend on us to remain steadfast to that path.
DECORATE EVERY ROOM IN YOUR
How Two Best Friends Gave it Their All to Win The Amazing Race CanadaSTORY BY RYAN PERCY PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF CTV
WITH A BEST FRIEND anything is possible, someone to push you past your limits to exceed in ways you never thought possible. For Craig Ramsay and Catherine Wreford Ledlow their camaraderie led them to not only new heights but victory fame across Canada.
The Amazing Race Canada had to take a pause during 2020 and 2021 but restarted in 2022 as the COVID-19 pandemic has been seeming to abide. Craig and Catherine had been selected to take part and the duo were off on the race of their lives.
The duo’s journey was not without hardship and uncertainty that left the two of them early in the race worrying if they’d even manage to win. The two were flying high after winning the third leg of the race, but then it all came tumbling down.
“Not only did we test positive for COVID but two other teams had positive results as well,” Craig, a Harrow native, says of how they and two teams s
Opposite top to bottom: Best friends Catherine and Craig from Winnipeg and Windsor, winners of season 8 of CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada. Photo by Todd Fraser.; Catherine and Craig face off in a classic game of croquet on Episode 808 of CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada in Montebello, Québec.
This page clockwise from right: Craig does a dance as part of a challenge in Fernie, B.C.; Host Jon Montgomery greets Catherine and Craig at the final mat on the Season 8 finale; The Amazing Race Canada Season 8 winners Catherine and Craig pose with their All-New 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 vehicles. The duo also won a oncein-a-lifetime trip for two around the world courtesy of GURU Organic Energy, a $250,000 cash prize, and the coveted Season 8 title of THE AMAZING RACE CANADA champions; Catherine and Craig take the stage on the Season 8 finale.
were side-lined for two legs. “We weren’t told what was going to happen, there was a lot of uncertainty. Catherine and I had to accept the fact that it was more likely than not that our race was finished.”
The producers of the show found a way and two of the three teams were allowed to come back on to continue competing, Craig and Catherine being one of the pairs.
Back in the game the two of them were able to focus on the plan they had from the beginning.
“Our ultimate goal was to get to the fi nale,” Craig laughs at their goals they set out for during the race. “But as soon as we started the finale, we quickly switched to we wanted to win.”
And they did.
The two crossed the finish line and be came the champions for the eighth season of The Amazing Race Canada. Which, with a pre-recorded season the two had to keep secret for since May of 2022.
“The secret has been torture,” Craig says of needing to keep their win under wraps. “I had to develop a technique and if peo ple noticed that I’ve been slightly quiet on social media it was because I simply didn’t trust myself.”
While the thrill of victory, the $250,000 in prize money, trip for two anywhere in the world and two 2022 Chevrolet Silver ados are great rewards, Craig said some of the best parts are the experiences they were able to have along the way.
“Climbing to the top of the Ferris Wheel and seeing all of Montreal from up there is going to forever be in my mind,” Craig said of one moment that stuck out to him during the race.
But the race had more importance to the two and has led to a story of perseverance and endurance. Catherine was competing in the race with a diagnosed terminal ill ness. While the cameras caught much of their moments throughout, not everything made it to air.
“It was amazing having the opportunity to see Catherine’s dream of being up in a biplane with the wind in her hair,” Craig says of one heartfelt moment the duo ex perienced. “What the cameras weren’t able to capture was that she said she really want ed to be up there, because sooner than she wants, she will be up there looking down on her children.”
But despite the diagnosis Craig said Catherine has laid a legacy down with their win.
“She’ll be the first to identify this win s
as her legacy but she doesn’t want her ter minal illness to define her,” Craig says of how he’s seen Catherine respond to their shared victory. “She doesn’t want to let any day go by that she’s not living her best life.”
Craig, at 45-years-old, says he was glad he was able to show even at his age fitness is important, especially with the pressure of the show meaning he had to not slack when they were expected to run three to eight miles every day to compete. Howev er, when asked if he wanted to ever com pete in a potential all-star season and do it again he laughs.
“I’m always a yes person,” he says. “But I’m also a mature, sensible person, a mid dle-aged man. Just like a good sitcom, I’m not going to stick around until things get bad.”
Craig is also an out member of the LGBTQ community in Windsor-Essex and hopes to use his fame to support the community and help to be a role model to others to show them they can do great things if they set their minds to it. This has even led to organizations in the area reach ing out to him.
“The Windsor Essex Pride Fest Festival reached out and asked if I would be the Grand Marshal for 2023,” Craig says. “That means the world to me.”
Craig is also not just simply one of the winners of The Amazing Race Canada. He’s a fitness advocate, author and moti vational speaker. A package of skills that he hopes to be able to use along with his fame to better support the community.
“I want to be there for people,” Craig says. “Let’s have a conversation that helps better ourselves. If I can be of assistance and give back, especially to Windsor-Essex County friends and family, I certainly am available and willing to do that.”
With Craig having competed in the first post-pandemic race he says while people should definitely go to compete on The Amazing Race Canada they should see the victory of Catherine and himself as an im portant learning tool.
“Be vulnerable to put yourself out there and to rekindle the kind of friendship that Catherine and I have,” Craig says of what he took away the most from his time on the show. “The pandemic was a lonely isolation for many and some relationships feel more distant than they should be. Reconnect with your chosen family, with your friends, then do what Cath and I did. Explore and have new experiences, it’s time to do that.”
NEROS STEAKHOUSE REINVIGORATES MENU
Neros Steakhouse is Caesars Windsor’s premiere fine-dining destina tion. Now, with a recently unveiled and reinvigorated menu, there are even more ways to revel in the signature experience.
Begin your culinary adventure with a fresh starter, such as Neros Baked Oysters, perfectly complemented with creamed spinach, smoky bacon, aged white cheddar, and buttered panko; or find yourself diving deep into tender Pan Seared Ocean Scallops, ele vated with smoky eggplant, harissa sauce, and honey mushrooms. Whatever ignites your senses, an amazing starter at Neros always sets the table for an evening of delightful indulgences.
All great steakhouses do great seafood, and Neros has proudly added Pan Seared Pacific Halibut and Lobster Tagliatelle as welcome ad ditions to the entrée lineup. Rajan Mehra, Executive Chef, Caesars Windsor, is most excited to debut for his guests the new Chilled Seafood Tower. Whether it is enjoyed to start or as your main feature, this show-stopping offering includes the very best from the ocean, including lobster, king crab, jumbo shrimp, octopus and more.
THE PERFECT STEAK
Of course, at Neros Steakhouse, a great steak is always in the details. An 18-ounce AAA Dry Aged Bone-In Beef Striploin, 20-ounce AAA Long Bone Beef Ribeye and 26-ounce AAA Beef Porterhouse enhance an already award-winning arsenal of premium cuts and bone-in offerings. Only the finest ingredients are utilized to create exquisite flavour profiles perfectly executed by top-skilled chefs.
Neros’ classic offerings continue to include the world’s finest cuts like Wagyu Striploin, Alberta Beef Filet, and Angus Beef Ribeye among other favourites. Through buttery first cuts and down to the last ounce, Neros prides itself on consistently delivering perfectly crust ed, perfectly tender and perfectly seasoned steak dishes – always.
Between each bite, Neros adds to an evening of luxury with the fin est wine offerings. Backed by the prestigious Wine Spectator Award for 13 years and a spectacular Wine Room, Neros is recognized for its devotion to providing expertly chosen, high-quality wines that appeal to every type of wine lover. Curated by Renee Nantais, the only in-house sommelier in the area, hundreds of bottles from top wine regions around the globe make up a celebrated wine collection. To the benefit of every guest, an in-house sommelier allows for the effortless discovery of perfect wine pairings for any dish.
DEDICATED PASTRY CHEF
Finally, no memorable meal is ever complete without something sweet. Carefully crafted and developed by in-house Executive Pastry Chef, Mike Poojari, a lavish lineup of desserts exists to leave a lasting impression on guests. From a decadent Caramel Chocolate Mousse Brownie to the rich and creamy Grand Marnier and Frangelico Crème Brûlée duo, your last bite, until next time, will perfectly encapsulate your fine-dining experience.
From mouth-watering first impressions to unparalleled final bites, Neros Steakhouse is where delicious, memorable evenings unfold. Reserve your table tonight to enjoy long-standing favourites and soon-to-be classics.SURF AND TURF PAN SEARED PACIFIC HALIBUT GRAND MARNIER & FRANGELICO CRÈME BRÛLÉE PAN SEARED OCEAN SCALLOPS
NEW AND NOTICED
ST. CLAIR COLLEGE ANNUAL GOURMET FOOD & WINE GALA
The 28th St. Clair College Annual Gourmet Food & Wine Gala was held on September 23 at the sold-out St. Clair College Centre for the Arts. This year, they raised over $1.1 Million for the new Acute Care Hospital in our region. Pictured from left are John Feldman (President St. Clair Alumni), Beth Ann Prince (President WRH Foundation), Dr. Patti France (President St. Clair College), Anthony Paniccia (Chair WRH Board of Directors) and David Musyj (President and CEO WRH). wrh.on.ca
Principal Stylist at MisterHQ, David Bur man, recently celebrated the grand opening of his new office and showroom at 1055 Ottawa St. The Mister Style division is the leading staging and interior design compa ny in the area. Pictured with David are (left) Cheryl Sprague, President of Delta Chi Child Care and Children’s Aid Foundation board of directors and David’s mother Iris Burman. misterhqgroup.ca
COMMUNITY LIVING WINDSOR
Community Living Windsor is a not-forprofit organization that is dedicated to supporting people who have an intellectual disability and their families as they pursue possibilities, make choices, and achieve the life they want. Shish Paul Chand and his wife Ruby were recently recognized for their 25th year as a being a Host Family. Pictured from left are Ruby Chand, John Jackson (Manager, Family Supports at Community Living Windsor) and Shish Paul Chand. clwindsor.org
WHITE WOODS HOME KITCHEN SHOP
Esther Reaume, former owner of the ‘The Cookshop Kitchen Shop’, has recently opened White Woods Home Kitchen Shop located in beautiful historic Amherstburg featuring beautifully designed cookware, tableware, home décor and seasonal items. With the mantra of ‘Life is Beautiful’, her vision is to facilitate the gathering of family and friends. whitewoodshome.ca
THE ROD CADDY
Local teacher, Stu Smith, recently appeared on CBC’s Dragon’s Den to pitch the Rod Caddy which his late father invented to solve a very real problem that millions of anglers face each day…tangled lines and broken rod tips when transporting their rods. While he wasn’t successful hooking a deal, it was a great experience and he has since landed two local investors to help take the product to the next level. Photo courtesy of CBC. therodcaddy.com
A NEW CHAPTER AFTER BOOK OF THE BROKENSTORY BY RYAN PERCY / PHOTOGRAPHY BY HENRY NADASDI
FROM PLAYING GUITAR HERO in their basement to rocking the Strawberry Fest and now touring across North America, the Autumn Kings have worked their hardest to make sure Windsor is put on the music world map.
It started out with a plastic guitar in hand during the mid-2000s. Shredding along the multicoloured frets to rock classics like Paint it Black and Rock You Like a Hurricane and nearly breaking those buttons on Dragonforce’s Through the Fire and Flames.
“I was 12 years old and I’d get home around 4 then play Guitar Hero 3 until 10 or 11 at night,” says Jake Diab, guitarist and colead vocalist for the band. “I ended up becoming just an animal at the game and years later when I stepped into the real music busi ness, I realized how valuable of an opportunity that game was for so many artists.”
The game introduced an entire generation to rock music, metal, hip-hop, blues and many other genres. It was a formative experi ence for the generation that picked up the plastic axe to shred on.
So it was no wonder that Jake and friends decided to get actual instruments and start the band out.
After practicing and building calluses for hours every day, the group walked out onto the stage of the 2015 LaSalle Strawberry
Festival and everything began falling into place.
Now, with 7 years of experience across performances, recording and touring the band is pushing hard to make sure every one gets a taste of the Autumn Kings.
“We’ve been touring the States,” Diab says of the band’s recent gigs, “Mainly the midwest within Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan. We’ve been growing our fan base and slugging it out on the rounds, taking that homegrown sound and getting it into neighbouring markets.”
But while the States have been a mas sive market to push into, the band has not neglected their hometown and Canadian fans.
“We just finished a show in Kitchener and even got a chance to play at the leg endary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto,” Diab says of their recent tour hitting major cities along the 401.
The Horseshoe Tavern is a well-known spot earning its legendary status in the music scene. Acts like Nickelback, Bil ly Talent and the Rolling Stones have all strutted onto the same stage there in their own quests to make it big.
But bars and music clubs aren’t the only place the Autumn Kings have set their amps to max to thrill listeners alike.
“In April 2022 we performed inside Lit tle Caesars arena during the Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers game,” Diab says. “And in October we’re playing at the Chicago Blackhawks United Center when they play the Edmonton Oilers.”
Jake especially has an attachment to the Little Caesars arena, having grown up in Windsor it was always the closest arena to watch NHL games at.
“I dreamed of becoming a hockey play er that played in that arena,” Jake says of Little Caesars arena. “So being able to play there is neighbouring that dream now. But what I’d like to do is be able to sell out Little Caesars at some point. Everything would come full circle.”
But while the band tours, plays shows and sells merch, they are a bunch of cre ative people at the end of the day; artists looking to make music.
“We try to make the catchiest music possible while retaining that rock edge that we think is missing in TikTok and top 40 radio culture,” Jake says of how their mu sic differs from what you might hear on the radio or social media.
Jake refers to the style of the band as an amalgamation of different genres,
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pop hooks that get the song glued in your mind mixed with rock tuned to a knife’s edge with the aggressiveness of hip hop.
“We were influenced heavily by Ontario bands like Three Days Grace, Billy Talent, Sum 41 and Thousand Foot Krutch,” Diab says of where the band looked to for inspi ration. “Some might even say an alarming ly close influence on our first record.”
The track Jake hints at is Come Save Me which does have a very Billy Talent vibe to it.
But while they may have started out as a pure rock band the group has grown and matured, their influences and experimen tation being allowed to expand out.
“I personally felt the pure rock genre was not progressing as fast as some other genres like pop, EDM or R&B were,” Jake says of growing as a musician. “We didn’t want to hit a dead end, so we wanted to try and create a new sound that hasn’t been out there.”
The band looked at themselves and found special synergies that let them play to their strengths and make a more in triguing core sound.
The other co-lead vocalist, Joe Coccimi glio, has a much softer voice than Jake’s. This allows the group a wider range of not just tone but also presence in their mu sic. Had Jake been the main voice behind Castles off their 2022 album Book of the Broken it would paint a much different picture than Joe’s lower tone.
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Book of the Broken almost feels like the end of one chapter and the start of a new one. Ever since COVID had rocked every industry, but especially live music, the band had been focusing on releasing singles. But as the world begins to open back up the latest album is a cathartic explosion of emotions bottled up during those times.
With the Book of the Broken closed during a dark chapter of the industry the band has no place to go but forward, div ing into the world instruments in hand to live their dreams.
Autumn Kings latest album, Book of the Broken, and the rest of their discogra phy is available on music streaming plat forms while albums and merchandise are available at autumnkings.com.
If you want to show your love in person to the band, they are set to perform Octo ber 29 at Meteor in downtown Windsor for the Mix 96.7 Presents: Autumn Kings Live in Windsor show. Tickets are avail able through their website.
WINDSOR MEMORIAL GARDENS
150 Years of Service
It is never easy saying goodbye but the team at Windsor Memorial Gardens is there to ease the process.
“We enjoy helping people,” Tony Andary, General Manager of Windsor Memorial Gardens, states. “We get to help people when it really matters. They’re vulnerable. They need guidance. We’re not here to tell them what to do—we’re here to listen.”
Windsor Memorial Garden’s hands-on, client-focused approach allows you to sit back, surrender your anxieties, and truly experi ence this changing time in your life.
“You can pass along that weight,” Tony reports. “We can take it on. You shouldn’t have to be distracted by the things on the backend.”
Windsor Memorial Gardens offers a range of services, including Burial Plots, Crypts & Niches and Pre-Need Arrangements. The grounds have steadily expanded over the past 50 years, creating a beautiful, 42-hectare resting place.
Whatever your needs, rest assured that Tony and his team are at your disposal. Their approach is comforting, sensitive and moves entirely at your pace.
“It’s a hard time,” Tony admits. “People don’t realize what has to be done until it hits them. You can think all you want about this scenario happening, but once it has happened, it really is a heavy load. We’re here to alleviate some of that burden. Sometimes even if people need to talk, we’re here for that as well. There’s nothing more satisfying than having coffee with a client and then hearing them say, ‘Thank you for listening.’”
Windsor Memorial Gardens is a completely non-denomi national cemetery, open to all faiths, all cultures and all walks of life.
“We want people to feel wel come here,” Tony states. “We welcome everybody. We create a neutral ground for everyone. It’s part of our philosophy – that bereavement is a shared bond. I’ve seen visitors from all walks of life speaking in our halls. They’re able to listen to each oth er and share their stories.”
Yes, it is never easy saying goodbye. But here at Windsor Memorial Gardens, we can make that farewell as fond an experi ence as possible.
Windsor Memorial Gardens is deeply saddened to have lost a long-time board member and friend, Brian Sherwell. Brian pro vided over half a century of dedicated and loyal service to his community, to both plot-holders and their families at Windsor Grove Cemetery and Windsor Memorial Gardens.
Although it is never easy losing such a valued friend, we can take comfort in knowing that Brian’s selflessness, tireless service and unwavering commitment to the needs of others continue to embody the spirit of Windsor Memorial Gardens.
Request an appointment today at windsormemorial.com.
HOME WITH HEART
This New Home in LaSalle was Designed to Love and Built to Last STORY BY KAREN TINSLEY PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEVON PASTORIUS
WE LOOK TO OUR HOMES to provide comfort, safety and a foundation for our future. “When I was building this house, I envisioned the natural organic elements of understated luxury; anyone would feel at home as soon as they walked through the door,” says Vince Lapico of VLC Custom Homes, a Windsor Essex County builder and President of the Windsor Essex Home Builders Association. “This home was designed to feel special.”
The word “home” strikes a chord deep inside of us. Home means sanctuary, the place where we rest, relax, learn, grow and just be.
Home is where the heart is, but it goes deeper than that. We use the word home to identify where we’re from; we name it as our favorite destination (“there’s no place like home”).
Nothing about this newly built home in one of LaSalle’s highly soughtafter residential neighbourhoods is ornate, delicate or dainty. Three things set it apart: thoughtful design elements, top quality building materials and meticulous craftsmanship.
Tall ceilings and large, ample windows—two of those thoughtful design elements—help to create a feeling of timelessness.
The home is also smart, offering many different ways to enhance energy efficiency, security and comfort—more than a home without smart technology. That’s because things can be controlled from anywhere—appliances can be programmed to turn on and off. Imagine: after a hard day and a commute in bitter cold, walking into your toasty warm home, heated perfectly to your preference. Just one word as you step inside, and the lights are on. One command turns on the TV or home audio system, dims the lights and runs a hot bath for you—simultaneously; the sheer convenience of doing it all with just a tap of a finger, or a simple command while lying in bed.
The use of a variety of fabrics and textures offer comfort, durability and on-trend style. The essential material of current home décor trends is velvet. Often perceived as old-fashioned, the charcoal tufted couch in the living room is both soft and retro; copper-hued leather accent cushions add contemporary pop. Back less stairs, custom glass railings, strategically placed mirrors and artful, eye-catching light fixtures culmi nate in modern style and panache.
Over the past few years, the home office has been redefined. Today, these spaces are highly indi vidualized to include elements that make working from home more fun. From mismatched chairs and a funky worktable arranged on an angle, to giant framed movie posters, to unadorned windows that s
Clockwise from above: A striking modern light fixture pulls all the design elements together; sleek glass loft railings on the upper level, backless stairs and a glass door bring in all the light; bold colours and textures add variety to the sitting room; the kitchen, where form meets function.
Clockwise from above: Floor-to-ceiling tile and stepless shower mimic a specialty spa; full working pantry includes a front-opening freezer; a plush, thick statement rug grounds the room; Custom built-in cabinets and light fixtures
let all the light in, this workspace is bound to inspire and increase productivity.
All these design choices add intrigue while emphasizing a sense of variation, depth and character.
Creating a space that is entirely your own is one of the biggest trends of 2022. In this home, an accent wall, mirrors and lighting all create fresh design statements. Another big home décor trend is only allowing items in your home that you will appreciate and admire every day.
Relaxed, informal and warm, solid quar tersawn white oak staircases, doors and floors pair with soft neutral wall colours to bring out a laid-back vibe. Organic shapes like round, braided cord-covered ottoman seats and distinctive area rugs add cozy ap peal.
Bold fine art and vibrant posters hung throughout the home connect all the dots. s
Even in temperate Essex County, the warm season is often far too short for our liking. Before we know it, balmy spring breezes and summer sunsets give way to the harsh chill of winter. With the touch of a button, the luxury, ease and convenience of customized, automatic retractable screens from Seaton Sunrooms enhances the natu ral beauty and value of this home.
As we continue to spend more time in our homes, investing in indoor and out door entertainment areas have become more of a décor priority. These areas charm guests, create an inviting environment, play to personal comfort and ensure everything needed is always within reach.
1200 square feet of outdoor space be tween 2 floors—including a kitchen with a built-in Blaze barbecue and ample seating for alfresco dining, two fire tables and a 16 x 32 heated sports pool—can easily accom modate any fair-weather occasion.
Inside, a beautiful balancing act between light and dark is at play: a whimsical pen dant bulb chandelier over the Negresco leathered granite kitchen island—an up scale-yet-practical surface—adds character and on-trend charm. The island is large enough for dinner prep, packing lunches or pulling out the counter stools to share a plate of homemade nachos. And there’s plenty of room for anyone wanting to help with kitchen prep or cleanup. Counter tops by Dimanti Stone Works, pale cabin etry and stainless steel Jenn-Air appliances gleam against rustic quartersawn wooden floors.
Natural finishes bring the right touch of warmth without being overbearing or stale. Eclectic light fixtures, custom millwork, solid white oak doors, flooring and stair cases tastefully enhance the space without overpowering the overall look and feel; na ture-inspired neutral wall colours connect us back to the earth.
Designed by Philip Fernandes Custom Residential Design and furnished and staged by Mister Style of Windsor, a variety of silhouettes create visual flow throughout the home.
Once used for function alone, lighting is now the best kept secret ingredient in home decor. Rich in personality, it’s a cru cial element that sets the tone, profoundly impacting look, feel, and ambiance. Prop er lighting design makes the most of every space—it’s the difference between “meh” and “wow!”
Strategic use of daylight makes rooms feel warmer, larger and more welcoming.
Experience the Dimanti Difference ...
However, equal attention has been given to artificial light—each room has a balanced mix of ambient, accent and task lighting.
Transom windows and sleek, simple yet sumptuous floor-to-ceiling tile evoke a European look in the ensuite bathroom. In recent years, self-care and wellness have become sizzling topics. The soaking tub, stepless shower and Kohler Smart Suite technology mimic a specialty spa, setting the scene for slowing down and practicing mindfulness. In-floor radiant heat means cold feet no more!
Perhaps even more of an attraction is the principal bedroom walk-in closet. A well-equipped walk-in closet is an essential amenity for many; these areas have evolved into personalized spaces that are much more than just somewhere to hang clothes. The custom built-in cabinets, shelves, drawers and light fixtures are every bit as inspiring as the rest of this home.
In the Great Room, an L-shaped fab ric couch the colour of cake batter offers plenty of plush pillows and leg room for curling up to watch the game or a movie on the 85-inch frame TV (expertly housed in the wood feature wall) or enjoy the warm glow from the fireplace (from Forest Glade Fireplaces). Oversize plush chairs are comfortable statement pieces, offering plenty of room for cuddling children, pets or just sinking into for a brief respite.
A floating overhead shelf displays unique decorative pieces and objets d’art.
Because the tall picture windows face the scenery, there are several spots for taking in the landscape, chatting or reading. The need for calm and concentration is fulfilled.
At this writing, this exquisite, 5-bedroom custom built 2-storey home with state-ofthe-art smart features and security, finished concrete double-width driveway and garage (with custom doors and in-floor radiant heat) is for sale for the first time. It can be viewed at andrewjsmithrealty.com.
Windsor Life Magazine is always searching for interesting homes, landscaping, gardens, patios and water features to show our read ers what others in the community are doing with their living spaces. If you have a home that you feel would be interesting please email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos need to be for reference only. If your home is chosen we will arrange for a complete photo shoot. If you wish, you may remain anonymous and the location of your home will not be dis closed.
NOTES FROM A STRANGER
Two Friends Are Using The Power of Creativity, Kindness and Social Media To Make A DifferenceSTORY BY ALLEY L. BINIARZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEFF DAVIDSON
A SMALL ACT OF KINDNESS can make someone’s day or even save someone’s life; this is the motto that drove co-founders Miranda Daniher and Danielle Nantais to launch Dear Stranger 143. Their TikTok and Instagram pages aim to spread joy and kindness through the platforms by sharing photos and videos of their excursions around Windsor-Essex where they hand out words of encouragement, flowers, and even monetary donations to everyday folks. What now has
an incredible world-wide following start ed from humble roots: they were just two friends who wanted to make a difference in their community.
The two had been friends for a decade af ter connecting through the LGBTQ+ com munity as teenagers. About four months ago, Danielle came into Miranda’s dad’s tat too shop wanting to do a photoshoot with a hesitant Miranda, whose mom convinced her to step out of her comfort zone and to do the shoot with Danielle.
Thankfully she did, because after the shoot they started talking about their dreams in life and threw an outlandish idea
at each other: “What if we changed the world? How crazy would that be?” They knew they had the tools, the drive, and the passion to do it, so what did they have to lose?
They didn’t know what they wanted to do, only that they wanted to leave an im pact. “Spreading kindness is a big element to who we are,” Miranda says that this was the starting point to the idea. “We also wanted to cultivate this element of leaving people feeling seen, heard, and felt.”
The two felt limitless in their ideas and so they decided to start with something simple. They went to the dollar store to grab cue cards and pens and began writing the first Dear Stranger notes that Miran da would pass out to chosen people while Danielle documented it with her camera.
“We wanted to target everyday people because you never know what someone is going through while suffering in silence. You and I might never be able to tell, espe cially when we’re told to hold it all togeth er, smile and wave and to pretend that we have it all figured out.” Miranda and Dan ielle both live with their own mental health struggles and knew that they wanted these messages to stretch beyond certain demo graphics and to touch anyone who might be having a tough day or have been going through a tough time.
These messages have touched the lives of so many Windsorites who have been recipients of a Dear Stranger note, but the initiative has gone further to make an im pact on the world—just as Miranda and Danielle had dreamed it could. “We have followers from around the world now and they all say the same thing: that they feel happy when they watch the videos, they feel inspired and that they want to do this in their own cities. That’s what this was all about! We are here to inspire and hopefully to catch a flame.” Miranda says that they’ve even received messages from those who have chosen not to end their lives because of the hope and faith in humanity that they receive from the Dear Stranger Page. “This keeps us going every day and shows us that what we’re doing is really import ant,” Miranda says.
Sharing these videos on social media has been a crucial element to the project since social media can subject viewers to a lot of negativity and feelings of exhaustion.
Miranda and Danielle wanted to be part of the solution on a platform that can be quite powerful, as they’ve now seen. Their posi tivity has radiated further than the two
could have imagined with gaining follow ers like musical artist Rihanna and catch ing the attention of Ryan Seacrest and being interviewed on his LA radio show.
When thinking about what it was that stood out about them, Miranda and Danielle say, “We realized then that what makes us different from other groups do ing this is that we’re also doing the work of changing stereotypes. With both being alternative looking and from the LGBTQ community and with Miranda being a black woman, we realized that there’s of ten a stigma associated with that. But we’re working to change that judgment from others.”
Miranda adds that they never take it personally if someone doesn’t respond well to their notes or rejects their donation, because it means that it was meant for someone else to receive. “You never know what someone might be going through. No matter what, try to be as kind as you can, spread love and light, and even if people shut you down, never lose focus of being that person you are. Your love is meant for somewhere and someone else.”
The Dear Stranger 143 page has now grown from its original mission of gift ing messages, thanks to generous donors who sponsor the page from all around the world through PayPal. Miranda and Danielle have been able to launch a flow er program where they hand a bouquet to an everyday person who might be sitting on a bench or walking their dog in order to brighten their day. They’ve also had the incredible opportunity to donate $500 to a few locals including a vendor at the Downtown Market as well as a busker within the community. This has been the whole point of their endeavour: not just for them to find their purpose but to use their platform to benefit the WindsorEssex community and beyond.
“Even though we’re doing these big ges tures now, the connection between two people is rewarding enough. You don’t need to have a lot of money to change someone’s day,” Miranda shares with any one looking to impact their community in a similar way. “A little goes a long way to change someone’s mindset or thought process. Smile, compliment them or write your own notes and go give them out! We’ve seen nurses, teachers and others do this in their workplace and complete ly change the mood. You are your power. You are the change in the world. It doesn’t take money; it just takes you.”
BON APP ETIT!
dining & nightlife guide
Antonino’s Original Pizza - South Windsor, Te cumseh, LaSalle. Multiple-award winning pizza with the money back guarantee! Fresh salads & authentic Sicilian Cannoli that even your Non na will love! Google our menu. originalpizza.ca
Casa Mia Ristorante - Experience authentic Italian food, local wines and homemade des serts served in a casual, completely handicap accessible setting. For many years, chef and owner Frank Puccio has been making lunch and dinner fresh to order. Gluten free options. Takeout available. Closed Sunday and Holi days. Follow us on Facebook. 519-728-2224. casamiabelleriver.com 523 Notre Dame St., Belle River.
Cheesecake On A Stick - Dessert shop offering gourmet cheesecake dipped in chocolate and various toppings. Take out or delivery offered with Jubzi.com. Open Thurs-Sun 12-9 pm. Kingsville location open Sat-Sun 12-9 pm. 13300 Tecumseh Rd. E., Tecumseh 519-999-9116. cheesecakeonastick.ca 460 Main St. E, Kingsville 519-999-6024
Cotta Food Bar - Let us be your place for pri vate events, holiday parties, weddings, dine-in, takeout, catering and more! With a wealth of experience, our talented chefs pride themselves in creating delicious contemporary Italian food. Friendly service. 3891 Dougall Ave., Windsor. 519-915-6882. cottafoodbar.com
Erie St GastroPub - Located in the heart of Little Italy, this hidden gem offers elevated pub fare and a scrumptious Asian-fusion menu. The bar features local Ontario wines, a constantly rotat ing craft beer menu, handcrafted cocktails as well as alcohol infused ice cream. ErieStGastroPub.com 839 Erie Street, Windsor. 519-252-3743
Fourteen Restaurant & Skylounge - Experience dining with a panoramic riverfront view of the Detroit skyline from the 14th floor. For both ca sual and special occasions. Private and semi-pri vate rooms available. Live music in our lounge most Saturday nights. Open for dinner Wednes day through Sunday at 5pm. Reserve online or call 226-526-7214.
14th Floor – 100 Ouellette Avenue fourteenrestaurantandskylounge.com
Frank Brewing Company - FRANK is pure, straight-to-the-point, old-fashioned beer crafted with dedication and pride. Beer-loving folk en joy FRANK’s small-batch brews made with only four natural and simple ingredients: water, hops, grain and yeast; and foodies enjoy the small plates, pizzas and sandwiches for pairing, and s
• With 7 halls available we are presently booking events for 2022 and 2023
• New indoor turf facility for various sports and training. Also available for corporate team building events and birthday parties
• Large patio surrounded by Carolinian Forest open daily and available for event bookings
• Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for more information on our Summer concert series on our patio Friday nights where we’ll have live bands and various food options available
• Every Wednesday night from 5 pm to 9 pm we offer dinner for 2 for $35 (plus tax) which includes: Salad, Pasta with meat or tomato sauce, Chicken or Veal Parmigiana, and Rolls with butter
• Every Friday we have our lunch buffet for $16
• Take out available Wednesday — Saturday
all the peanuts you can shell. 519-956-9822
12000 Tecumseh Rd. E., Tecumseh, ON
The Hungry Wolf - The Hungry Wolf serves up Windsor’s best Greek, Canadian, Mexican and Lebanese food. Home of the best gyros in Wind sor! hungrywolfrestaurant.com. 3422 Walker Rd., Windsor 519-250-0811. 25 Amy Croft Dr., Tecumseh 519-735-0072.
Johnny Shotz - Tecumseh’s #1 roadhouse and home of the Chicken Deluxe. Serving Halibut every Friday. Everything cooked from scratch. 37 HD TVs, 15 beers on tap. Follow us on face book. 13037 Tecumseh Rd. E. 519-735-7005
Neros Steakhouse - Indulge in the finer things in life at Neros where modern upscale dining meets traditional steakhouse fare. Fresh, local ingredi ents, an incredible wine selection and superb service. OpenTable.ca 1-800-991-7777 ext. 22481.
The Parlour Ice Cream Co.- Satisfy your sweet tooth with premium Canadian made ice cream. 24 flavours, 15 Belgian chocolate dips to drizzle, ice cream cakes, milkshakes and so much more! Open Year Round. theparlourlasalle.ca 5881 Malden Rd. Unit D3, LaSalle 519-970-9665
River’s Edge Tap & Table Discover what is so delicious in the Harbour District of Riverside. Relaxing patio on the water, wine bar lounge, dining with private room available. Enjoy sea food, steaks, chops, pastas, burgers and more! 494 Riverdale Ave. 519-915-0200 riversedgewindsor.com
SONA Ristorante & Taverna - An upscale casu al dining experience inspired by cliffside restau rants of the mediterranean. Spend an evening in our ristorante, featuring seasonal cuisine and international wines for your enjoyment. 11 Queens Ave, Leamington. 519-974-7664. sonacanada.com
Thirteen At The Inn - Casual/finer dining with a comfortable, modern ambiance. Carrying on traditions of Thirteen Russell Steakhouse, enjoy old favourites or something new. Prime Rib, fresh Lake Erie fish, steak and seafood. Cock tail lounge. Waterfront patio. Private parties. 40 minutes from Windsor/Detroit. Reservations recommended: 519-324-9266 Ext 215.
388 Erie St. S., Leamington. 13attheinn.com
Vito’s Pizzeria - Rustic Italian restaurant serv ing woodfired pizza, fresh pasta, veal, chicken, grilled steaks and seafood. Wonderful wine se lection. Private party spaces. Food truck and portable pizza oven for offsite catering. 1731 Wyandotte St. E., Windsor. 519-915-6145. email@example.com.
For information on listings and advertising in Bon Appetit! please call 519-551-0072.
BRINGING A FRESH FACE TO RECRUITING
WINDSOR-ESSEX IS A COUNTY of strength and opportunity, but one that faces historic chal lenges.
High unemployment rates. Lay-off notices. Fac tory shutdowns. Closings.
And yet, for new and emerging major manufac turers and employers—which includes The Gordie Howe International Bridge—the Windsor-Detroit region is a magnet in terms of new job creation.
President of E3 Works Grant Molyneux says the firm is poised to seize new opportunities and grow, even in an unpredictable job market and economy.
“Our team is continuously adapting to chang ing recruiting and employment challenges. From performing market research to developing unique recruitment strategies to collaborating with other business partners, we pride ourselves in placing only the most suitable talent in the workplaces of our clients.”
In one example, jobs that are integral to the legal cannabis industry are opening up across a variety of employment fields. From customer service to finance to research and development, from entry-level (many of these offer advancement potential) on up, E3 has become a leader in recruiting and placement in our region.
Recruiting across a wide range of sectors—Manufacturing (general/ skilled labour), Welding/Fabrication, Heavy/Light Industrial, Management, Finance/Administration, Logistics/Warehousing, Quality Control, Land scape/Property Maintenance and Food Processing/Production—E3 Works has a proven track record of success. Combined with competitive rates, quality service, an immediately available workforce, zero client liability and expertise in Temporary/Contract, Contract-to-Permanent or Fulltime Permanent (FTP) placement, “our ultimate goal is to facilitate long-term placements,” Molyneux emphasizes.
“Through listening, understanding and evaluating, we foster strong, lasting connections with clients and candidates alike.”
Keeping current with industry trends, standards and demands, E3 Works also specializes in all aspects of Recruitment Analysis from certification, wage/salary ranges/rates to industry legislation, to job descriptions, inter view support and back-office administration.
If your business challenge is day-to-day employer duties and responsi bilities (ROE’s, T-4’s, CRA remittances, WSIB Case Management, Union Dues, candidate pre-screening/assessment, training, orientation, onsite supervision, timekeeping/attendance tracking, performance reviews, Envi ronmental/Health/Safety issues), Molyneux says, “Let us know how we can lighten your load.”
In today’s fiercely competitive and ever-evolving job market, E3 Works offers dependable services with around-the-clock access and attention.
Operations Manager Sarah Oyedokun promises, “We are on-call and
accessible by text, phone and email. We know our success rests on your success. That’s why we’re committed to of fering an unparalleled client experience.”
Sarah continues, “Over the past two years, the recruit ment industry has had to face a lot of changes. At E3 Works, we took some time to explore and better under stand the changing needs of our clients. In 2020, we piv oted to an entirely digital/electronic recruiting process. This strategic direction has created opportunities to ex pand throughout Southern Ontario.”
“Although we continue using traditional online sourc ing outlets such as Indeed and LinkedIn, employers and potential job candidates can find E3 Works on Instagram and Facebook. These tools make it possible to reach a larger demographic and a more diverse pool of talent for our clients to consider.”
According to Workforce WindsorEssex, demand for new talent and certain skills is high in almost every in dustry.
Molyneux concludes, “Our deep knowledge, exper tise and personalized techniques combine to successfully source and pipeline premier talent. We bring a fresh face to recruiting.”
Taking The Spirit Of The Season To The Next LevelSTORY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND / PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL PIETRANGELO
THE HULKING, MISSHAPEN SHADOW of Halloween looms at the end of October. As merrymakers get their costumes together and others buy candy to hand out, there are the hardcores among us who turn their homes into nightmare shrines for the season.
Windsor resident, Brad Brown, lets his creativity fly constructing his dark circus/carnival display at 311 Isack Drive, which is known as Twisted Circus.
“I created all of our props by hand,” Brad says. “I brought in the first moving prop last year. This year I have four different moving props.”
Brad and his wife, Krista, have been doing the full display for the past five years. “Before that, the display was just on the porch,” Brad explains. “It spilled off the porch the following year, and it grew from there. It’s a hobby that I enjoy and work on all year round.”Brad and Krista Brown’s Twisted Circus Halloween display at 311 Isack Drive. Terrifying clowns everywhere you look. Todd and Nancy McDowell-Dunford’s St. Mary’s Cemetery Halloween display at 1015 St. Mary’s Blvd—a terrifying 200 foot long maze of Halloween chills.
Brad’s clowns are his own creation. Visi tors won’t find figures from popular movies amid the display.
“I have dabbled with zombies and mon sters in years past,” Brad continues, “but I now stick to clowns—that’s what I have the most fun creating.”
The family’s sunroom is his work area and storage room.
“Some people are really freaked out by clowns,” says Krista Brown. “I have a close girlfriend who won’t even look at our stuff!”
Visitors often ask Brad and Krista if they may photograph the display.
“Come and enjoy it!” Krista says. “We have done this so that kids and everyone can enjoy it. Take your pictures and vid eos.”
“Nighttime is the best time to view the display,” Brad adds. “After the sun goes down, that’s when everything comes to life!”
Todd Dunford’s Halloween display, St. Mary’s Cemetery, at 1015 St. Mary’s Boule vard began with a birthday gift to his wife.
“I bought a portable car port for my wife’s birthday a few years ago,” Todd ex plains.
“And one of the first things he said to me,” his wife, Nancy McDowell-Dunford interjects, “is ‘Nance, we could turn this into a Tunnel of Terror!’ for Halloween!”
Nancy has always loved Halloween, and it didn’t take much convincing to incor porate the portable car port into their ev er-growing annual display.
“Every season, I stood back and looked at our decorations seeing the possibilities of doing something more,” Todd contin ues. “Every year, I have to make something new or buy an animatronic or I’ll watch a horror movie and get ideas. We sit in the back and hear the squeals of people going through the maze. They come back to see what’s new.”
“This is our fourth year at this size,” Nan cy says.
The display is now comprised of a 200-foot-long maze visitors can walk through, which ends up in the garage which Todd and Nancy convert into a mad scientist’s laboratory. Last year more than 1,300 people visited the display on Hallow een night, alone.
There is no admission fee but Todd and Nancy accept non-perishable food items as well as toiletries, hats and scarves with which they create care packages and distrib ute to people in need.
BMR WINDSOR BUILDING CENTRE
WITH EXTENSIVE FLOOR-TO-CEILING RENOVATIONS FINALLY COMPLETE, BMR WINDSOR BUILDING CENTRE ROLLS OUT THE WELCOME MAT
FOR STEVE AND NANETTE RIOLO, building has been in the family for more than 40 years: first with Windsor Drywall in 1978; eleven years later Tecumseh Lumber Square, and now with son Tony at the helm, they are ready to unveil the new and improved BMR Windsor Building Centre.
This longstanding local business is known in the area for its wide selection of products, outstanding customer service and competitive pricing.
Marketing Manager Brendan Rodd says, “We’ve been working long and hard to transform our store. Many unexpected and unavoidable construction and supply chain challenges caused considerable delays—but that’s all behind us now; we’re finally open for business again and eager to welcome our community back.”
If it’s been a while since you’ve been to BMR, you won’t recognize it!
One important thing you will recognize: the same friendly, helpful, knowledgeable service that BMR customers in Windsor Essex have come to know and trust.
“It’s still the same family-run business and the same expert team members—like our store manager Enzo, who’s been with us for 18 years,” Brendan adds.
The new interior layout will give the store a more modern look. With 25,000 square feet of floorspace, BMR Windsor has 30,000 products in stock at all times making it the place to go for renovation, remodeling/redecorating needs, hardware, seasonal decor and building materials.
Recently, BMR President Alexandre Lefebvre and several store dealers from across On tario made a special visit to Windsor for an inaugural ribbon-cutting event and store tour. So, what’s new and exciting at BMR Windsor Building Centre?
• A state-of-the-art Showroom
• Second-to-none, interactive displays throughout the store
• Huge plumbing department with abundant displays
• Brand new paint department
• Expanded seasonal departmentsBelow (l-r): Marketing Manager Brendan Rodd, BMR Windsor Building Centre President Tony Riolo, Windsor BMR owner Steve Riolo, BMR Group CEO Alexandre Lefebvre, Windsor BMR owner Nanette Riolo and General Manager Enzo Bonitatibus at the new store ribbon cutting.
Brendan adds, “there’s nothing left from the original store. We gutted it from floor to ceiling; we installed new lighting throughout. We re-imagined the shopping experience with customer comfort and con venience in mind—from the moment they walk through our doors to the moment they walk out. Two examples: lower, more easily accessible shelving and inviting, interactive displays (like fully functional doors with different trim, handle and hinge combina tions, flooring samples, plumbing options). One of our goals was to make it easy for our customer to visualize how their own home could look.”
“We’re committed to ensuring that every customer has the best possible experience, which is why we’re continuously improving our product offerings and in-store environments.”
Your BMR Windsor Building Centre has everything you need for painting and plumbing, a large selection of electrical tools and equipment, plus kitchen, bathroom and basement renovation project essentials, including lumber, drywall, trim, doors, windows, and floor ing. BMR also offers unique, contemporary seasonal décor and accessories. Summer, spring, winter, fall, your BMR Windsor store has it all.
And speaking of fall, Windsor BMR also has everything for getting your lawn equipment into storage and shoring up your home for the colder weather. Now is also the time to make sure our homes are fire and carbon monoxide safe. From smoke alarms to carbon monoxide detectors, this is the month to test the devices, change the batteries as needed and determine if they are still valid.
Brendan concludes, “Our Grand Opening specials start on October 28th. We’re looking forward to welcoming you!”
Find/follow BMR Windsor Building Centre on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,. Visit BMRWindsor.com to browse their online catalogue. Call your store for information about the services offered.
Inside the Creation of a Local Horror-ComedySTORY BY RYAN PERCY PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF JAKOB SKRZYPA
IN THE SMALL QUIET TOWN of Marlow, the universe is about to feel a bit more inhabited as the townsfolk are about to learn that not only are zom bies real but the walking dead are actually Vampire Zombies… From Space!
Filming is now completed on the local R-Rated blood and guts comedy satire of the ‘so bad they’re good’ drive-in films of the 50’s. Viewers will be awed, disgusted and bent over laughing as they follow a rag-tag group who find their small town turned into a battleground of intergalactic proportions.
Jakob Skrzypa teamed up with his friend Alex Forman to co-write and see this movie come to life, and it’s been quite the time coming for the two of them.
“This was a script I initially wrote in high school and Alex acted in,” Jakob says with a bit of a laugh at the origin of the movie. “I was a big fan of Mel Brooks’ films and I was also watching these really bad Ed Wood movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space. I just saw so many opportunities for parody within these old horror films.”
The two have become a powerhouse comedy duo working together, start ing from simple roots.
“I’m similar to Jakob,” Alex says of getting into film, “I’ve been doing this like my whole life ever since I got an old camcorder in grade eight. I’d watch
people make silly videos on YouTube and think ‘I can do something like that.’ From there we went to school for it and we went from home videos to comedy sketches on YouTube and now to our first feature film with an actual budget.”
Both have a sturdy track record in the film and television industry. Skrzypa produces on the Paramount+ and MTV series The Chal lenge, has worked on Big Brother Canada, Survivor, Nathan for You and others while Forman has been featured on Funny or Die and numerous film festivals.
The movie is a satire and riff on the old campy horror movies of the 50’s. The kind of crazy things where you see the strings holding up the UFOs and the craziness of pulpy storytelling meets horror that lead people with that decade’s sensibilities to faint in the aisles.
But as a satire it is honed through two lenses, the over the top comedy of Mel Brooks and the irreverence of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
“It’s crude, inappropriate and lots of fun,” Jakob says of the kind of comedy they have worked into the movie.”
Some local names stand out among the crew. Ken Amlin is direc tor of photography for the filming with over 14 years of experience. Mike Stasko is the director, with multiple films to his name includ ing Iodine, The Birder, and Boys vs. Girls. Stasko especially is the one man the two seem to look up to.
“One of the reasons we’re doing the film is Stasko is a big believer in growing the film community in Windsor,” Alex says of working with their director. “He wants to keep getting more projects like ours going in the future. The goal is to have the crew who’s working on this film be working on another in six months and then another one and keep it going back-to-back so the community keeps growing.”
It seems also the community of Windsor-Essex has jumped on the bandwagon of this schlocky satire.
“Windsor-Essex has been really great to us,” Jakob says. “We’ve gotten about 30 period cars from multiple owners. Locations like Heritage Village, The Essex Railway Station, Low-Martin Mansion, La Rocca Restaurant, Christ Church Cemetery and the Essex Unit ed Church have opened up for us. “With Mike’s feature film track record, and Alex and my comedy track record, I think people are excited about this and excited for something being made within the community.”
Clockwise from left: Vampires stand at attention on the space ship set of the film; Director Mike Stasko (bottom left) and Producer Ted Bezaire (bottom right) take a photo with the rest of the cast; it’s all fun and games till the bloodsucker gets caught by the cops; the film wasn’t just desaturated in editing, it was filmed direct ly in black and white as shown in this scene featuring law enforcement; a number of local vintage cars from collectors were graciously lent out for filming; writers Jakob Skrzypa (standing) and Alex Forman (sitting) are two of the minds behind the new macabre comedy.
“I just think we’re so lucky to be in Windsor-Essex for this project specifically,” Alex says. “If we were making this film in Toronto, renting a place like Essex United Church might cost us ten times as much as it does in Windsor.”
But it is not just the two of them putting it all together. It takes a village at the end of the day.
“It’s a couple hundred people easily from start to finish,” says Jakob of how many people it takes to actually put a movie to gether. “If we’re talking daily, on set it’s 30 or 40 people but some days we’re going to have 70 extras alone.”
The film will also feature a multitude of familiar local faces, filmmaker Gavin Mi chael Booth, AM800’s Dan MacDonald, and former Essex Mayor Ron McDermott are just a few local faces you can spot in the film. There is also talk of getting a few well known individuals in the comedy and horror genres to make cameo appearances.
“We’re bringing in Lloyd Kaufman from New York,” Jakob says of getting the producer of Toxic Avenger and other cult classics to come down, “The cast is most ly local but we have people from Toronto, Lloyd and then we’re reaching out to a few other celebrities.”
The film has a private source of funding but also reached out to the community through a Kickstarter and later IndieGoGo campaign. Extra funds raised went right back into buying better special effects and paying crew more for their time. To date over $20,000 has been raised by the public to see the movie shine.
However, at the end of the day, this work is almost a celebration of Windsor-Essex, something envisioned to happen in your own backyard.
“Marlow is Essex,” Jakob says. ‘It’s been that way in my head the whole time since I first wrote it. There’s references to Sadler’s Pond and we use so many local locations. It’s a big project for the community but it is a lot of fun.”
Keep an eye to the sky for vampire filled UFOs and if you want to learn more or report any strange activity, head over to vampirezombiesmovie.com for more info. The movie is currently in the editing stage with plans to hit the film circuit late 2023, early 2024.
The filmmaking team is continuing to accept contributions to the project via I ndieGoGo. You can also support the film and receive exclusive perks like t-shirts, signed scripts or DVDs by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brentwood Recovery Home: A HERITAGE OF HELPING
Tickets for the 31st annual Brentwood Lottery went on sale October 1st. Three ticket packages are available: one ticket for $50, three tickets for $100, and 10 tickets for $250.
“This year, ticket buyers have a chance at more than $1.3 million in cash and prizes—our biggest board in the lottery’s history,” says Paul McCann, Fundraising Specialist at Brent wood Recovery Home. “And new this year is a fifty-fifty add-on, which is an opportunity for people to win more.”
For more than 55 years, Brentwood Recovery Home has provided addiction counseling and mental health support for over 20,000 clients from Windsor-Essex, Ontario and out of province. It all began in 1964 at Charity House, in a vacant restaurant at Wyandotte and Chilver, rented for $35, headed by Father Paul Charbonneau, with Jim and Kay Ryan to run a recovery home for alcoholics. Over the years, Brentwood Recovery Home expanded its services, welcoming women who abused alcohol, and then adding a youth program for the children of people who misused drugs and alcohol.
“Proceeds from the lottery funds additional beds beyond those funded by the Ministry of Health and improvements in services at Brentwood,” Paul continues. “We’ve been in the community for more than five decades. The need is always growing—from mental health needs to opioid addiction that has been affecting the community. We consider ourselves a part of the addiction treatment and mental health continuum.”
Brentwood recognizes that recovery is a lifelong process.
“Brentwood’s foundation is focused on supporting clients on a lifetime basis, through after care programs,” Paul says. “Our facility is open to alumni who have graduated and live the tenets of the program—compassion, hope, recovery, service—in their everyday lives. They are welcome and encouraged to come back, to share and support the men and women in treatment and fellow alumni, many of whom consider this home.”
Brentwood also provides support for the family.
“Mental health and addiction impacts the entire family,” Paul explains. “We have ongo ing support for family members and children of people with addictions. Fellowship is a big part of our mission. We want our clients to think of us as family where they can receive ongoing treatment even after they leave formal programs. We encourage fellowship as well as acts of service at Brentwood and in the community.”
Although Brentwood receives funding from the government, and other generous sources in the community, need outweighs its capacity. The annual Brentwood Lottery is critical for making up the shortfall in the recovery home’s funding.
“The more money we bring in, the more people we can serve,” Paul says. “Our clients are everyone: our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters. Today, clients come in with complex medical needs, addictions to multiple substances, different ways they identify, different cultures and ethnicities. We serve everyone.”
“Brentwood has been transforming lives for over fifty-five years,” says Elizabeth Dul mage, Executive Director. “Support from the community allows us to continue offering the critical programs and services that have helped thousands of people. We thank the community for their continued support of Brentwood and our Dream Home Lottery.”
The primary place for purchasing Brentwood Lottery tickets is at brentwoodlottery.com. In-person purchases can also be made on site at Brentwood, 2335 Dougall Ave. and a series of popup ticket sales locations will occur around Essex County. To learn about times and locations, visit the lottery website: brentwoodlottery.com.
CHARLOTTE’S SHADOW SHINES A LIGHT
Children’s Book Tells a Heart-Warming Story About a Child and Her Devoted DogSTORY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND
IT’S AN AGELESS STORY: a child and their dog. This has been the central element for countless adventures. Charlotte’s Shad ow is no exception.
The story centers on a child named Char lotte and her dog. Upon waking at the be ginning of the story, Charlotte wakes the dog, saying: “Remember, wherever I go, you go. That’s why your name is Shadow.”
Charlotte is a differently abled child who uses a mobility aid to get around. As the story demonstrates, this does not slow her down. In fact, Charlotte’s mom has a busy day of tasks—read: adventures—lined up for her and Shadow. Charlotte visits her grandmother, mails a letter, and visits the library with Shadow by her side. Shadow is instrumental in Charlotte completing her errands.
The story wastes no time getting under way, narrated by Shadow the dog: “Every morning I spring into action. I hurry to flick the light on in Charlotte’s bedroom! Charlotte puts my vest on and says, “With this vest, I grant you all the powers of the Universe!
“Charlotte puts on her favourite sweat er, tights and bracelets. As Charlotte puts on each item, she transforms into a real-life superhero!”
It is a simple story, but delightful in the variety of locations Charlotte and Shadow visit and the tasks they complete together. Like the creation of the book, itself, it is a team effort between Charlotte and Shadow. The colourful illustrations bring the story to full life. For this reason, it’s very interesting to consider that the two authors, AnneMarie DePape and Christine Quaglia, and illustrator, Kenzie Edge, all live in different cities.
“I live in Tillsonburg,” Anne-Marie says, “Christine lives in Tecumseh, and Kenzie lives in Komoka. Given our different loca tions and with the pandemic, the three of us collaborated virtually for the most part of our book.”
This is the authors’ and illustrator’s first book. “I have been painting and drawing since a young age but have never illustrat ed for any sort of book before,” Kenzie ex plains. “This was a brand new and exciting experience.”
The authors have known each other for more than two decades, first meeting as students in the psychology program at the University of Windsor.
“We initially bonded over our mutual nerves about a midterm!” says Anne-Marie. “We met Kenzie through my aunt through marriage. It was perfect timing in that we were looking for an illustrator right when Kenzie was graduating from digital illustration at Fanshawe College.”
The book is a very personal work because it grew from personal experience in the lives of Christine and Anne-Marie. “I was born with a neuromuscular disorder that has required me to use a mobility aid since the age of nine,” Christine explains. “As a child, I was a reader, and I remember trying to put myself in the stories I read. I wasn’t really able to because there wasn’t a character with a mobility limitation that I can recall in those stories. Although that is slowly changing, I think that was in the back of my mind when I wrote the book with Anne-Marie.”
“As a developmental psychologist,” Anne-Marie says. “I’ve worked with children with disabilities and their families. I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book where children could see themselves represented in the characters. I firmly believe: ‘If you can see it, you can be it.’”
Collaboration can be a very valuable tool, but it’s often “easier said than done.” Not only did Christine and Anne-Marie manage it, but they also collaborated virtually, long distance.
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“We really played nicely off each other in terms of writing the book,” Christine explains. “We often chat about how our strengths and weaknesses are really comple mentary in the sense that we can kind of relay off of each other.”
“I wanted our book to feature a unique perspective,” says Anne-Marie.“That’s why the book is told from the standpoint of Shadow with children learning that he’s more than just a pet—he’s a service dog. I wanted this point of view to teach children important skills related to perspective tak ing while they are on an adventure with Charlotte.”
“Anne-Marie came up with such a great concept for the book,” Christine says, “in terms of the perspective from which it would be told, and the great surprise at the end. Everything just flowed from there!”
Once the story was written, Kenzie be gan illustrating.
“It was a challenge deciding what ele ments of the script would be displayed in the drawing,” she says. “It was a creative challenge to fit so much into a picture while still keeping Charlotte’s secret! But with lots of teamwork it was a fun process.”
The result is a book where the illustra tions are as integral to the story as the writ ten word.
Response to the book has been uniformly positive.
“Charlotte’s Shadow was released on Amazon on July twenty third,” says AnneMarie. “Within twenty-four hours, we reached number three on Amazon for ‘Hot New Releases’ in Children’s Social Situa tions Books. Within seventy-two hours, we reached number one in the same category. Our children’s book has surpassed our ex pectations.”
“We’ve been completely amazed and overwhelmed by the support its received!” Christine says. “People really love the re lationship between Charlotte and Shadow and the fun that the two have together.”
A review from a reader named Elizabeth reads, in part: “I love that Charlotte’s ad venturous day is being told through the eyes of her dog, Shadow. The characters are presented in a way that makes us care about them and the illustrations are warm and de lightful. The story takes you on a journey, enlightening the reader that Charlotte is not the only “Superhero” in this book.”
The book is available on Amazon.ca in digital or paperback format.
To follow the readers response to Char lotte’s Shadow, visit its Instagram page @tails_of_charlotte_and_shadow. WLM