150 Years Old and still the Hottest on the Market

As we near Canada’s 150th birthday, the red of our national flag may be shining a little brighter from blushing so hard as the world takes note of just home amazing Canada is.


For the second year in a row, our Home and Native Land took the #2 spot in the annual “Best Countries” survey conducted by the U.S. News & World Report, in conjunction with Young & Rubicam BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


The Great White North also led the pack with a #1 worldwide ranking in the “Quality of Life” category thanks to perfect marks in areas such as healthcare, politics and the economy.


To top it off, world renowned travel guide Lonely Planet also made Canada their #1 choice for travellers in 2017.


With so much recognition around the world, it’s not hard to see why so many people see Canada as a great place to live and invest.


From our stable politics and regulated banking industry to our spot on the global markets as a significant exporter of energy, minerals and food, Canada is seen as a safe haven to live, bank and invest in by buyers from abroad.


Here are a few of the reasons why Canada Continues to be a great place to invest in real estate:


Continued Increasing Real Estate Values

House prices rose by a record 2.2% across Canada in May, compared to April according to Teranet, with Toronto leading with a 3.6% increase.


This was the largest May gain in the index’s 19-year history, hitting another record high for the 16th month in a row.


Across Canada, prices were up 13.9% over May 2016, nearly reaching the record annual increase of 14.1% set back in September 2006.


Continued Low-Interest Rates

For the past decade, Canada has enjoyed a period of historically low-interest rates.  And while the days of minus prime mortgages are gone, many Canadians are still enjoying low rates that have made investing in real estate that much easier.


Strong Rental Markets

As hot as Canada’s real estate market has been, the rental market has also continued to show strong legs.  


According to the CMHC, a higher number of rental apartment units were occupied in in a year over year comparison “primarily due to much higher international migration to Canada and the continued ageing of the Canadian population”. „


In fact, rental housing demand was up in most areas across Canada. Over the past year, demand for rentals in Ontario, in particular, grew with vacancy rates in Toronto around 1.5%, which was bolstered by higher immigration and fewer renters making the leap to homeownership.


Strong job growth across Canada and the desire to live in the GTA has also pushed rental prices to new heights.  Recently, the Toronto rental market hit a new milestone as the rent on an average 700 square foot condo broke the $2,000 mark, and renters entering into bidding wars over high demand buildings.


With prices rising and affordability a factor in the sizzling GTA real estate market, condos and apartments are becoming more and more popular as alternatives to homeownership.  This, in turn, is providing upwards pressure on rental rates as the demand for condos and rental apartments steadily increases.

5 apps to help you be more eco-friendly

It seems as though the ‘there’s an app for that’ joke will never get old. Why? Because it’s true! Whatever you may need, want, or haven’t even thought of yet is at your fingertips. You want to quit smoking? There’s an app for that. You want to understand the Pokemon Go phenomenon? There’s probably an app for that too. Looking to become more eco-friendly? With climate change becoming an ever increasing issue in our lives, and the call to take action growing stronger, now is the time for individuals to become more accountable for their eco footprint, and to take steps to do better. Don’t worry – there are lots of apps for that. Here are a few highlights. Continue reading

2015’s Best Balcony Garden Trends

More condo dwellers than ever are turning their balconies into green space – a quick glance upward during the warmer months will reveal everything from micro-gardens to full-on leafy canopies. Balcony gardening can be just as rewarding as landscaping a suburban-sized lawn, and it can pack even more visual punch. Plus, a balcony garden is easier to put up and take down, cheaper, and requires way less time. You can even grow vegetables, provided you’re getting enough light. Let’s take a look at 2015’s biggest outdoor trends – you’ll be halfway to the garden centre by the time you finish.

Cocktail gardens

Herbs have always been a mainstay – who hasn’t killed a basil plant or four? – but with craft cocktails becoming more popular than ever, we’re starting to see a wider and more interesting range of options. Basil, lavender, mint, rosemary, sage, lemon verbena – even dill won’t steer you wrong. Use them to muddle, infuse your liquor of choice, freeze into ice cubes or just as a fragrant garnish. After all, what goes better with a beautiful view than a good cocktail?




Succulents & Cacti

We don’t know what it is, but these little guys are everywhere right now – and for good reason! Succulents are super-easy to care for, needing relatively little water and less sun than you think. Get a whole slew of them and get creative with your potting options – we like one pot bursting with different varieties. Alternately, use interesting china and containers to pot them solo – because they need water less often, you don’t have to keep them in traditional draining pots. Just keep an eye on their texture – if the skin starts to wrinkle or feel infirm, your sun to water ratio is probably off.



Hanging baskets

Forget those cheap white plastic baskets you get at the grocery store – the hanging basket is having a serious renaissance. Macrame hangers are available everywhere from Etsy to Crate & Barrel to Urban Outfitters – so embrace them! The key to pulling off this look is to balance the heavy, retro look of macrame with a modern, clean plant – think a one-colour hanging vine or a simple white flowering variety. Remember to hang them toward the back of your balcony, in a slice of sunlight – the wind will make short work of them if you don’t.

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From homeowners converting small urban yards to broccoli patches, to apartment-dwellers building whole trellis’ on their balconies, growing your own veggies has never been more popular. Sure, the quantity of edible plants you can grow might be limited – but the satisfaction that comes from growing even one perfectly-ripe tomato is worth it. Tomatoes are a popular balcony choice because they don’t need a lot of soil to grow. Hot peppers, bell peppers, beans and peas, radishes, beets, cabbage and greens like romaine, spinach and chard are all great for beginners.



Balcony gardening does require a few adaptations. Remember these rules of thumb, and you’ll be off to a great start:

  • You need to over-water. Container gardening anywhere requires much more water than regular gardening. With the increased wind exposure you get a few floors up, you’ll notice that your plants are thirstier than you expected. Give them a good dousing once or twice a week without worrying about root-rot – evaporation will take care of the rest.
  • Secure, secure, and secure. Speaking of wind, be careful! Make sure all your pots are heavy or well secured – a good gust could send half of your hard work over your balcony’s edge.
  • Watch the weather. Keep an eye for hard rain, frost and hail, and haul your plants indoors or cover when the weather’s harsh. Better safe than sorry!

Have an awesome balcony or green space? Show us on Twitter.

Click images for image source. Title image source here. 

How It’s Done: Framing

Last month, we published our first blog post in our new series: How It’s Done. We think it’s important that you fully understand just what goes into building a condo, especially if you’re someone who’s moving into one in the next little while, or someone who simply just wants to learn about it. Our first blog post in the series was about shoring, where we explained the process of supporting the underground walls of a building with props, or shores. This week, we take a look framing.  Continue reading

How It’s Done: Shoring

shoring 2

Creating a building is a complicated endeavour, as we’re sure you’ve realized. Toronto is a city booming with construction professionals working to make beautiful, safe, and long-lasting infrastructure. Creating the things you see around you when you walk down the street every day consists of thousands of processes developed by engineers, architects, and city planners. Our condo buildings are no different. The process begins in the drawing room with ideas and planners, and ends at the peak of beautiful buildings all around the city. Want to learn about how the construction process begins and ends? Follow along on our new How It’s Done series, beginning with the first edition: Shoring. Continue reading