Markham Fair & Woodbridge Fair 2013

Markham Fair

Nothing conjures up happy childhood memories more than a county fair. The twinkling lights of the midway, the carnival games with their dangling prizes, fingers sticky from cotton candy, caramel apples and elephant ears….it’s no wonder fairs are able to delight the masses, young and old. Fall fairs are in full swing across the province and planning is well under way for two of York Region’s most popular fairs. The Markham Fair will take place October 3 – 6 and the Woodbridge Fair on Thanksgiving weekend, October 12 – 14.

The Markham Fair has the proud distinction of being one of Canada’s oldest county fairs. It takes 750 volunteers on 75 different committees to organize the four-day event that draws over 60,000 attendees.  Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3,000 exhibitors will enter more than 12,000 items to be judged and put on display during the fair. Attendees can expect to see everything from hand-carved wooden toys to homemade pies and preserves. Other highlights include a horse pull, demolition derby, tractor pull, livestock shows, teen talent contest, indie band night, children’s pet show and, of course, the baby contest. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings will close with fireworks at dusk.

Parking at the Markham Fair is free. Admission: adults $15, seniors $10, children 12 and under $2, children four and under are free. The Markham Fairgrounds are located at 10801 McCowan Road. Check out the full events listing at www.markhamfair.ca

The Woodbridge Fair is celebrating its 166th anniversary in 2013. This long-time running fair has a storied history and was advertised as the ‘biggest country fair in the Dominion of Canada’ during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Highlights of the Woodbridge Fair include a giant pumpkin contest, stunt show, horse show, school exhibits, cow milking contest, craft, baking and antique displays, farm area with petting zoo and straw bale maze, hourly free turkey raffles and vendor tents.

Parking at the Woodbridge Fair is free. Admission: adults $7, students aged 6 -14 $2, children under 6 are free. The Woodbridge Fairgrounds are located at 100 Porter Avenue. Check out the website at www.woodbridgefair.com for full events listing.

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Make The Most Of The Fall Season In Picturesque Aurora

Kirby Chan Fall

 

Set amongst the rolling hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Aurora is one of those idyllic communities that has managed to maintain its small-town charm over the years while expanding to offer residents convenient urban amenities.

Fall is the perfect time to explore this quaint community, ideally located just 40 minutes from downtown Toronto. The town offers 615 acres of parkland and over 25 kilometres of pedestrian trails. Sheppard’s Bush Conservation Area is a great place to enjoy a hike or bicycle ride while taking in the brilliant fall colours. There is a three-kilometre trail, picnic area and the historic Sheppard House.

The town’s carefully preserved downtown includes many eclectic shops, restaurants and the Aurora Cultural Centre. Recognized as a premier heritage community, Aurora was the 2008-2009 winner of the Prince of Wales Prize for its commitment to the preservation of its built heritage. The Aurora Historical Society offers details on a walking tour of the town, passing attractions like Hillary House, the Methodist Parsonage (the childhood home of Lester B. Pearson) and The Old Post Office, which also houses the town clock.

The Aurora Farmer’s Market and Artisan’s Fair runs every Saturday until October 26 in Town Park on Wells Street. You’ll find produce supplied by local farmers, fresh meat, pottery, beeswax and soy candles, collectibles, fresh flowers and more. Be sure to bring your appetite because the market has earned quite a reputation for its culinary delights. A visit offers the perfect snapshot of everyday life in Aurora.

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Furnace Preparation Tips For Winter

Furnace

Temperatures are falling and soon we’ll be turning on the furnace to take the chill out of those autumn nights. To prep your furnace for the season ahead, take a few simple steps to ensure that you protect your indoor air quality and keep your furnace running at its most efficient.

Book your annual furnace cleaning. If you have a furnace protection plan, an annual cleaning might be included, so it’s worth checking. Professional furnace inspectors are a worthwhile investment. Natural gas or oil-fired furnaces are complex pieces of equipment and should be professionally inspected and cleaned annually to ensure no dangerous gases are leaking into your home.

Change or clean the furnace filter. Keeping the filter clean will help your furnace run at peak efficiency. You may also want to vacuum out the vents and cold air returns. Once you turn the furnace on, all the dust and pet hair that accumulated in the vents will be blown into the air.

Inspect the area around your furnace. Make sure the furnace has space to breathe and keep all combustibles a safe distance away.

Now is a great time to check out programmable thermostats. These handy devices can save you hundreds of dollars over the heating season by allowing you to program different temperatures to set your furnace at different times of the day. If you’re out of the house weekdays, set the temperature a few degrees lower. When you get home, the thermostat program will already have raised the temperature to your preset comfort level. At night, you may want to set the temperature a little lower as well, keeping the house cooler while your snuggled under blankets. Many hydro providers offer deals for these devices. Hydro One, for example, offers money-saving coupons. Visit www.hydroone.com/MyHome/SaveEnergy/Pages/Coupons.aspx for more information.

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The Benefits Of Selling Your Home In The Fall

Selling in Fall

Timing is everything when it comes to home sales, especially in Canada where changing climates and seasons often dictate market fluctuations. Deciding to sell your home during the cool fall season can create hidden benefits to your sale and help ensure you get top dollar for your property.

Curb Appeal

Often regarded as one of the most important details when showing your home, the fall season is a great time to make the most of your curb appeal with well maintained lawns and polished landscaping. As the season cools, neighbours often invest less time in their yard work. Using this to your advantage your perfectly maintained property is sure to stand out on the block.

Cool fall weather is also the perfect time to finish do-it-yourself projects, repaint window coverings and garages, stain the decks and repave driveways.

Appeal to the season and plant bold fall colours. Selling a home is much like selling an image.

More time to dedicate to the sale

Selling your home can be a lengthy process; attracting buyers, arranging meetings and drawing up offers to complete the sale takes a lot of time.

Fall schedules usually see people home from vacation and back into scheduled routines. This applies to both sellers and buyers. It can also apply to professional inspectors, appraisers and notaries you may need to hire to complete your sale. Back to their scheduled routines means they are able to complete work more quickly.

Serious Buyers

Fall buyers are serious buyers. Often new home owners, retirees and people moving for career changes, these buyers are well researched and ready to commit to the sale.

As winter gets closer, most buyers want to ensure they are comfortably moved into their new home before the holidays and the stormy weather begins.

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Gardening In Fall Helps Us Prepare For Beautiful Gardens Next Spring

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, fall is the best time to put our creative energy into improving our gardens to enjoy the following spring.

Whether you are moving existing plants or beginning from scratch, start by mapping out the dimensions of the space you are designing making sure to note the amount of sunlight the area gets daily and the soil type: sandy, clay or loam.

Clay is nutrient rich, but drains slowly. Sandy soil drains quickly but has trouble retaining nutrients and moisture. Loamy soil is generally ideal because it retains moisture and nutrients and doesn’t stay soggy. Knowing the soil type will help you figure out the type of plants that will grow best in it.

For inspiration, fill a scrapbook with ideas seen in magazines and around the neighbourhood for a visual guide.

In designing which plants will go where, begin by placing the largest ones (trees and shrubs) first, noting their height and width at maturity. That information is typically available on the tags in the nursery. You don’t want to crowd such centrepieces with perennials that will have to be moved later.

Also, work from the back and move outward for the same reasons. This way, larger pieces become the backdrop and smaller ones placed in front won’t be obscured. Avoid putting large trees and shrubs up against the house where they will eventually block windows and light coming into your home. At the same time, large additions to your garden can hide unsightly parts of your home.

Your eventual piece de resistance is sure to be the envy of the neighbourhood.

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Alternative Homes — Are They Right For You?

You’ve always prided yourself on contributing as much as you can to preserving the Earth, but how can you know which alternative home is right for you?

There are nearly as many different kinds of homes as there are people. However, there are two main categories to consider: how they’re made and how they function.

Some homes are special because of the materials chosen for their construction. Timber frame homes, for example, are built with very large pieces of wood or full logs that are fit together using traditional methods. Unlike “stick-built” homes where the lumber is hidden behind drywall or plaster, timber frame homes expose the wood beams and present the structure as art. Generally, this method of building uses less wood than a similar structure built with 2 x 4s. They also tend to have a higher R-value and are often clean air homes due to the natural materials.

Another alternative material for house construction is straw bales. Readily available in Ontario and inexpensive, straw bales are made of waste from grain crops. Homes made with straw bales may also have timber framing or the bales may be structural. The bales themselves are pinned into place and then coated with plaster or cement on the interior and exterior. Many straw bale houses are very inexpensive to build as owners often do much of the work themselves. And, as you can image, the R-value for a 23” thick wall is quite high—about R-5. Straw bale homes are also often considered clean air homes as the plaster allows the house to “breathe” and vent excess moisture.

How homes function is the other consideration to alternative homes. Net-zero homes are becoming increasingly popular and may indeed become the new norm. A net-zero home produces at least as much renewable energy as it uses. This type of home has achieved that balance between generating its own power and having as low a consumption rate as possible. Net-zero homes can be traditionally built with added insulation and special conservation features, or they can be timber frame, straw bale or something else.

There are so many different options for people who want something unique and special for their home. Whether you want to try a different way of building or concentrate on options for energy generation or conservation, there is something out there that will work for you.

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