Archive for Christmas

The Most Wonderful Time

This is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a time when almost everyone can believe in the magic of Christmas. Whether you are five and just starting to make those magical memories, or 85, and thinking back over the years, everyone has at least one special memory of Christmas. This year, we would like to share some of ours with you.

Jo likes to keep things simple.

“Christmas memories…traditional family gatherings, lots of food, people and prezzies. Caroling as kids, snow angels, snow ball fights and sledding down some pretty big hills. Then, as adults, it was Christmas parties and winter events. All were wonderful, but some of my most favourite rememberings were going up to the barn at midnight to see if the horses talked…and enjoying a few Christmas’s on my own (by choice), not having to travel, buy gifts or overeat…just me in my PJ’s with some great movies. This year I’ll be alone at the lake enjoying some Peace on Earth so I can continue to have Good Will towards Everyone.” Jo Ann Rucinski, Sales Person, Administrator


Family and food provide the Christmas magic for Kathy.

“Christmas for us is always about just slowing down and spending time together, because life is such a rush. I think my favorite part of Christmas is having my family together…and the food. I love cooking and my family loves eating! We traditionally do a French ‘Night before Christmas’ dinner— an homage to my husband Paul’s background— with home-made Tourtier, chicken liver pate flavoured with Courvoisier, cold seafood like salmon Gravlax, arugula salad with figs, and the best pumpkin pie, made by my son. Then, for Christmas dinner, we always have a turkey. We give it a name, like Fredrick or Henry, and the boys roast it on the BBQ. Santa usually gets us a new board game so there’s always lots of passionate competition. And of course, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” Kathy Lapointe, Sales Person

Anna shares one of her favourite memories of Christmas.
“My grandfather would set up the Nativity Scene (with the exception of baby Jesus) and he would tell us kids the Christmas Story. Then, on Christmas morning we would rush downstairs to see baby Jesus lying in the manger. Even after all these years I can still see him waiting for us on Christmas morning.” Anna Stinson, Sales Person

John would like the Christmas magic to last all year long.

“I think of Christmas as a very special time of year. It is a time when special things happen. People put aside their differences and are actually nice to each other. Perfect strangers will wish you a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. People are also more aware of those less fortunate. Countries at war have even stopped fighting to celebrate the day or a portion thereof. It is truly sad that this spirit only lasts for a very short time. Then, on Boxing day, it’s “Get out of my way, there’s a deal somewhere!” John Martin, Salesperson

Attending the recent Christmas party for the Durham Contact Business Exchange at the Waterfront Bistro had Judy reminiscing about Christmas past.


Overlooking Lake Ontario and Frenchman’s Bay at the end of Liverpool Rd, the Waterfront Bistro holds many warm memories for me. MinCom’s Christmas party was the first function ever held at the Waterfront when they opened in ’96. The owners, George and his family told us that they were not quite open for business but if we were game so were they. And so we did! Construction was ongoing and the kitchen was still under renovation, so the food had to be prepared and then transported from Lord Byron’s Restaurant to the Bistro for our party. There were at least 30 to 40 people in attendance, all dancing and enjoying the festivities. Wayne sang his ‘Night Before Christmas’ (in Rap) song. It was such a great hit that it became a tradition and Wayne did it at our parties for years. We had many wonderful times at the Waterfront, singing Karaoke led by Garth Riley or dancing to the live tunes of ‘The Johnny Max Blues Band’ just to mention a few. Garth always had such fun in store for us. I wish I could find the pictures of a game we played. Garth had the men wear white long johns and the women had to stuff as many full balloons inside to win a prize. We all laughed until we had tears in our eyes. Many years have come and gone, but there is one thing we can all agree on. MinCom had some of the best Christmas parties ever!

The Waterfront Bistro has evolved over the years and so have we, but it will always have a special place in my heart, especially around Christmas.” Judy Stacee-Cleaver, Broker of Record


From The Stacee-Free Team and everyone at Mincom New Choice Realty Ltd. , have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



It’s A Wonderful Christmas Time

Are you in the mood for a little Christmas Spirit? You need not look any further than the Durham Region. In fact, there is no better place to be than the Durham Region at Christmas time.

When Santa “comes to town” he is certain to make a stop in most locales. Starting November 15th, the Santa Claus Parades offered included early morning, afternoon and even candlelight schedules.  Bowmanville started it off this year with “A Toyland Christmas” early in the day. Then at noon, Beaverton had their “Winter Wonderland” themed parade. Newcastle took over on Sunday, November 16th and started off their sunset parade with fireworks. The following weekend saw Uxbridge showing off their “Winter Wonderland” parade in the morning. Oshawa thrilled us at six in the evening with their “Santa’s Parade of Lights” and Pickering took the morning spot on November 22nd. Then, Ajax had their “Santa’s Magical Parade of Lights” in the evening, immediately followed by a tree-lighting event at the Town Hall. The morning of Saturday Dec. 6th was Whitby’s turn, while in the evening, Port Perry celebrated the “Past, Present and Future” as their parade theme. Courtice closed out the parade schedule on Sunday the 7th at noon. So you see, there really is no excuse for missing Santa’s arrival.


shriner train



Santa FloatThere are plenty of Christmas Craft Shows, Festivals and Tree lightings all over the region and you can pretty much find a hand-made “everything”!

Every year the CP Holiday Train travels through dozens of communities to raise food and cash donations for food banks. We are really lucky that the CP Holiday Train stops here. In fact it makes two stops in the Durham Region  —  the first in Bowmanville and then in Oshawa. All the contributions collected in an area stay within the local community. Mincom Jo and her trusty Aunty Elf had a great time at the Oshawa stop with Roxanne Potvin and the Odds providing terrific entertainment from the boxcar stage. People came out in droves and a good time was had by all.

CP Holiday Train

Mincom Jo and Aunty Elf

Mincom Jo and Aunty Elf

Holiday Train Oshawa

Roxanne Potvin and the Odds

Speaking of trains…did you know you could take a ride with Santa Claus on the Santa Train in Uxbridge? Every weekend, you and your family can board the train in Uxbridge for a round trip on the York-Durham Heritage Railway, the Greater Toronto Region’s only family tourist train. Each trip lasts approximately one hour and has on-board entertainment for children of all ages. Including the adults! Santa visits each child at their seat and distributes goodies to each and every one.

Santa Train

Santa Train

In Pickering, The Millennium Square Skating Rink is now open for the season!  Located at the bottom of Liverpool Road South, at the lake, this new outdoor skating rink officially opened in 2013. You can skate for free on the synthetic ice surface seven days a week all winter from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. And, you can have fun while enjoying a breathtaking view of Lake Ontario.

skating rink

Photo: City of Pickering

Not everyone is cut out for the outdoors in the winter. Some like to bundle up in their car with a thermos of hot chocolate and just drive around looking at the Christmas lights. With gas prices lower than they have been in years, this is a great option. If you live or are visiting in the Durham Region, may we suggest you head over to Ilona Park Road in Pickering for a spectacular Christmas display. Each year they put on a magnificent presentation and collect money and food for the local food bank. Guaranteed, as soon as you pull up you will be wandering around the magical winter wonderland they have created. If you’re lucky you may even be entertained by a Steele Drum Band or even bump into Santa Claus himself. Give a little and get a lot!

Christmas lights

Christmas Light3

Christmas Light5 copy

Christmas Light6

Christmas Light2 copy

Christmas Light4Yes, Virginia, the Christmas Spirit is alive and well and living in the Durham Region. Oh, and one last thing…

Merry Christmas

All Aboard!

As you prepare for the Christmas season it’s easy to get lost in memories of Christmases gone by.  Photos of little ones on Santa’s knee that have since had little ones of their own, an ornament that has been handed down from generation to generation or perhaps watching “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” on TV can trigger a flood of memories. We all have memories of that one special gift we just had to have – like Ralphie and his rifle in “A Christmas Story“. For many, that gift was a train. Trains and Christmas do seem to go hand in hand.

Christmas Train

It seems the Durham Region believes in Christmas Trains. We are very fortunate in our area that we have access to some real Christmas trains.

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train makes two stops in the Durham Region as it makes its way across the country.


The CP Holiday train visits over 150 communities across the railroad network including stops in Bowmanville and Oshawa. Each stop features a boxcar stage, a lineup of great musical talent and a contribution to the local food bank.  The goal of the Holiday Train is to raise awareness in the fight against hunger. Everyone who attends is encouraged to donate food and money which stays in their community. Since the program’s inception back in 1999 , more than $7.4 million  and over 3 million pounds of food has been collected in Canada and the U.S.

John Martin, Sales Representative at Mincom New Choice Realty Ltd. and member of The Stacee-Free Team, went to the Bowmanville stop with his wife Melanie and their grandchildren. John says,

“Last year we went to the Oshawa stop and we had a lot of fun with the kids. This year we decided to try the Bowmanville stop and really enjoyed ourselves. It’s a great evening out with the grandchildren. The train itself is pretty exciting for all of us. The music is good, the hot chocolate will warm you and the Christmas spirit is high. This year the entertainment was Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame. He had everyone moving and singing along. We make sure that the kids are aware we are there to support the food bank and make a donation so they know there are kids out there that aren’t as fortunate as they are.  The Holiday Train has definitely become a family tradition for us.”

Jim Cuddy

Jim Cuddy on The Holiday Train Boxcar Stage • 2013

There was a great turnout at both locations. People were there to greet the train, with a good portion of the adults toting their children on their shoulders. It’s a lot of fun watching the little ones having a ball, twisting and bouncing, and singing Christmas carols along with the entertainers.

The Holiday Train in Bowmanville

If you were not lucky enough to catch The Holiday train in Bowmanville or Oshawa you still have time to catch the Santa Train in Uxbridge.  You and your family can board the train in Uxbridge this weekend for a one hour round trip on the York-Durham Heritage Railway, Greater Toronto Region’s only family tourist train, that also includes a visit from Santa for the little ones.

Santa Train

Christmas lights

Merry Christmas