Archive for Whitby

Making History

By now you’re probably aware that Phase 1 of the Highway 407 East Project has been completed and is officially opened to traffic. This section includes Highway 407 from Brock Road in Pickering to Harmony Road in Oshawa, as well as Highway 412, which connects Highway 407 and the 401. Some think the best part of the opening may just be that the use of these sections is toll free until the new year. “Free” is hard to argue with, but a recent trip to Port Perry from Pickering was shortened by a minimum of half an hour by taking advantage of the 412 arm from the 401 to the 407, then scooting down the 407 to Simcoe Street in Oshawa and emerging at Columbus. No stop signs! No red lights! No bumper-to-bumper traffic to contend with through that whole section!

The Saturday morning before the highway officially opened (June 18, 2016) locals were invited to test it out. The catch was: no vehicles allowed. You could walk, run, cycle, roller blade, wheel, skateboard or anything else you could think of that didn’t involve a motor vehicle. It was a great opportunity to be part of history. Stacee-Free Team members Kathy (Lapointe) and Anna (Stinson) were both up to the challenge. They arrived prepared, with walking shoes, bottles of water and sunglasses.

walking the 407

Kathy & Anna Ready To Conquer The 407

Vehicles were not allowed on the highway and there was no parking on site, so the trusty Mincom Vehicle had to sit this one out. Parking was provided at two locations and free shuttle buses ran back and forth for the duration.
riding the big girl bus
It had been some time since either one of our ladies had been on a school bus but they quickly adapted. The buses dropped everyone off on the highway under the Baldwin Street overpass.
Baldwin street
It was a sight to see. It seemed that all of Whitby had come out to participate. Young and old, men and women and lots of kids. Couples strolled or skated together and generations of families walked, rode and wheeled together. Friends and fitness groups enjoyed every minute of it.
lots of people
GENERATIONs
boot camp
Even the four-legged family members enjoyed themselves.
dog and skate boarder
They came on bikes of all sizes and numbers of wheels, on skateboards, roller blades, roller skates and scooters.
bicycles and roller skates
roller blades
There was a lot to do and see in both directions.
map
Our young ladies headed east first until they reached Thickson Road and their cue to turn around.
kathy & anna walking
Thickson Road
407 truck
Emergency vehicles and personal were on hand – just in case. When they weren’t seeing to scrapes and over-heating, they were letting the kids tour their rides.
emergency
ambulance
Ambulance
Even Molly the Fire Dog was there, complete with special shoes to make sure she didn’t burn her paws.
Molly the Fire Dog
It was hot! Really hot and sunny. With a wide-open road it was necessary to grab any bit of shade you could.
shade
The organizers were prepared and had water stations throughout the entire length of the route. They also had a cart trolling up and down, passing out bottles of water along the way.
water stations
The complimentary ice cream truck was a really popular stop to cool down.
icecream for everyone
As you headed west you could play games at the Camp Activities stop.
games on the 407
golfWith an invitation like this…
chalk on the 407
who could resist leaving their mark? Not us!
Mincom chalk on the 407
Ashburn Road marked the Western most point with another subtle hint to turn around.
Ashburn Road
blockade
From end to end you could never be sure what you were going to see. People had some pretty clever ideas about how to get around. These young ladies, known as 2 Cute 4 Country, and their Dad, sported around in something he created for wheel chair users to have a bit of fun.
2 Cute 4 Country
We never did find out what this was!
weird car
We were also able to confirm that it doesn’t matter how old you are. If you’re driving a race car…it’s going to break down.
car breaks down on 407
This one has to be one of the most Canadian sights to be seen on the 407 this day…a man and his son playing hockey.
407 hockey
Hot and happy they were able to be part of this historic day, Kathy and Anna proudly took to the podium to have their achievement documented.
I walked the 407
 Anna was thrilled with their adventure,
“Skateboards, trikes, strollers, walkers, runners, oh my! What a glorious day for a fabulous community event. It was really well-planned and executed.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching and interacting with so many creative people.”
For Kathy the day brought back fond memories,
“The anticipation and excitement of walking on the New Hwy 407 was reminiscent of an elementary school bus trip, starting with the yellow school bus shuttle to the 407 asphalt. It wasn’t planes, trains and automobiles, but bikes, roller skates, scooters and miniature electric cars. It was a fantastic 30 minute walk for us on a beautiful day. The event was a success.”
Don’t forget, if you missed all the fun, you can still make history by driving on the 407 East. The historical part? It’s FREE until the New Year!

Storming The Castle

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away (we’ll call it the Durham Region), there lived a wee Princess named Mincom Jo. Now Princess Jo was a very happy Princess, but she longed to spend her time whiling away the hours wandering around a beautiful castle while her faithful subjects brought her food, mail and the remote. This little Princess knew all about castles and came from a very long line of castle experts who had handed down the knowledge for generations: a person’s home was their castle no matter what the size or curb appeal. So, although visions of turrets and moats danced in her head, she was not above enjoying a good “bouncy” castle.

I am a Princess. My Mother is the Queen. This is my Castle.

I am a Princess. My Mother is the Queen. This is my Castle.

Fortunately for Princess Jo, there actually exists a real castle in the Durham Region. The castle, in Whitby, has been a school for many a young maiden for over 140 years and although Princess Jo did not study there, Trafalgar Castle School “allows” her to visit a couple of times a year.

Trafalgar Castle

The Castle was built in 1859 by the Sheriff of Ontario County, Nelson Gilbert “Iron” Reynolds , as his private residence.  Joseph Sheard, the Toronto architect, designed the castle in an Elizabethan style built with limestone, stone and 15 towers. Remarkably, the castle cost $70,000 to build.

1 Exterior

Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, Reynolds had to sell his castle in 1874, receiving only half of what it cost to build. For the price of $35,000, the Methodist Church of Canada purchased the castle including the land and turned it into Ontario Ladies’ College. In 1979 the school was renamed Trafalgar Castle School.

2 exterior

3 exterior

4 exterior

There have been many upgrades and state of the art improvements over the years, but the integrity of the original castle has always been kept intact. The attention to detail is evident when you venture inside during an open house.

1 ceiling interior

2 ceiling interior 2

2 ceiling interior

3 ceiling interior

1 bench interior 2

1 bench interior chair

1 bench interior

1 room 1

1 room 2

1 staircase 1

1 staircase 2

1stained glass 1

1stained glass 2

1stained glass 3

1stained glass 4

1stained glass 5

When the school first opened it had 25 residential students. It now has over 200 students including 70 boarders. It boasts the “World-Best Curricula” including Latin, Mandarin, the highly regarded Singapore Science & Math, Robotics, English Writing and I-Think. “Since 1874, well before the world openly accepted educated women, we’ve been inspiring our students to think progressively and innovate in the face of social challenges…Girls at Trafalgar excel in every discipline.” In fact 100% of the school’s graduates are accepted by the universities of their choice.

Princess Jo’s favourite time to visit Trafalgar Castle School is when they hold their annual May Court Festival. This year marked their 109th traditional dance around the May Pole.

Trafalgar Castle School Photo

Trafalgar Castle School Photo

The festival marks the official arrival of spring. Traditionally, graduating students who best exemplify the School’s motto of truth, virtue and loveliness are elected as the May Queen and her Counselors.

1 Mayday 1 May Queen and Counsellors copy

Trafalgar Castle School Photo

This year’s formal ceremony included words from local dignitaries to mark the sense of tradition and history passed on year after year. Alumnae and locals from the community enjoyed the celebration including many cultural dances performed by boarding students from China and Mexico. When the formalities were finished it was time to enjoy some of the other activities available including Castle Art tours, dunk tanks and a Strawberry Social.

1 Mayday 1 Strawberry Social
Local vendors offered fun-fair food and freshly squeezed lemonade.

1 Mayday 1 Food

LemonadePrincess Jo has yet to be invited to dance ’round the May Pole. It could be that she arrives after that part is over.

1 Mayday 1 May pole
That’s OK, she spotted a squirrel horses.It must be her Royal Horse Drawn Carriage arriving to take her for a spin.

1 Mayday 1 Horse Drawn Carriage2 copy

1 Mayday 1 Horse Drawn Carriage

She found a perfect spot to pick up a few new Princess dresses…

1 May Day 1 Princess Dress
and some royal jewelry.
1 May Day 1 Princess Jewelry

Our special little Princess was even able to connect with some of her loyal subjects. She had this lizard laughing his head off.

Laughing Lizards

It was a good day for everyone and Princess Jo was content to go home to her own castle to dream of next year’s visit, leaving everyone to…live happily ever after.

The End

2016 • Rose Quartz, Serenity and Monkeys

2015 has come and gone and in its place comes a whole new year of possibilities. Things will most certainly look different. Are you ready to make some changes?

According to the Chinese calendar the new year begins February 8th and it will be the year of the Red Monkey. The monkey is quite clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth. They are also a naughty, wily and vigilant animal so be prepared to be kept on your toes.

Pantone has already surprised us this year by choosing two colours to represent the colour of the year.

“For the first time Pantone introduces two shades, Rose Quartz and Serenity as the PANTONE Color of the Year 2016. Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.”

colour of the year 2016

Joined together Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer and embracing warm tone and cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

Our Stacee-Free Team enjoys starting fresh in a new year by setting themselves some goals. They aren’t all the same. In fact most of them are quite different.  Let’s hear what they have planned for 2016.

Judy Stacee-Cleaver

Judy Stacee-Cleaver
Team Leader/Broker of Record

Stacee-Free Team Leader, Judy Stacee-Cleaver, has set a few goals for the year. Balance between her personal and professional life seems to be the focus.

“It was very busy last year, with major changes everywhere. In 2016 I would like to have a little more time to: have fun; get some exercise; complete important projects that have been sitting on the back burner; connect with more of my clients who have become friends; complete our new web site; grow our Networking group who has supported us all these years; and join our local Board of Trade.”
Board of Trade
Kathy Lapoint Sales Representative

Kathy Lapointe
Sales Representative

 

 

Kathy Lapointe has a solid plan to increase her Real Estate skills.

“I plan on attending more Real Estate seminars, courses and conferences to network. I would like to treat myself with a new Dell Tablet to update my efficiency dealing with Sellers and Buyers, and I’m looking forward to another successful year with Mincom New Choice Realty.”
Dell tablet
Jo-Ann Rucinski Licensed Assistant & Photographer

Jo-Ann Rucinski
Sales Representative & Administrator

 

 

Mincom Jo has done some reflecting and has big plans if she gets lucky.

“The years are going by quickly, but the last one was especially fast.  I’m always striving to be kinder to myself and others, especially on the roads. To send out thoughts of Peace for the World and given the past year, we need more people to think on Peace. I would love to win 5 million dollars, take some friends on a cruise and book suites with balconies, then give most of the money away. On the professional side, I plan on completing the Broker course this year. ”

cruise ship
John Martin

John Martin
Sales Representative

John Martin has a plan for 2016 and has set some very specific goals.

“Some of my goals are as follows:

  1. Grow my Real Estate Business by at least 100% by doing these: advertise in my farm area at least once a month • attend the free “Lunch and Learns” at the Ajax Pickering Board of Trade and at least six “Networking After 5” events at the APBOT • polish my listing presentation skills • try to be a better listener • collect email addresses and include them in a monthly news letter • take more real estate courses
  2.  Get more active, do more cycling, swimming and walking. More activity with the wife would also be good
  3. Start renovating the house
  4. Get the dog well-trained.
 These are just some of the things I’ve been thinking about. The phrase “Planning for Success” is better than doing nothing and planning to fail.”
puppy
Anna Stinson

Anna Stinson
Sales Representative

 

 

Anna Stinson isn’t one for making resolutions. She does, however, have a good idea of what she hopes to accomplish this year.

“I’m looking forward to helping my clients achieve their Real Estate goals for 2016. I hope to grow spiritually, continue being involved with my community and look forward to spending quality time with my family at home and abroad.”
Whitehead

Yes, The Stacee-Free Team is tackling the New Year full force. What changes are you planning on making? Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? We would love to hear about them!New Year

Paint Nite Durham

Have you heard about Paint Nite?

It is a new trend that’s a wonderful way to spend some time with family and/or friends while tapping into your inner creativity and it has become very popular in the Durham Region.  According to their website

“In just about two hours, while you’re sipping on a cocktail, our performing artists will guide you through each painting so that you come up with your own unique masterpiece at the end of the night that you will be amazed YOU created. We provide everything you will need: canvas, paints, brushes and even a smock. You just bring your fun loving friends and have a few cocktails to keep the spirits high and inhibitions to a minimum and we’ll make sure your inner Picasso is unleashed.”

These events take place right in your own neighbourhood at your favourite restaurants, bars and boutiques. The canvases and paints are included and each session is led by a local artist.

It might be best to let the Co-Founder of Paint Nite, Dan Hermann, explain the concept…

Doesn’t that look like a lot of fun? Always up for an adventure, a few weeks ago our Team Leader, Judy Stacee-Cleaver, took the opportunity to find out first hand. Judy joined a few of her friends at Olive That! in Whitby to let loose and get those creative juices flowing. And flow they did!

Olive that signOlive That! lends itself to creativity. This unique “tasting bar” allows you to create your own combinations from a variety of Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars. Savoury or sweet, there is a plethora to choose from. Simply sample the flavours from the many silver fusti available until you find the perfect one (or two or three) and the extremely knowledgeable staff will bottle them for you right there and then.  You’ll also find a wonderful selection of cheeses, ideal kitchen gifts and much more. One visit and we’re sure you will become a regular. Judy managed to find several combinations to bring home and got some Christmas shopping done.

Olive that 1The very talented Sarah Shaw was the “Performing Artist” for the evening. Step-by-step, Sarah guided the group through the process of creating a winter wonderland on canvas. It doesn’t matter if you have never picked up a paintbrush, you will leave with a beautiful piece of artwork.

facebook.com/Olivethatca/

facebook.com/Olivethatca

Judy was fascinated by the end results…

“It was a wonderful evening, full of fun. What really surprised me was that every one of us had the same canvas, the same paints, the same brushes and the same step-by-step instructions, yet every single painting turned out differently. Our own unique style came through.”

Paint Nite

facebook.com/Olivethatca

From their smiles it’s easy to see that everyone had a wonderful time and would welcome the opportunity to participate again.

 

It’s A New Year

2015

It’s a bright, shiny, brand new year. Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Our Stacee-Free Team has. Well, not necessarily resolutions, but most definitely they have set themselves goals for 2015. We’ll just let them tell you about it themselves.

Judy Stacee-Cleaver

Judy Stacee-Cleaver
Team Leader/Broker of Record

Stacee-Free Team Leader,  Judy Stacee-Cleaver, has set a few goals for the year. Most are professional but a couple are personal goals.

” I’m aiming at getting twice as many listings and twice as many sales as I had in 2014. We had a pretty good year so it won’t be easy, but I’m up to the challenge.  Right now I’m working on a Team Handbook for Success and I intend to complete it as soon as possible. I’m looking forward to trying out some new ideas this year and really honing my skills with regard to Social Media. It plays such a big part in what we do that if you don’t keep up you’ll be left behind. We are always looking for new representatives to bring something fresh to the Team so I’m looking to do some hiring.
On a personal note, I’m selling my home on Lake Scugog and moving to our new home on 10 acres in Clarington.”
Home on Lake Scugog
Don Carter Sales Representative

Don Carter
Sales Representative

 

Don Carter’s goals for 2015 include education, referrals and networking.

“There are some mandatory courses for the upcoming two year term that I want to complete but I would also like to earn the Senior Real Estate Specialist designation (SRES). I already have the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) designation so this is a natural next step. Plus, I’m planning to step up my game with networking and seeking referrals by getting involved with the local Board of Trade and Architectural Council.”
Board of Trade
Kathy Lapoint Sales Representative

Kathy Lapointe
Sales Representative

 

 

Kathy Lapointe is working on both professional and personal improvements .

“My goal is to consistently complete two deals or more a month. This year I am also going to focus on feeling better and healthier. On a personal note my plan is to actually get away this summer to somewhere tropical for a couple of weeks of R & R with my whole family.”
Black Beach in Hana
Jo-Ann Rucinski  Licensed Assistant & Photographer

Jo-Ann Rucinski
Licensed Assistant & Photographer

 

Mincom Jo has set herself some pretty lofty goals for 2015.

“This year I’ll be getting my Broker’s License. I’ve been planning it for some time…and now is the time. We have a great Team and I would like to work with them more, to help them increase their potential both personally and in business. There is always room for self-improvement and I’m working on being kinder — having more compassion and understanding of people and situations. I’m also planning to meditate more and to continue working out at the gym.”
bootcamp meditate
John Martin

John Martin
Sales Representative

John Martin didn’t make a New Year’s resolution but he has a plan for 2015 and is putting things in place this year that he has not done since joining the Stacee-Free Team.

“I’m determined to make 2015 my best year yet in Real Estate. I am trying to be a lot more focused. Getting out of bed earlier and getting more things done each day has just been the start. This year, I actually have a plan for success that I am determined to follow and so far I’m right on track.

I also want to do a lot more cycling with my wife Melanie this year. I’m also hoping to go to the Calgary Stampede. I want to sell our park model summer trailer this year. We have outgrown the trailer park scene and it’s time to move on.
2015 is going to be a big year for changes. Our son has purchased a home in Bowmanville and hopefully he’ll get possession in late April and I will get my garage back! Our house needs some interior updating and the landscaping needs to be looked at. Yes, there are lots of  things to be done at home. All in all, this year is going to be a good one because I’m going to make it a good one!”

Calgary
Anna Stinson

Anna Stinson
Sales Representative

 

 

Anna Stinson isn’t one for making resolutions. She does, however, have a good idea of what she hopes to accomplish this year.

“I’m hoping that 2015 will be a year to look back on; being more socially responsible; connecting with new and previous clients; and truly making a positive difference in people’s lives.”
Make a difference

As you can see, the Stacee-Free Team has big plans for this year. They’ve already started reaching their goals and will continue to strive to complete everything they have set out to do. We hope that you are able to realize your goals and dreams this year too!HPPY NEWYEAR