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Showing posts from May, 2009

Jazzing up the McMichael. Fundraiser in Kleinburg

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Classy Friday Night Fund Raiser at the McMichael
A Celebration of Canadian Art, Music, Cuisine and all that Jazz
background info/article for Vaughan Citizen, Corriere Canadese (Toronto daily Italian newspaper) and Vaughan Today

The woods, the hills and even the galleries of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection were alive with the sound of music. Jazz at the McMichael, an annual fund raising celebration of art, music and cuisine, was blessed with picture perfect weather and a large supportive crowd, the evening of Friday May 22nd.
Attending and speaking at the Jazz concert was the Honourable Aileen Carroll, Ontario’s Minister of Culture. 200 people joined the Minister, who enjoyed an exceptional evening of fusion jazz with the Vaughan based VSM Trio. The trio featured popular musicians Vito Rezza, Shelly Birger, and Mario Romano. The three musicians were joined on the McMichael stage by violinists Valentina Romano and Leonid Pejsahov.
This unique fundraiser benefits ongoing exhibition…

The BEST places in Florida and the rest of the world to take pictures underwater

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DIVER MAGAZINE SIDEBAR (TO BE PUBLISHED IN JUNE 09) ABOUT DIVING AND SNORKELING FOR STEPHEN WEIR STORY ON DIVE PHOTOGRAPHERS GUIDE TO THE FLORIDA KEYS AND POMPANO BEACH (AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN)

Five Great Places To Dive and Take Underwater Photographs in the Florida Keys

1. Biscayne National Park - 95% of this park is underwater. Outstanding reefs covered in picturesque elk horn coral. Shipwrecks abound. Northern tip of the Florida Keys.
2. Wreck of the USN Speigel Grove. 155m. (510ft) retired warship scuttled to create artifical reef, 10 kms (6 mi) offshore of Key Largo. Ship originally lay on its side but after Hurricane Dennis (‘05), the ship is now upright 40m (130 ft) down. Experienced divers only.
3. Jules’ Undersea Lodge. La Chalupa Underwater Research Lab has been converted to world’s only underwater hotel. Two hotel rooms have glass picture windows onto the reef, air-conditioning, hot showers, a fully stocked galley, and unlimited diving for divers! Key Largo
4. Ten-Fathom L…

The Condo Generation ready to raise their families in downtown High-Rises

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Mathew Rosenblatt, a principal with Cityscape Development Corporation (Distillery), plays with his daughter in the Distillery area's daycare - photo by Toronto Star.

GEN-CONS LOOK SKYWARD - THE CONDO GENERATION READY TO RAISE THEIR FAMILIES IN DOWNTOWN HIGH-RISES

Published in the Toronto Star, May 2, 2009.

By Stephen Weir

A new high-rise trend led by the Condo Generation, is pulling into two downtowns. A small but growing number of Gen-Con parents are forsaking dreams of family homes … you know, the one with the white picket fence and the swing set in the large backyard … for condos in the city. There are already family-friendly buildings in downtown Toronto, and Mississauga, with more on the way.
Builders, architects and realtors agree that over the next decade an increasing number of parents will decide to raise their children in high-rise condominiums within the city core. Urbanization, a Toronto condo think tank, isn’t so sure. They believe that as long as units are small, prices …

Family Condo Factoids - sidebar NOT used in Toronto Star story May 2, 2009

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FAMILY CONDO FACTOIDS

In the United States the National Association of Home Builders Multifamily Council regularly issues information on the Multifamily (Condo) Outlook. Among its findings is that:

• In multifamily buildings renters have more children than condo owners, but the magnitude of the difference varies by structure type. Fewer school-age children are found in buildings (rented or owned) with 20 or more units
• The highest number of children per 100 households is 90.8, which is found among households that have recently moved into newly constructed single-family detached rental units. The lowest number is 3.2 for newly constructed condominiums with 20 or more units.
• The National Association of Home Builders found that in hot metro markets - American cities that have retained a vibrant core -- investment buyers now account for 15 percent of purchasers of multi-family condominium units. Speculators are prone to flipping condos, even before the suites are completed.
• How long …

Families moving into downtown condos around the world. Sidebars NOT used in May 2nd Toronto Star story

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SIDEBAR

What are downtown condos projects offering parents in other cities?

• Singapore's Capital Land builder has constructed over 40 family friendly condo projects. Their new 420-unit Clearwater Condominiums has: a children's playground, family fitness corner, children's pool, karaoke room, rooftop BBQ, a kid's space net and outdoor maze. Their Waverina has an outdoor wave pool.
• The downtown Denver 42-unit Zocalo Condominiums opened in 2006. The building includes a small city police station at street level.
• Daniels Capital Condominium in Mississauga has two 30-story high-rise condo towers and a few three-storey family friendly villas. It has a Hollywood style home theatre, barbecue patios and indoor pool. At street level there is a dental practice, a walk-in medical clinic and a pharmacy (which delivers to your condo door). Mississauga Living Arts Centre right across the road.
• Craig's Ranch, a planned community in Texas includes, homes, soon-to-be built condo…

Condo Toronto Star Story about bringing up children in downtown condos

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http://www.yourhome.ca/homes/article/626607
I have received feedback from readers (which is very very rare for my condo stories) already. These four emails were posted on the Toronto Star site. Don't disagree with any of them!

sl119
mf123, Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah, familyof3, Saime: You miss the point. Condo markets attract a certain kind of customer with a particular mindset. This kind of customer wants only a condo, regardless of the deals on homes with yards or other opportunities out there. These condos attract people with money (and these people are clearly, at least monetarily, not an "average family"), and they don't mind the prices. There will always be people out there who will scoop these condos up.

Submitted by Sherry119 at 5:41 PM Monday, May 04 2009
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A million for a 2.5 bedroom or...
how about some acreage with a big home just on the outskirts of Burlington? Even $400 000 for a 2 bedroom plus den is ridiculous. Again, in the 905 you could pick up a nice 4 or…

Here's How - Stephen Weir multi-story feature, published April 2009

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DIVINE DIVE PICTURES
Olympus Puts The Bite on Underwater Digital Picture Taking Market
For divers, swimmers and snorkellers

By Stephen Weir

3 May 2009 …By Man-Eating standards, this was a very small shark. She was as big as my two fellow underwater photographers swimming hell-bent-for-rubber towards her. But, what with the cameras in their waterproof housings, aluminum scuba tanks and chewy neoprene wet suits, there was far too much bulk approaching even for a hungry 2-metre long Ginglymostoma Cirratum.
After my strobe (underwater flash) fired, the grey Nurse Shark shook her large dorsal fin and leisurely swam through a cut in the living Florida Keys reef and headed into the gloom. Probably in Havana by now.
With only one large fish shot to show for an hour of diving, and my air supply dwindling, I quickly scanned the lush shallow reef for something - anything – big to shoot. There! Up above, hovering around the coral-encrusted bow of a WW2 shipwreck, were a dozen 2-metre long Great…

Here's How - Stephen Weir multi-story feature, published April 2009

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TEN THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SCUBA DIVING IF YOU INTEND ON BECOMING AN UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER

More people have taken pictures from inside the International Space Station than have dove down and taken photographs of the wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald. Lake bottoms, rivers beds and the ocean floor are truly the final frontiers.

If you use scuba gear to take pictures you must be a certified diver (there many levels and types of certification). It is estimated that there are about half a million people in this country who are active scuba divers … a growing number of them own cameras.

So, what does one need to know to join the growing rank of Canadians who live to spend time breathing air from an aluminum cylinder?

1. Age. Some scuba training agencies begin teaching students at the age of 10. Last year, Bert Killade, the self-styled “Last Pirate of the Caribbean”, died at the age of 94. Killade claimed to have been the oldest active sport diver.
2. Ability. You should know how to swim and b…

Here's How - Stephen Weir multi-story feature, published April 2009

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Snorkeling is a gentle sport that is safe, fun and healthy. Unlike scuba diving, one doesn’t need a course before getting wet. Snorkeling leaves no carbon footprint, doesn’t harm the underwater environment and requires little gear beyond a mask, a set of fins, and of course the snorkel. Depending on where you are, a wet suit and a weight belt (to neutralize the buoyancy of the suit) should be worn.
While there are advantages to taking pictures underwater using scuba gear (you can stay up to 90 minutes underwater to get a good photograph and you can go deep to take pictures), there are many photographers and videographers who prefer snorkeling and free diving.


SIDEBAR: FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SNORKELING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Interested in snorkeling? Consider the following:

1. Only David Blaine can stay underwater for more than 15-minutes (and we aren’t sure he didn’t have a secret supply of air). Some free divers can stay underwater for 10-minutes (and reach incrediable depth…