For just a few special weeks many Metro Vancouver streets are lined with blossoming cherry trees, letting us all know that spring has finally arrived.

This year you can join CBC Vancouver's Gloria Macarenko and  celebrate the beauty and symbolism of the cherry blossom at Sakura at Home, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival's annual fundraiser, online  on April 25th.

This event celebrates spring and sakura - the Japanese term for cherry blossom trees - and supports the organizations mission to engage diverse communities through accessible arts and culture offerings that honour the fragile beauty of the cherry blossoms.

Come and enjoy the exclusive  take-out menus created by some of Vancouver's top chefs and an evening program which includes an 'Akebono' cocktail tutorial, haiku and the world premier of the dron film In Full Bloom - al to be enjoyed from the comfort of home.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

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VANCOUVER, B.C.: January 28, 2020 -- Rendering of a hi-rise project proposal for Vancouver, B.C. The two towers, located at 1728 Alberni St and 735 Bidwell St., are made to look like trees.  Heatherwick Studio proposed the designs and is commissioned by Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties in partnership.  Photo credit Picture Plane Ltd. For Sue Lazaruk story. [PNG Merlin Archive]

In an article written by Susan Lazaruk of the Vancouver Sun, she reports that 2 new residential towers proposed for Alberni and Bidwell streets in the West End are designed to mimic large undulating cedars to lend a Vancouver character, according to the world famous design architects, Heatherwick studio from the U.K.

VANCOUVER, BC. 1500 Block Alberni street.

Rezoning happening now for two proposed towers at 1728 Alberni and 735 Bidwell streets. UK architect report submitted to city for rezoning takes shots at other condos on Alberni in 1100, 1400, 1500, 1600, 1800 blocks................(Photo credit: Francis Georgian / Postmedia) , Vancouver. Vancouver Reporter: ,  ( Francis Georgian   /  PNG staff [PNG Merlin Archive]

The design is intended  to use trees as the inspiration with the idea of gentle curving vertical structures that connect the public on the ground floor to the top of the towers.

The 2 tree towers, 1 thirty storeys, the other thirty-four, at 1728 Alberni St and 735 Bidwell St, would be made up of 401 strata residential units - studios and one, two and three bedrooms - with balconies and views to the mountains, Stanley Park and the harbour.

VANCOUVER, B.C.: January 28, 2020 -- Rendering of a hi-rise project proposal for Vancouver, B.C. The two towers, located at 1728 Alberni St and 735 Bidwell St., are made to look like trees.  Heatherwick Studio proposed the designs and is commissioned by Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties in partnership.  Photo credit Picture Plane Ltd. For Sue Lazaruk story. [PNG Merlin Archive]

The project proposed more spaces  for bikes (524) than for cars (499), and would replace 2 mid 1980's era apartment towers on the land.

The new towers would sit on a five-storey, mixed use podium that would incorporate varied architectural materials, including wood and a lot of greenery. Each of the buildings' two bases is styled after a 'green mountain' that would house restaurants and shops, and have a ground-floor plaza designed to be open in the warmer months only.

VANCOUVER, B.C.: January 28, 2020 -- Rendering of a hi-rise project proposal for Vancouver, B.C. The two towers, located at 1728 Alberni St and 735 Bidwell St., are made to look like trees.  Heatherwick Studio proposed the designs and is commissioned by Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties in partnership.  Photo credit Picture Plane Ltd. For Sue Lazaruk story. [PNG Merlin Archive]

The project is to be jointly developed by Bosa and Kingswood  Properties.

It's not know at this time when the buildings, if approved, would be completed.

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for sale sign

According to an article by Kirsten Clarke of the Richmond News, homeowners in Richmond spend 44% of their income on mortgage payments, making it the second most cost burdened city in Canada.

The report by Point2, which studies real estate trends, looked at the 50 most populated cities in Canada and compiled a list of those considered to have the most unaffordable markets.

It's a similar situation for Burnaby and Oakville, Ontario which placed 1st and 3rd on the list. In Burnaby, homeowners spent 44.7% of their income on mortgages in 2020.

Other cities in Metro Vancouver included on the list, and where mortgages take up more than 30% of owners' income are: Vancouver (41.6%), Langley (40.5%), Coquitlam (38.5%) and Surrey (32.2%).

In 2010, mortgages in Richmond took up to 28% of homeowners' income, which increased to 34% by 2015.

In Richmond, homes prices more than doubled - jumping by 109.9% - in the past decade, while wages grew by just 32.1% over the same period.

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One of my favourite things do is to collect somewhat useless, random, but interesting facts. Here are just a few.

The heads on Easter Island have bodies

Easter Island statues

The iconic stone heads protruding from the ground on Easter Island are familiar to most, but many don't realize what lies beneath the surface. In the '10's, archaeoligists studying the hundreds of stone statues on the Pacific Island excavated two figures, revealing full torsos, which measure as high as 33 feet.

The moon has moonquakes

Half moon

Just as earth has earthquakes, the moon has moonquakes. Less common and less intense than the shakes that happen here, moonquakes are believed by US Geological Survey (USGS) scientists to occur due to tidal stresses connected to the disance between earth and the moon.

Pineapple works as a natural meat tenderizer

Pineapple meat kabobs

The fruit is packed with the same enzyme bromelain, which breaks down protein chains, making it an ideal marinade for meats when you don't have a lot of time. But for the same reason, pineapple does not work for jams or jellies, since the enzyme breaks down gelatin as well.  The bromelain is so strong that pineapple processors have to wear protective gloves, otherwise over time the enzyme eats away at the skin on their face and hands, leaving dry skin and small sores.

You lose up to 30% of your taste buds in flight

Airplane meals

This might explain whay airplane food gets such a bad reputation.  The elevation in an airplane can have a detrimental effect of our ability to taste things. According to a 2010 study conducted by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, the dryness experienced at a high elevation as well as low pressure reduces the sensitivity of a person's taste buds to sweet and salty food by about 30%. Add that to dry cabin air which affects our ability to smell, and our ability to taste even further.

Your notrils work one at a time

Close up of baby's nose

When we breath in and out of our nose during the day, one nostril does most of the work at a time, with the duties switching every few hours. This 'nasal-cycle' is dictacted by the same autonomic nervous system that regulates heart rate, digestion, and other unconscious bodily functions and is the reason why when our nose gets stuffed up, it does so one nostril at a time.

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Problem: When you need something that will let you work on the go, no matter where you are - whether it be at Starbucks or eating lunch in a restaurant. You don't want to carry a full size keyboard and mouse with you at all times.

Solution: Dartle Type

The Dartle is a handy device that enables you to leave your portable keyboard or heavy notebook at home. Simply use Dartle and type directly into your phone or IPad.  Or use Mouse Mode by simply moving your fingers across a flat surface to use mouse actions, manipulate images, or even draw - and of course, type quickly and effeciently.

The Dartle uses the latest Bluetooth protocols to connect to any mobile device or computer quickly and easily, replacing any keyboard.

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A Qantas plane flying over Sydney

Australian airline, Qantas has been named the world's safest airline for the third year in a row by AirlineRatings, the world's leading airline safety review website.

In making its selections, the safety and products website took numerous critical factors into account. These include audits from aviation's governing bodies and leading associations; government audits; airline's crash and serious incident record, fleet age, financial position and pilot training and culture.

Cathay Pacific to further reduce global capacity | International Flight  Network

Qatar Airways came in second  in the list of safest airlines followed by: New Zealand (3rd), Singapore Airlines (4th), Emirates (5th), EVA Air (6th), Etihad Airways (7th), Alaska Airline (8th), Cathay Pacific Airways (9th) and British Airways (10th).

A plane in the air in a golden sky

Coming Soon: A list of airlines that are keeping us the safest from Covid-19.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has fueled a rally in Canadian home prices.

The most expensive housing market in Canada appears to be ready to surge after 3 years of sitting quiet.

In Metro Vancouver, where the average homes costs just over $1 million, prices could just rise 9% this year, according to a forecast from Royal LePage.

That's a large rebound after 3 years when benchmark Vancouver homes gained just 0.5% as local government efforts to control housing costs started taking hold.

Prices in Vancouver will be driven up in 2021 as first time buyers try to get into the market and the demand for housing outstrips supply.

Vancouver is not just dealing with a few weeks of pent-up demand, but 3 years of pent-up demand.

B.C. housing market to remain vibrant through the new year: report | CTV  News

Covid-19 has fueled a rally in Canadian home prices, as low interest rates and demand for more space drive a buying frenzy. A tight supply of available properties has helped drive up prices. This trend is expected to continue through 2021.

Nationally, home prices will jump 5.5% this year, with most of Canada's largest cities out pacing that rate of growth according to the report.

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A building problem: B.C. has too many stratas, not enough managers ...

Strata Corporation insurance rates have jumped about 40% across BC since last year, with deductibles sometimes leaping to triple-digit increases.

Among key findings, bases on a survey of 6,000 condo and townhouse properties are:

-an average increase of 40% year-over-year to strata premiums province-wide;

-a 50% increase in Metro Vancouver;

-54% of strata properties experienced a premium increase of less than 30% compared to premiums the previous year;

-31% of strata properties saw increases in the 30%-50% range;

-9% faced year-over-year increases of 50%-100%; and

-6% saw increases in excess of 100% compared to the previous year.

Kelowna Townhomes For Sale - Kelowna BC Townhouses

And price pressures will continue with buildings that are considered to be higher risk expected to face the most significant increases as well as the possibility of not being able to obtain full, or in rare cases any, insurance coverage.

BC's finance minister, Carole James, told CTV News that legislation is on the way to address the skyrocketing strata insurance costs, but did not offer any details as to what exactly that will entail.

B.C. stratas, such as condos, told to minimize risks as insurance ...

"It's clear there is no quick fix for this problem," James said. "It's important to recognize that the dynamics driving these increases are playing out in the private insurance industry-government does not set insurance rates or regulate pricing.

The new legislation is expected this summer as a first step to tackle the problem.

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Finding a Dream Home with Homes for Sale GTA – Mache Mag

B.C. homes sales dropped more than 45% in May compared to the same time last year but home prices continue to rise.

The average residential sales price in May was $728,898, which is 3.2% higher than last years average of $706.394.

Zillow wants to buy your house...but what's the catch?

In Greater Vancouver, the average sales price was up 2.9% ($1.012 million to $1.041 million) compared with the same time last year, while Fraser Valley home prices climbed 2.6% ($725,292 to $744,322)

Vancouver Island had the biggest price jump with a 9.5 rise over May 2019 ($494,380 to $541,485), while the largest drop was recorded in Powell River where home prices plummeted 19.4% (366,933 to $295,748)

There were 4,518 homes sold in B.C. last May, compared with 8,244 sales in May of 2019, which illustrates the drastic impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on B.C. real estate activity.

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A hairstylist was left in tears after a customer tipped her $2,500 before leaving another $3,300 for salon staff who were just returning to work after closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ilisia Novotny wasn't even supposed to work on Saturday, the first day this barbershop was reopened.

good stories 2020

At the end of the busy day, she got a walk-in customer who had just moved into the area.

After his hair cut, he walked out to the barbershop, looked back at Ilisia and said, "Just so you know, it's not a mistake".

Ilisia was confused by what the man meant before her coworkers rushed over and informed her that the stranger had left a $2,500 tip.

'I cried" said Ilisia. "I'm a single mother. It's been rough the last few months not knowing what's going to happen, not knowing when we might reopen so I could go back to work".

In addition to the large tip, the anonymous client also left $500 for the receptionist and another $1,000 for the general manager. He also left another $1,800 for the rest of the employees.

In total, he gave $5,800.

Ilisia said Saturday's tip allowed her to pay June's rent in advance. Money was tight during the 2 months away from work, and she had to work out deals with her landlord and utility company so she could keep the lights on.

Now, things are looking up.

"Coming back and having clients, even people you don't know, show so much love, it felt great" Ilisia said.

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Don't be one of these 17 Costco jerks -

Costco says free samples will likely return by mid-month, but the COVID-19 pandemic will affect how they're handed out.

It's been a while since Costco shoppers have been able to snack on as many free samples as their hearts desired while browsing the retailer's massive aisles, but it looks like some of those tasty treats are about to make a comeback.

71-Year-Old Canadian Costco Worker Regains Right to Sit at Work

After suspending food sampling over coronavirus concerns back in March, Costco stores are now planning to reintroduce the popular shopping perk soon, however, the typical grab-and-go experience customers have grown accustomed to will likely be replaced by a more orderly process.

Costco CFO Richard Galanti announced that the mid-June rollout will start slowly and it's not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample in your fingers.

Costco plans to bring back free food samples | Fox Business

Fans of the store are already speaking out and they seem to have pretty mixed opinions about the news.

Some consider the return of samples a cause for celebration.

Others aren't looking forward to wading through sample crowds.

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This 103 woman was given a slim chance of survival after she was hospitalized with a case of the novel coronavirus earlier this month.

Jennie Stejna, a 'feisty Polish grandmother' was the first resident of her nursing home to be diagnosed with the virus after she contracted a low-grade fever. Despite being moved to a quarantined ward, her condition worsened.

Nursing home staffers eventually called Stejna's granddaughter, Shelley Gunn, and advised her to say her final goodbyes before it was too late.  Gunn's husband apparently asked Stejna if she was ready to go to heaven - and Stejna reportedly responded with a resounding "hell yes".

To everyone's shock, however, Stejna made a full recovery from the virus.

As a means of celebrating her recover, nursing home staffers gave her a bottle of Bud Light - a drink which Stejna loves but has not gotten to enjoy in a long time.

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Welcome Spring Equinox

In 2020, The spring equinox (also called the March Equinox or vernal equinox) falls next Thursday, March 19th, which is earlier than it's been for over a century! This event marks the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

Crocus field in spring

For much of the last century, the spring equinox has occurred on March 20 or 21. This year, however, the equinox happens on the 19th, making it the earliest spring we'll have seen in our lives (so far).  The last time spring arrived this early was in 1896 - a whopping 124 years ago.

Daffodils in field

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Problem: If you store your photos and videos on your computer or 'the cloud' then you know the risks that come with it: Computer crashes, viruses, and power surges that could wipe out 1,000's of your digital memories in seconds.

Solution: The PhotoStick

The PhotoStick is a clever new device designed to protect your photo and video memories and be super easy to use.  It's one of the most in-demand gadgets in 2020, selling over 1,000 units per day.

Using the PhotoStick is easy, just connect this small thumb-sized drive to your PC or Mac, press 'Go' and it will automatically sync your pictures and videos onto the stick. It even finds and removes duplicates so you don't spend hours deleting them manually.

No technical knowledge or computer expertise is required and all your photos are stored safely offline where only you have access to them.  The PhotoStick is perfect for anyone who wants to safeguard their digital memories and doesn't trust 'the cloud'. 

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Once again we have found 3 nice properties in Richmond, one in each category, condo, townhouse and detached house.

The condo this week is a 19+ age limit unit in Park Towers. This fine home features 2 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms over 1,024 square feet of living space. In a great location within Richmond's downtown core. Fresh on the market at $398,000.

This week we are featuring a totally updated 2 level townhome in the Saunders area.

This unit features 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms over 1,279 square feet of living space. Updates include a gourmet kitchen, new flooring, upgraded bathrooms and more. A nice value at $599,000.

Our detached house is a 3 bedroom 2.5 bathroom home in the Hamilton area. It's only 14 years old and boasts some very nice upgrades. 

The home features granite countertops, updated bathrooms and outdoor wooden deck.  This 2,066 square foot home is new to the market, asking $998,000.

Contact me anytime for more information about these fine home or for a list of the 'best values' that would fit your criteria.

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As the world crumbles around us, we can all take comfort in pizza.

Image result for images of pizza box made out of pizza

If you, like 99% of people like pizza then you've got to know about the pizza box pizza from Vinnie's Pizzeria.  It is exactly what it sounds like. It's a pizza box made out of pizza and inside the 'box' there is, you guessed it, a pizza.

One of the owners created this contraption a few years ago when he noticed that customers would order a pizza to go, eat in the restaurant, and then clog up the trash can with the paper pizza boxes.

Image result for images of pizza box made out of pizza

First, the base or bottom of the box is made. It's a Sicilian dough slathered in a zesty marinara sauce. Then comes parmesan, mozzarella, and oregano.

Next is the pizza that's packed into the box.  It's a classic pepperoni pizza. Last the lid. There's no sauce on this one because it's basically a giant garlic bread that's closed over the pizza. (And yes, it fits into a paper pizza box. It's a glorious thing!

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Once again, Delta is demonstrating many great real estate values. Some of the best choices are:

This beautifully updated 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom Condo in the Annievelle area with over 1,150 square feet of living space, in a worry-free concrete high-rise with newer elevators, roof, boiler and plumbing. Great amenities. Fresh on the market at $400,000.

This weeks townhouse features 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms spread out over 1,329 square feet, again in Annieville. Perfect for a young family with loads of updates. Pet-friendly and family-oriented. This one won't last. Asking $520,000.

And finally our detached house this week is in the Nordel area of North Delta. It's a 2,556 square foot rancher with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and a full walkout basement. Large 9,360 square foot lot with 2 car garage and room for an RV. Asking $848,000.

Please contact me anytime for more information on any of these properties and for a list of the better valued of homes that fit your criteria.

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The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, is inspired by Ford's unmistakable pony car and powered exclusively by electricity. While this car shares the name and familiar styling cues with the Mustang, the all-electric crossover otherwise is completely different. 


It will be available with two different battery sizes, either the standard range 75.7KwH battery or an extended ranged 98.8 KwH pack, that will provide up to 480 kilometres of driving range. The batteries will feed and an electric motor mounted on the rear or both axels, depending on if you want a rear or all-wheel drive.


The latter combination creates an all-wheel-drive on the sporty GT model, where the motors combine to make 459 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque. Ford claims this will send the Mach-E from zero to 96 kph in less than four seconds.  While purists might call an electric Mustang crossover sacrilegious, Ford expects the name and design to increase interest and help sell the cars when they go on sale late this year.

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This 91-year-old man has not only become a role model for his entire gym, but also to thousands of people on the internet.

Lloyd Black resolved to join the Anytime Fitness gym in Semmes, Alabama last year after he found himself struggling to accomplish simple household tasks. He hoped that joining a gym might strengthen some of his muscles and help with the random aches and pains in his body. 

Over the course of a year, Black has been diligently working out at the gym three times a week. Despite how his outfits garner plenty of attention, he says that he prefers to wear overalls and coveralls during his workouts because they are warm, comfortable, and he has “trouble keeping his pants up” otherwise.

When Black first joined Anytime Fitness, gym manager Ashley Seaman says he could barely last 10 minutes on the treadmill without becoming winded. Now, however, the senior can effortlessly breeze through half an hour of power-walking before moving on to his workout routine.

He also takes time to help other seniors new to the gym learn how to use the weightlifting machines.

“He’s just a friendly soul,” Seaman told TODAY. “It’s cute because he will go to the other silver sneakers—the elderly members—and he’ll show them how to use the machines.”

As a means of praising Black for his progress, Seaman recently named Black “Member of the Month”.

“Mr Black became a part of our Anytime family 1 year ago and we have seen nothing but motivation and inspiration from him since he started,” the gym wrote on Facebook. “He says he is 91 years young and brags about how much his workout routine has helped him in his daily routines.

“Seeing someone like him inspires others to keep it up and incorporate fitness into their life,” they added. “Seeing him in the gym 3 times a week working out in his overalls brightens our day and we hope to have him many more years to come!”

Black’s photos have now been shared thousands of times across social media, with internet users praising Black for being such a positive role model.

“He says that, even before his feet hit the floor, he will do his bicycle (exercises) in the bed and it helps them to get up and do things in the morning,” Seaman told TODAY. “[He shows] that age is just a number, it doesn’t mean you can’t get into the gym, and it’s never too late.”

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Image result for images of pre construction condo investment in metro vancouver

The number of condo presale units released for sale in 2019 fell sharply in Metro Vancouver, as developers respond to demand that fell off.

Developers put 7,588 units up for presale, less than half the 18,998 released in 2018. 

Image result for images of pre construction condo investment in metro vancouver

The drop was more pronounced for more expensive, concrete condos in high-rise towers than for wood-frame units in smaller, low-rise developments.

It is much harder to presale towers that are 40 to 50 storeys and have some 400 to 500 units than it is for a less-expensive, low-rise or townhome developments of only 80 units. Lenders typically expect developers to lock up presales for 60 to 70 per cent of units before providing money for construction.

Image result for images of pre construction condo investment in metro vancouver

Developers warn that if this slower period lasts for several years, it might mean that projects could get cancelled after tying up buyers' deposits for too long. However, with presales taking longer to sell, lengthening the marketing period to, perhaps, 18 months might be a middle ground that allows developers to get to the construction phase.

Developers are also grappling with having paid peak prices for land, adjusting to rising construction costs and navigating increasing bureaucratic hurdles and taxes. They are also warning that there could be a shortage of new housing and a jump in prices in a few years as the population grows and demand returns.

This kind of sounds like a threat to me - let's see how this plays out!

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