In the 1500s, houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.

When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs." 


Cut down on safety concerns.

Be certain that all electrical outlet cover plates in are place.  Install missing handrails at stairways.  Repair any and all malfunctioning door closers on doorways to attached garages and automatic garage doors themselves.  Not only will anything deemed unsafe make the report, it may cause injury. 


There's a lot of hubbub around the "buy local" mantra these days, but there may be more in it for you that you realize, especially when it comes to honey.

By buying locally-produced honey, your body gets small doses of the same pollen that can trigger your allergies. In the same fashion that a vaccine works, by giving your body the honey, allergies may be dramatically reduced! So the closer you live to the beekeeper, the better off you are! 


New Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz stuck to the status quo this morning in his first interest rate decision, leaving the Bank's overnight target rate at 1 per cent.  The Bank expects growth in the Canadian economy to be "choppy" in the near term owing to unusual temporary factors such as flooding in Alberta, but overall its outlook for economic growth remains largely unchanged from April's projection of 1.8 per cent real GDP growth in 2013 and 2.7 per cent growth next year. The Bank expects inflation to remain subdued in the near term due to persistent excess capacity in the Canadian economy, but still expects inflation will return to its 2 per cent target in mid-2015 as previously forecast. Notably, the Bank's previous recurring statement regarding withdrawal of monetary stimulus has been altered and perhaps softened to "Over time, as the normalization of these [economic] conditions unfolds, a gradual normalization of policy interest rates can be expected."

All in all, not much has changed since the previous Bank of Canada announcement in May. Economic growth, though still not robust, has been marginally better than expected. Inflation continues to trend below 2 per cent and the labour market is adding jobs at a modest pace. Canadian household are still carrying too much debt, but are adding to that debt at a slower rate. Long-term interest rates have risen substantially in recent months, which may have some negative impact on growth, but remain very low in historical terms. Therefore, we continue to forecast no change in the Bank of Canada's target rate until next yea


Remarkably, there exist simple scaling laws relating animal metabolism to body mass. Larger animals live longer; but they also metabolize slower, as manifested in slower heart rates. These effects cancel out, so that animals from shrews to blue whales have lifespans with just about equal number of heartbeats — about one and a half billion, if you simply must be precise. In that very real sense, all animal species experience “the same amount of time.”


Move up in five-year mortgage rates may have spurred sales


Home buyers extended a trend of increasing sales into its fourth consecutive month, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association as mortgage rates also crept up last month.

However, economists suggested Monday the higher rates could help cool the market through the second half of the year.

“Interestingly, the recent move up in five-year fixed rates ... might have actually stoked sales activity in June, with buyers making their move before their lower rate contracts expired,” said Robert Kavcic, a senior economist at the Bank of Montreal.

“If so, that could set the stage for another cooling off period this summer.”

CREA reported home sales through its Multiple Listings Service were down 0.6 per cent from June 2012, but up 3.3 per cent from May.

Canada’s big banks have been raising rates for fixed mortgages in recent weeks as rates in the bond market have also climbed.

TD Bank economist Diana Petramala said she expects sales to slow down during the summer and fall, but noted they should remain at healthy levels.

“Conditions for housing demand are actually still quite good in most major markets, including good employment markets and decent affordability, with the exception of maybe Toronto and Vancouver,” Petramala said.

“Demographics are still quite supportive of sales roughly around the level that they currently are. So more of a stabilization going forward.”

Despite the drop in sales from June 2012, the national average sale price last month was up 4.8 per cent from a year ago, rising to $386,585.

CREA’s house price index, which adjusts for the difference in different property categories, was up 0.12 per cent from May and up 2.27 from a year ago.

The association said home sales improved in two-thirds of the markets it tracks compared with May with the biggest gains in Victoria, Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Montreal.

When compared with a year ago, Toronto and Montreal were lower, while Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton were up compared with last June.

The number of newly listed homes were down 0.5 per cent on a month-over-month basis in June.

Economists have suggested changes to rules for mortgage lenders and borrowers announced about a year ago have been a major factor behind a slowdown in Canadian residential real estate sales starting last August and continuing into early 2013.

CREA president Laura Leyser noted that June was the second month in a row where sales improved in a majority of local markets.

“Whether those gains reflect temporary factors or a fundamental improvement after a slow start to the year really depends on where you are,” Leyser said.

The association said some 240,068 homes have sold in Canada through its MLS system so far this year, down 6.9 per cent from the first half of 2012.


By Justin McElroy, Special to The ProvinceJuly 10, 2013

Moncton Street: The new Steveston's a bit like the old Steveston

Pedestrians and diners gather on the pier in the historic fishing village of Steveston on a spring evening in 2010.

Photograph by: Les Bazso , PNG



Move over Granville and Robson. These days, the most visible street in the Lower Mainland is Moncton.

The historic Steveston street is a featured set on Once Upon a Time, the hit TV fantasy series.

The magic of Hollywood transforms two blocks of Richmond into Storybrooke, Me., a quaint oceanside town where every Sunday night on TV, characters from various fairy tales are trapped by a powerful curse.

When stores get boarded up on Moncton, it’s no sign of economic decay.

Of course, as the heart of a neighbourhood older than any other in the Lower Mainland except Fort Langley, Moncton Street has been been telling its own little stories for years.

Once upon a time, Japanese-Canadians and fishermen lived side-by-side in Steveston when Vancouver consisted of little more than a few blocks in Gastown.

Once upon a time, Steveston underwent the type of development and gentrification that worries every community — and has come out stronger for it.

Once upon a time, Frank Keitsch fished these waters with thousands of others. The community was defined by BC Packers, the largest fishing and fish-processing company in the province, and much of the town would get up every day to work on land owned by the company.

“There would be four thousand fishermen on the ocean, and they were typical fishermen in their lifestyles,” Keitsch says. “They would bust their asses off, finish the day with a pocketful of money, and where would they go? The bars. The Steveston Hotel. If that place could talk...”

He trails off and chuckles.

“It was a town of debauchery. The tourists were scared to come here 30 years ago, and I don’t blame them.”

But the economies of fishing and packing changed. BC Packers decided to develop its lands. A block away from Moncton now are modern, seaside townhouses.

Keitsch is now one of a few hundred fisherman left. At 46, he’s considered young for the profession.

“Locals fought the changes, but as we know, in the battle between common sense and money, money will win every time,” he says.

“A lot of the older generation of fishermen, the ones who don’t like adjusting to things, they’re gone now.

“It is what it is. It’s a destination everyone wants to come to, so we have to adjust to it.”

There’s no denying that nostalgia exists for the old days in Steveston. But all things considered, the adjustment has gone remarkably well.

The area changed slowly enough to retain its character. It successfully balances being a tourist hub and a mature community. Census data and police statistics show that crime is low, neighbourhood stability is high and property values are average for the Metro Vancouver area.

Which begs the question: How did it happen?

“We call it the spirit of Steveston,” says Jim Kojima. Born in a Japanese hospital, he returned to the area in 1951. In the 60 years since, he has volunteered in so many different capacities that the city chose him as Steveston’s torchbearer the week before the 2010 Olympic Games.

“The community has had a fair bit of say into what’s happened here,” he says, citing how they’ve successfully kept a two-storey maximum on buildings in Moncton. “We’re very fortunate that we’ve retained its character.”

“You’re getting more of a cosmopolitan flavour, but the old adage ‘the more things change, the more the stay the same’ is true here,” adds Vince Morlet, owner of Tapenade Bistro. “The village still has a real sense of place, a real sense of community. You have a really good group of community groups who care for the area and advocate for it. Buildings come down, new ones get built, but there’s still that history.”

It’s that mindful, community-led mix that Michael Geller, a developer involved in the original repurposing of BC Packers land, applauds.

“I think that Steveston has managed over the last 30 years to reinforce its sense of history, while making it a very attractive place both for people to live and visit,” he said.

“What is important is to have a business improvement area that makes sure the mix of businesses doesn’t become too heavily weighted towards the tourists. The butcher can’t get replaced by a gift shop. Steveston needs to walk that balance.”

It’s a balance that’s maintained through hard work. Pajo’s Fish & Chips’ waterfront barge brings in people from across the Lower Mainland, but the business buys local fish and sponsors as many community events as possible. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery is now a historical site with a book on the area’s history available in the gift shop.

“I don’t think there’s going to be dramatic changes, but there’s going to be a continual change,” said Morlet. “The fishing industry is still here. It’s going to keep growing up, be a little more sophisticated, but there’s always going to be that old charm.”

The Steveston Hotel still sits at Moncton and Third Avenue. Once Upon a Time will always be part of Steveston’s story. But the next chapter is always being written. 

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