Homeless Dubliners have a new opportunity to get off the streets under a scheme that trains them as tour guides. The social enterprise My Streets Ireland aims to give some of the Irish capital's homeless new skills and an income for showing visitors the city.
Trainees choose a theme for their tour and get help with its research and presentation. The guides receive half of the ticket sales and the remainder is ploughed back into running the project.
"I never dreamed this would happen," says Eddie Dooner, 27, who was living in a tent in Dublin's Phoenix Park, but now has his own flat. " I want to change people's views. Just because you're homeless doesn't mean you're a bad person.
Similar schemes are running in other European capitals, including Berlin, Vienna and Prague.
Many fruits and vegetables go to waste because supermarkets reject them as too ugly to put on sale despite being perfectly edible and nutritious. But Dutch social enterprise Kromkommer is helping change attitudes towards misshapen produce with a children's toy range available to parents in 23 countries.
'It shows kids the beauty and diversity of wonky fruit and veggies," says Mark Kingma, head of concept and design at Kromkommer, whose name is a play on the Dutch words for crooked and cucumber.
The bias against produce that doesn't conform to an ideal shape stems partly from past EU legislation restricting the sale of wonky fruit and vegetables even though the law was relaxed ten years ago. "Instead of ending up in the bin these wonkies should end up on someone's plate," says Kingma
The Netherlands has more bicycles than people - 22 million for a population of 17 million - and finding a space to park can be a challenge. To address this problem, the city of Utrecht has opened the world's largest multi-storey parking area for bicycles at its railway station.
The concrete and glass structure has space for 12,500 bikes over three floors, including bikes for rent. It is part of an ongoing drive to enhance cycling infrastructure across the Netherlands.
'There is still so much to be done" says Steinje van Veldhoven, a junior infrastructure minister. 'I'd like us to make better use of what I call this secret weapon against congestion, poor air quality in cities and climate change.
One of the biggest challenges families face going to a hotel is making sure their kids are happy. Imagine a giant hotel and resort made into a Lego wonderland.
It might look something like this. Yes...that's a steam puffing dragon greeting you.
The entire place is themed after the famous toy line. There are over 2,000 Lego characters to greet your kids. There is an interactive Lego castle area with pirates, ogres, and a lego filled moat!
At the 'Bricks Family Restaurant', there is a buffet station designed for children's height that serves tasty yet healthy options.
There are even 'master Lego builder' classes for kids (big and small)
And let's not forget the pool!. This pool is shallow enough for the children and has enough relaxing amenities for the adults.
And even floats that can be assembled! Now that speaks to the big kid in me.
Peaceful co-parenting after divorce isn't easy, but this dad says it's worth it. Just because you're divorced doesn't mean you can stop being nice to one another.
Billy tells us about how he woke up early to buy flowers, cards and breakfast ingredients so his kids could surprise their mom, his ex-wife, on her birthday.
'As usual, someone asked me why I still do things for her all the time,' Billy wrote.
'This annoys me. So I'm going to break it down for you all. I'm raising two little men. The example I set for how I treat their mom is going to significantly shape how they see and treat women and affect their perception of relationships.'
His point is that divorced parents shouldn't let negative feelings about each other lead to petty behaviour in front of the kids.
'Kids want to take care of their parents, and they can't do it alone. So if it's Mother's Day and the kid doesn't have anything to give to his mom...that doesn't feel good'.
It's a two-way street: On Father's Day, Billy's ex-wife makes sure their sons, ages 4 and 8, have a present for him, too.
A brave dog risked its life for 2 days over Christmas to protect an injured friend. On December 25th, a train conductor outside of Tseglovka, Ukraine told locals that he had spotted 2 dogs huddled together on the tracks.
One was too injured to move, so the other huddled close to keep it warm, pressing its friend's head down every time a train passed overhead.
Denis Malafeev, who captured the video of the 2 canines, wrote on Facebook that it was hard to rescue the injured dog because its friend was so protective.
The dogs, Panda and Lucy, have since been returned to their owners.
These 'micro-homes' are constructed of insulated steel panels and have been compared to Idea products.
One of a Vancouver company, Nomad Micro Homes products is a new addition to mega-retailer Amazon's lineup.
Nomads mostly prefabricated tiny home, the Cube, is now available to purchase online for $49,000 plus $4,000 shipping.
Made in B.C., they're constructed of insulated steel panels and have been compared to Ikea products in that they're relatively inexpensive and need to be assembled.
These two-storey, 13.5' by 13.5' by 13.5' homes are flat packed and assembled by you, or by a handyman.
Of course, $49,000 isn't the 'all in' price, as there are a few things they don't come with. There's no fridge, stove, heating system or hot water heater.
And you're going to need to hire a plumber and an electrician to connect the services.
If you want to live off-the-grid, there are add-on options such as a water treatment system and solar panels that can be tacked on.
Oh, and of course land. The land is not included.
Owners of residential and commercial property received their assessment notices last week in their mail.
For the most part, property values across the province have declined only modestly over the past year, looking at all regions and property types, but the loss in the Lower Mainland was considerably higher.
Combining all residential properties in the province, the total value was down 2.45%. In the Lower Mainland we saw total values decline 4.7%, with the biggest drops seen in single-family home values in West Vancouver and UBC, both down 16%, followed by Richmond's detached houses, down 14%, and then Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Moody and North Vancouver single-family homes, all down 11%.
With strata, residential properties such as condos and townhomes, the only Lower Mainland area to see a double-digit value decline was West Vancouver, down 10%, with most other areas seeing declines between 4% and 9%.
It is important to understand that changes in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding change in property taxes.
For example, the City of Vancouver has already approved a 7% increase in property taxes this year, which most homeowners will have to pay, even if their home has decreased in value.
For $11,800 a month, the luxury 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom apartment in Vancouver House could be yours.
Several units in the newly-completed condo tower, which was designed by internationally-renowned architect Bjarke Ingels, have recently been listed on Craigslist. The listings promise would-be renters access to the building's luxurious amenities - including a fleet of brand-new BMW's.
The 49-storey building with a distinctive top-heavy design rising over the Granville Bridge currently have 2 units for sale: a 2 bedroom, 3 bathroom penthouse for $8.9 million and a 3 bedroom, 5 bathrooms lower unit for $6.8 million.
This developer also recently unveiled the public art contribution for the project, a 4.8 million chandelier under the Granville Bridge that intermittently spins and lights up.
The Craigslists rental listings show rents for apartments in Vancouver House are on the high side - but something of a bargain when compared with another high-profile luxury building, Trump Tower.
Metro Vancouver's real estate recovery continued in October, with home sales soaring 45.4% higher than the same month last year.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported that residential resale transactions in the region totalled 2,858 in October, which is the highest number of homes sold in a single month so far this year.
Homebuyers appear to become more confident today than what appears to be the situation during the first half of this year. This is likely due to prices finally edging down over the last year, while interest rates remain low.
As more inventory was absorbed by a more active market, the number of available listings declined - exacerbated by fewer sellers listing their homes for sale in October. There were only 4,074 homes listed for sale on the regions MLS in October, which is 16.4% less than the 4,873 homes that were listed last October.
While sales have been increasing the past few months compared with last year, the benchmark price of a typical Metro Vancouver home is now pegged at $992,000, 6.4% lower than last October.
The benchmark price of an attached home is $771,600, which is 5.8% lower than October 2018 and the benchmark price of a typical apartment is $652,000, down 5.9% from October 2018.
A 74 acres mixed-used development in the Township of Langley, which is said to be the largest master-planned community of its type in Metro Vancouver, has just 'officially' began, even though home construction on the site began earlier this year.
'Latimer Heights', being developed by Vesta Properties, is meant to be an 'intergenerational community' that will consist of approximately 2000 homes - including retirement homes - a new elementary school and 17 acres of green space and parkland. A retail village is also planned as a later phase in the development. The total cost of the development is projected at $1 billion.
The community has been designed to attract families moving in and then perhaps the grandparents joining them in another part of the community. Everybody will be living together. Latimer Heights will create a new kind of community that will blend a wide variety of demographics.
Homes will include detached homes, row homes, townhouses, duplexes, and low and high rise condos.
Prices for detached houses of 2,500 square feet start at $883,000; townhomes start at $555,000, and condo apartments will in the low $300,000 range.
Latimer Heights is close to the proposed SkyTrain that will eventually link Langley with the SkyTrain hub in central Surrey.
A woman with a flat tire got assistance from a homeless man who saw her in the parking lot and noticed she needed help.
The owner of a nearby coffee shop snapped a photo and posted it on social media.
"Looked out the window to see this happening," wrote Jessie Jean of Black Lotus Coffee Roaster on Facebook. "This is Chuck...he's homeless and works his ass off helping every day in the cafe. This is 'one of those people' that get labelled. Ya know the ones everyone wants outta sight, outta mind..I didn't see anyone else out helping this young lady, just Chuck...the homeless guy..thank you, Chuck.
Chuck, whose full name is Charles Logan, said he just did what he was supposed to do in that situation.
"I believe in the Golden Rule," the 56-year-old said. "If a little lady needs her tire fixed, you go down there and fix the tire. That's what you're supposed to do. Anyone needs help, I'll do it.
Dozens of bikers stopped by a young girls lemonade stand to support and show their appreciation for her family.
One year ago, Daryn Sturch, a nurse, and her daughter came upon an accident involving several motorcyclists of the Milwaukee Iron.
"I stayed with them and did the best I could to triage them and keep them awake and calm,' Sturch said, adding that all five bikers involved in the crash had sustained 'severe' injuries.
After the accident, Sturch began receiving an outpouring of thank you messages from the bikers associated with Milwaukee Iron.
So when Sturch announced on Facebook that her daughter was setting up a lemonade stand, one of the bikers saw the post.
Nearly 30 bikers pulled up to buy lemonade.
Sturch went on to say "Last year my daughter and granddaughter pulled up on a motorcycle accident that involved several of the men and women of this group. Ever since then they've been so wonderful to my family. Today they came by for lemonade to surprise my granddaughter.
When an elementary school principal heard that one of his students had been spending recess all by herself, he took the time out of his schedule to sit with the youngster during playtime. Not only that, he helped to ensure that she would never have to sit alone again.
Since second-grade student Lucy Taylor has cerebral palsy, it has been difficult for her to make friends at school.
After her mother made a facebook post about her daughter's struggles, however, it was spotted by none other than Principal Jeremy Thompson.
The next day, Thompson joined Lucy during recess - and Lucy's mother says that the youngster was over the moon with happiness.
"She didn't play alone at recess yesterday. Her principal Mr Thompson stopped in and spent some time with her," her mother later wrote on Facebook. "He made Lucy's day... and helped her mom and dad's hearts! I am so proud of the Barth family," she added. " Mr Thompson is an exceptional role model for these kids?
Since Thompson first sat with Lucy, he has also managed to rally a group of youngsters together to share in their recess playtime - and they have named their new gang of friends the 'Bubble Club'.
"Lucy has playground friends. Mr Thompson taking the time to sit with her, of course, made other kids want to play too. And it has given Lucy the confidence to try the things that she is not necessarily great at!" wrote her mother.
Furthermore, since their story caught the attention of local reporters, Lucy and Thompson have become social media role models for other school staffers and lonely youngsters.
A number of parents have reached out to us whose children are also struggling and Lucy has started sending out T-shirts and bubbles and hand-written notes to kiddos who would benefit from being part of the Bubble Squad. She has taken her struggle and tried to use it to help others.
Everyone loves a good deal. There's just something satisfying about getting something good for less. An example is the 'fear of missing out' (FOMO) that drove thousands of people to battle the lineups to get into the Aritzia warehouse at the end of last month.
We all love sales? The adrenaline rush, the FOMO, and that sense of accomplishment. Well, clothes aren't the only thing on sale right now in Metro Vancouver. Condos are also seeing some great price reductions.
Here are a few listings that are going at a discount from their original price. Some of these have been sitting on the market for some time with little or no interest.
1. A 2 bedroom, 2 bedroom condo on Cornish Street in Vancouver. This property was previously listed for $998,000 and then was re-listed for $866,000 - which is a price drop of about 13.16%.
Living space: 840 square feet
Unique features: a south-facing unit with a 180-degree spectacular view of the city, mountains and ocean.
Other Features: walnut hardwood floor and A/C system. High-end appliances, granite countertops, European cabinets and wine cooler.
2. A 2 bedroom 2 bathroom unit on Richards Street in Vancouver. This property was previously listed for $939,000 and then re-listed for $829,000, which is a price drop of about 11.71%.
Living space: 850 square feet
Unique features: Perfect walking score! Hardwood floors, granite counters, gas range and a fireplace
Other features: Exercise centre, whirlpool/spa/steam/ room as well as a private garden and 2 guest suites.
3. A 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit on W. 1st Street in North Vancouver. This property was previously listed for $969,000 and then was re-listed for $870,000 which is a price drop of about 10.21%
Living space: 1,040 square feet
Unique features: stainless steel appliances and gourmet kitchen, radiant in-floor heating throughout and in-suite laundry.
Other features: amenities include a social lounge, gym and green courtyards.
4. A 1 bedroom, one bathroom condo on Burnaby Street in Vancouver. This property was previously listed for $665,000 and then was re-listed for $599,00.0 which is a price drop of about 9.92%.
Living space: 652 square feet
Unique features: granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, cherrywood flooring, walk-in closest with in-suite laundry.
Other features: two blocks away from the seawall.
5. A 2 bedroom, one bathroom condo on Westview Crescent in North Vancouver. This property was previously listed for $539,000 and then re-listed for $488,000, which is a price drop of about 9.46%.
Living space: 952 square feet
Unique features: kitchen with new stainless steel appliances, cabinets, counters and backsplash. Double windows. New washer/dryer.
Other features: covered balcony for BBQs and one covered parking spot. Outdoor pool.
Are you looking for a great deal amid this uncertain market? Perhaps we could find you something worth lining up for!
Are you in the market for a luxury home? Or maybe you just love to browse and check out the most spectacular homes available in Vancouver.
This group of the city's most expensive listings comes with a message: Don't be deceived by what looks 'just basic'. Luxury today can live hand-in-hand with simplicity and often, it's about the panoramic view that's included.
So let's go on an adventure and check out the 5 most expensive homes for sale in Vancouver right now.
5. $12.88 million: 4588 NW Marine Drive
* Living space: approximately 5,200 sq.ft.
* Unique features: view of the North Shore, designed by award-winning architect Loy Leyland
* Other Features: 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, sub-zero appliances and a sauna.
4. $12.88 million: 173. Sasamat Street
* Living space: approximately 4,100 sq.ft.
* Unique features; a 172 sq.ft. roof deck steps away from Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach
* Other features: 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, heated floors and a private elevator
3. $13.98 million: 1773 Knox Road
* Living space: approximately 6,640 sq.ft.
* Unique features: an outdoor swimming pool
* Other features: 5 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a media room and wine cellar
2. $32.8 million: 4788 Belmont Avenue
* Living space: 12,000 sq.ft.
* Unique features: 2 private patios, a five-star pool and a penthouse suite
* Other features: 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a theatre and music room and a butterfly staircase.
1. $38.88 million: 2601-277 Thurlow St.
* Living space: 6,670 sq.ft.
* Unique features: dual-suite residence, 3 private garages, 24-hour concierge
* Other features: Ozanated indoor pool, 2 fireplaces, 4 massive storage rooms and the option to use the residence as 2 independent suites or 1 massive living space.
Thousands of Canadians have started a business on the side that allows them to pursue their passions while boosting their incomes.
A poll of 2,000 adults with full-time employment found that more than one-quarter of them have already turned a hobby into a side hustle while staying in their current jobs.
And more than half, 55%, admitted that they would like to turn their passions into a money-making venture, but have yet to take the leap.
14% of side hustlers report making up to $22,800 annually - well more than that of a minimum wage full-time employee working 40 hours a week.
Beauty and Wellness is found to be the most popular side business sector, which includes hairdressers, personal trainers and dietitians.
Artists, DJ's and designers - along with retail businesses, selling in online shops - are also popular area.
Generating a little extra cash is the top reason people have either started or would like to start a side business (62%), but 37% started a side business to pursue a passion and more than a third (41%) did so to spend more time doing what they enjoy.
Canada's side business economy is booming, as employees increasingly look for financial, professional and personal fulfilment that may not be present in their main job.
More than half of these small business entrepreneurs (59%) treat their enterprise as a '5 to 9' pursuit, working on it in the evenings to fit around their workday. A typical side business takes up to 16 hours a week, while 34% of those polled spend 20+ hours a week working on it.
It is recommended that you start with something you already enjoy, focusing on tasks which generate revenue, building a strong social media presence, and networking with people who have succeeded.
TOP TIPS FOR SIDE BUSINESS OWNERS.
1. Ensure your side business is something you enjoy.
2. Focus on tasks that generate revenue.
3. Build a strong social media presence.
4. Set long term goals.
5. Leverage word-of-mouth marketing.
6. Network with people who run side businesses.
Do you have a unique idea for a 'side business? Let's share some ideas!!
The world's largest rooftop urban farm is set to open in Paris next year - and it's already projected to feed thousands of people every year.
The garden, which is being constructed in the southwest region of the French capital, will span over 14,000 square meters (150,700 square feet), making it the largest urban farm in Europe.
Managed by a team of 20 gardeners, the organic sanctuary will grow 30 different plant species. The representatives say that the site will likely produce about 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of fruit and vegetables every day in high season.
In addition to hosting a variety of educational workshops and farming classes, the site will also allow local Parisians to lease out tiny segments of the rooftop for their own gardening needs.
The developers say that they are designing the project around a specialized aeroponic 'vertical farming' technique so that the garden will use no pesticides and very little water.
The founder of the development company has a vision of a city in which flat roofs and abandoned surfaces are covered with these new growing systems. The goal is to make this farm a globally-recognized model for sustainable production, using quality products, grown in rhythm with natures cycles.
Hospital environments can be stressful for anyone - from the sterile smell and the drab decor to the metallic sounds of medical equipment, it's not the most comforting setting for patients and doctors.
So when a design firm was tasked with creating a hospital that actually lower people's blood pressure, they turned to greenery as the solution - and it worked well.
More than 700 native species of fragrant plants and trees have been integrated into the structure and surroundings of the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore.
In addition to the hospital now serving more than 800,000 patients since it opened its doors in 2010, it is also a popular spot for students seeking a conducive environment.
A number of other clever details that contribute to the hospital's ingenious design include the facility's enlarged windows and spacious indoor layout improved airflow throughout the area by 20 to 30%.
Success was also found in the hospital's natural ecosystem with evidence in the increasing number of butterfly species sighted on the hospital grounds (increasing from 3 to 83 as of now).
On top of all this - literally and figuratively - the hospital has a volunteer-run rooftop garden with more than 100 species of fruit trees, 50 species of vegetables and 50 species of herbs, all of which are served to the patients.
The hospital's success has already spurred the architects to launch similar projects in Malaysia, China and Pakistan - and it will likely inspire many more around the world.
Don't fall in love with your dream home until you have a pre-approved mortgage and know exactly how much you can afford. That way you won't be disappointed.
The best and easiest way to have an accurate pre-approval done is to visit a licensed mortgage broker (not a bank). The mortgage broker will review your documentation and do a credit check. You will also need to provide a job letter that confirms your position, start date at the company, guaranteed hours and your hourly rate, or your salary; a current pay stub; T4s and how much you earned in a tax year and how much tax was deducted for the past 2 years. You will also need to provide your driver's licence.
Your mortgage broker will also require a 90-day history of where your down payment is coming from - a bank statement. If a parent is helping with the down payment, then you would need to provide a gift letter, and proof of the gifted money being deposited into your account. It may also be necessary to have your parents' credit rating reviewed.
A perfect credit score, somewhere in the 900s is not essential. A credit rating of 680 and above will qualify you for a 'best rate' approval.
If your credit score is lower, you might have to jump through a few more hoops and provide more insight to the lender.
Once your mortgage broker has all the information, they will calculate your net worth and what mortgage payments you can afford. All that information is then sent to the lender, who typically gives a pre-approval within 24-48 hours.
Once your pre-approval has been granted, it's important not to do anything that changes the basis of the pre-approval. This includes such actions as incurring extra debt or quitting your job. The lender will be reviewing the file again before final approval is granted and if there are substantial changes then you will likely need to repeat the pre-approval process.
Even though you are pre-approved, when writing an offer to purchase a home, in addition to any other subjects, you should make the offer subject to financing and appraisal.
Please contact me for more information or for a mortgage broker referral.