In Praise of Sagittarians

November 26th, 2015

In honour of Fabian's birthday, I thought I'd do a blog piece about the virtues of Sagittarians. A Sagittarian is someone born under the 9th sign of the zodiac. The sign is generally represented by the archer.

Astrology is thought to have started in early Egypt and the Babylonians are credited with being the first to chart stars. For the first couple of thousand years, astrology and astronomy were actually the same science. These studies were introduced, as a science, to the Greek culture by Aristotle sometime in the 4th century B.C. Early astrologers linked 12 constellations to the progression of the season and 12 lunar cycles, then assigned them with different names of people or animals. The names we currently know and use are thought to have been created by the Romans.

Some people believe that, properly charted, astrology reveals a lot about personality, trends and possibilities. Others, not so much. Some very influential people have reportedly made some very serious decisions on the basis of astrology. But, as usual, I digress.

Sagittarians like their freedom to roam. They're optimistic, energetic, charming and sociable. They love change. Sagittarians speak really fast and are outspoken about their beliefs, sometimes to the point of exaggeration or stepping close to the bounds. Straight forward and curious, Sagittarians are usually pretty athletic, too. They're clear thinkers and they see the whole picture. Sagittarians are generous, they enjoy making AND spending money. They put a lot of value into sincerity and honesty.

We won't discuss the fact that Sagittarians can be a little self-indulgent or that they procrastinate or how they can be argumentative or blunt. I think it's more a matter of "what you see, is what you get" when it comes to a Sagittarian.

Beautiful Bancroft Boomers

November 19th, 2015

I did a little research to find out exactly what constitutes a boomer... and I was surprised to discover that the term was coined in 1974. I don't know why it surprised me, but it did. Apparently, the brain-child of some marketing guru, the label has been the topic of many discussions- at least in my experience.

My mother, for instance, has always grumbled when I have lumped myself into the boomer category, contending that I'm not old enough. Well, today I shot that argument all to h-e-double hockey sticks. While I found there is some controversy about the actual timeline for boomer-dom, 1958 clearly qualifies. Some say that it applies to births between 1940 and 1960, others between 1946 and 1964 and still others, between 1945 and the late 60s.

So what does it all mean? Sociologists try to attach some significance to what was going on during our "coming of age"... which is to say around our 20s. Studies talk about how the "Post War" or "After WWII" or "Second World War" generation were the product of a respect for top down management hierarchy, the post-war economic explosion and the importance of the nuclear family (dad at work, mom at home). Why were these values important? Experts contend it is a result of growing cold-war tensions and the desire to create comfortable, close, familiar units in which people felt safe and secure.

Most studies that I looked at said that the age group born before 1940 (or 1945) had the greatest opportunities as far as employment and equity building.

The next group to come along were what is generally categorized as the "Baby Boom" . A couple of studies that I looked at, break the baby boom into two categories... saying the first wave of Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1954 and the second between 1955 and 1965. Some call the second wave "Generation Jones".

Evidently, the first group of Boomers frame their lives around the Kennedy assassination, the Martin Luther King assassination, the civil rights movement, and either serving in or protesting the Vietnam war. Boomers were affected also, by the moon landing, the Watergate scandal and the arms race. Later boomers had to cope with the emerging AIDS epidemic. All boomers have grown up lacking confidence in government. Us late-boomers had a bit of a harder time, according to experts... because that big group of early baby boomers grabbed up all the best jobs and opportunities. So, there's a huge discrepancy in the boomer financial arena, apparently.

But enough whining.

The good news is that employed boomers are now considered senior personnel and many are preparing to retire... it's just that retirement has a different feel for boomers than it did for the post WWII folks. The post WWII folks were happy in retirement communities, where everyone had more or less the same little modular home in the same development and someone looked after the maintenance. Each little subdivision had a community center where residents could gather and play cards or line dance. This type of retirement suited the generation who wanted to conform, be close and feel safe. The Boomers have always been more independent and they aren't prepared for the cookie-cutter life in retirement, either.

That's what started this whole blog.

Years ago, when I'd go to cottage shows in the city, people hadn't heard of Bancroft. They'd heard of Haliburton, they'd heard of Algonquin Park... but hardly any knew of Bancroft. Things are changing... I've noticed a lot more "boomers" looking at Bancroft. Bancroft has a lot to offer boomers... I ought to know... I've made a nice life here, since 1992.

The Process of Buying and Selling Property Keeps Getting More Complicated

November 13th, 2015

Home ownership in Ontario may soon become more costly. The province is reviewing some important elements of the municipal legislative framework and possible amendments to the Municipal Act will give every municipality (outside of Toronto- where it has already been introduced) the authority to charge a Municipal Land Transfer Tax. If enacted, the provision could come into effect as early as next spring.

Municipalities are struggling with existing revenue tools to meet infrastructure needs and most authorities feel it is only a matter of time before they levy the tax. Ontario Realtors have been fighting this tax since its introduction in Toronto, seven years ago but the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) says that municipalities are going to be allowed to proceed to add the MLLTT and soon, Ontarians will be paying the highest land transfer taxes in all of North America.

In Toronto, the tax was implemented 2 years after the city was granted the authority to charge it. According to OREA, over the past five years 38,227 Toronto housing transactions were not completed because of the tax. Prices in the city are also said to have fallen, slightly, as Buyers have adjusted their offers, accommodating for the increased closing costs.

A recent Global New article illustrated the near doubling of land transfer fees, stating, "Those looking to purchase a home for $445,000 will therefore have to pay $5,375 in the Provincial Land Transfer Tax and an additional $4,625 for the new MLTT."

OREA has launched an online poll, urging the public to oppose the MLLTT. If you wish to voice your concerns, visit:

News Reports: December 1st: We welcome the news that was delivered this morning by Ted McMeekin, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, when he informed the legislature that the government will not give municipalities the ability to charge a municipal land transfer tax (MLTT).

618 Detlor Road

November 11th, 2015

Say yes to the abundance of nature & live the lifestyle you`ve always dreamed of. An enduring classic, this extraordinary 4 bedroom log home exudes charm, warmth, timeless tradition & a simpler way of life. Relax. Listen to the sound of silence, nothing to break it but the breeze, rustling through the leaves & deer, as they roam free, following the trails through the surrounding forest & stopping at the pond. Enjoy a guaranteed income, nestled amid the rolling hills, close to lakes & rec trails & set, securely, on 94 mostly-treed acres, including 100`s of sugar maples. You`re sure to be enchanted by the natural beauty of the landscape. Here, the sunsets are breathtaking. Perfect for welcoming friends and family. This is the ultimate retreat and yet, you are only minutes from all amenities. Offered at $429,900

For more information on this spectacular property, email Jody or Fabian or call us direct 613-639-1288

Indian Summer

November 3rd, 2015

There's been a lot of talk about Indian Summer this year... and a lot of people have been asking why we call it that. As I understand it, the term was coined in North America by Europeans who are responsible for the misnomer "Indian" for Native Americans or First Nation Peoples in the late eighteenth century.

The first recorded use of the term Indian Summer, as I understand, is from "Letters from an American Farmer" written in 1778 by J.H. St. John de Crevecoeur (known as Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crevecoeur) who was a French soldier turned farmer in America. In his letters, Crevecoeur said "Then a severe frost succeeds, which prepares it to receive the voluminous coat of snow which is soon to follow; though it is often preceded by a short interval of smoke and mildness, called the Indian Summer."

Indian summer is characterized by a wide variation of temperature and wind strength, in late autumn. A true Indian Summer happens between St. Martin's Day (November 11th) and November 20th.... and, after cold weather and a good hearty frost, when there comes a spell of warm weather.

The atmosphere during Indian summer is hazy or smoky because of a cool, air mass moving into a deep, warm, high pressure system.- effectively causing large swings in temperature between day and night.

There are a number of suggestions for the origin of the term Indian Summer. Some believe the settlers had never experienced such fluctuations and therefore named it the Indian's Summer. Apparently, some of them believed the weather was the result of fires, deliberately set by the native peoples. Certainly, the weather phenomenon is more common in territories associated with North American Aboriginal people.

Others believe the term originated because the phenomenon occurred during the season in which First Nation people were harvesting their crops and there would be a notable decrease in war party action, during which settlers could relax the patrol of their stockades. Some said it was just a break, lulling the settlers into a false sense of security and when the weather turned warm, the natives would raid again. This reflects another suggestion, that the term was adapted from the colonial attitude that Indians could not be trusted and that warm weather after frost was similarly untrustworthy.

Growing up, I always felt a sort of kinship with the native culture. I suppose, it was a somewhat romantic vision, based on my love of the forest and my belief that all things have some form of spirit. I felt that rocks and trees whispered Manitou. For me, Indian Summer meant that I could run easily through the trees, the warmth of the sun on my skin... the sound of dry leaves beneath my feet and looking out at the lake, misted, around the edges, like a beautiful dream.