• Weekend Getaways From Toronto

    Apr 11, 2019

    Sooner or later, we all need a break from our busy lives, and weekend getaways are the perfect mini vacations that allow you to recharge your batteries. To help you plan the perfect getaway, Timbercreek Communities has some ideas for fun weekend trips from Toronto.

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    Wine Weekend

    Plan a weekend trip to Niagara on the Lake or Prince Edward County. These areas are known for great Ontario wines, beautiful wineries and charm. Niagara on the Lake is a 1.5-hour drive from Toronto, making it ideal for a weekend getaway or even a day trip. Spend some time exploring the Heritage District, where you’ll find all kinds of shops, restaurants and cafes. Next, visit some wineries (there are many to choose from), do wine tastings and even grab a bite to eat. To find a winery best suited to your taste, download the Niagara On the Lake Winery Map. Keep an eye out for upcoming events like the Shaw Festival and Sip and Sizzle.

    Prince Edward County is a bit further away from Toronto (about 2.5 hours by car) but it’s worth the drive. Choose between Wellington, Bloomfield or Picton when looking for accomodation. To choose, decide which wineries you’d like to visit in the area. Even though they are all pretty close to each other, Bloomfield is the most central. A great way to spend your weekend in Prince Edward County is to rent a bicycle and hop from one winery to the next. To plan your wine tour, check out the PEC Wineries Map.

    Camping and Glamping

    When planning your weekend getaway, consider camping in an Ontario Park. It’s a great way to recharge and reconnect with nature. There are many campsites available, but if you want to reserve a popular site be sure to book early. If you’re not much of a camper, but still enjoy the wilderness, glamping (luxury camping), might be your thing. Check out the Ontario Parks website for yurts (roofed accommodation) or book a fancy tent at Whispering Springs for an incredible glamping experience.

    Spa getaway

    There’s no better way to relax and alleviate stress then to visit a spa. Just 2 hours away from the city is the popular Scandinave Spa, which is surrounded by nature and is known for its specialty treatments and outdoor hot and cold baths. Another great option is St.Anne’s Spa, located 1.5 hours from Toronto. It's known for its traditional spa treatments and excellent service ans it’s one of the best spas in Ontario. In case you’re looking for something closer to the city, The Millcroft Inn and Spa is only 1 hour away. You can visit any time of the year, but if you want to enjoy the lush, picturesque surroundings then summertime is best.

    Winter Resorts

    Escaping to a winter resort is the perfect way to unwind in the colder months. It doesn’t have to be all about winter sports either. At Deerhurst Resort, you can enjoy spa facilities, gourmet food and a cozy atmosphere. Located 2 hours away from Toronto, the Deerhurst Resort is also close to Arrowhead Provincial Park -- a great spot for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating in the forest! There’s also Blue Mountain Resort, which is a safe bet if you’re looking for some good skiing and snowboarding. In addition to fun winter sports, Blue Mountain Village has a lot to offer -- from bars and restaurants, to the famous Scandinave Spa.

    Don’t delay your winter weekend getaway plans! Timbercreek Communities hopes these getaway ideas have inspired you to start planning a relaxing weekend away.

    To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.

  • Cozy winter meals to warm up with

    Dec 19, 2018

    The best winter meals are all about comfort and fabulous flavour. Timbercreek Communities has some delicious and cozy winter meals to share with you. Warm up with them this season.

    Beef stew with vegetables

    Butternut Squash Lasagna

    Traditional lasagna is great, but when winter rolls around this beautiful and creamy Butternut Squash Lasagna may make you feel even more cozy and comforted. To make it, preheat the oven 425°F. Divide a peeled and cubed butternut squash into 2 baking pans and toss the cubes with olive oil. Bake the squash until tender (about 20 minutes). Cook lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Meanwhile, make the herby bechamel sauce. Start by bringing milk and rosemary to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes before straining. Saute garlic in butter, stir in some flour and season with salt and pepper. Add in the rosemary milk. Boil and stir until it thickens. Reserve one cup of the herbed bechamel and add the squash to the remaining sauce. Layer the reserved sauce with cooked noodles, the squash mixture, and grated fontina and Parmesan cheese. Beat some heavy cream until peaks form and spread it on top. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Your apartment will smell incredible.

    Chicken Enchiladas

    If the winter chill is getting you down, bake up a batch of these Chicken Enchiladas. To make them, brown boneless, skinless chicken breast in a little oil. Season with cumin, garlic and chili powder. Remove the chicken from the pan and saute onion and garlic in the drippings. Add corn, chiles and canned tomatoes. Shred the chicken and return it to the pan. Dust the whole mixture with flour to set it. Fill corn tortillas with canned enchilada sauce and the chicken mixture. Arrange evenly in a baking dish, then top them with cheese and more sauce and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, until the cheese melts.

    Beef Stew

    A pot of piping hot Beef Stew simmering on the stove on a cold winter day is the definition of cozy. It’s super hearty and surprisingly easy to make. To prepare it, coat cubes of boneless beef with flour, salt and pepper. Brown the beef in butter or oil over medium heat, then remove it from the pot. Add more butter, plus celery and onion. Add in tomato paste, dry red wine and return the beef to the pot. Add potatoes, carrots, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, beef broth and Worcestershire. Cover and braise in your oven for 45 minutes at 350°F. Add in cocktail onions and braise for another 15 minutes. Cook the stew, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove te parsley, thyme and bay leaves before serving.

    Spaghetti and Beet Balls

    Spaghetti and Beet Balls is a vegan-friendly way to enjoy a cozy and hearty meal this winter. Make the beet balls by blending walnuts into a flour. Saute some onions in oil over medium heat, add minced garlic, carrots and a little water. Add in nutritional yeast, oregano, paprika, chili powder, ground fennel, chipotle and a pinch of salt. Blend some peeled and grated beets in your food processor with cooked rice, Dijon mustard and tahini until you form a paste. Add in the carrot mixture and 1 tbsp of ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp warm water. Finally, add the walnuts and combine. Form balls with the mixture and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for approximately 25 minutes as you prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Serve the cooked beet balls on top of your pasta with store-bought pasta sauce.

    Timbercreek Communities hopes that these delicious winter recipes keep you feeling warm and cozy all season long.

    To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Ways to give back this holiday season

    Nov 30, 2018

    ‘Tis the season for giving. As much as the holidays are about giving and sharing your time with family and friends, it’s also a time to give back to your community and to those who are having a more difficult time at this time of year. Timbercreek Communities wants to share some simple ways to give back this holiday season.

    Glove holding Label says Volunteer

    Give your time

    Check out local food banks and shelters in your area. Chances are they are hungry for help in their efforts to feed the hungry. Carve out some time from your busy schedule to give to those less fortunate than yourself. This could mean washing dishes, serving meals, or anything else that is most needed. It’s not easy work, but it’s a simple way to feel good and do some good. 

    Positive change

    It may be sitting in drawer, on top of the fridge, or even taking up space on your table -- the spare change jar. Convert that heavy jar of coins into cash and donate it to a local community charity to help lighten someone’s load this holiday season.

    Text your help

    Maybe you don’t have any time or change to spare. Modern technology makes is easier than ever to make a difference. Many charities have set up text-to-donate programs. You simply send a text to a certain number and send some holiday help to someone who needs it while you’re waiting in line at the coffee shop.

    Stock up to give

    In the weeks leading up to the holidays, whenever you go grocery shopping, purchase a few extra non-perishable food items. There are always food drives looking for canned goods at this time of year. There may even be a donation box set up at the store you’re shopping at.

    Think beyond food

    Beyond the need for food, homeless shelters are in need of simple, everyday items. New socks, shampoo, toiletries and toilet paper are actually highly-sought-after commodities. Grab some extra containers and rolls the next time you’re shopping for supplies.

    Timbercreek wishes you and your family a happy holiday season.

    To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

     

  • Fun Family Day Ideas

    Feb 13, 2018

    Family Day, a day for the little things, like hanging out with parents and grandparents, playing with your kids, seeing cousins, and otherwise making time for those most important people in your life. It’s also a small miracle during February, the “cruelest” month of the year, when Easter break is still months away. With this in mind, Timbercreek brings you a list of ideas for things to do on Family Day weekend this year.

    Snowsports

    Whether it’s skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing or tobogganing, skating or snowmobiling, there’s a winter activity out there to suit every locale and taste.  And yes, snowman making and snowball fights count too.

    A Walk in the Park

    Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t get outside. Every city in Canada has a quality park (or collection of them) worth strolling through on family day. Lace up your boots, throw on a parka, and get outside.

    See a Movie

    Perhaps #1 in the collective mind for a family day event, going to the movies is the perfect holiday hang. Get a jump on this popular activity by buying tickets online. Click here to find out what’s premiering in February.

    Art for Art’s Sake

    Whether you hate art or love it, galleries are guaranteed at the very least to be cool buildings to explore. They generally boast interesting architecture, history, art, fun and often free activities for kids, and a restaurant or cafe where you can grab breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    Concert

    While tricky to find genres and bands that satisfy the entire family’s musical tastes, a concert is a great way to enjoy some culture with the family. The symphony, an opera, or a ballet performance are also good options.

    See a Play

    From indie theatre to Fringe festivals, musicals to mainstage productions, a theatrical performance can be a fun way to spend an afternoon on family day.

    Movie Marathon

    Whether you’re a Trekkie, prefer The Wars, love the Matrix, or Finding Nemo, a movie trilogy is a killer way to entertain the entire family in one room.

    Family Cook-a-thon

    From smoking to grilling, braising to brining, there’s nothing more satisfying, time consuming, or fun for the whole family than cooking. Don’t just pick something easy -- explore slow cooking, making something from scratch, baking, or a new-to-you cuisine.

    Do Absolutely Nothing

    Family Day is a great opportunity to rest, enjoy the little things, and spend some time together. You don’t have to do anything special to make the most of the long weekend. Sometimes a quiet chill-out day is all it takes.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article gives you some ideas for how to spend your Family Day this year. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Public Skating Rinks - Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec

    Dec 21, 2017

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    Whether you’ve got weak ankles, wobbly knees, or used to be a pro, winter skating can be a lot of fun. While ice hockey requires a ton of protective gear (and other players), you only need a pair of skates to enjoy a leisurely afternoon glide on the ice. Across Canada, most cities have at least one easy-access public skating rink where families, loved ones, and friends can enjoy a winter afternoon or evening. To get you back on the ice this winter, Timbercreek brings you this list of public skating rinks in Toronto, Ottawa, and Quebec City.

    Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink

    While Nathan Phillips is without question the most popular skating rink option in Toronto, the rink at Harbourfront is an unsung hero. It’s nothing less than magical. With views of Lake Ontario, the Harbourfront bandshell, and the open starry sky, Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink is a stunner. It’s also got Boxcar Social just a hop away for a post (or pre, or both) skate libation. Learn more here.

    Rideau Canal Skateway

    Each winter, the historic Rideau Canal becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway -- the world’s largest skating rink. At 7.8 kilometres long, it stretches from downtown Ottawa to Dows Lake. Skating season typically runs from January until late February, with many activities taking place in February during Winterlude. Skating is available in the open sections of the Skateway until 10 pm or 11pm daily, and skates can be rented at select locations. Learn more here.

    Quebec: Place D'Youville skating rink

     

    Open from mid-October to mid-March, Place D’Youville let’s you skate in style in the heart of the city. Glide across a refrigerated rink amid the ambiance of Old Québec, just across from Porte Saint-Jean and Capitole de Québec. With free admission and skate rentals available onsite, this gem of a rink ticks all the boxes. You can also warm up after your skate at Café-boulangerie Paillard. Learn more.


    Timbercreek hopes that this list of the best public skating rinks in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City gets you out for a skate this winter season. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Holiday Checklist: Entertaining

    Dec 20, 2017
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    It’s Holiday time! Tis’ the season to deck the halls, buy or make heartfelt gifts, and strategically place the mistletoe. With Holiday celebrations comes great expectations.  If you’re planning on throwing a party this Holiday, Timbercreek  has created this Holiday Checklist for entertaining so you won’t miss a beat.

    Caroling party

    You don’t have to be Adele, Holiday songs are made for for everyone to sing -- tone deaf and vocally blessed alike.  So belt out some carols this year! With a little prep, you can host a caroling party that’ll be fun for all. Choose a setlist, print out some lyrics, find karaoke versions (or if someone plays guitar or piano go for it), and get busy. Healthy doses of wine or eggnog tend to make voices much, much better.

    Holiday Craft Hang

    For most of us, ‘busy’ is an understatement during the holidays. With so much to do before the big day, time with friends can fall by the wayside. Why not invite some friends over to tackle your Holiday crafts? Everyone has to take time to handle card writing, gift tagging,  gift wrapping, and (for the ambitious) gift making. So get together to plow through your collective to-do lists while swapping stories, blasting holiday tunes, and enjoying cookies and rum toddies.

     

    Holiday Cookie or Dessert Potluck

    When in doubt, delegate and diversify. Get more for less by hosting a Holiday cookie (or Holiday dessert) pot-luck. It’s super easy to do -- just invite a group of friends and ask everyone to bring their favourite Holiday treat. Have each person make one type of cookie or dessert to share (and a display plate). Then bring everyone together to sample the goods, and trade and package up leftovers in takeout containers or cookie tins. Easy peasy.

    Timbercreek hopes this list helps you entertain with style this holiday season. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.
  • Top Holiday Events in Canada

    Dec 18, 2017

    The holiday season is here again. It’s time to dust off the decorations, put up the stockings, and whip out your ugliest Christmas sweater.  From hot chocolate to festivals, mall Santas to apple cider, there’s no shortage of seasonal events to tuck into this year. To help you celebrate the holidays, Timbercreek has put together a shortlist of events happening in your area this fall.

    Distillery District: Toronto Christmas Market

    Perhaps the best holiday event of the season, The Distillery District has once again transformed into the luminous Toronto Christmas Market. The popular event is on now until December 23rd.  Don’t miss the glowing sights, the merry sounds, and the decadent tastes of this annual holiday market. A monstrous Christmas tree dots the center of the action, while kiosks selling everything from chocolate covered bacon to St. Nick knick knacks, litter the Distillery’s brick streets. The market is free during the week and just $6 on weekends. Get more info here.

    Blue Mountain: Christmas Gift Show

    Blue mountain comes alive this season with a Christmas Gift Show. This vibrant, fun marketplace celebrates the holiday season in style. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas with over 100 vendors including artisans, crafters, jewelry makers, décor vendors, body and wellness brands, tasty treat makers and more. Learn all about it here.

    Edmonton: Singing Christmas Tree

    Running from December 14th through 17th, don’t miss the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree. Imagine a stage decorated with whimsy, a 35-foot singing Christmas tree, and an audience in wonder. With dancing Santas, stunning ballerinas, amazing acrobats, and 150 phenomenal singers accompanied by a live orchestra, this performance is a seasonal sensation.  Get more info here.

    Quebec: German Christmas Market

    Celebrating 10 years of magic, Quebec’s German Christmas Market is “Exquisitely European” and “Exquisitely FREE”!  On now until December 23rd, 2017, this magical holiday wonderland never ceases to amaze. Featuring one-of-a-kind gifts, the market has a festive atmosphere with wooden kiosks and scintillating lights.

    Ottawa: Vintage Christmas Village of Lights

    Come out to the Cumberland Heritage Museum for some holiday celebration this Christmas. Make an ornament for your own Christmas tree, decorate gingerbread men, or take a nostalgic horse-drawn wagon ride through the illuminated village (lit by 5pm every evening). None other than Santa Claus himself will be there! Find out more here.

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    Timbercreek hopes this list of the best holiday events in Canada inspires you to get out there and celebrate the holiday season in style this year. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Creative Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas

    Dec 12, 2017

    The holiday season is a busy time for all of us. With all the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget to slow down and breathe. Carve out an hour for yourself to create some fun DIY craft decor at home. Timbercreek Communities has some creative Christmas tree decorating ideas for you!

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    Pinecone Christmas Tree

    Don't waste your money on ornaments this year, decorate you Christmas tree with pinecones instead! It sounds strange but it totally works! To create a Pinecone Christmas Tree you’ll need craft glue, a paintbrush, glitter, a bowl, hot glue gun, mini glass balls or beads, twine, a needle and thread and scissors. Brush the craft glue over the tips of the pinecone scales. Spoon the glitter onto the scales, over a bowl. Use hot glue to create drop ornaments of pinecones of descending size. Glue the ball between each pinecone. For the garland, string small pinecones together with heavy duty thread and a strong needle. Alternate with red and green beads between each pinecone until the desired length is reached. The best part about making your own ornaments is that you'll cherish them for years to come.

    Treeless Ladder Tree

    If you think buying a real Christmas tree is wasteful, you are not alone! But there's something undeniably magical about them. This year, skip the tree and decorate a ladder instead for the same warm and cozy effect! This Treeless Ladder Tree is created by stringing lights, twiggy garlands, Hydrangeas and selected greens around an old wooden step ladder! There are no rules,  just pure creativity. Have a look around your apartment and grab anything festive that you think would look nice on your ladder. Think tone and texture rather than rhyme or reason. Have fun!

    DIY Clay Star Tree

    Create your own Christmas magic with these DIY Clay Stars for your Christmas tree. Start by rolling out the clay with a rolling pin. Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut the clay. Remember to remove the excess clay around the edges before removing the cutter. This helps to keep the edges clean and reduces warping. Use a toothpick to make a hole at the top of the star where you can put string or ribbon through once the clay is out of the oven and cooled.

    Children's Tree

    This is a great DIY project if you have kids or nieces and nephews. They will love helping you create felt animal ornaments to put on the tree this year. Start by downloading and printing the free template. You can adjust the size of the templates to fit your tree and your taste. Cut out two of each template -- one that shows the black outline and one that omits it. Pin the black outline template to some light coloured felt. Trace it with a disappearing-ink pen, then cut out. Pin and trace the other template twice on some coloured felt. Remove the template and cut out. Once you're done, hang the felt ornaments from gold or silver thread. Adorable!

    Happy Holidays from Timbercreek! We hope you give these creative DIY christmas tree decorating ideas a try this holiday season. To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.
  • Decorating your Home for the Holidays

    Nov 21, 2017

    The holidays are fast approaching! Deck the halls, the walls and the table with festive holiday decor that is easy and cheap to create yourself. Timbercreek Communities wants to help put you in the Holiday spirit with some ideas for decorating your home for the Holidays.

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    Peppermint Twist

    Adorn your door or any wall in your apartment with this festive and easy-to-make Peppermint Wreath! All you’ll need is some red or white duct tape, a Styrofoam wreath form, floral wire, a few bags of peppermint candies, ribbon, tape and glue.

    Non-Electric Light Garland

    Capture the festive glow of holiday lights without electricity with this Vintage-Look Holiday Light Garland. It’s made by dipping inexpensive bulbs in craft paint to create the illusion of illumination! Wait until the paint dries, glue the bulbs to tinsel, and string it up wherever you like!

    Snow Terrarium

    In just a few minutes you can create your own Holiday Snow Terrarium! This lovely display is made by filling old Apothecary Jars with faux snow, mini-lights and decorative pieces of your choice! You’ll love the warm and festival glow they create in any room, and the glow they give to others when you give them as gifts!

    Put On a Pot of Potpourri

    This recipe for potpourri isn’t a decoration, exactly - although it’s beautiful and full of colour! Decorating your home for the holidays is all about creating a warm, cozy and inviting atmosphere. A big part of creating that atmosphere is the aroma. The smell of cinnamon and spices, vanilla, cranberry, tangerine, and pine gently warming on the stove will tie together the overall feeling you’ve created with the decor!

    Happy Holidays from Timbercreek! To find your home on one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Black Friday: How to Navigate the Crowds

    Nov 06, 2017

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    Black Friday is considered the beginning of Christmas shopping season, with major retail stores offering huge promotional sales. Since 2005 it’s been the busiest shopping day of the year! The name originally referred to the blackout of car and pedestrian traffic in city centers caused by post-Thanksgiving shopping. If you’re ready to brave the shopping storm, Timbercreek has a list of ways to navigate the Black Friday crowds like a pro this year.

    Make a List Prior to Going Shopping

    Narrowing down a set list of what you want or need can cut your shopping time in half, and reduce the amount of time you wait in lines and dodging wide-eyed shoppers. This is tough to do; one of the things with flash sales like Black Friday is not knowing exactly what will be on sale. While almost every retailer advertises incessantly before Black Friday, they still like to draw shoppers into their brick and mortar locations by offering surprise sales on items only available in-store. Stay strong, stick to your list and save yourself a headache this year.

    Don’t Take the Kids

    Let’s face it; your kids slow you down. In retail stores where space is tight and hordes of people race through the aisles and checkout lines, keeping track of your kids can be a nightmare. It might be best to shop solo on Black Friday. Even if you’re picking up items specifically for your kids, it’s easier to do it with them safely and happily at home.

    Arrive Early

    Showing up in the mid-afternoon or early evening on Black Friday is near-insanity. At the very least, you’ll be looking at empty shelves, and crowded aisles. Show up early and beat the rush. Stores tend to open even earlier on Black Friday. You might have to wait in entrance lines, but you’ll generally run into fewer people and have a better chance at snagging the items you want.

    Shop Online

    Avoid the Black Friday crowds by skipping the madness! While Cyber Monday seems like it has the online side of retail sales more or less wrapped up, Black Friday is pretty much the same. Most of the promotions and products you’ll find in the store will also be available online, and as always with e-commerce, there’s no need to negotiate crowds, deal with cash, or worry about getting your purchase home.

    Want to avoid the masses on Black Friday? We hope these tips from Timbercreek help you make the most of your shopping experience. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

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