• 10 Worthy Staycations

    Feb 20, 2018

    Winter is undoubtedly cold and dark, but it can also be beautiful and fun. If you’re taking some time off this season, but can’t afford to travel, it’s time to embrace the staycation. To help you spice up the winter this year, Timbercreek brings you this list of ways to enjoy the season without leaving your postal code.

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    Unplug

    To have a really enjoyable and uninterrupted staycation, you need to unplug. Start with your phone, then move on to your laptop and tablet. If you want to do a full digital detox, disconnect from the internet too -- even Netflix. Turn off your phone ringer, set an auto email response, avoid the news, put away your devices, and let go -- you’ll be so glad you did. It’ll all be there when you get back to the grind.

    Movie Marathon

    Star Wars, James Bond, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter! Plan your own movie marathon at home. Get cozy on the couch with a pile of chips, dips, and drinks.

    Eat Out Or In

    A staycation is a great opportunity to eat out and try new restaurants near you. You can make a reservation, get dressed up and paint the town red. Or if you’re feeling cozy, call in for some take out, get delivery from your favourite places, or hit up services like UberEats to discover the best your area has to deliver. Treat yourself this staycation!

    Be a Bookworm

    Pick up a new novel and skip the heavy stuff. No economics or science please. Then kick back, clear your schedule, and dive headlong into storyland. The Huffington Post rounded up their favourite fiction titles of 2017 -- check it out here.

    Get the House Cleaned

    By this we mean for you; not by you. Getting your house cleaned is one of our top 5 best things to do for yourself. Pay a cleaning service to tackle every neglected nook and cranny of your kitchen, closet, and bathroom. It’ll feel like a new home.

    Rearrange

    There may be no better and cheaper way to transform your home, and break from your routine, than rearranging your furniture. It will breath new life into your space and maybe even help you relax.

    Hometown Tourist

    Pick a spot on the map -- a new neighbourhood, a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop you’ve never been to. It doesn’t have to be far, just new. Turn your city into a tourist destination without leaving its borders. You might fall in love with it again!

    Brew

    Brewing your own beer or wine can be really fun. It’s a great activity when you have some spare time at home. There are a few gear essentials to acquire, but with a bit of research, brewing is a great staycation activity.

    Play

    When’s the last time you picked up that guitar or struck a chord on the piano? Pick one new-to-you song, look it up online, and make a one-week goal to play it.

    Cook

    When you don’t have a million things to do, you can challenge yourself to try new things. Skip your standard meals and pick a few semi-difficult recipes to master. Hearty dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon, braised short ribs, or homemade pasta are all comforting winter meals with flare. Find a recipe or a recipe video, pick up or have your ingredients delivered, and get started.

    Timbercreek hopes these tips help you plan the best staycation ever. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, 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.

  • Hitting The Slopes In Canada

    Jan 16, 2018

    Are you ready for ski and snowboard season? From east to west, Timbercreek brings you this list of the best places to hit the slopes this winter in Canada.

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    Alberta

    One of the premiere provinces for snow sports, Alberta has an abundance of snow, and mountains which means it offers a near equal abundance of ski and snowboard locations. From Calgary’s Olympic Park to Banff’s famous trio of Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Norquay, Jasper’s Marmot Basin, Castle Mountain and Pass Powderkeg, Nighthawk, Canyon, and Misery Mountain Ski Areas, it’s got to be one of the most skiable provinces in the country! Check out more here.

    Manitoba

    While not the first place you’d think of for ski and snowboard destinations, Manitoba rocks when it comes to snowsports. Holiday Mountain in La Riviere features a freestyle terrain snowboard park and 11 downhill runs. Stony Mountain Ski Area near Winnipeg is the city’s prime snow spot, priding itself on being the first to open and the last to close each winter. Springhill Winter Sports Park maintains 10 runs for boarders and skiers with night skiing for insomniacs, and snowboard and freestyle ski contests throughout the season. Asessippi Ski Area is the province’s largest, with 25 runs, two freestyle terrain parks, three aerial lifts and a bustling winter village. Ski Valley, Falcon Ridge, Ski Hill, and Mystery Mountain are other great options for the Manitoba ski lover.

    Ontario

    While Blue Mountain tends to rule the minds of most Ontario skiers and snowboarders, there are in fact numerous options in central Canada. Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Glen Eden, and Uplands Ski Centre tend to be the Toronto/Southern Ontario locations of choice for proximity, with Horseshoe and Hidden Valley, as well as Hockley Valley, Devil’s Elbow near Peterborough, Batawa near Belleville, and a laundry list of other fantastic spots like Laurentian, Caledon, Mt. Antoine, Sir Sam’s and Searchmont. For a mostly flat province, Ontario has some great ski hills.

    Quebec

    An Alberta-worthy snow competitor, Quebec has a lot to be proud of when it comes to ski and snowboard hotspots. Mont Tremblant is a world destination located north of Montreal, with Mont Sainte Anne and Le Massif close to Quebec City offering some of the best skiing (and the highest vertical drop) in Eastern Canada. Mont Saint-Sauveur is known for its world class night skiing, with Mont Sutton and Bromont high on that list as well.  Quebec is also filled with Nordic trails through The Gatineau Hills near Ottawa.

    Timbercreek hopes you find the ski and snowboard hills of your dreams this winter. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Outdoor Adventure List

    Sep 19, 2017

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    Whether it’s camping, watersports, hiking, or an intercontinental trip, outdoor adventure is good for body and soul. Adventure is about taking risks, trying new things, and diving in with both feet. Whether it’s across the globe or in your own backyard, adventure awaits. To help you discover your inner explorer, Timbercreek brings you our outdoor adventure list.

    Camping

    Camping is key. From hikes to multi-day backcountry canoe trips, camping brings you back to nature, even if it’s in a car or an RV. Fresh air, sun and wind, water and woods. They cleanse the soul and ground the spirit. And it’s the kind of thing you don’t have to venture too far for. Even city folk can drive an hour or two, set up a tent, and bask in the rejuvenating energy of nature.

    Rock Climbing

    While this point involves considerable skill and also risk of death, it’s a great way to get outside and get your adrenaline pumping. Rock climbing is a sport that involves strength, technique, planning, and courage. It makes you face your fears, try new things, test your skills, and take chances. Best of all, it’s increasingly becoming available in unexpected like indoor climbing gyms.

    Watersports

    Adventure doesn’t have to imply distance. It’s as much a mental state as a physical activity. Doing something you don’t often do, or that can be done close by or in another medium (i.e. water), can instill a sense of exploration even in the middle of the city. Windsurfing, canoeing, swimming, kitesurfing, dragon boating, or paddle boarding: they all remove you from your normal environment and call on different skill sets. They also demand an immediate connection with nature - in these cases - with wind, water, sun, and sky.

    Road Trip

    From RVing to car camping and cross country marathons, road trips are what adventure is made of. Route 66, the Trans Canada, the Dempster highway -- roads are a symbol of freedom, the unknown, exploration, and travel. And cycling definitely counts as well. Multi-day cycling adventures can be just as exciting and promote a more direct and hands-on experience of a particular area.

    Pilgrimage

    A more extensive outdoor adventure, a pilgrimage in the style of Mecca, the Camino de Santiago, or visiting Stonehenge, is an adventure with purpose. With spiritual meaning and physical, outdoor components, an adventure of this sort combines the visceral aspect of moving through a new environment, with the mental component of experiencing new and unseen vistas.

    Timbercreek hopes this article gives you a few ideas for your own outdoor adventure this year. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Best Kid-Friendly Fall Activities

    Sep 18, 2017

    To help keep your little ones smiling this fall, Timbercreek brings you this list of kid-friendly fall activities the whole family will love.

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    Nature Walk

    It’s almost always a good time to go for a walk. Even if you’re subdivision bound, there are always parks close by, or conservation areas a little further away, that can make for a great fall outing. Pack a snack or a full-on lunch, make sure to bring water, and outfit your little ones with some sturdy shoes. Also bring bags for the kids to collect nature items - twigs, rocks, leaves, bark - it can all be fun for nature collections or crafting once you get home. As fall temperatures start to drop, be sure to consider appropriate clothing and layers to make your outing disaster proof.

    Picnic

    Picnics aren’t just for summer. A fantastic fall activity, picnics are great so long as you wear and bring the right stuff along. With unpredictable temperatures, pack some hats and coats. Don’t forget to bring all the usual picnic supplies like frisbees, baseballs, blankets, PB & J sammies, drink boxes, and kites. 

    Pumpkin Carving

    While generally reserved for Halloween, pumpkins are a symbol of autumn. Harvested from September through October, they offer families a great range of activities. Going to a local pumpkin “patch” to pick a few for the house is a great afternoon outing, while carving competitions, roasting pumpkin seeds, and playing with pumpkin “slime” are all great ways to enjoy them.

    Leaf Forts

    Jumping in a pile of leaves is a classic fall activity that never gets old. For kids it’s like an invitation to play and explore. Burying, burrowing, making forts, tossing them all over each other in leaf wars: they all make for great outdoor play that can occupy kids for hours. On a safety note, while obvious, check your leaf piles (before your kid jumps in them) for branches, rocks, garbage, and other debris that can be hiding inside after raking and yard cleaning.

    Baking

    A great fall activity for kids is baking. A couple seasonal snack options are apple chips and roasted pumpkin seeds. Slice some apples in thin, full width pieces and place evenly on a baking tray. Sprinkle them with cinnamon, brown sugar, a bit of butter, and even some coarse sea salt, and bake at 340F until slightly dehydrated and/or golden brown. Let dry and refrigerate for a great snack. Almost the same process can be applied to pumpkin seeds. Clean and rinse a big handful of seeds and lay them out evenly on a baking sheet. Add coarse salt and, if desired, a dash of olive oil, and bake until firm and slightly brown.

    Make Butter

    It’s surprisingly easy to make butter and it’s also a great activity to do with kids. All it requires is heavy whipping cream and a whisk. But by using a Mason jar, two small marbles, and a bit of music, you can dance your way to whipping that cream into butter. Shake a jar (or whisk) until the cream thickens. As the fat molecules bind together, a ball of butter will form, separating from the remaining buttermilk. Once a ball has formed, drain off the buttermilk, add some salt, and voila!  Homemade butter.

    Timbercreek hopes this article gives you a few ideas for how to entertain your kids this fall. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • How To Protect Your Skin This Summer

    Aug 08, 2017

    It’s time to get outside and soak up the sun. It’s also time to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Timbercreek wants to help you protect your skin this summer with these skincare tips.

    Exfoliate

    There is some debate about whether exfoliation during the summer is a good idea. It all depends on how active you are outdoors. If you are spending an extended period of time in the sun, playing sports or hanging out at the beach, you may want to hold off from exfoliating. Exfoliating once per week can help get rid of dead skin cells and help rejuvenate your skin.

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    Non-Toxic Sunscreen

    You need to protect yourself when spending time in the sun. Unfortunately, some sunscreens contain toxic ingredients, such as parabens. They are widely used as a preservative. While they do a great job to help protect the shelflife of products, they can also disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with proper hormone function. Studies indicate that some types of parabens may react with UVB rays when applied to the skin and lead to increased skin aging and DNA damage. Look for paraben-free sunscreen.

    Hydrate

    Severe dehydration has serious health consequences, but even mild dehydration can be damaging, so make hydration a habit. Always carry a water bottle and/or keep one at your desk. Studies show that people feel more alert immediately after drinking water. Drink whenever you get that hazy or frazzled feeling. Sip on a cup of herbal tea at night to both unwind and hydrate. You should also eat water-rich foods. A diet rich in whole foods such as fruit and veggies will increase your fluid intake automatically.

    Cover Up (hats, cover ups)

    The most effective way to protect your skin from the sun this summer is to keep it covered. A breathable, wide-brimmed hat is a good start. In addition to blocking UV rays, clothes can block some of the infrared rays that make you feel hot. You can choose fabrics like linen, or wear a light scarf or a breezy cover up.

    SPF Lipsticks & Moisturizers

    After you’ve applied non-toxic sunscreen, don’t overlook your lips. Your lips need sun protection, too. Look for lipsticks and lip balms with SPF. You can also save yourself some time and give yourself one less thing to remember by choosing a moisturizer that does double duty.

    Timbercreek wishes you a happy and healthy summer. Get out there and enjoy the sun in a safe way with these skincare tips. To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities, please visit our website.

  • Minimalist Packing Tips For Camping

    Aug 01, 2017

    Whether you plan to paddle or hike, camping is a great opportunity to take in the beauty of earth, water, sun, and forrest. 2017 is a great time to camp because Canadian National Parks are free in honour of Canada’s 150th Birthday. While most people choose to camp in the golden months of summer, it’s just as enjoyable in the spring, fall, and even winter with the right gear. If you want to plan an epic camping adventure, but want to keep your gear to a minimum, this post is for you. From stoves to coolers, tents to layers, the variety of conditions and constant threat of dampness makes packing a tricky prospect regardless of the season. To help you get started, Timbercreek has compiled these minimalist packing tips.

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    Get Current Gear

    It’s sometimes surprising to realize the extent to which technology is applied to camping. Materials, weights, tensile strengths and sizes: it’s all tech influenced, and can seriously aid the packing process. Buying modern gear can be pricey but guarantees a lighter load and maximum functionality.

    Layers

    Packing layers of the right clothing items can reduce your clothing needs. Moisture wicking, lightweight materials pack warmth and functionality into a small package. Leave jeans and cotton shirts at home. Wool is bulky but keeps you warm even when wet. A thin toque will keep your head warm at night. Goretex coats are thin, water resistant, and maintain warmth.

    Stuff Sacks & Compression bags

    Compression bags and stuff sacks literally force things to be smaller. An otherwise bulky sleeping bag, and even tents, can be reduced in size by half or more when crushed in a compression bag.  

    Inflatables

    From thermarests to pillows, inflation is a must. Occupying almost zero space when they aren’t pumped full of air, inflatables are ideal for camping. You can find inflatable sleeping mats (and even full mattresses), pillows, chairs and/or cushions, swimming toys, and life preservers with ease - all of which lighten weight and provide creature comforts.

    Wineskins And Small Plastic Containers

    From water to wine, packing liquids is an age-old camping requirement and packing concern. Modern aluminum and lightweight steel water bottles are fairly common, and keep the weight to size ratio down. Putting bug spray, suntan lotion, liquid medicines, toothpaste, cooking oil, soap, and shampoo into flat plastic or even standard but smaller bottle containers also helps. But more importantly, when it comes to drinks, using modern plastic wineskins instead of bottles reduces size and weight by more than half. This allows for more refreshment in less space -- always a plus on long trips in the woods.

    Timbercreek hopes this article helps you minimize your packing for camping trips. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • How to Plan a Great Last Minute Summer Vacation

    Jul 18, 2017

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    Summertime makes planning a vacation painless. School is out, there are multiple long weekends to take advantage of and the weather is almost guaranteed. If you put off planning a vacation this year but have found some free time this summer, Timbercreek Communities has some tips for planning a great last minute vacation.

    Set Your Budget

    Pretty much everything about a vacation is determined by your budget. How long you can stay away, how far you can travel and what you can do once you get there are just a few of the things that depend on it. A last minute vacation is spontaneous by nature, but still requires some planning. Figure out how much you can afford to spend before you go. Keep in mind that hotter destinations, like the Caribbean, are in off-season during the summer making them much more affordable. You can even find some great deals on unsold cabins on cruises a week or two before departure.

    Determine Your Destination

    You may have a list of dream destinations on your travel bucket list but you should also keep an open mind about locations that present themselves while searching for last minute flights. It may not be what you originally had in mind, but spontaneity is key to any great last minute travel experience.

    Make the Time to Travel

    If you wait for the perfect time to travel, you may find yourself waiting your whole life. There may never be a perfect time, you have to make the time you have perfect. Research has shown that travel is good for you, so don’t put it off. Can you add a vacation day or two to a summer long weekend? Even if it’s only for a long weekend, it’s better than nothing. Don't stand in the way of your travel dreams.

    Know Where You Will Stay

    Don’t go overboard with the spontaneity. Picking up and leaving last minute can be a great feeling, but having nowhere to stay when you get there is not. Plus, they will probably ask you at customs where you are staying. If you are planning a longer vacation, book a hotel for the first few days at least. That will give you time to plan your next move once you get there.

    Go it Alone

    It can be hard for family members or a group of friends to be spontaneous at the same time. Don’t be afraid to go solo. Traveling alone lets you make the most of your time, doing only what you want to do. You can stay on the cheap in a hostel and meet new people, or sign up for a tour group if you don’t want to spend too much time by yourself.

    Timbercreek bids you bon voyage and hopes these tips help you make the most of your time off this summer. To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Canada's 150 Celebrations

    Jun 21, 2017

    150 years ago, Canada became a Nation. 2017 marks a major milestone in our country’s history. And while celebrations have been under way since January, this summer is when the real parties will kick off. You don’t need to go far to find something happening -- almost every city in the country has put together a range of events to celebrate. From appreciating Canada’s vast natural landscape, to music and the arts, there’s something for everyone. Check out these great ways to celebrate our country’s 150th from Timbercreek.

    shutterstock_108091436Go to a National Park

    Parks Canada has stepped up to help ring in our 150th by offering free admission to National Parks across the country.  From BC to Newfoundland, our Nation’s vast landscape is free to explore for one year only. Check out the Parks Canada website for availability and regulations as the Discovery Pass covers park entrance, but not all fees like camping and guided tours. Learn more here.

    Get Active

    Challenge yourself with the ParticipACTION 150 Play List. It was created from the results of over 465,000 votes from people across Canada and includes 150 physical activities that make us uniquely Canadian. The Play List is a challenge to Canadians in communities, schools, workplaces, and even abroad to see how many different activities they can complete in 2017. Learn more here.

    The Maritimes

    Confederation happened in three stages starting in 1864. While it was initiated by the potential union of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI, those provinces actually waited to join the rest of Canada until the third leaders’ meeting in 1867. As such the maritimes has a rich past and important role in the country’s history.  The east coast is also just a sensational part of the country, both in terms of natural beauty and cultural heritage. From New Brunswick’s flowerpot rocks to the Bay of Fundy, Halifax, and PEI’s red sand beaches, there’s a lot to do and see.  And, like across the rest of the country, there are no shortage of events and celebrations to make the most of our 150th in the Maritimes. Learn more here.

    Stay In Town

    There are fun activities to enjoy right in your own hometown this year if you want to celebrate Canada’s 150th close to home. Check out your city’s website for events and ideas. Most cities coast to coast are offering a wealth of spectacles all year long.

    Get out, enjoy and celebrate the great white north for its 150th!

    For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.  

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