• Plant Your Apartment Herb Garden

    Apr 16, 2018

    An herb garden is a perfect edible DIY project. It's amazing that it needs just a sliver of space to exist but will offer you months of fresh herbs to enhance your recipes. With both constant temperatures and consistent light (hopefully), indoor gardens have less to contend with than their outdoor counterparts, and can produce year-round results. To help you plant your own DIY herb garden, Timbercreek has a few tips.

    Start out Safe

    Where you locate your garden isn’t just a sun-question. Make sure it’s in a place people (including yourself) won’t bump into it, knock it over, or just take up valuable counter space. Outfit your garden in a spot that’ll be protected, so as not to get annihilated by a grocery bag, backpack, cat paw, or dish.

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    Structure

    The simplest option is loading up a number of individual pots with herbs. A better approach is the rectangular plastic or tin trough-type containers that hold a number of different plants together. With this, the soil benefits from the combined species and they can all be watered at once. Another possibility is a bookshelf-style garden with multiple levels holding different pots. They all work. The key here is being creative with your particular space.  

    Good Sun

    You’ll need to know how much sun your plants will need, and what they’ll get based on your windows and orientation. Most vegetables do best in 6+ hours of full sun. Some greens and herbs are happy with less. Surrounding buildings or trees can block the sun, and your orientation usually means there are very specific sun-soaked hours. Check to make sure you hit the minimum for the type of plants you want before you buy seedlings.

    Gearing Up

    You'll need the basic garden essentials:

    1. Pots: The size can vary depending on what you're growing, but make sure there's enough depth for roots to fully develop. Shoot for 8" in diameter.

    2. Soil: Generally easy to find at garden centers or hardware stores. Pick up a mix that's formulated for containers, not the garden soil variety.

    3. Plants: Farmers markets are a great local source for herb and vegetable seedlings. Again, hardware and garden stores normally have a decent selection as well.

    4. Extras: A trowel, watering can, mister (old windex bottle), and fertilizer. Learn more.

    Start with Seedlings

    No matter what you're growing, buy your herbs as seedlings, not seeds. Growing plants from scratch is actually way harder, especially with a small space and the average person’s time constraints. Go for established toddler herbs and veg from a farmers market or nursery. You'll get edible results much sooner and with less work. Learn more.

    Best for Beginners

    Basil is a great starter herb. It grows well, smells great, and tastes even better. It also lets you know right away if you’re watering enough - a good tell-tale for the rest of the garden. Other excellent starter herbs are chives, scallions, cilantro, mint (which grows like crazy, so be aware), as well as leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, arugula). Small tomatoes and hot peppers are good options too. Learn more.

    Timbercreek hopes these tips help you plant a killer indoor herb garden. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • 5 Ways to Wear a Blanket Scarf

    Mar 12, 2018

    The blanket scarf isn’t just a scarf. It’s a blanket and a scarf. A fashionable and surprisingly versatile item, the blanket scarf opens up a world of outfit possibilities. From draping to caping, there’s a ton of potential options. If you're clueless about how to style one, Timbercreek has broken down the best ways to rock the coolest and coziest accessory of the season.

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    #1: Cape It and Drape It

    Spread out your blanket scarf full width like a cape, then drape it over one shoulder for a look that's functional and chic. Read more.

    #2: Westernize It

    For a bit of warmth and a country-chic look, go for the “bandana”: fold the scarf into a triangle and tie the ends behind your neck. Read more here.

    #3: Belt It

    The belted or “poncho” style starts with caping the scarf around your neck and shoulders, then tying it together with the addition of a standard belt. It transforms the blanket scarf into a cozy-chic poncho, perfect for chilly nights.

    #4: Loop It

    It's easy to create the look of an infinity scarf with a blanket scarf. Put the scarf around your neck and throw the ends over your opposite shoulders. Read more here.

    #5: Knot It

    Knotting is probably the easiest and most creative of blanket scarf styling options. You can braid it, roll it, double loop it, do a pull through, or go for the bandito. Fast and easy, knotting your scarf is where it’s at. Check it out.

    Timbercreek hopes this list gives you some creative ideas for styling your blanket scarf this season. 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.

  • Get Fit In Your Living Room

    Jan 15, 2018

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    It’s hard enough getting to the gym in the sunny summer months, much less in the dark of winter. Good thing you can get in a killer workout without leaving the comfort of home. Even if you have nothing more than your own body and a pair of leggings, an intense workout is totally possible. To help get your heart rate up this season without leaving the house, Timbercreek brings you this list of living room workouts to help you get (or stay) fit this winter.

    HIIT

    High Intensity Interval Training is a system that revolves around short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by less intense periods of pseudo-rest. Nearly any exercise can be used, and while varied, standard intervals consist of 30 seconds of intensity, followed by a minute of low-activity rest. Think 30 seconds of jump squats followed by 1 minute of medium to low level jumping jacks. HIIT gets the heart rate up quickly and keeps it up, without the need for traditional exercises like running or a stairmaster. It's great for cardio and it activates the “Afterburn” effect where calories keep burning long after you’re done.

    Tabata

    A version of HIIT training, Tabata is a fitness system that’s as simple as it is effective. The basics involve 20 seconds of intense exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Start with any group of 4 exercises (let’s say push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks and squats). Do the first for 20 intense seconds. Then rest for 10. Then repeat with the second, third, and fourth exercises. You then repeat that round of 4 anywhere from 4 to 8, or 10 times. It’s fast. Intense. And effective.

     

    Body Weight

    With just the weight of your body, you can get a killer workout. Exercises like squats, lunges (or jumping lunges), jumping jacks, running on the spot, and step-ups improve cardio and isolate your legs, butt, calves, and core; mountain climbers, sit-ups, leg-raises, and crunches target your abs; push ups and planks hit the triceps, chest, shoulders, abs, and back; while all of it, done in sets with no or little rest (as above), collectively get your heart rate up for cardio.

    Crossfit

    A variation on Tabata and HIIT, Crossfit combines an enormous array of exercises into a single system. With core exercises like the clean and jerk, chin up, push up, and squat, crossfit employs myriad (and sometimes tricky) variants (i.e. the rope climb) to get practitioners fit by applying and incorporating exercises from different sports and traditions. Check out their workout of the day.

    Pilates and Yoga

    Less intense options that still offer fitness, flexibility, and mental rejuvenation, Pilates and Yoga focus on holding static postures which simultaneously build strength and pliable muscles. A great option for indoor workouts in winter.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article helps you stay fit this winter in the comfort of your living room. 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.

  • 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.

  • Indoor Plants That Will Make it Through Winter

    Nov 28, 2017

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    Indoor plants can be life-enhancing. They clean the air, provide a beautiful splash of colour, and it’s always super satisfying to nurture something and watch it grow. During the winter, keeping indoor plants healthy and happy can become difficult. The short days mean many plants receive too little light to survive and the heated, dry, indoor air doesn’t help either. It is possible to enjoy some thriving greenery all year long. It’s all about choices. To help you keep your green thumb year-round, Timbercreek Communities has put together this shortlist of indoor plants that will make it through the winter.

    Aloe Vera

    In addition to its many medicinal benefits, the Aloe Vera plant is a hardy and attractive succulent that is easy to care for. It doesn’t require a lot of light. It thrives in indirect light or even artificial light. Make sure you plant them in well-draining potting mix designed for succulents as a lack of drainage can cause root rot. Water them deeply but allow a couple of inches of soil to dry between waterings, and water even less during winter.

    Areca Palm

    The Areca Palm is big, bold and impressive plant. It features large fronds, each with up to 100 leaflets. They are easy to care for. The soil should be a little dry between waterings in fall and winter, making them perfect for the dry, indoor air. 

    Jade

    Another hearty succulent, Jade plants are easy to care for and will live a long time with little attention. Again, let the soil dry during the winter and avoid getting the leaves wet when watering. If you notice brown spots on the leaves, or the leaves start to shed, more water is required.

    Peace Lily

    The Peace Lily is well known for its hardy and forgiving nature. They will let you know when they need water by their telltale droop. This tropical plant thrives in shade and low light, and is one of the best air-cleaning plants available. It’s an ideal indoor winter plant.

    Snake Plant 

    Another easy-to-care-for plant that is also a top-notch air purifier is the Snake Plant. It’s named for its long, straight, slender and colourful leaves. These plants can be left alone, in low light for weeks at a time and still thrive! Let the soil dry out between waterings and let them do their thing!

    Timbercreek hopes that you invest in these great indoor plants that will make it through the winter. Care for them and they will help you thrive this winter! To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities, please visit our website.

  • Where to Buy a Winter Coat Suited for Canadian Winters

    Nov 13, 2017

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    Canada may be best known internationally for brutal winter weather, and it’s not a misconception. It gets super cold here! Even though temperatures across the country often dip below zero in winter months, many Canadians choose fashion over function and find themselves freezing on blustery days. Timbercreek wants you to stay warm and stylish this winter so here are a few places to score a great winter coat suited for Canadian winters this year.

    MEC

    A Canadian retail icon for outdoor wear (and much more), Mountain Equipment Co-op is unsurpassed in the country for quality and selection when it comes to winter coats and apparel. If you visit their website you will find a ton of winter coat styles, weights, colours, sizes, materials, and functions.  Their coats are made beautifully to endure all that winter throws at us. With customer-owned structure, eco-friendly buildings, and ethical practices, it also feels good shopping there.

    SportChek

    A bit of a sporting goods underdog, SportChek offers more than just running shoes and salespeople with ear pieces. Depending on the location, SportChek offers everything from boxing and MMA gear to snowboards -- not to mention a quality selection of winter coats. With all major brands represented, SportChek also does a decent job with prices, especially in pre and off-season times. It is definitely worth a look.

    The Bay

    In the spirit of Canada’s 150th, the Hudson’s Bay Company deserves a spot on our list. Almost all major brands are available at The Bay, with regular and significant sale prices and specials offered every season. Coats are no exception. Check out great coat options for men and women here.

    Roots

    Another tried and true icon of Canadian retail is Roots. They do more than just sweatshirts. From packable down jackets to cotton zip ups, leather coats, composite shells, and more, Roots is a great retailer to consider when shopping for winter wear. While their prices can be in the higher range, their products don’t skimp on quality. Learn more here.

    Winter is coming and Timbercreek hopes that this article helps you find your perfect winter coat this season. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Best Fall Activities for the Kids

    Oct 16, 2017

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    Fall has finally arrived. It’s a special time of year, full of beautiful colours and crisp, cool air. Don’t let this short season pass you by -- Timbercreek has a list of some of the best fall activities for kids.

    Make Handprint Fall Trees

    Your kids will love making these Autumn Handprint Trees. They’re easy for kids of almost any age to make and require very little preparation. All you need is a sheet of white cardstock paper, a pencil, paint (primary colours), paper plate paint palettes, and some Q-tips. Start by tracing a faint line around your child’s hand and arm - this will form the trunk and branches of the tree. Mixing the paint is a great way to teach your kids about colours. Any kid can make brown, just mix them all together! For the leaves, experiment with mixing primary colours to get the fall shades you want. Use Q-tips, the pencil tip or even fingertips to add dots around the tree and watch it transform into something special.

    Go On A Fall Scavenger Hunt

    Getting outside and enjoying the brilliant colours and the cool air is a great way to make the most of fall. Rather than taking the kids out for a regular walk in the park, why not plan a fun Fall Scavenger Hunt! You can turn it into a chance for them to learn, too! This free printable animal camouflage scavenger hunt features frog cutouts. Your kids can colour them in fall shades and you can hide them in the fallen leaves. Set a timer and see how fast your kids can find them, while they learn about how animals avoid predators.

    Paint Some Pumpkins

    Pumpkins are a big and bright symbol of fall. Carving them into Jack O’Lanterns is fun, but not a great activity for younger kids. Put the knives away and break out the paint! The options of what to paint and how to paint your pumpkins are endless! Add some white to the top, some yellow to the bottom, and leave the middle orange for a candy corn inspired look that kids of all ages can create.

    Make Leaf Crowns

    You and your children will have a royally good time creating these Fall Leaf Crowns! All you need are some fallen leaves, a thin strip of cardboard (a cereal box will do nicely), and glue. All you have to do is glue the leaves to the cardboard and glue the cardboard into a circle! It’s fun and easy and it makes your kids feel like kings and queens!

    Timbercreek hopes that that these fall activities for kids help make your family’s fall even brighter! To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

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