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Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Naked Truth launched in Orillia

The Naked Truth launched in Orillia

The Ladies of the Lake (LOL) launched The Naked Truth at their kick off in Orillia on Thursday.

"Who knew that innocent photography would turn into something so great," remarked LOL senior executive Jane Meredith. Referring to the 2006 calendar the LOL posed au natural for, their fundraising calendar raised about $250,000 for the benefit of Lake Simcoe.

Partnered with the Windfall Ecology Centre, the LOL are hosting four Naked Truth events to take place around the Lake Simcoe watershed. Each event will focus on different aspects of what is affecting Lake Simcoe. The LOL plan to look at the Lake from four different perspectives at each symposium;

July 15th (Innisfil) - participants will go above the water to look at the urban impact and the preservation of natural areas

July 15th (Barrie) - participants travel beside the water to look at the changing lake living and climate change

July 16th (Holland River) - participants will travel on the water to look at agricultural impacts

July 16th (Georgina) - participants will go under the water and explore water quality and phosphorus levels

The ladies will be present at each symposium, as well as members for the Windfall Ecology Centre. Music, art and guest speakers will also take part in the symposiums. The outcome of the four events will be part of the Serendipity Princess Grand Planning Event on August 19th, followed by a Lake Aid concert at Heritage Park in Barrie. Although the Ladies said they cannot reveal the names of the performers, they are promising some great Canadian talent. When the LOL made a presentation to Innisfil council in late April, the names of the Barenaked Ladies and Gordon Lightfoot were mentioned.

"We all need to remind ourselves why we are doing this," remarked Annabel Slaight, LOL senior executive. "It's the lake, it's the lake, it's the lake! The Lake is crying out for help and the Ladies have heard that cry."

Representatives from around the Lake Simcoe watershed, including Town of Georgina Mayor Rob Grossi, Orillia Mayor Ron Stevens, MPP Garfield Dunlop, Ramara Mayor Bill Duffy, and Gail Wood, CAO of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority were present a the kickoff. The only Lake Simcoe watershed municipality who did not have representation included Bradford and Innisfil.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Custom homes capitalize on nature

Custom homes capitalize on nature
Kempenfelt Bay just a short walk from project

Roger Jackson came to Canada on vacation about a decade ago and liked the wide-open spaces and the people so much he decided to leave his native Britain and move to the Barrie area to continue the family home-building business.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Jackson and now his son, Mark, are custom home builders.

So when they heard that six estate lots were available in Arbourwood Estates, east of Barrie in the Lake Simcoe community of Shanty Bay, they didn't hesitate. Four lots are still available.

"It's an upscale country community only a five-minute walk to Kempenfelt Bay and 10 minutes from downtown Barrie, so it's a perfect location to build dream homes for families," says Jackson, owner of Dendor Fine Homes.

The lots, in a community of luxury homes, are surrounded by mature trees and are perfect for custom homes, says Roger Jackson.

As each home is custom finished, prices can vary. But a typical cost is about $525,000 (including lot) for a 2,000-square-foot raised bungalow with features such as stone or brick exteriors, high pitch roofs, and slate flooring in the entranceway.

The luxury homes are a far cry from the shanties field workers built in the area in the early 1800s, but Shanty Bay has retained its sense of community, making it a great neighbourhood, says Dendor sales representative Mike Howe.

"Barrie is growing so fast that it's rare to find building lots of this size anywhere in the area,'' says Howe.

A new model home will be completed later this year, so in the meantime Mark Jackson's family home on the site is being used as a model and is available for viewing by appointment. Features of this raised bungalow include beech hardwood flooring, a gourmet kitchen with breakfast bar, a master bathroom with large soaker tub and a circular shower unit, and wrought-iron railings on the staircase to the lower level. Roger Jackson estimates that a similar three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home with an extra-large deck would cost about $570,000 including the lot.

Dendor includes many features such as crown mouldings and extra-high baseboards as standard.

"We try to ensure that there are no nasty surprises at the end for the purchaser,'' says Roger Jackson.

Howe, an agent for Royal LePage First Contact Realty in Barrie, who first sold homes on the 100-site estate for Arbourwood Homes, believes in the project so much that he stayed on when Dendor took over the remaining sites.

The site appeals to families who want a large lot where their children can play, but within an easy commute to Barrie, says Howe.

For more information on Dendor Homes at Arbourwood, call Howe at 1-800-367-2037 or 1-705-716-2853 or Jackson at 1-705-792-9366 or click on