Many of us feel a desire to get involved socially. Whether it's by regularly visiting seniors or by helping to collect funds for a pediatric hospital, there are several ways you can make an impact in your community. If you don't know where to start, below are some ideas from SSQ Insurance.

1. Choose a cause that's dear to you. Do sick children, abandoned animals or the impacts of climate change particularly move you? Choosing a cause that you feel is important to endorse can truly make a difference, all while creating a sense of gratitude and accomplishment.


2. Look at your schedule. Each of us has obligations that can vary throughout the year, so. take a moment to evaluate the realistic amount of time you can invest in supporting your selected cause in the long term. You don't want your commitment to turn into a burden. A good assessment of your honest capabilities will enable you to get fully involved based on your availability.


3. Get informed. Attend local information sessions to discover unique ways of getting involved. In the process, you can meet like-minded individuals, learn about different causes and ask questions. All this information will help you decide which cause and organization are right for you.


4. Get involved. Once the first three steps have been completed, you are ready to get involved in a cause that drives you.


5. Invite your friends and acquaintances. Social involvement encourages people to come together and help each other. Using this opportunity to invite your loved ones to gather and also support your cause is a good way to extend the reach of your good deeds and create an altruistic community movement.


Find out more information online at



The holidays can be hectic. If the clock is ticking down to December 25, and you still haven't crossed everything off your list, don't panic. Thoughtful gifts are just a click away, and you don't even need to take off your slippers to finish your shopping. Here are three great last-minute gift ideas you can order on December 24 that will make you look more Santa than Scrooge on Christmas morning.

Subscription Boxes. The best last-minute gift will show up again and again throughout the year. Subscription boxes are packages that arrive every month filled with thematic goodies. Whether it's the Sock of the Month Club for your most fashionable friend, Chef's Box for your foodie cousin or BarkBox for your dog-loving uncle, there's a subscription box out there for every interest.

E-gift Cards. Need to get a gift across the country asap? Almost every retailer that offers physical gift cards offers electronic ones as well. For example, Second Cup has a digital gift card that you can personalize and purchase on their website and then send via email to the person of your choice.

Charitable donations. Before you sit down to a holiday feast, there is a powerful opportunity to think about those who aren't so lucky. Help fill the bellies of those less fortunate with the gift of a donation to a charity like Food Banks Canada, a national organization that supports food banks across the country.



The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2017 Third Quarter Housing Forecast Update on August 31, 2017


Although Multiple Listing Service residential sales in the province are forecast to decline 10% to 100,900 units this year, after reaching record 112,209 units in 2016, they will stay well above the ten-year average for MLS residential sales in the province which is 84,700 units. Strong economic fundamentals are underpinning consumer demand and are expected to keep home sales at elevated levels throughout 2018.


“British Columbia’s position as the best-performing economy in the country is bolstering consumer confidence and housing demand,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Strong employment growth, a marked increase in migrants from other provinces and the aging of the millennial generation is supporting a heightened level of housing transactions. However, a limited supply of homes for sale is causing home prices to rise significantly in many regions, particularly in the Lower Mainland condominium market.”


The average MLS residential price in the province is forecast to increase 3.5% to $715,000 this year, and a further 4.1% to nearly $745,000 in 2018. However, the provincial average price is being skewed lower as a result of a change in the mix and share of homes selling. Fewer detached home sales relative to attached and apartment properties and a larger proportion of home sales occurring outside the Metro Vancouver region are operating to hold back the provincial average price. Home prices in 10 of the 11 real estate board areas are forecast to rise at a higher rate than the provincial average.


What if you could remodel your kitchen without the headache of a major renovation and, depending on your scope and selection, for a fraction of the cost? Rose DiFonzo, kitchen and bath installation expert at The Home Depot, suggests a simple way to make your dream a reality.


“One economical way to give your kitchen a visual overhaul involves cabinet refacing,” she explains. “Not many homeowners know that they have the option to veneer the exterior of their cabinets and just replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. If you are satisfied with the current kitchen layout and the interiors of your cabinets are in good condition, cabinet refacing might be the service for you.”


The process. After an in-home consultation, a team of insured and licensed installers remove all existing doors, drawer fronts and hinges from your kitchen. Surfaces are then prepared and applied to all visible cabinet exteriors in either laminate, vinyl or matching veneer. Once they apply and trim all coverings, they install new doors, drawers and hardware. To finish the look, you can add mouldings and accessories to make your new kitchen pop.


The possibilities. If you want a more customized look, cabinet refacing projects can be combined with other kitchen updates for a one-of-a-kind space. For example, you can transform a standard door base cabinet into a set of pot and pan drawers or increase storage space with additional cabinets.


The advantage. Get the look of a kitchen makeover with less mess and time. With installation of between two and five days, a wide variety of traditional and contemporary styles to choose from, and no surprise plumbing or electrical costs, cabinet refacing is the perfect solution to getting the kitchen you want for the budget you have.



Summer’s heating up and so should your grill. It’s time to take the party outside and host a memorable get-together for friends and family. Here are some tips to remember when planning your next barbecue:

  1. Plan ahead. Determine your menu and whether you might want to go potluck style. This will help you decide what to make and what to buy, as well as what you can take care of in advance and what needs to be done the same day. Pick main and side dishes that feature produce that’s in season. Save the elaborate dishes for another time and have options that you know your guests will like. 
  2. Setup and decor. Keep it simple and functional for an effortless look and easy cleanup. Opt for paper plates and plastic cutlery to save on the dishes. Wrap sparking water and punch pitchers in patterned paper to dress up bottles quickly. Hang lights in your backyard to keep the party alive when the sun goes down. The local dollar store has plenty of decorative items that won’t break the bank.
  3. Serve a feast. Keep dishes simple and serve buffet style. This lets your guests try new things and help themselves to seconds. Buffet style is also helpful if you’re serving kids who are picky eaters. 
  4. Keep it casual. Whether it’s your invitation, location or what you’re wearing, make sure to create an atmosphere that you and your guests can completely relax in. For a stylish and functional ensemble, try the Ripzone Ottoman stripe poplin shirt from Mark’s with your favourite shorts.
  5. Don’t forget the music. Consider playing tunes that everyone knows and loves. Usually, classic country, southern blues and jazz work well as outdoor background music. To save time, use free music streaming services that offer event-themed playlists. News Canada

While overall Fraser Valley real estate market activity slowed slightly in June, apartment sales reached record-breaking levels at for the month.


At 683 sales, apartment transactions 27% of all sales activity in the Fraser Valley in June, increasing 13.1% compared to apartment sales in June 2016.


“We knew that there was a growing appetite for our attached properties, but this month was exceptional,” says Gopal Sahota, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board President. “I think one reason demand has continued to be so strong for our region is that we have such diverse, robust inventory to help buyers find the right home even in a more complex market like this one,” Sahota concludes.


“... strong market fundamentals continue to underpin an elevated level of home sales,” adds Cameron Muir, Chief Economist British Columbia Real Estate Association.


“The province is in its fourth year of above-trend economic growth,” said Muir. “Strong employment growth, consumer confidence and an influx of inter-provincial migrants are important drivers of the housing market this year.” In addition, with the millennial generation now entering their household forming years, the condominium market in major urban centres is experiencing pressure on supply.


The average MLS residential price in the province is forecast to decline 1.1% this year and increase 5.2% in 2018. The decline in the provincial average price is largely due to rising demand for more affordable condominiums and a larger proportion of home sales occurring outside the Metro Vancouver region,” Muir added.


Sahota added, “More and more buyers are looking for affordable entry points into the Fraser Valley. No matter what you are trying to sell – from townhomes to ranchers – if its priced right, someone will be knocking on your door.”

FVREB July 5, 2017 and BCREA 2nd Quarter Housing Forecast June 19, 2017

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