As a seasoned builder, I’ve known for a long time that a home is much more than the sum of its parts. Smiles, laughs and lullabies greatly outweigh bricks and beams. I’ve always known that it’s not just mortar that holds a house together; every hushed late night laugh, every birthday candle and every Cheerio tossed by a toddler are all indispensable components of what we call “home.
Sometimes, the way forward is the way back. Our grandparents may not have known it at the time, but the fact that they had no other choice but to grow up eating locally grown food probably did wonders for their health, the local economy and the environment.
I can’t even begin to express how lucky I am to have spent my childhood in Southwestern Ontario. I got to play in four vividly distinct seasons. In the winter, my mom would bundle me up tightly in layer after layer before letting me run outside to build snow forts with my friends. I remember pausing before crawling in to my newly made fort for the first time, just to admire it from behind my frosty breath lingering in the crisp winter air.
With its use of solar power and new technologies, Sifton Properties’ West 5 project is being described as one of the most advanced in the world.
Growing up, if we wanted to go somewhere, we’d have to walk or ride our bikes. My friends and I used to walk to school each day, rain or shine, and ride our bikes to the park or to the corner store if our parents sent us out on errands. Some of my best childhood memories are of the jokes and stories my friends and I would tell and the adventures we’d find ourselves in on our way to and from the park.
When I was in grade 10, my geography teacher was kind enough to help us start a recycling program at our school. We were the “Clean Team.” Back then, it was just pop cans, but it was a start. It was our mission to make sure that not a single pop was found in the garbage. We made posters, transformed garbage cans into makeshift recycling bins and made a monthly trip to Zubick’s Scrap Metal to turn our tin into cash.
The Sunday drive has been a long cherished tradition in many families. I remember when my grandparents would squeeze us kids into the back seat for a scenic drive out into the country. We had a favourite spot where we always stopped for homemade ice cream. It was the journey, not the destination. It was telling jokes, playing “I spy”, and racing to eat our double-fudge scoop before it melted on a hot summer’s day.
When I was young, our family had an annual tradition, at the beginning of each spring we would load up the station wagon and drive up to my Uncle’s cottage in Grand Bend. It was sort of our way to say good-bye to winter and hello to more sunshine and fairer weather. The cottage was built in the early 1900’s and it retained a lot of its character and charm throughout the years.
Although we never officially called it “Earth Hour”, our family has a tradition of turning out the house lights, sitting on our front porch. We often looked up to the stars and would compete with each other to see which constellations we could find, the Big Dipper was always the easiest to spot, but my favourite was Draco, the Dragon.
“I’ll meet you by the fountain” was a common statement when I was growing up. When my friends and I went to a movie or out to grab a burger we always met at the “fountain”. Yes, it was a water fountain, but to us it became so much more.