The Friday Five: The Maple Leaf

Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday tomorrow, and cities, towns, villages, and hamlets are all preparing to celebrate with food and fireworks. Red and white is dominating stores, squares, and supermarkets, and Canadians are eager to celebrate!

Since the maple leaf is one of Canada’s most prominent symbols, I’m sharing five versions of it from five Canadian companies.

diamond maple leaf brooch, Birks

maple leaf bookends, Chapters Indigo

Canada – True North art print, Penny Paper Co.

Canada bucket and shovel, Canadian Tire

pure silver coin, Canada Post

I hope all my Canadian readers enjoy a wonderful long weekend! Happy #Canada150!

The Friday Five: 5 Things to Do in Kitchener-Waterloo This Long Weekend

Happy Canada Day! What goodness are you planning this weekend?

I’ve said it so many times here and in real life – I really enjoy living in Waterloo. This city – and region – has so much to offer, and I live such a happy, rich, and pleasant life here. Summer, of course, makes everything that much better, and this area has a lot of offer its residents and guests.

As we have just begun a long weekend here, I’m offering up five suggestions of things to do this weekend.

1. Go for a bike ride.

The Spur Line has recently opened up, and it’s a great way to take a ride to/from Kitchener/Waterloo. The trail is smooth, wide, flat, and lit, so it’s ideal for daytime or nighttime rides.

Alternatively, take a cruise down the classic Iron Horse trail to/from Kitchener/Waterloo. This was the first path I went on when I moved to Waterloo, and it’s still one of my faves. It’s great that it takes riders from uptown Waterloo (e.g., take a gelato break at Vincenzo’s) to downtown Kitchener’s Victoria Park in no time at all. The trail is smooth, flat, and surrounded by greenery.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventures, and are looking for more nature, then head over to Cambridge and ride to/from Cambridge to Paris along the Grand River. The ride is easy, but long (maybe 40+km). I suggest wearing padded shorts. 🙂

Version 2

Here I am riding my oldie-but-goodie bike down the Iron Horse trail in Waterloo. It’s such easy living!

Version 2

Here I am last summer on the Cambridge to Paris trail with the same oldie-but-goodie bike. I earned my lunch calories in Paris that day!

2. Stay cool at a public pool.

I grew up at public pools…first, as a youngster taking lessons, then, as a teen hanging out with friends, finally as a teenager/adult teaching swimming. I love having access to a pool, and luckily, there are few great ones in the region.

Moses Springer outdoor pool is large, clean, and definitely worth a visit.


The lifeguard tower at Moses Springer.

3. Celebrate Canada Day with fireworks at Columbia Lake.

Although this will be my third summer in Waterloo, I have yet to enjoy Canada Day fireworks. Tonight, however, I’m hoping to head over to Columbia Lake to check out the action and colourful sky show.


Canada Day Celebration – UofWaterloo Field Map

4. Try a new café.

My two current favourite cafés are the Berlin Bicycle Café in Belmont Village the Smile Tiger Coffee beside the Via Train Station. Both are accessible via bicycle, and both offer good coffee and atmosphere. The food at Berlin Bicycle Café is fresh and delicious, and I always find something good to eat. The egg salad is delicious, and the croissant sandwiches are good, too. Both cafés have outdoor patio space, so they’re great options for sunny days.


The Berlin Bicycle Café

5. Take a drive into the countryside.

There are so many options for short road trips in the region.

  • Stay close and head to St. Jacob’s for a visit to the market.
  • Take a ride to Elora, pop into the sweet shops, and walk along the water.
  • Drive to Cambridge and pop into Monigram Roasters for a treat.
  • Drive over to Stratford and check out the first Balzac’s or grab a chocolate treat at Rhéo Thompson, then stroll around the lake.
  • Eat ice cream in any of the above towns!


If you’re looking to learn more about what to do in the Waterloo region, please check out my Waterloo City Guide over on Design*Sponge.

Have a wonderful long weekend, everyone!

Happy Canada Day!











The Friday Five: Canadian Designer Series – Debbie Travis

The fabulous and talented Debbie Travis rounds off today’s Friday Five. Technically, she’s a Brit, but she’s been part of the Canadian scene for so long that she must surely have citizenship here. I just had to include her in today’s series…accent and all.

Her first show, Debbie Travis’ The Painted House, aired in 1995 and it was here that I learned all about faux finishes. I clearly remember watching her create this Fornasetti dining room and this wild blue wall. It was because of Debbie that I added words like crackle varnish, anaglypta, and battik into my vocabulary.

Debbie Travis is an accomplished artist, designer, author, and business woman. In addition to Painted House, her more recent shows, Facelift and From the Ground Up have been successful in Canada and abroad. She has written many books and has won several prestigious awards. She also has a line of products available at Canadian Tire. Needless to say, Debbie is a woman who wears many hats.

Debbie Travis’ designed kitchen and bathroom

Debbie Travis Expo Cut mirror, $39.99, Canadian Tire

Debbie Travis Tie-Up shade, $24.99, Canadian Tire

Debbie Travis lantern, $34.99, Canadian Tire

Debbie Travis lighting

In recent years, Debbie has headed to Tuscany and now hosts a Debbie Travis’ Girls’ Getaway. The experience includes 7 nights accommodation at her Italian villa (wow!), delicious meals and drinks, winery tours, and more. La dolce vita, I’d say!

You can learn more about what Debbie is up to on her blog or you can follow her on Twitter.


Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Happy Canada Day!

The Friday Five: Canadian Designer Series – Steven Sabados & Chris Hyndman

I hope you’re enjoying today’s series of posts and that you’re learning a little bit more about Canadian designers.

Next on the list are Steven Sabados & Chris Hyndman. It’s a two-for-one post because these guys are such a dynamic design team and I just couldn’t bare to break them apart for the purpose of a post.

Johanne & I quickly met Steven and his partner Chris after a Toronto taping of their show, Steven & Chris, a couple of years ago.

Chris, Jordana, Johanne, Steven

Like Brian and Candice, I first learned about Steven Sabados’ talent for design via CityLine (Have I been a long time fan of that show or what?).  Steven & Chris were the original Designer Guys and are now the hosts of the Steven & Chris show. In addition to their TV hits, this pair has designed a line of furniture, linens, lighting, and wines, yes wines! These guys are busy!

Castlefield sofa


decorative accessories

Trend wines by Steven & Chris, available at the LCBO

I like these guys because they’re friendly, personable, charismatic, and their clean design aesthetic definitely works for me. There’s no fussing around for this duo. Oh – and Steven also spent time in London, Ontario (which is where I am now living). Bonus.

The Friday Five: Canadian Designer Series – Sarah Richardson

Who doesn’t love Sarah Richardson?

She’s a favourite among many designers, bloggers, and TV watchers. Her home transformations are gorgeous and appeal to so many viewers and DIYers. Sarah’s got a TV show for everyone! Have you seen Sarah’s house, Sarah’s cottage, or her recent installation at the Interior Design Show?

I like Sarah because she seems friendly, she’s got an awesome sidekick (hello Tommy Smythe) and she also looks a whole lot like a good friend of mine. Oh – and she wore Smythe jackets long before the Duchess of Cambridge did.

Here are some of the white rooms she has designed.

mid-century family home

oceanview estate

Sarah’s house – hallway

Sarah’s house – bathroom

(all photos via Sarah Richardson porfolio)

Like the other designers I am featuring today, Sarah has also worked on some beautiful product lines (honestly – where do these people find time to do all of these things?). In partnership with PARA Paints, Sarah has created a designer paint palette of 75 colours. In addition to this colourful endeavor, Sarah has a beautiful collection of indoor and outdoor furniture.




Click here to find out where to buy these and other Sarah Richardson products.

Read Sarah’s short diary entries here.

The Friday Five: Canadian Designer Series – Candice Olson

The second designer for today’s series is Candice Olson – designer extraordinaire and all around funny lady.

I have been watching Candice Olson’s Divine Design since the very beginning. I love the interaction between her and her crew and I especially like her room sketches.

In addition to her TV and interior design work, Candice has been busy with her various product lines – lighting, fabric, rugs, and more! Here’s a quick peek:

Candice Olson sofas – Bette, Brady, Floyd – ready for fabric

Candice Olson furniture: Hollace daybed & Jean chaise

Candice Olson wall covering, Kravet

Candice Olson drapery, Kravet

Candice Olson paisley wallpaper, York Wallcoverings

The Friday Five: Canadian Designer Series – Brian Gluckstein

Happy Canada Day!

In honour of today, Canada’s 144th birthday, I’m going to be doing something a little different with the Friday Five. In a series of five posts throughout the day, rather than in one single post, I will be featuring five fabulous Canadian designers. These  designers, and many many other talented Canadians, bring creativity, beauty, and good design to diverse spaces in Canada and abroad.

First up is the talented Brian Gluckstein.

Brian Gluckstein’s classic aesthetic caught my eye when I first “met” him on CityLine back when Marilyn Denis used to be the host. I am always impressed by his professionalism and style. He has been been named Canada’s favourite interior designer by the readers of House & Home which may not come as a surprise to many readers who know his work.

Forest Hill bathroom

Georgian Estate

Neoclassical home

Brian has a collection of homewares which are available at The Bay. Click here to see the full Gluckstein product line.



As if his interior design company and home collection isn’t keeping this guy busy enough – Brian’s blogging too – see what he’s up to here.

photos via Gluckstein Design Residential Portfolio & Gluckstein Home