Bottoms Up: Charity begins with wine

Folks in the wine business are very generous when it comes to donating time and expertise to help a charity. Such is the case with the annual Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, the only wine competition in the world that I know of where all proceeds go to charity. Held every spring in Rochester, New […]

The Main Menu: Rosy red and brown delicious

As I gaze out my windows to the garden, I can just see the distinctive spike of green leaf followed by the rosy pink stem of rhubarb, a true harbinger of spring. There is only one other taste unique to the season and you can feel it with the first warm sunny days after cool […]

Taming Queen developments

It’s fun to see your own community on TV. However, a March 15 segment on Global News about the glass condo blitz on Queen in the Beach was sad to watch ( It covered the problems associated with development, such as increased street parking, traffic congestion and TTC short-turns. Local historian Gene Domagala described how […]

Dropping the ‘break bomb’

Time goes by, and that daughter of ours who had just skipped off to university was all at once in her third year. I still felt that ache there where she wasn’t, but independence was good for her. So, like so many other parents, we swallowed hard and tried to keep our sense of loss […]

Planning in a changing economy

Interest rates have reached a historic low. Investors are searching for secure investments earning 2.75 per cent and settling for 2.5 per cent and 2 per cent. By comparison, in the 1980s, a 30 year bond earned 18 per cent and mortgage rates were over 20 per cent. How have many Canadians responded to today’s […]

Puppy love knows no age limits

You only need to spend a day at an animal shelter to discover there are a million excuses for abandoning the family pet. Some are legitimate but others, not so much. They range from having a baby, moving to a no-pet-zone, sudden allergies, sudden new lifestyle, to no patience, no conscience. . .the list goes […]

New exotics make Beach gardens sizzle

Spring has been playing peek-a-boo with us this year. One week at the end of March was no-coat weather, the next was put-those-blankets-back-on-the-bed. Upper Beach folks are bragging about their spring flowers. In my garden, two blocks from the lake, tulips and daffs are still tightly wrapped, and the forsythia is only thinking of blooming. […]

Lemon is perfect for spring

When I think of spring, I think of lemon. Fresh, vibrant, crisp, tangy and  bright yellow, its sunny colour signifies life. It is the perfect flavour to welcome in this season, going well with spring greens, lamb, ham and poultry and certainly a must at the Easter feast. When it comes to dessert, lemon gives […]

Bioflavia: red grape skin magic

Ever wonder what happens to all those grape skins and seeds (pomace) that are left behind after red wine production? In some parts of the world they are watered down, refermented and distilled into a brandy of sorts called marc in France, and grappa in Italy. Sometimes they are used in vinous therapy as body […]

Public input wanted: is the provincial budget election material?

Families have been telling me in recent months that their biggest concerns are jobs, health care and the cost of living. The budget announced by the Liberal government does not do nearly enough to address these priorities. There are nearly 600,000 people looking for work in this province, and yet the budget lacks solutions to […]