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Featured in the photo is Dan Cooper with Nikki Ide.

Featured in the photo is Dan Cooper with Nikki Ide.

One small step can become a major movement that captures the imagination of a country, and that’s the hope of one mother who wants to inspire a nation to come together to remember the loss of a loved one.

I wrote about Nikki Ide just a few weeks ago. Nikki lost her daughter Gabrielle due to complications related to a congenital heart disease. She was only 5. In that article I encouraged everyone to take part in Gabrielle’s Ride on July 22, Oakville’s first and largest family cycling event. I’m proud to be the presenting sponsor for this important ride, which is raising funds for Cardiac Kids and the Pediatric Stroke Fund at The Sick Kids Foundation.

I continue to urge you to get out, spend a day with the family, get some exercise and help raise money for a great cause. But there is more to this story. Nikki’s hope is to have May 10 declared Canada’s National Grief Awareness Day. This day happens to be Gabrielle’s birthday – she would have been 7 this year – and while Nikki will be remembering her daughter, she asks that others join her on that day to make this a national day of remembering a loved one.

I have been so touched by this story that I am going beyond sponsoring Gabrielle’s Ride and will be presenting the Gabrielle’s Ride Exclusive Sponsorship Dinner at Gairloch Gardens Cottage on May 10. Guests will enjoy a gourmet dinner prepared by the renowned Kerr Street Cafe, enjoy beer by Cameron Breweries, wine with dinner, vodka by Tag Vodka, limousine service to and from the event, music supplied by DJ George Chaker and door prizes that will include an inclusive trip for four and a Bulova watch.

In addition, each guest will be provided with a unique paper floating lantern for the Remember Our Love Day celebration following dinner.

At that time, others are invited to join us and Nikki at Gairloch Garden’s at 8 p.m. when some special words will be shared and we will all let our lanterns float into the dark sky at 8:30 p.m. Lanterns will be available at a nominal cost for anyone who wants to participate. Proceeds will go to The Lighthouse for Grieving Children. If you would like to join Nikki for the ceremonial part at 8 p.m. or for more information, you can email her directly at nikki@gabriellesride.com. Nikki’s campaign to make this a national day of remembrance is being done in partnership with The Lighthouse for Grieving Children.

“Remember our Love Day is one of those creative ways for us to stay connected to Gabrielle and I wanted to share the experience with our community,” Nikki says. “The Lighthouse for Grieving Children and Dan Cooper loved the concept so much and have helped me to bring it all together and make it happen. The Lighthouse will be selling the floating lanterns and everyone in attendance will have an opportunity to connect with their loved ones by sending a lantern into the darkening sky and watch them illuminate as they lift into the night. My family has been using floating lanterns to express our love for Gabrielle since her death and it has been such a beautiful and meaningful experience. I can’t wait to share it with the community and watch the sky light up with love!”

Building a stronger community means supporting great causes like Gabrielle’s Ride and being engaged with worthy events such as Remember Our Love. The heart and soul of the community is due to the generosity, the caring and the giving of its residents. We enjoy one of the best communities in Canada – due to people like Nikki who remind us that there is more to living than having possessions. Our spiritual nurturing and charitable endeavours are what make us a stronger and better place in which to live.

I encourage all of you to give back to the community in any way you can; whether it is with money, time or both. And on May 10, float a paper lantern for a loved one and join me and my team for a day of family fun on July 22.

For more information about Remember Our Love Day and Gabrielle’s Ride visit http://www.gabriellesride.com.

There are so many worthwhile causes in this world that it is often difficult to decide which charity or organization to support. The bottom line, however, is to get behind at least one cause and make that your mission. A helping hand to those in need makes us a stronger community.

I’m proud to be able to give my time and money to a number of local organizations as well as some national causes such as Comic Vision, which does some serious fundraising for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), an organization that is helping people with serious eye diseases. Many of us take our sight for granted, but the prospect of losing it can be terrifying for any of us.

And so, again this year I am immensely proud, along with Royal LePage, to be the venue sponsor for Comic Vision Oakville on April 25th. We selected Le Dome on North Service Road East in 2010 to be the venue for this show, and according to Comic Vision Oakville, Le Dome has been an outstanding location that has been highly successful as a fundraiser.

This is Canada’s most successful night of stand-up comedy and fundraising for FFB. The cross-country tour of high profile, stand-up comedy always promises to provide a memorable night of entertainment and this year’s show will not disappoint.
Comic Vision is held each year in five cities across Canada, including London, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. The tour raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year with all proceeds going directly to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, which funds vision research at hospitals and universities across Canada. The FFB has played a pivotal role in bringing researchers closer than ever to potential treatments and cures that can one day reverse genetic forms of blindness.

This year’s show in Oakville includes Steve Patterson, Frank Spadone, Meg Soper and Pete Zedlacher.

For our part, The Dan Cooper Group and Royal LePage are proud to provide ongoing support for local organizations, services and programs. It is our commitment to give back to the community in which we work and live. We are not simply in the business of selling properties and helping buyers find homes. We are an integral part of this terrific community. We are your neighbour, our children go to school here and we shop in the same grocery stores. This is our community and The Dan Cooper Team is proud to play a part in shaping its character and its success.

For more information about the Foundation Fighting Blindness, please visit www.ffb.ca or to purchase tickets for this year’s event visit www.comicvision.ca.

Whether you are selling your home or staying put, a renovation, even on a small scale, can improve the value of your home.
When it comes to home renovations, it is important to be smart about how you spend your money. If you are planning to sell your home in the near future, a large-scale home improvement may not have the desired payback in the short term.

And when you choose to remodel, pay attention to some of the trends taking place in new home construction, which signal what the competition will look like down the road. Choose the right improvements today, and you may be better positioned to sell your home when the economy picks up.

Keep the following tips in mind if you’re thinking of investing in an addition or a significant remodel:

Choose your remodeler with care: Select a professional contractor with experience, knowledge of local codes and a good reputation for quality work.

can you buy amoxicillin otc Focus on tried-and-true performance: Remodel to your needs, of course. But before you finalize your decisions, research the improvements that will likely bring you the highest return on your investment. A minor kitchen remodel should return more than 70 percent according to recent reports. Adding a bathroom pays back more than 53 percent.

more info Practicality makes perfect: During the latest housing boom, remodels were all about big and bold. Now there is less emphasis on luxury and appearances-for-appearances-sake. Take advantage of that trend with a focus on practicality in your remodeling project. You’ll make your home more competitive at resale, and your dollars will stretch a lot further.

click here Multi-function = broader appeal: For today’s busy families, efficiency is essential. Can you repurpose an existing room to make life easier? Add a laundry room to save going downstairs? Increase the size of your kitchen, so you can convert the dining room to a guest suite? If you’re thinking of creating a family room in the basement, complete the project with a convenient bathroom addition. Before you pay for anything, you need to decide exactly what you want from your house. Do you want a home remodel adding on project or do you just need a room extension? Do thorough research into remodelling before you buy anything.

Never enough baths: The bathroom is a brilliant place to improve the value of your home. Something as simple as adding Oak Vanity Units can even boost the value! But if you’ve ever waited in frustration for your turn in the bathroom, you know that just about every home could use a spare bathroom. Even in rooms where there is no easy plumbing solution, a macerating toilet system might be the answer. Macerating, or up-flush, plumbing gives you unlimited flexibility, because there is no need to break through the floors to install drainage piping, which adds substantial cost to the project.

For more ideas on how to prepare your home for sale, call The Dan Cooper Group. We have the professionals and complimentary staging advice to help you get the most for your investment.

Dan Cooper (centre) with Phil Soper, President & Chief Executive and Gino Romanese, Senior Vice President of Royal LePage.

Dan Cooper (centre) with Phil Soper, President & Chief Executive and Gino Romanese, Senior Vice President of Royal LePage.

It can be difficult when moving out of town, out of province or out of Canada. There are lots of long distance moving tips you can find to make your move a bit easier but if you are still looking for the perfect how then you’d be shocked when I tell you that you can start the buying process right here at home. Too often, homeowners believe it is up to them to find an agent in the community in which they are moving. But that’s simply not the case. Royal LePage’s key strategic partnership with Brookfield Global Relocation Services allows me to work with agents around the world on behalf of my clients.

The advantage is the convenience and peace of mind you will find by working with someone locally for a new home in the next community or on the other side of the globe. If you’re moving house you may be wanting to rent a self storage unit for many reasons, companies like Dublin City Self Storage and many more around the world offer this service to people moving house etc.

My success over the past 20 years has not been restricted to the west GTA, but has included representing thousands of clients who have needed to relocate. Being tapped into a global leader such as Brookfield gives me access to a wealth of expertise and resources. Brookfield Global Relocation Services is the number one relocation service in the world with access to more than 600 companies that can handle corporate relocations on a daily basis.

Not only do I have the best relocation service at my fingertips, I have access to the top agents in North America. These are high-calibre professionals who are absolutely the best performers in real estate. As a member of the Royal LePage Chairman’s Club, I am networking with the top one percent of agents within Royal LePage. This is an elite group who know how to find the right home for you and negotiate the best deal possible.

I also have direct access to international counterparts through Real Living, an innovative, fresh and fast-growing real estate brand located in the U.S. The company maintains an industry leading 96 percent customer satisfaction rating and its innovative concepts were recognized as one of the best by Entrepreneur magazine.

In addition to helping individuals move, The Dan Cooper Group has the depth, scope and scale to provide a full array of services for corporate clients and the employees they transfer.

Or, if you are simply selling your home, tapping into a worldwide relocation service also increases the list of potential buyers who are transferring into the Oakville and Burlington area. When seeking buyers for your home, we explore every possible opportunity believing that more exposure results in a better price for your home. Combined with our national database of homebuyers through Royal LePage, you have a powerful resource at your fingertips.

This is an example of how The Dan Cooper Group’s creativity, perseverance and determination are paying off for our clients. We use leading-edge online strategies and old-fashioned hard work to sell homes faster and for more money.

If you need to relocate or know of someone wanting to move to the Oakville or Burlington areas, give us a call. We have the expertise and resources to make the move stress-free.

Spring is generally considered to be the best time to sell a home. It’s a time when warming temperatures and the burst of new life bring a flood of buyers into the marketplace. But truthfully, winter is a critical time as well – especially among those buyers who want to move in the spring and be settled into their new home by the time summer rolls around.

Selling during the drab winter months can be a challenge, but there are some easy and effective things you can do to ensure your home stands out from others on the market.

Keep your windows washed and polish all your mirrors. Creating that sparkle in your home will make your home more inviting if sunlight shines through spotless windows and reflects off your mirrors.

In late fall, ensure dead leaves and debris have been raked, gardens prepared for winter and bushes trimmed. A neat yard, even in winter, will provide a good first impression.

Give your house a total cleaning, including sending window coverings to the cleaners or giving them a wash, dry and press.

Give your blinds a thorough cleaning, get rid of dust and cob webs and open the windows for a blast of fresh air to take away any staleness that might be lingering.

Set out fresh flowers. Natural scents are more appealing than artificial and provide splashes of colour that can brighten a room on a dreary late fall or winter day.

Polish floors to a high gloss. Hardwoods should be kept free of dust and gleam; ceramics should twinkle and shine, clean dull grout, thoroughly clean area rugs and replace worn kitchen and bathroom mats.

Use towels, throws and pillows effectively, even if it means buying some new accessory items. These are inexpensive accents you can buy, but fresh and trendy colours can alter the visual impact of a room. Presentation is also important. Layer towels on the bathroom towel rack and place rolled wash cloths on the counter in a fashionable pyramid.

Offer a mat for shoes and an umbrella stand at the entrance. We could still have rain in late fall, so lay down an attractive mat for visitors to clean their shoes before entering your home. Providing a natural entrance is far more attractive than laying down a plastic runner which may protect your floors, but detracts from the effect of a glittering polish job.

Fill the sink with ice to chill bottled water for visitors and set out some treats or snacks, which will keep visitors lingering a little longer in your kitchen and admire features they might otherwise overlook.

These are just a few of the things a home seller can do to create a home that stands out from the competition.