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Home Renovations: The Money You Can’t Afford to Spend

All home owners will face home repairs at some point or another

Home renovations involve the act of updating, repairing, or overhauling your home. They are a task that requires time, careful consideration, decision making, patience, and money. Sometimes a lot of money, depending upon the extent of the home renovation project you undertake. It is important that you decide beforehand how much money you wish to spend, as well as how much of your home you plan to renovate. The process may only amount to a small task, or conversely turn into a huge project, but whichever direction you choose, home renovations can take a financial and emotional toll on even the most savvy home owners going.

Sadly sometimes we need to undertake home renovations, whether we plan on it beforehand or not. It could be a matter of flooding, fire, lightning strike, tree damage, vandalism, or any number of reasons why home renovations need to occur immediately. While some renovations are inexpensive, there are plenty of others that can be downright costly though. Do you have an emergency fund set up for rainy day expenses? Approximately 1/3 of Canadians have nothing left in their bank accounts after bills are paid. That means that when unexpected expenses arise, money becomes a major issue.

Some home repairs need to be taken care of sooner rather than later

There are ways to combat the cost of emergency home repairs though.

If you have a mortgage, more than likely you also have home insurance. Most banks insist upon it to protect their investment, ie. your home. Home insurance covers the building, contents, and outbuildings, with some limitations depending upon your carrier. Therefore, if a tree falls on your home and damages it, your insurance company covers the cost of your repairs, depending upon your policy’s conditions. You will have to pay a deductible (anywhere from $100-$2000 as per your insurance company’s rates), but that is a far cry from the potential thousands of dollars that some emergency home repairs cost.

For those folks that struggle day-to-day and still find themselves in a low-income state, home repairs might seem like the end of the world. That does not always need to be the case, if you know where to look for assistance though. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers an Emergency Repair Program (ERP) for eligible individuals. Emergency items such as;

    • heating systems;
    • chimneys;
    • doors and windows;
    • foundations;
    • roofs, walls, floors and ceilings;
    • vents, louvers;
    • plumbing;
    • electrical systems

are some of the items that are taken under consideration for those who qualify. While you have to be approved for the repairs before the work is done, once approval is given any funds offered do not need to be repaid.

CMHC logo

CMHC logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Likewise the Homeowner Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (Homeowner RRAP) from CMHC is another avenue to explore for low-income families that are faced with major repairs to their home. As noted on the CMHC website states;

“In general, mandatory repairs related to heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety are eligible for funding under Homeowner RRAP. The quality of the repairs should ensure the useful life of your home for at least 15 years.”

Another place to look for help is the Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario program. It also offers funding for low-income individuals to help renovate their homes. There is paperwork to be filled out for eligible people, but with the potential to receive upwards of $25,000, it just might be worth it to get that financial assistance, as well as a new energy-efficient furnace, low-flow toilet, or window replacements.

Branding image of the Government of Ontario, s...

The Ontario government also helps seniors in need of undertaking home renovations by offering a Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit. Seniors aged 65 and older are eligible for a tax credit on their income taxes of up to $10,000 come tax time. While that doesn’t put money in your pocket instantly, it does help to ultimately reduce costs of necessary home improvements that increase safety and accessibility to your home. Your income doesn’t matter, and if you have a senior living with you, you are still eligible. You can receive 15% of eligible expenses back, so save your receipts!

Do you know other ways to reduce costs of home renovation projects? Are you aware of other programs or grants that help people cover the cost of unexpected home repairs in Canada? Leave me a comment, so that I can help spread the good word to those in need!


Do you have a pet in your home?

After doing a little scratching around, I discovered that 35% of households in Canada own dogs, while 38% of them have a cat. According to an Ipsos Reid poll done in 2011, that equated to approximately 7.9 million cats and 5.9 million dogs residing in Canadian homes. Now while these numbers are estimates, that is still an awful lot of Canadian pets around.

Well you pet-lovers are in luck this weekend, as the London Pet Show is sniffing into London, Ontario this weekend. The folks from Purina® are taking over the Progress Building in the Western Fair District from October 18th – 20th, 2013. While you cannot bring your own pet along, you can bring your children! Or failing that, you can wander over to the East Annex Building and adopt a pet of your own to take home with you at the end of the day. The Super Adoption Days are free to enter from 9 am – 5 pm on October 19th and 20th, and there are knowledgeable staff on hand to help you find your perfect new “best friend” (or furry children as some might prefer to think of them).

As for the rest of the show, it costs $6 for adults, $4 for children (5-10 years), and those under 4 years are Free. As always at the Western Fairgrounds, parking is also Free! Hours are from 9 am – 6 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 9 am – 4 pm on Sunday. That leaves you plenty of time to take in all that the first London Pet Show has to offer, like the many exhibitors, dog shows, cat shows, and even an opportunity to get your picture taken with Toto, from the Wizard of Oz! Pictures will be taken between 10 am – 12pm and 2 pm – 4pm, plus they are free.

The Elgin County Kennel Club will be presenting an All-Breed Championship Dog Show that runs all weekend long. Expect to see over 1600 dogs from more than 100 different breeds, competing for one of several titles available.

Dogs don’t have the market on shows though. On October 19th and 20th, the Pawsitive Paws Cat Show will be on as well. There will be more than 120 kitties, with a wide variety of coats, clawing for top billings at the 12th show that the Pawsitive Paws group has put on.

I sure hope they put some space between the canine contenders and feline foes. There could be a lot of fur flying, if not…

And if that does happen, you can always grab a lint brush to remove any of the pet hair that is left behind.

Did you know that the Lost Soul Stroll has wandered into London, Ontario again? This is the 9th time that members of London’s sordid past have taken over the streets of Downtown London in October, but it is unlike any stroll that has come before. And even if you have already explored 2013’s stroll, you can still come wander London’s dark history again before the month is through. Tickets are available! Prepared to be scared, amused, and mischievously entertained on a brand new route through London’s seamy past.

Tickets are $25 and the tour leaves from 207 King St (between Novack’s and Goodlife). The tours run approximately 80 minutes in length, so be sure to dress appropriate for the weather, as the stroll heads out regardless of the weather (If really stormy weather occurs, the Producer may cancel the night’s stroll 5 minutes prior, but a light drizzle isn’t enough, so be sure to bring your umbrellas if need be). Dates are;

October 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 29 & 30 at 7:30 pm, as well as
October 19 & 26 at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm.

For those of you whom have never been, what is the Lost Soul Stroll all about, you might wonder? Well, if you have ever questioned whether ‘The Forest City’ has seen its share of misery, this Stroll is for you. With theatrical flare, and a whole bunch of graphic costumes and makeup, the London Fringe presents eerie true tales from London, Ontario’s past. Characters, such as Ambrose Small (The Grand Theatre’s original owner, who disappeared just before selling it, never to be seen again, and is also said to still haunt the Grand to this day), various members of the infamous Black Donnellys (a backwoods family that was massacred in cold blood in 1880), passengers from the doomed Victoria (Canada’s worst marine disaster occurred on the banks of the Thames River in 1881 when the ‘Victoria’ capsized and 182 people died), and even the former sweetheart of the ghost that haunts Eldon House (Sarah Harris was the daughter of the original owner, and sweetheart of Wenman Wynniatt, who mysteriously drowned in the river in 1841 and is said to haunt Eldon House still).

All of these characters and more have strolled along with daring participants in years past, but the Burymore Family has taken over the Stroll this year. There is murder, mystery, disaster, and more to be watched by this troupe of long-dead actors. Will there be hijinks? Undoubtedly. Sordid mayhem? Indubitably. Laughter? For sure. Should you get tickets to take in the 2013 version of the Lost Soul Stroll in London, Ontario?

Only if you dare…

Now that October has arrived, fall fun is in full swing. As London, Ontario is surrounded by forests, fields and plenty of farms, we’ve got a pretty good handle on what it takes to enjoy Autumn in these parts.

Kustermans has a 7.5 acre corn maze, plus attractions aplenty during their annual Fall Festival

We’ve got corn mazes,

Appleland has gotten in on the corn maze sensation now too!

It’s hard to beat the 10 acres that Leaping Deer Adventure Farm turns into an amazing corn maze each year

there are a few pumpkin patches with plenty of gourds to pick through too,

There’s full Fall fun at Clovermead, including pick-your-own pumpkins, pumpkin canons, tractor rides, pumpkin seed spitting contests, and so much more…

You’ll find plenty of pumpkins at Talbotville Berry Farm, plus a few other spooky activities if you can handle it…

You can get apples, pears, pumpkins and other gourds at Great Lakes Farms

plus our parks are ablaze with colours, begging for walks, photo shoots, and picnics while the nice weather holds. Check the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, Lower Thames Valley Conservation AreaOntario Conservation Areas, or the Ontario Parks fall report for more information.

Westminster Ponds is beautiful this time of year.

What is your idea of Fall fun in Southwestern Ontario?


The summer is winding down, but there are still plenty of festivals around the Forest City. London, Ontario should almost think of changing its name to the “Festival” City come summertime, as there are no less than three more festivals going on this weekend. The weather is shaping up to be warm, sunny and without a drop of rain. Perfect for checking out one of these great Free outdoor festivals this weekend.

Festa Italiana:

WHEN: August 23rd – 25th, 2013; Fri & Sat 11 am – midnight, Sun 11 am – 11 pm

WHERE: Covent Garden Market (130 King St)

Buon giorno London! Welcome back the Festa Italiana for its 13th annual festival of all things Italian. There will be food, music, fun, and dancing under the stars. If you like opera, they’ve got it, compliments of Maestro Sabatino Vacca. Care for an aria or two? Why not stick around to hear Victoria Gydov or Laura Palumbo. Perhaps you would like to dance the night away in the piazza with Orchestra Italiana London? There is also plenty of daytime activities too, like face painting, folk dancing, grape stomping, Venetian mask making, cake eating contests, fashion shows, and so much more. If you can feel your Italian blood heating up at the thought of all the fun, you have all weekend to enjoy it. Just head downtown!

Come out for the community fun at the South East Summer Fest

South East Summer Fest:

WHEN: Saturday, August 24th, 2013; 2 – 6 pm

WHERE: Southeast Optimist Park (237 Deveron Cres)

Not all of London’s festivals happen downtown. The folks in Ward 14 have been whooping it up in Southeast London for a few years now, and the entertainment just keeps on getting bigger and better. The original plan behind this gathering was to engage the immediate neighbourhood and provide information about services, community involvement, as well as encourage physical activity, have a little food, drink in fun. As news of the event got out, more community groups have gotten involved, so now info booths regarding non-profit organizations, welcome committees, social services, and more have become involved. You’ll see the London Fire Department and London Police Services. And if that doesn’t interest you, perhaps a midway, buskers, games or the stage with live entertainment will. This festival might be in Southeast London, but it is open to all, so head on down for Summer Fest this weekend.

Wortley Village Jazz and Blues Festival:

WHEN: Sunday, August 25th, 2013; 3 – 8 pm

WHERE: Between Craig and Elmwood on Wortley Rd

The Wortley Village Jazz & Blues Festival has been on hiatus the last two years, but is back in 2013 and bound to rock Wortley Village again. With 10 bands set to play on 8 stages, there will be sure to be something for everyone that attends this hotly anticipated outdoor festival. Wortley Rd will be closed to traffic between 2 – 9pm, so that festival goers can wander from stage to stage, taking in the sights and sounds of the afternoon. Be sure to bring a lawn chair, as local London musicians will set the stage for you to stay a while. All the restaurants in the Village will be open, as well as some of the local stores, plus even  some tables set up by local vendors who want to get in on the fun. It is sure to be another great community event that you won’t want to miss if you are anywhere near Old South.

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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