I have listed a new property at 2938 Hidden Ranch WAY NW in Calgary.
This Unique home is situated adjacent to Hidden Ranch Park and playground. It is a Walk-out Bi-level with a bonus room over the double attached garage. The Master Bedroom is located in the bonus room and features a 4 piece ensuite with a corner jetted tub and separate stand up shower. It also has a walk-in closet and bow window. The open concept main floor features 12 foot vaulted ceilings and a natural gas corner fireplace. The main floor is all hardwood and the master bedroom is hardwood with the ensuite having vinyl plank. Besides the master bedroom, there are 2 additional bedrooms on the main floor and another large bedroom on the lower level. The lower level also features a den, 3 piece bathroom and a large family room with wet bar, large windows and a patio door leading to the large deck.
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Now that you have found a wonderful new home you need to coordinate your move. Though it may be tempting to just stuff everything in boxes this strategy can make unpacking a nightmare. To help make your move go smoothly try these 5 helpful tips that will help you pack like a pro.


  1. Pack an overnight bag

Packing an overnight bag helps ensure your first morning goes smoothly. Especially if you have to rush off to work the next day you don’t want to be frantically hunting for things. By being prepared you can reduce the amount of move related stress you experience and focus on unpacking and organizing your new home.


  1. Pack the stuff you will need right away in a clear, or clearly marked bin

Chose a bin that will really stand out from all the other boxes so that you can easily find it in the post move chaos. This bin should contain the things you will need right away, such as toiletries, basic cooking items, medications, more clothes and a full set of bedding. This will help you get at least somewhat settled right away and let you focus on what needs to be done.


  1. Label your boxes intelligently

Being confronted with twenty boxes labeled “kitchen” doesn’t make it easy to find the specific item you need. Try and group related items together and either label your boxes with their contents (ie: Kitchen - pots and pans) or assign each box a number and create a spreadsheet detailing the contents of all your boxes. Finding a specific item is much easier when you know exactly which box it is in, and saves you time because you don’t need to open every single box in order to find it. Numbering each box also helps you ensure that no boxes get lost or stolen while you are moving. 


  1. Use a colour coding system and clearly label bedrooms

If you hire movers to help you move colour coding boxes makes it much easier for them to figure out which boxes belong in each room. Brightly coloured duct tape makes colour coding easy, and gives you a convenient place to write the room designation for each box. If your new home has several bedrooms it is also helpful to label these as well. Use a piece of paper and a bit of sticky tack to clearly label the door of each room. That way your movers know which area is the “Office” or “Katie’s Bedroom”, saving you time and effort later. 


  1. Wrap breakable items in clothing and bedding

Bubble wrap and newspapers work well for transporting breakable items, but mean you end up wasting a lot of valuable space. Since your clothing and bedding need to come with you anyways you might as well put them to good use. Opt for heavier items like scarves, sweaters and blankets. You should also try and choose items that won't easily wrinkle in order to save yourself a ton of extra ironing.


Photo Credit: "I got it!" by Meathead Movers

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Ever wonder why your REALTOR® is looking in the closet?  When I'm showing a buyer a property that I have never been in, they always catch me opening closets to peek around.  No, I'm not some fashionista,  I'm checking for signs that the home may have been used for the illegal manufacture of marijanua.  


Some of the warning signs that I am keeping an eye out for, are any fresh drywall patches that may be present heading towards the attic space, as this is often where they will run vents to help mask odours coming from the property.  I will always take a look around the pipes coming into the water meter, to see if there's any evidence of tampering to bypass the meter.  Take a peek at the venting around the hot water tank to see if it looks like it has ever been used to supply additional Co2.  I'll also try and observe the foundation walls, especially around the breaker panel, and where the main power enters the property to see if it has ever been altered.  


There are a few other key indicators that we are looking for when browsing a property.  Active signs of aggression in the home can be a sign of methamphetamine contamination.


While these quick inspections are by no means a replacement for a proper home inspection by a licensed home inspector, they are a great way that I can help my buyers identify a stigmatized property long before writing an offer or paying for a home inspection.


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The Calgary Tower is one of Calgary’s most iconic buildings, gracing the skyline since it opened in 1968 and offers breathtaking views of the city. The observation deck, located 191 meters above ground, offers a 360 degree view of the entire city. The observation deck also boasts a glass floor, giving you a bird’s eye view of the downtown core.


Feeling hungry? The Calgary tower is home to two spectacular restaurants. Enjoy stunning city views and delectable dishes at the Sky 360 restaurant, located 155 meters above the ground and offers rotating views. The entire restaurant makes one full rotation every 45 minutes during lunch and every 60 minutes during dinner. Ruth’s Steak House, located on the second floor of the tower, offers wonderful meals and cosy hospitality.


General admission (ages 13 to 64) is $18, with seniors (65+) and children (4-12) enjoying lower admission rates ($16 for seniors, $9 for children). All children aged 3 and under are free. From September to June the Calgary Tower is open from 9am to 9pm, and for July and August it is open from 9am to 10pm. Parking is available nearby in the Tower Centre Parkade and the Tower is also easily accessed via several downtown C Train stations.


The Calgary Tower Gift Shop offers a wide selection of Calgary and Canada themed memorabilia, collectables and apparel. You are sure to find the perfect gift or keepsake to help you commemorate your visit.


The Calgary Tower also features a stunning LED light show, which runs every morning from 5am to sunrise and every evening from sunset to midnight. The lighting system is capable of both static and dynamic displays, and is offers a unique way for Calgarians to celebrate national holidays (such as Remembrance Day and Canada Day), cheer for local sports teams, support local festivals and raise awareness of important causes. This unique lighting system supplements the Tower’s gas powered flame, allowing for the city to reduce the amount of natural gas needed and helping create a greener city. The new lighting system is also 60% more efficient than the previous lighting system, reducing the city’s energy consumption. 


Photo: "Calgary Tower" by ahisgett is licensed with CC BY 2.0.
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How big is your home? How about the one you are purchasing? While most people can eyeball how big a property is they aren’t always accurate, and that accuracy can come back to haunt potential buyers. Multiple buyers in both Calgary and Edmonton have recently discovered that their properties are actually smaller than they were told when they purchased them. One woman, Pam Whelan, found out she had been duped. When she purchased her home in 2007 the advertisement said the property was 2580 square feet, but when she recently went to list the property on the market she found out it was actually only 2094 square feet. This significant 756 square foot difference meant that her home was actually valued at significantly less than she paid for it. When she did sell it was for much less than she had paid for it, despite putting nearly $130,000 into renovating the property.


To help protect buyers from misrepresented square footage the Real Estate Council of Alberta recently announced new guidelines regarding home measurement in the province. This standard will help ensure that consumers and real estate professionals are working with accurate and consistent property measurements when buying or selling homes. This will help people compare different properties accurately so they can better determine which property better suits their real estate needs. 


Previous measuring guidelines were broad and open to interpretation. This meant that realtors employed various approaches to measuring properties and sometimes included things like patios, balconies, decks and parking spaces. This meant that many property square footages were artificially inflated, making homes sound larger and driving up prices. 


The new measurement standards require realtors to:

  1. Identify if the square footage is listed in metric or imperial, and require them to apply their chosen unit of measurement consistently.

  2. Measure the outside surface of the exterior walls in order to determine square footage for single, detached properties.

  3. Measure the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint) at floor level for all properties with common walls such as half-duplexes, townhouses and apartments. Any additional area representations may be made assuming the exterior measurements.

  4. Include floor levels that are entirely above grade and exclude floor levels if any portion of that floor falls below grade. Below grade levels may be measured, but this area may not be included in the RMS (Residential Measurement Standard) area.

  5. Include all additions to the main structure and conversions of above grade areas within the structure, so long as they are weatherproof and suitable for year round use.

  6. Differentiate between rooms with minimum 2.13m (7ft) ceilings and rooms whose ceilings are lower than that. If the ceiling is sloped the area with a floor to ceiling height of at least 1.52m (5ft) can be included in the RMS area provided there is a ceiling height of 2.13m (7ft) somewhere in the room.

  7. Include extensions from the main structure that have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 1.5m (5ft), such as cantilevers, bay and bow windows and dormers.

  8. Exclude open areas that have no floor such as vaulted areas.

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Now that you have all of your stuff has been carefully packed you actually need to move it all. This task may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are _ things you can do to help your move go smoothly.


  1. If you want to get rid of it, do it at least two to six weeks in advance

Items that you want to sell should be put up on Craigslist, Kijiji or Ebay at least six weeks before you move in order to give you enough time to hopefully sell them. If you are donating items to charity arrange for a pickup at least two weeks before you move. You don’t want to waste time and energy moving items you are only going to part with right away


  1. Change your address at least two weeks prior to moving

This will help ensure you don’t have any mail that gets lost or left behind once you move. You don’t want to be missing bills or other important items.. 


  1. Make your last grocery run two weeks before the move

Moving food presents all sorts of new potential problems including spills and spoilage. Try and avoid moving as little food as possible so you can avoid throwing anything out. Unwanted non perishable items can be donated to the food bank.


  1. Hire a sitter for the dog and the kids for same city moves

Children and pets can get underfoot, and that is the last thing you need while moving. Children in particular get bored easily, and while you are moving you don’t have a lot of extra time to keep them occupied. Hiring a sitter, or dropping them off at their grandparent’s house for the day means the move will go easier for you, your kids and your pets. 


  1. Defrost your refrigerator and deep freeze and remove any liquid at least a day in advance

The last thing you want is melted ice leaking all over your possessions. Plus, if your refrigerator and deep freeze don’t get a chance to dry before you move them they can start to smell pretty badly.


  1. If you can, clean your new kitchen and bathroom in advance

Depending on when the old owners move out you may be able to get your keys a few days before you actually move in. Take this time to give your new kitchen and bathroom a good cleaning. It is much easier to clean these rooms when they are empty, and it saves you time on moving day.


  1. Pack toiletries right

When packing your shampoo, conditioner and other leak prone items take the top off, place a layer of cling wrap over the opening and then re-secure the lid. Cosmetics such as powder compacts and eye shadows can also break easily during moves. To help prevent this take a cotton ball or pad and place it on top of the powder or eyeshadow before closing the lid. This reduces the amount of room the makeup has to move around and will cushion it from any blows.


  1. Pack plates vertically like records

Instead of placing your plates down flat inside the box try placing them with the edges down. This reduces the likelihood of them getting broken in transit. Also, wrap each plate individually in bubble wrap, old newspaper or a t shirt to help cushion them.


  1. Unpack methodically

When you first arrive set up a sort of “home base”. Get your sleeping stuff organized for the night and stow your overnight bag. Try and unpack your “right away stuff” before you go to bed so that you can easily get ready the next morning. Once you have your essentials unpacked tackle each room one at a time. This not only makes it easier to get things organized (since you aren’t going back and shuffling things around) it also makes it easier to see real progress, which offers a good morale boost.


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In 2016 Calgary’s city council approved an additional secondary suites in the city. Out of 26 applications 21 were approved and 5 were rejected. Though the current lengthy approval process requires city council to approve each application individually, a process Mayor Naheed Nenshi clearly detests. However, the process is unlikely to change soon.


Legal secondary suites can be a boon to cities facing housing shortages and can offer a lower cost alternative to students and low income individuals seeking housing. It also allows homeowners to earn some extra money, which can be used to pay of debts like mortgages. 


A secondary suite refers to an additional separate dwelling on a property that would typically only accommodate one dwelling unit. Secondary suites can take a variety of forms including Granny Suites (which are located above a detached garage) or single floor dwellings in a multiple floor home. Some landlords, particularly those with families, choose to rent out the basement and live in the upstairs portion of the home. Other landlords, such as childless couples or single individuals, may choose to live in the basement portion and rent out the larger upstairs area in order to maximize their rental income.


All secondary suites in Calgary must be approved by city council. If you are considering moving into a secondary suite you should ask the landlord if the suite is legal. Registered secondary suites are issued a registration sticker. The individually issued sticker will correspond with the address of the suite and can be verified online. Verified secondary suites meet all the minimum safety requirements, including:


  • Having at least one window in each bedroom. The window must be able to be opened to the outside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge. The window also must be unobstructed. This ensures that occupants can escape safely in case of a fire or other emergency. 

  • Smoke alarms and fire detectors. Each unit must have its own smoke alarm and fire detector, and the alarms and detectors of all units must be connected so that if one is triggered the others will sound as well. All smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be inspected, tested and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions.  

  • At least one exit. Each unit within the building should have at least one exit that leads directly outside and every exit door should be able to swing inwards.


If you are considering creating a secondary suite on your property you can begin your application for a permit here.   


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What is a Rental Scam?


A rental scam typically involves a scammer trying to steal money from a prospective tenant by for an apartment that the scammer is not in a legal position to rent. 

Common Red Flags


There are several things that can tip you off to whether or not someone is trying to scam you. You should pay close attention to these red flags. A potential scammer may:


  1. Ask you to send money without having met anyone or seen the apartment. One variation on this tactic may be a prospective renter claiming they are out of town and cannot show you the apartment, but insisting you pay a deposit and fees in order to “hold” the apartment for you. Never rent a property without seeing it for yourself.

  2. Seem too eager to lease the apartment to you. A reputable renter will at the very least want to know your Credit Score (which can be obtained from Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada. You should get your score from both. Most renters will also request that you verify that you are employed, which you can do by presenting your latest pay stub. You may also be asked to submit to a Criminal Background Check. If a renter doesn’t ask for any of these but is still willing to rent a unit to you you should be suspicious.

  3. Ask you to pay an unusually high security deposit or too many upfront fees. A typical deposit is one month’s rent, though many legitimate rental companies are offering reduced deposits, discounts on your first month’s rent or other incentives in order to try and entice renters during the downturn. 

  4. Try to pressure you. Before you sign any paperwork you should ask if you can take it home and review it thoroughly before making a final decision. If you feel like the renter is trying to pressure you into signing documents or paying fees and deposits before you have decided to rent the unit you should be wary. 

  5. Tell you that you don’t need a lease. Though some apartments are rented on a month to month basis most rental agreements typically include a lease, at least for the first six months to one year. After your lease is up your renter may allow you to switch to renting month per month or request that you sign another lease. If the renter is acting suspicious and avoiding discussing a lease it may be because they don’t have the right to lease the property. Remember, a lease is designed to protect both you and the renter, so having one is beneficial to both parties. 


If you feel uneasy, or you spot any of the red flags listed above, do not hand over any money to the renter and do not sign any paperwork. If you do not speak English fluently you can also enlist the help of a translator or interpreter through non profit organizations such as Immigrant Services Calgary. Make sure you thoroughly understand the document you are signing before you commit to anything.

What to do if you do get scammed


If you have been scammed you should contact the police to report the scam. You may do this in person at any police station or using their non emergency phone line: 403.266.1234. Reporting scammers not only help police to catch them, but also help protect other potential renters. The police will help you press charges, but you will need to sue the fraudulent renter on your own in order to recover any money you have lost. 


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Avoiding Nasty House Purchase Surprises
 
Buying a new home is an exciting, and stressful, time. Small disappointments, like an undisclosed leak or a broken power outlet cause frustration and cost money to fix. To help avoid pitfalls like these it helps to have a REALTOR® on your side, and follow these 3 rules.
 
1. Hire a certified home inspector
 
You may be tempted to skip this step, since it can seem to be costly and unnecessary. However, it can save you money in the long run. By hiring a qualified, independent inspector you can accurately verify information provided by the seller and their agent. Knowing things such as what items need to be repaired, what items have been recently repaired are important for determining the accurate worth of a home. 
 
2. Get it in writing
 
Ask the seller and their agent to provide you with written copies of documentation regarding any repairs the property requires. This is called a Property Condition Disclosure Statement, and is designed to protect both the seller and the buyer by documenting what information has been disclosed by the seller. 
 
3. Be thorough and vigilant
 
Purchasing a home is a huge investment, so make sure you do your homework and thoroughly investigate any properties you are considering purchasing. A little extra work now could end up saving you thousands of dollars in surprise repairs down the road. 
 
Hiring a REALTOR® is an excellent way to ensure that the home you purchase meets your needs and that you pay a fair and accurate price for it. Having a good REALTOR® means you get to benefit from their extensive experience and expert knowledge. 
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I have sold a property at 104 STERLING SPRINGS CRESCENT in Rural Rocky View County.
Incredible bungalow boasting 4500 total square feet of executive living in this extraordinary, former Knightsbridge showhome. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 fireplaces, main floor den and fully developed basement with in-floor heating. Located on a West backing 2 acre (pie shaped lot) in Sterling Springs, one of Springbank's many prestigious subdivisions. Quiet and private, but less than 10 minutes to all the schools, shopping and amenities of Aspen and the Westhills areas. Easy access to Highway 1 or the new Stoney Trail Ring Road off Highway 8. As you enter the home, you'll be greeted with soaring 17 foot vaulted ceilings, gleaming hardwood floors, and a sense of spaciousness. This home boasts an attention to detail in millwork, tile work, stonework evident at every angle. The magnificent large, rock fireplace is the focal point of the main floor, along with the unobstructed, sunsets and views of the mountains outside your many large windows. The kitchen, family room and nook are perfect for large family gatherings. Timeless cream coloured kitchen cabinetry with contrasting, dark granite is offset by the warm, travertine backsplash. Wolf and Sub Zero brand appliance package. A separate butler's pantry provides storage close by for extra appliances and food storage. All hardwood and carpeting (upstairs and down) were replaced just prior to listing. Painting and professional cleaning mean this home is ready for IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY! The walkout basement has a huge family room with wood burning fireplace, 3 more bedrooms (one wired for home theatre), a full bathroom and a gym, all ready for your family. Car enthusiasts will love the triple garage with its epoxy floor, gas heater, high ceiling and utility sink. Come walk the lot and you will love the private setting, firepit area, play structure for kids and sprinkler system that covers the entire acreage. More impressive is the huge back area where you can play football, soccer or build yourself a tennis court, larger basketball court or even a hockey rink! Less than 10 minute drive to the 69 street C-train station. Enjoy the privacy and quiet of the country with the close proximity of the city! Call your favorite realtor or book a showing TODAY.
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I have sold a property at 1014 Nanton Avenue in Crossfield.
Looking for a beautifully renovated bungalow on a huge lot in the heart of Crossfield? This property makes a great family home or an awesome location for a business (WBD - West Downtown Business District Zoning). This 1960 built home was moved onto on a brand new foundation in 2017. 1442 SF on the main flr w/upgrades/renos done in 2017-18. These include a new furnace, hot water tank, upgraded plumbing & electrical, paint & new kitchen counters & cabinets. The home has a large master bedrm with 4 pc ensuite & 2 more bedrms. 2 beautiful barn doors separate the kitchen from an open concept living room & dining room as well as a 4 pc bathrm to complete the main flr. Basement has an additional 1441 SF ready for development. Plenty of parking on the street, in the dbl detached garage & a 2 parking stall pad suitable for RV parking. It has a back alley & a side alley. Both the garage & home have metal roofs. Enjoy the morning & evening sun from your south facing front porch. View this great property today!
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Welcome to Calgary! We are so glad you decided to make our beautiful city your home. Calgary has many things to offer, including a wide variety of historical buildings. This post includes a quick guide to help you get started. Have fun exploring!







1) Heritage Park Historical Village

Heritage Park Waterfront

Heritage Park is a well known Calgary landmark, and Canada’s largest living history museum. Take a trip back in time to see how the West once was. This park includes five sections, organized by time period. 1860s Fur Trading Fort and First Nations Encampment; 1880s Pre-railway Settlement; C.1910 Prairie Railway Town; and 1930s, 1940s and 1950s Gasoline Alley Museum and Heritage Town Square. The park also includes a midway fair ground full of rides and games, and an authentic and fully functioning steamboat the S. S. Moyie that departs several times daily from the dock for trips around the Glenmore Reservoir. For hours and rates, please visit http://www.heritagepark.ca/


2)  Mewata Armory

Mewata Armoury


The Mewata Armory is located in Downtown Calgary at 801 11th Street SW and was built between 1915 and 1918 and is home to The King's Own Calgary Regiment and The Calgary Highlanders. Built in the Tudor/Gothic revival style, this grand brick building is reminiscent of a medieval fort or castle complete with buttresses and and a crenelated roofline.


3) Lougheed House

Lougheed House


The Lougheed House is a sandstone mansion set on an impressive 2.8 acres of ground. Built in 1891, it was home to Senator James Alexander Lougheed, his wife Lady Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, their six children and a full staff. It is open Wednesday to Friday from 11 am till 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Feeling peckish? Visit Isabella’s Cafe for lunch or afternoon tea. For more information, please visit http://www.lougheedhouse.com/


4) Fort Calgary

Fort Calgary

This National Historic Site is the birthplace of Calgary, where the North West Mounted Police first laid the roots for this historic city. This impressive 40 acre site is located at the conflux of the Bow and Elbow Rivers and includes a museum as well as an interactive interpretive centre. Fort Calgary is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm (closed some holidays). For more information please visit http://www.fortcalgary.com/

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Lake Bonavista is a well established and family friendly neighbourhood in South East Calgary. To help you settle into your new neighbourhood, here is a list of local businesses that will help you meet your needs.


  Lake Bonavista Businesses - Gordon McDowell
Supermarkets
 
This area boasts a wide variety of supermarket choices, including Safeway, Calgary Co-op and Sobey's.
 
1) South Center Safeway is located at 11011 Bonaventure Drive SE, and is open daily from 8am to 11pm. It also has an in-house pharmacy open Monday to Friday 9:00 am  to 9:00 pm, Saturday 9:00am to 6:00 pm, and Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
 
2) Lake Bonavista Safeway is located in the Lake Bonavista Promenade at 755 Lake Bonavista Drive SE. It is open 8:00 am to 11:00 pm, but does not have a pharmacy.
 
3) Deer Ridge Co-op is located at 95 1221 Canyon Meadows Drive SE in the Deer Ridge Shopping Center. It is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, and does not have a pharmacy.
 
4) For late night milk-and-bread runs, try the Mac's Convenience Store, located in the Lake Bonavista Promenade, at 755 Lake Bonavista Drive. It is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
 
Salons and Barber Shops
 
1) Diva Salon and Spa in South Center Mall is open daily from 9:30 am to 9:00 pm.
 
2) The high end Salon Evaline Charles, located in South Center Mall, is open daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
 
3) Studio Hair Design, located in the Lake Bonavista Promenade is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is closed Sundays and Mondays.
 
4) For no frills, men's hair cutting try Bonavista Barbers in the Lake Bonavista Promenade. they are open Monday's to Saturdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
 
Department Stores
 
The Lake Bonavista area boasts two main department stores: The Bay and Sears. Both are located in South Center Mall, found at 100 Anderson Road SE.
 
Gas Stations
 
1) The Lake Bonavista Promenade plays host to an Esso station, located at 759 Lake Bonavista Drive SE. It is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily.
 
2) If you need a car wash to go with your gas visit the Esso at 31615 Bonaventure Drive SE. This station is open from 5:00 am to midnight daily.
 
3) Lake Bonavista also hosts a Shell station, located at 700 12445 Lake Fraser Drive.
 
4) Deer Valley Co-op also boasts a gas station and car wash, and is located at  95 1221 Canyon Meadows Drive SE. It is open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.
 
Drugstores
 
1) The Lake Bonavista Promenade is home to a Shoppers Drug Mart. It is open from8:00 am to 10:00 pm daily.
 
2) South Center Mall also hosts a Shoppers Drug mart, which is open from 9:30 am to 9:00 pm daily, and is located at 100 Anderson Road SE.
 
3) The South Center Safeway also has a pharmacy, which is open Monday to Friday 9:00 am  to 9:00 pm, Saturday 9:00am to 6:00 pm, and Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
 
Local Library
 
For all your reading needs visit the Fish Creek Public Library and pick up your free Library Card! It is located at 11161 Bonaventure Drive SE, and is open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday's from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.


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Calgary's Centre For Newcomers

Welcome to Calgary! We are so glad you decided to move here to our wonderful city! To help you settle in, here is a list of newcomer resources located here in Calgary.

 
1) Immigrant Services Calgary offers a variety of resources including (but not limited to) Information and Orientation, Supportive Counselling, Referrals, Employment Support Services, Community Initiatives and Access Programs for Seniors and Civic Education/Citizen Classes. Services are offered in seventy different languages including Amharic, Arabic, Cantonese, Dari, Dinka, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Korean, Oromo, Mandarin, Pashto, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrigna, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian.
 
For more information, please visit http://www.immigrantservicescalgary.ca/how-can-we-help/newcomer-support or call 403.265.1120. Walk- ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred. All services are free and confidential.
 
2) Center for Newcomers
 
The Center for Newcomers offers comprehensive 3 year program called "Newcomer Settlement", which covers all of the basics of settling into Canadian culture. It aims to teach newcomers what services are available to them and their families in Canada, covering housing, schools, transportation, banking, employment and health care. It also helps newcomers learn the skill necessary for day-to-day life including dressing for the weather, English language classes, shopping for affordable goods, and getting to know your neighbours. It also covers the rights and responsibilities of new Canadians. A sister program, Children's Settlement, is similar, and geared at New Canadians with children under 12. For more information, please visit www.centerfornewcomers.ca. To book an appointment, please call 403.569.3325 and specify your preferred language for service. Walk ins are welcome, but must wait until individuals with appointments have been served. 
 
3) Calgary Newcomer's Club
 
The Calgary Newcomer's Club is a volunteer run social club for women. This club aims to help women learn more about the city, and make friends and professional contacts. Membership costs $40 annually. To apply, please visit http://calgarynewcomersclub.com/membership/ and fill out the online application form. Questions can be directed at info@calgrynewcomersclub.com.
 
4) Welcome Centre for New Immigrants
 
Located at 3820 - 32nd Street NE, the Welcome Centre for New Immigrants is a community centre geared at new immigrants. This not-for-profit organization is a branch of the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society, and helps immigrants develop English language skills, computer skills and job hunting skills.  For more information, please visit  http://www.welcomeimmigrants-calgary.ca/ or call 403.291.0002.
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Here are some quick tips for when you are viewing a Property for Sale.  Your Real Estate Professional will also be helping you identify these amenities and possible red flags.

 
1) Look for signs of water damage, water, mould and/ or  signs of bugs or mice. This could manifest as buckled floors, water stains, and spongy walls. Open all the cupboard, and look for mice or insect droppings. Also be wary of any off putting odours, including over use of odour covering sprays or scented candles. The overuse of these products may be to hide something foul.
 
2) What is the neighbourhood like? Remember, you aren't just buying a house, your are buying into a neighbourhood. If you have school age children you should look and see how close the nearest school is, and check out the community Center for children's activities. How far will you, and your spouse, have to commute? How far is the nearest grocery store?  Check with the school board if your children are able to attend the schools.  Being near a school doesn't necessarily mean your kids can attend.
 
3) What are the neighbours like? Are other houses on the street tidy and well maintained? What sort of demographic is the neighbourhood? A family with small children is more likely to want a quiet neighbourhood with other young families, where as a young couple may want something more urban, with better night life.
 
4) Is the property private? You don't want to buy a house, only to realize your neighbours window looks right into your bathroom!
 
5) Check the layout, and make sure it is right for your family. A family with small kids is more likely to want all bedrooms on same floor. However, if you have teenagers, or are planning on using a bedroom as a home office, you will likely want those rooms on a different floor.
 
6) Check out the exterior too! Real estate photos don't often show the entire property, so you want to take a walk around the houses exterior. Check for any signs of trouble, such as cracks in the foundation, water damage or sunken sections of ground.
 
7) Is the house light and airy? You want a house with nice "flow", an open feeling layout which doesn't feel cramped. Natural light is also a huge bonus! Not only will you feel better, but you will save on electricity by not needing to turn on so many lights.
 
8) Closets and storage are very important! Most people have at least a few items that need to be stored (holiday decorations, winter coats, etc.) Make sure the house matches your storage needs, and that the closets are large enough. This is especially true for children's rooms, as closets often do double duty as toy chests.
 
9) Always Check around in the utility room.  Marijuana Grow Operations are common in Calgary and many have not ever been identified.  Check around the main power panel for signs of power lines being tampered with.  Check the water main feed before the meter to see if any changes have been done.  Look at the exhaust vents on the furnace and hot water tank to see if they have been altered with.  These things may not indicate a former grow operation, but will let you know if the home requires further inspection.
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As you prepare for the big move or are already settling into a new home most of your possessions are probably boxed up. This can prove a logistical challenge when it comes to cooking dinner. For those of you who can't don't want to eat Take Out for the next week, here are some easy, one dish recipes to help you during your transition.

Easy Chicken Curry

This is a staple of my grandmothers. All you will need to prepare this dish is two pots (one for rice, on for the curry), a cutting board, a sharp knife and a large spoon for stirring.

Ingredients:

- 1 Jar pre-made curry sauce (Sharwoods is my favourite, easily found in the Indian food isle)
- 1 pre-roasted chicken or 3-4 cooked chicken breasts. Chicken should be cut into bit sizes pieces.
- rice
- chopped vegetables (peas, lentils, cauliflower etc.) (optional)

1) prepare your rice. There is an excellent guide here: http://dish.allrecipes.com/how-to-cook-rice/. If you don't have the time, energy or utensils to cook rice you can also buy microwaveable rice in the rice section of your grocery store.

2) Cook your chicken, then add your vegetables and your sauce. Pre cooked, frozen vegetables can be added right away, but raw vegetables may require being pre-steamed if you like your vegetables quite soft. Lentils must be pre-soaked.

3) Heat the sauce with you chicken and vegetables. Stir regularly, and allow the sauce's flavour to permeate the chicken and vegetables.

4) Serve on a bed of rice. This dish pairs well with steamed vegetables

Beans on Toast

An English classic! Hearty and easy to make. You will need a pot, a can opener, a toaster or frying pan, and possibly a cheese grater. You can also buy pre-shredded cheese, or skip the cheese entirely.

Ingredients:

- can of beans (beans with tomato sauce is the traditional)
- cheddar cheese (grated) (optional)
- bread for toast
- butter (optional)

1) Open the can of beans beans and pour it into the pot. Heat until bubbling. Add cheese if desired.

2) Toast the bread. You can either use a toaster, or if that is packed you can butter the bread and fry it in a frying pan.

3) You can now decide if you want to use our toast to scoop up your beans, or pour the beans on to of the toast and eat it with a knife and fork. Both ways are acceptable, but pouring the beans on the toast can make the toast soggy. This recipe pairs well with raw veggies.

Pan fried Pierogis and Sausage

This easy meal requires only one frying pan and a spoon/flipper for stirring and serving.

Ingredients:

- Pierogis (fresh or frozen). Typical varieties include cheese and potato, bacon and potato etc.
- sausage
- butter

1) First, fry the sausage. You can either cook it whole or cut it into bite sized pieces first. Save the sausage grease in the pan

2) Fry the pierogis in the sausage grease, adding butter if needed. The pierogis should be a pale golden colour and the outside should be crispy. If you don't cook them long enough the inside will still be cold. The butter and/or sausage grease will help to brown them.

3) Serve. This recipe pairs well with either cooked veggies or a green salad.

Vegetable Omelet

Who says you can't have breakfast for dinner? This recipe is perfect for using up the last of the eggs and fresh vegetables before you move! All you need is a frying pan, a mixing bowl, a mixing spoon/spatial and a flipper. You will also need a knife and a cutting board of your vegetables are not pre cut.

Ingredients:

- eggs
- cheese (grated)
- milk (optional)
- assorted chopped vegetables (ie: peppers, onions, spring onions, chives, parsley, tomatoes etc.)
- salt and pepper (optional but recommended)

1) Crack your eggs into the mixing bowl. Add the grated cheese and the chopped veggies. Mix thoroughly. Add one approximately one table spoon of milk or water for each egg. Milk will give you denser eggs, water will give you fluffier eggs.

2) Pre heat the frying pan. Pour in egg mixture once pan is hot. Stir consistently till eggs are entirely cooked.

This dish pairs well with fruit salad or a hearty vegetable or bean salad.

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Did you know that many ordinary items found in your pantry or fridge can also double as cleaning ingredients? To help keep your home spotless try these handy tips that are easy on the environment and your budget.
 
1) Use Vinegar as a mild disinfectant 
 
Add a half cup of vinegar to a litre of warm water for an easy and gentle cleaning solution. Works well on all wipeable surfaces.
 
2) Use vinegar as fabric softener 
 
Whether you want something gentler or just discovered you are out of fabric softener in the middle of doing laundry vinegar can help! Add half a cup to your washing machine for gentle softness without the strong scent. Simply pour in a top loader, or pour into the fabric softener compartment of a front loader.
 
3) Use lemon juice as bleach
 
Avoid the harshness of bleach by swapping it out for lemon juice. To keep your whites bright simply add lemon juice to your next load of whites. Simply pour in a top loader, or pour into the bleach compartment of a front loader.
 
4) Baking Soda Scrub
 
To tackle yellowing grout simply mix up a paste with baking soda. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of baking soda to a table spoon each of water and lemon juice. Using an old tooth brush you can now scrub away those ugly stains. For a more potent mix, substitute a cap full of bleach for the lemon juice.
 
5) Freshen stinky shoes with baking soda and your freezer 
 
Conquer stinky odour simply and effectively. Place your shoes in a sturdy ziplock bag or Tupperware container and place them in the freezer overnight. This will kill any bacteria that may be causing the odour. If the smell persists then liberally sprinkle the soles with baking soda and allow the shoes to stand for 24 hours. Use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to deodorize the sides of the shoes.
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Whether you are fixing up your home before it goes on the market or making your new home your own you don't want to forget about the bathroom. Rarely thought about, this often used space is an important one. Here are some important tips for when you choose to remodel
 
1) Choose appropriate materials 
 
The bathroom gets a lot of use, and as such the surfaces need to be durable. Porcelain is always a safe bet, and can be found in a variety of colours and textures to suit your style.
 
2) Choose appropriate colours and lighting 
 
Bathrooms are often small, so you will want to avoid anything that makes them seem cramped. Choosing bright or light colours will help to make the space feel bigger. If you have your heart set on dark, bold colours you can still incorporate them by doing things like tiling the floor or backsplash in that colour, choosing it as your shower curtain or painting a feature wall. For a feature wall, pick one with a window or the shower so it doesn't feel overpowering.
 
3) Tub, Shower or Both?
 
You want to create a space that you will actually use. If you aren't really going to use the tub you may consider ditching it in favour of a more spacious shower. Then again, if you have a dog or small children the bathtub may be essential. Base your choice on what you will actually use. If you are looking to sell consider a bathtub/shower combo (room permitting) since you want to appeal to as many people as possible.
 
4) Lighting
 
You want the room to be well lit, using both natural lighting sources and artificial ones. Natural light from a discrete window can make the lighting less harsh. Opt for a frosted window, or a window with a curtain light enough to allow light in while still maintaining privacy.
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So you have decided to sell your home and you are prepping for your home to go on the market. Here are some handy tips to help entice potential buyers.

 
1) Half empty closets 
 
The point of an open house is to show off your home's assets and convince potential buyers to become definite buyers. To show your home in its best light avoid any clutter, especially in places people expect it like storage rooms and closets. By keeping these areas tidy (an ideally almost empty) you make the space seem bigger and more enticing.
 
2) Hide your pets 
 
Not everyone loves animals. To avoid putting off potential buyers ( and reduce clutter) put away any pet related items, especially things like pet food and litter boxes, which smell. Arrange for a pet sitter or animal play date for the day, hide Fluffy's litter box and Fido's ratty tennis ball and be sure to vacuum up any pet hair!
 
3) Don't overdue the upgrades 
 
Remember, you are planning on leaving and you don't really know what the next family to live in this home is like yet. So while you may want the marble countertops they may not. Doing some touch ups is fine, but don't pour money in unnecessarily. You may not get a good return on the investment, and the new home owners may redo your renos anyways.  A general rule of thumb is you will receive most of your investment back on Kitchens and bathrooms.  While the other upgrades may not result in a positive net return on your investment, they will enhance the saleability of your property.
 
4) Make it neutral
 
When potential buyers go to an open house they are picturing what it would be like if they lived there instead of you. To help them get into this mind set make your house as neutral as possible. Hide any family photos, take down the mechanical singing fish from the wall and (as mentioned before) hide any evidence of pets. This also helps reduce clutter and make them space feel more spacious.
 
5) Don't forget the kitchen!
 
People spend a lot of time in their kitchens, so make sure yours is up to snuff!  Dated or unattractive kitchen can drastically reduce the price point of your home. Invest in a coat of fresh paint and make sure your cupboards, light fixtures and counter tops don't look dated.
 
6) Always be ready for a surprise showing
 
You never know when a potential buyer may ask to see your home. To avoid a last minute panic keep your home in "open house standby mode". Don't leave dirty dishes in the sink, dirty laundry on the floor or let the bathrooms and kitchen get dirty. Do a quick clean each day in the off chance your realtor calls and asks to show your home on short notice.
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Your new home has been purchased, the keys are in your hand and you have started to unpack. Now it is time to meet your neighbours and get involved in your community. Here are some handy tips to get you started.
 
1) Check out the community centre 
 
Especially if you want you and your family to get to know other families in the neighbourhood then check out the local community centre. If you have kids consider signing them up for a class or a sports team so they can meet the other kids in their neighbourhood and form new friendships.
 
2) Host a block party 
 
One thing that always brings people together is food! If space allows, set up the barbecue, buy some hot dogs/hamburgers/veggie burgers etc and print off some invitations. Slip these in your neighbours mailboxes. In order to cut down on your costs and ensure there is enough food for everyone who attends consider hosting your block party as a potluck.
 
3) Get involved!
 
Is the local soccer team looking for a new coach? Do you think kids in the neighbourhoods would benefit from an art class? Talk to the staff at the community centre and see about getting involved.
 
4) Take a class or join a club
 
Consider signing up for a class or joining a club that matches your interests. Especially if you are in a new city where you don't know anyone this is a great way to meet people and make new friends.
 
5) Attend a local fair or event
 
This is a great way to meet people who share your interests. Calgary has lots of events such as the Calgary Children's Festival, Folk Fest, the Sled Island Music Festival, the Calgary Stampede and Adult's Only Night at Telus Spark. For a list of local events and activities try websites like http://www.todocanada.ca/things-to-do-calgary-this-weekend/
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