Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Egg of Columbus

Mayfair at night, Rosedale Park 2011

Friday night at Mayfair

Mayfair 2011 was one of those weekends when things just clicked. The rides were great, everyone had a good time, the weather held up (till close to the end!)… but the big news has to be the first Friday night Mayfair in about half a century.

Joanne PauliOn that Friday evening in Rosedale Park, the Beer Garden was packed with families and neighbours, and lights on the carnival rides lit up the sky. That night, and through the next day, scores of people said to me, “Why didn’t we think of this before?” An old phrase popped into my mind, “the egg of Columbus,” but I admit I had to look it up to be sure what it meant…

The story is that when Spanish nobles told him that anyone could have discovered the Indies, Columbus challenged the assembled group to make an egg stand on its end without any prop. When they gave up, he tapped the end gently and stood the egg on its broken end. “You see, my lords,” Columbus said, “it is easy, now that it is done.”

Months of planning

The Mayfair’s Eve Friday Preview took months of planning and a lot of committee work to get off the ground. When I first shared my idea on a cold January evening at Mooredale House, I was delighted to get enthusiastic support from my Mayfair Committee (these were the key volunteers who would be doing the extra work!). From there, we went to Mooredale’s President, Lewis Reford. Lewis approached the North Rosedale Ratepayers Association to get their support, and together our groups developed a plan that would be fair to the residents living near the park.

I particularly want to thank our BBQ grill volunteers, our ticket sellers and our treasury staff, all of whom stepped up to do the extra hours to make our Friday night happen. Many of these same volunteers were back early the next morning, for their regular shifts at the “Saturday Mayfair.” You were all terrific!

Community spirit

Each year, Mayfair has two purposes: it’s a fundraiser for Mooredale, and also a neighbourhood fair that strengthens our community and provides a terrific experience for our children. Mayfair 2011 was a financial success, and also a great community event. Mayfair wouldn’t be possible without an army of volunteers. There were scores of students, many of them earning their community service hours. We also had hundreds of adult volunteers, some of them dividing their time between supervising their own children, and helping with the event. I heard from several adults who were “returning” to Mayfair as volunteers this year, having last attended as children. This was the 66th annual Mayfair in Rosedale Park, and it showed that our community spirit is alive and well!

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GTA Market Report – May 18, 2011

Toronto monthly sale prices May 2011

Prices up, volumes growing this spring

Toronto home prices continued their climb in the first two weeks on May, 2011. The GTA average sale price for resale homes reached $486,223, about 8% higher than in the comparable period in 2010.

Numbers of home sold this spring have stayed below the volumes of last year… but expect that to change soon. Last year, sales volumes dropped after May 2010, while it’s likely that this year’s quantities will remain steady as new listings are brought onto the market in response to the strong sale prices.

“The average home selling price has been growing at a faster rate over the last two months. This is not surprising given that the number of homes available for sale has been down substantially in comparison to 2010. Increased competition between buyers for available listings has prompted enhanced upward pressure on home prices,” explained Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Mayfair in Rosedale Park May 13-14, 2011

The Cannonball Ride, at mayfair this weekend in Rosedale Park

"Look at me!!"

Worlds Finest Shows were already in the park today, setting up the big carnival rides. Mayfair starts up in Rosedale Park on Friday evening, May 13, at 5:00 p.m., with rides, BBQ food, and live jazz in the Steam Whistle Beer Garden. Then, Saturday morning, the whole show really gets going at 9:00 a.m., with midway games and all the hoopla of Mayfair in full swing.

While the biggest and tallest rides get most of the attention, there’s another set of rides that play an important role too. The “kiddie rides,” like the little cars and the merry-go-round, are classic rites of passage for generations of children. Can you think back to your first visit to a fair? Some of us would have to admit that we were pretty terrified about getting into one of those cars by ourselves. Our grown-up would hand us over to a strange man who would reach across and snap a threatening metal bar in place, making sure we didn’t escape from the contraption. Parents would stand along the sidelines, waving and taking pictures, while we would try to be brave and smile, all the while holding on fiercely to the handlebar so that we didn’t topple out on the turns!

Mayfair has four kiddie rides this year, all tried-and-true challenges for those small adventurers who are still too young for Canada’s Wonderland, or the Ex. Parents will be standing anxiously, beaming bright smiles as their little ones come around the turn each time. You’ll see the ones who start out cautiously, and then get bolder and more jubilant as they master each circuit of the track!

Other “kiddie” attractions at Mayfair include the classic Fish Pond – the same metal trough that their parents may have fished from a generation ago – and the Art Tent, staffed by volunteers from the Avenue Road Arts School. Parents should also steer their kids to the Ontario Science Centre Tent. OSC staff will draw out your child’s sense of wonder with hands-on activities that including making a comet, and experimenting with planets on a rope… Making the mysteries of space into something you can touch.

Mayfair on Friday evening?

Mayfair on Friday evening?

Mayfair on Friday evening? Count me in!

It’s true… We’re having a “Mayfair’s Eve Preview” on Friday, May 13, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It won’t be the full-bore blast of the Saturday Mayfair, but it will be fun! Here’s what will be happening on Friday evening:

– Carnival rides! All the big rides from World’s Finest Shows will be up and running. 

– The Steam Whistle Beer & Wine Garden! Lots of seating, so this will be a great place for class reunions and neighbourhood get-togethers in the park.

– The Mayfair BBQ! Featuring gourmet ribs from Summerhill Market, on Friday night only! (Also, Webers burgers, and premium nitrite-free hot dogs for the kids.)

– Jazz in the park! The Bob Clegg Jazz Band will be on the main stage, performing from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Special rides bonus this year

Since this is the first year we’re doing the Friday evening rides, we’ve decided your kids can pick up their ride-all-day bracelets and use them on Friday evening, and still come back for more rides the next day (using the same bracelet!) And you can also buy tickets at the park, to use on rides, food, drinks, french fries, and candy floss.

Family-friendly beer garden

There’s no cover charge for the Beer Garden, and you can bring your kids in with you. (Obviously, SmartServe rules will be strictly enforced, by the trained professionals from Steam Whistle Brewing.) A perfect time to relax, enjoy some gourmet ribs and a beer, feed the family, and enjoy the jazz, and hang out with some friends and neighbours. See you at the park!

GTA Market Report – May 5, 2011

Toronto home sales to April 2011

Tighter market pushes up prices in April

Toronto home sale prices in April continued this year’s upward trend. The 9,041 sales of existing homes accounted for 62 per cent of new listings during the month – up substantially from 53 per cent in April 2010. Tighter conditions resulted in the average April selling price growing by nine per cent annually to $477,407.

Market conditions tightened markedly over the last year. “The number of listings has been below expectations so far this year. Increased competition between home buyers has led to an accelerating annual rate of price growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “The strong price growth experienced in April should result in more listings and more balanced market conditions.”

The warmer weather typically encourages a greater number of new listings in Toronto. Pent-up demand this year will probably mean that sale prices will remain steady even with more listings. At the same time, it’s likely that the price increase for 2011 has mostly been registered in the first four months.

Mortgage rates

Fixed-rate five-year mortgages are currently being advertised at 3.99%. Five-year variable rate mortgages are around 2.25%. These continue to be very attractive values, and may encourage more first-time buyers to enter the market this summer.