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What’s On in Toronto this November

Winter is coming and so are the holidays. November feels like the calm before the storm. Before life gets too hectic, make sure you take advantage of the not-yet-horrible weather to check out these upcoming events.

The Toronto Christmas Market, selected as one of the world’s 10 best holiday markets, returns to the Distillery Historic District on Nov. 15. Running every day until Dec. 23, except Mondays, the enchanting market will fill visitors with the cozy holiday spirit (and plenty of warm drinks and yummy food). More: The Toronto Christmas Market

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra invites you to experience the magic of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding universe at Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(tm) in Concert, Nov. 15-17. For the first time ever in Toronto, audiences can watch the fourth Harry Potter movie on the big screen while the TSO performs the movie’s unforgettable score. More: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(tm) in Concert

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre will host the country’s biggest food and drink expo Nov. 22-25. Now in its 24th year, the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo will take visitors on a global food and beverage journey, with plenty of international cuisine, unbelievable delicacies and palate-pleasing wines. More: Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

NoshFest, Toronto’s Jewish Food Festival, will present Toronto’s Chanukah Market on Nov. 25. The daylong celebration of Jewish food and culture will be infused with the holiday spirit, as guests feast on traditional Chanukah treats, shop for gifts and enjoy live entertainment. More: Toronto’s Chanukah Market

‘Sidewalk Toronto’ Offers Smart Solutions for Waterfront Living

Toronto is made up of at least 140 neighbourhoods, but one bold proposal would add a neighbourhood unlike anything Torontonians have ever seen.

Sidewalk Labs, a Google-affiliated company, unveiled in August its plans for an 800-acre slice of land on Toronto’s waterfront. Created in partnership with Waterfront Toronto, a redevelopment agency, the smart-city plan aims to mix “people-centred urban design with cutting-edge technology.”

The visionary proposal includes hexagonal, modular pavement tiles that will not only melt away ice and snow but change colours to alter the flow of traffic. There also won’t be any evidence of the concrete jungle in this smart city; Sidewalk Labs envisions that the Quayside neighbourhood will be made up of timber buildings because wood is more sustainable, “healthier for both construction workers and future occupants,” and cheaper for building.

The planners will protect the wooden buildings and adjacent outdoor spaces by using engineered shades and shelters, or extendable “rain jackets,” to block precipitation. The hope is that the community will remain active and engaged during all four seasons as a result of these climate-controlled public spaces. The plan also includes heated streets, “accordion-like canopies” and the inclusion of Sidewalk Labs technology. (Think digital kiosks that offer free Wi-Fi and real-time transit information.)

The proposal is certainly ambitious, and currently it’s unclear how Sidewalk Labs will execute its vision or secure the funding to bring this neighbourhood of the future to life. A realistic development plan is due by the end of the year.

Downsizing Prep: Common Heirloom Errors

The kids have all moved out. As you approach retirement, you know downsizing is in your future. It’s time to start considering what that will entail.

Realistically, you won’t have room in your new home for everything that has accumulated over the past two or three decades. Don’t make the same mistakes many downsizers do by holding on to items that should be purged.

Before it’s time to move, take stock of what is in your home. Have you kept anything for your kids that they really don’t want? Have an open conversation with your children to determine whether what you consider a precious family heirloom would simply be clutter in your child’s home.

Put the following items at the top of the list to discuss. These are three of the most common things parents keep that their kids would prefer never to inherit.

Books: Even if your children love to read, it’s likely they don’t want your old books (and they probably have their own growing collection they will have to purge some day).

If you suspect any of your books are valuable, do a search online or contact a book antiquarian. Otherwise, consider donating the books to a library or used book store.

Fine dinnerware: Has your child ever used a cup and saucer for morning coffee? Would he or she use silver flatware? For that matter, have you used any of these dishes in the past year?

Children and grandchildren typically don’t want to store multiple place settings of porcelain dishes. Go ahead and sell them to the consignment shop or to a company that offers replacement pieces for consumers seeking specific patterns.

Paper piles: Do you have shoeboxes of greeting cards, letters, and photos stashed under your bed? Piles of paper are overwhelming and nearly impossible for others to sort through.

Before downsizing, go through these papers and say goodbye. Read through cards once more; then recycle them. Scan photos to create digital files, or frame your favourites to pass along. Then get rid of the rest.

Ask an Expert a.k.a. Us!

How long does it take to buy a home?

Home buyers can expect their purchase to take between 30 and 45 days from the time their offer is accepted to the closing date. This is the average time span for normal market conditions.

Of course, there are exceptions. Some buyers are able to get a deal together in less time if they are well-prepared and encounter no issues.

At other times, in hot markets, the high sales activity may slow down the process. Lenders may be swamped with transactions they are trying to push through underwriting. Inspectors and appraisers may have longer lead times for appointments.

Each delay of a day or two can extend the entire process an extra week or more. Your real estate agent can inform you about the current market conditions in your area, so you can plan your home search and your move accordingly.

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