I saw my first Christmas tree on the roof of a car last weekend and I thought, is it that time already? This is a seasonal chore that I really enjoy and it also brings back some great memories. When I was a young boy my father acquired our Christmas tree in many different ways. Sometimes we would just go to the parking lot at the grocery store where we would buy a pre-cut tree or we would go to a tree farm and cut our own. One very memorable year was when money was very scarce for us so my Dad decided we would go out into the woods and cut down a tree. Well, Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree had nothing on us!

When my Dad brought the tree into the house my Mom said, “What am I supposed to do with that?” Throw some decorations on it and it will be fine was his response. After my Mom did the best she could, she asked my Dad to tie the tree to the wall because she felt it was so crooked and uneven that for sure it would fall over. My Dad said, “Not a chance. It is fine the way it is.” My Dad left to work the night shift and sure enough around 8:30 in the evening down came the tree with ornaments smashing and lights flashing. It took a long time for my Mom to forgive my Dad for that one.

My wife’s family has always made the Christmas tree cutting a great family outing with all the children and grandchildren. It was always a lot of fun for the kids and it was a challenge to see who could get the best tree. Just for the record, you couldn’t choose the first tree, because you had to check out almost every tree at the tree farm. The only time we would choose one of the first trees was if the weather was too harsh. As the children got a little older we would use them as markers. Sarah you stay with this tree and make sure nobody takes it, Ali you stay with this one, Clayton you stay here. The problem with that method is sometimes it is difficult to find your way back to your kid. So now you have the parents walking around calling out their children’s names and saying “where are you?”

When talking about Christmas trees I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my wife’s passion for Christmas. When it comes to our tree it has to be BIG!!! So big in fact, that last year our tree was so full and beautiful that I had to tie it down in two different places as well as screw the tree stand into the floor so it would stay in place. We have enough ornaments in our house to decorate about four trees. Our children all have their own ornaments that we have given them over the years at Christmas. We have even had discussions about getting more than one tree. One year I made the mistake of suggesting an artificial tree. I thought my family was going to hang me up like a piece of mistletoe!!! So whatever your preference is in your house, enjoy your tree trimming experience and I wish everyone All the Best this holiday season.

This blog is dedicated to my wonderful Mother –in –law Edith Fitzhenry who passed away last month. This holiday tradition of cutting down the Christmas tree was one of her favourite holiday activities and in her memory we will continue with this great family tradition.

What I Like About Hamilton!

Gary and I decided that we would both write about this topic.  We may both now live in Hamilton, but one got here by chance and one has never lived anywhere else. If you read Gary’s blog last week, you know he is a transplant from the Peterborough area.

The interesting thing is that we both like Hamilton for many of the same reasons, the variety of architecture, the many forms of entertainment, the many recreational choices available, just to name a few. In addition to these points, I like Hamilton for a number of other reasons too.

Here are a few of them:

I like the fact that Hamilton offers the big city conveniences with the small town feel. For example, I like going to the grocery store and actually meeting people I know, some of whom I grew up with that have remained or returned to the old neighbourhood to raise their own family.

I like the fact that Hamilton is a compilation of smaller communities. Consider at this time of year how many local tree lighting ceremonies there are, or festivals to attend with the family. A variety of events happen year round, not just at the holiday season.

I like the fact that Hamilton is a caring community, cleaning up the waterfront and creating a park we and future generations can enjoy year round, whether it be walking, cycling, dragon boating, or whatever your pleasure might be.

I like that fact that we are home to the Royal Botanical Gardens.

I like the fact we have a world renowned Medical Centre and Children’s Hospital.

I like the fact we have a first class University, McMaster.

I like the fact that so many ill informed people think Hamilton is all about Steel, when we are all about the people that make up our communities, and who have over time made Hamilton the multi-faceted city that it is.

I could keep going, but I think you might be getting my drift.

And finally, what I like about Hamilton is that it is home, with all the great things that go with that word.

I am proud to claim Hamilton as my hometown.

You’ve heard from both Gary and me now about what we like about Hamilton, so tell us what you like about your community, or tell us what we forgot to mention about Hamilton!


I was born and raised in Peterborough, the beautiful city in the heart of the Kawartha Lakes District in Central Ontario. My first impression of the City of Hamilton came when we travelled to Niagara-on-the-Lake to visit my Aunt. As we drove over the Burlington Skyway Bridge (which was a toll bridge at the time) I remember asking my Dad why the factories we were looking at were so dirty and why there was so much smoke. After all we did have factories in Peterborough, but they were nothing like what we saw in Hamilton. People are still experiencing that same first impression today.

Back in 1981 when I found out I was transferred to Hamilton for my job I remember thinking, why me?  If I wanted to keep my job I had to make the best of it. So after moving to Hamilton I started to explore the city and the surrounding towns such as Dundas, Stoney Creek, Ancaster. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

I like the fact that Hamilton is such a diverse city with many great family neighbourhoods. You can find any type of housing to suit your needs such as older homes with all the character and charm in the lower city, homes of the fifties and sixties on the mountain near the brow, new homes on the south mountain, Binbrook, Ancaster, and Dundas. And don’t forget the modern condos and lofts in the downtown core and many more that are currently under construction.

As I have said in earlier posts Hamilton is surrounded by many beautiful conservation areas within a 15-20 minute drive. If you are looking for that small town feel all you need to do is visit Dundas, Ancaster village or old Stoney Creek.

Hamilton is a happening city. The art scene is constantly growing, we’ve been called Hollywood North because of all the films being shot here, there is limitless dining options (some of which have been featured on TV), Supercrawl on James Street North, and the list goes on and on.

No matter what your lifestyle is, you can find everything you need, in the Greater Hamilton Area. These are just a few of the things I like about Hamilton and why I am proud to be a Hamiltonian!


Giving Back

To coin a phrase… Nobody does it better…(for all you Bond fans), but I am referring to REALTORS® when it comes to giving back to the community. Sorry about the Bond thing, but the release of the next movie is just around the corner.

Each year our company organizes any number of events to raise money to sponsor families during the Christmas season, whether it be buying gifts to ensure Santa has not forgotten children, or providing funds to help with dinners over the holiday season. We also collect for Neighbour to Neighhour throughout the year, to help out our community.

But, I believe the number one Giving Back that REALTORS® in the Hamilton and Burlington area participate in is the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton Burlington’s Charity Auction. Every year, Volunteer REALTORS® and the staff at the local association organize a blockbuster event to raise money for the CHML/Y108 Children’s Fund. This year will mark the 24th year that REALTORS® have been helping out. Over the last 23 years, the Auction has raised $650,000 for the Children’s Fund.

Here is the information for this year’s event

Help us help underprivileged children in

the Hamilton-Burlington area

24th Annual Charity Auction and Social 
Supporting the CHML/Y108 Children’s Fund
Thursday, November 22, 2012 
Michelangelo Events Venue & Conference Centre
Doors open at 6 p.m. Live and Silent Auction
Hors d’oeuvres Cash Bar Music & Entertainment
For more details contact Sheila at 
or 905-529-8101 x234

I hope to see you at the event!  There are lots of great silent and live auction items.  Perhaps you can pick up some gifts, or maybe something for yourself.


I know we just got over Halloween but I have already seen the signs of the holiday season. There are many holiday activities in the Greater Hamilton area, Holiday bazaars and Craft Shows, house tours, gift shows, winter activities at our conservation areas to name but a few. One of the best places to search out where all these events are happening is in your local newspaper, or your community newspaper.

Here are a few suggestions to help you find that unique gift.

Saturday November 3, 2012 – 9:00AM

Christmas Bazaar

Burkholder United Church

465 Mohawk Rd. E. Hamilton


Christmas Bazaar

St. Margaret Mary School

25 Brentwood Dr. Hamilton


Christmas Corner Store

Binkley United Church

1570 Main St. W. Hamilton


Saturday November 3, 2012 – 10:00AM

Gift Shoppe and Country Café

Christ Church

92 Highway 8



Saturday November 3-4 2012 – 10:00AM

Ancaster Lions Holiday Gift Show

Ancaster Fair Grounds

If you are looking for Holiday decorating ideas don’t forget the Junior league of Hamilton-Burlington Holiday House Tour. For more information go to their website


If you would like your children to experience the holiday season of days gone by check out the following websites for more information on holiday season activities and tours:

Westfield Heritage Village

Dundurn Castle


So get out there with the entire family and enjoy everything the Greater Hamilton area has to offer this Holiday season.