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Hilary Shantz Hilary Shantz, MBA
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Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage



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Archive for January, 2008

Getting a Mortgage Today? Fixed or Variable Rate?

 

Question markThe simple answer to this question is to go variable as more rate cuts by the Bank of Canada are anticipated in the next few months. (See my article last week explaining this.)   Remember you can always lock in at a later date.

 

Just in case you’re new to all this stuff:

 

The discount rate is the interest rate that a bank is charged to borrow short-term funds directly from the central bank (Bank of Canada).

 

The prime rate is the interest rate that commercial banks charge their most credit-worthy customers.

 

Banks in the past would set their variable mortgage rate at 0.9% – 1.0% off prime.  Not today.  They are narrowing the discount so as to improve their profit margin on variable products.

 

I read an article in the Financial Post on the weekend which you might find interesting (reprinted below).  Boris_small5

 

BORIS’ READER’S DIGEST VERSION of Financial Post article:

 

1) The banks are not obligated to lower prime just because the B of C rate has fallen, although most likely they will.

 

2) With rates falling, the banks will recoup some of their losses by reducing the discount off prime that  they give to borrowers.

 

Mortgage: To fix or to float?

Banks expected to get stingier with discounts

Gary Marr, Financial Post  Published: Saturday, January 26, 2008

Would you borrow money from someone if they could change the rate of interest whenever they wanted to?

About 20% of Canadians signing up for new mortgages have been doing just that. One out of every five new mortgages is now a variable rate product tied to prime. Prime is dictated by your bank.

As rates tumbled during this housing cycle, consumers worried about locking into long-term mortgages. The fear of being shut out of the latest rate cut from the Bank of Canada had consumers looking to products with floating interest rates.

Generally, when the central bank cuts rates, your interest rate comes down. But as the global credit crisis has widened, one big question is whether the banks will continue to lower prime with every cut from the country’s central bank.

So far, the answer is a clear yes. The major banks went along with a 25 basis cut from the Bank of Canada this past week and lowered their prime lending rate for customers from 6% to 5.75%.

“The word on the street has been that maybe they wouldn’t drop,” says Don Lawby, chief executive of Century 21 Canada Ltd.

Whether the banks continue to pass on Bank of Canada cuts probably will not change demand for variable rate products, he predicts. One of the reasons he does not think consumers should or will panic is that they always have the option of locking in their rate on a variable rate product.

Most variable rate products sold by the banks include an option that allows you to fix your rate for the remaining term of your mortgage–albeit at a slightly higher rate than you might normally achieve if you did not have a mortgage contract.

“The issue will always be, ‘is the rate I can negotiate for one, two, three or five years better than my current variable rate or not?’ That’s the decision the consumer is going to make. If consumers think rates are going up, they lock in,” says Mr. Lawby.

But the truth is, floating rate mortgages have been rising for months but it has been happening in such a subtle way few people have noticed. A year ago, a consumer could borrow money at 90 basis points off prime. Anybody with that type of deal is now paying 4.85% interest based on the latest cut.

Unfortunately, if you are borrowing today, credit availability has tightened. As the banks’ costs have increased, their profits have narrowed. To deal with the shortfall they cut the discount offered to 50 basis points off prime.

Essentially, they have balked at the Bank of Canada rate cut by cutting the discount. That same variable rate mortgage today will be at 5.25% interest.

Given the shrinking discount and the uncertainty of the banks going along with future rate cuts, does it make sense to continue to have a floating interest rate on your mortgage?

Moshe Milvesky, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, wrote the now widely disseminated study on whether it made sense to lock in your mortgage rate. In the study which looked at decades of interest data, he found consumers did better 88% of the time with a floating rate mortgage.

“It’s the other direction that worries me. If the Bank of Canada lowers rates and they raise prime or the banks arbitrarily raise prime … that’s more worrisome because of unpredictably,” says Mr. Milvesky.

He predicts the banks will probably just get stingier with the discounts they offer rather than not passing along Bank of Canada rate cuts. They can knock the discount down to 10 basis points and few people will get upset, says Mr. Milvesky.

Ultimately, he does not see a sudden rush to fixed rate mortgages but it will open the eyes of consumers. “It makes them aware of the fact that it is the bank that controls their interest rate, not the Bank of Canada,” says Mr. Milvesky.

Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: 3 Comments »

No More Exterminating Critters: New Pesticide Ban in Effect in Oakville

Red dragonfly

Wasp

Upside down ladybug

To illustrate this post, I am featuring some photos of insects taken by my friend Ashley.  It is good news for bugs and humans, oh and dandelions too! 

The new No Pesticides bylaw went into effect January 1, 2008 In Oakville it is now an offence to apply pesticides on lawns.  There are a few exceptions, some of which I list below:

1)  Termite control

2)  Wood preservatives

3)  Exterminating or repelling rodents

4)  Land used for commercial production of food

4)  Buckthorn control

5)  Insect repellent applied on the person

If you break this bylaw, you are liable for a fine of not less than $350 and not more than $5,000 for a first offence, and up to $10,000 for a subsequent offence.

There is a list of permitted substances for use.  These include

For more info visit www.oakville.ca or call the Pesticide by-law Hotline at 905–815–6090.

P.S. Boris says “Hooray!”Boris_small5

 

Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: 4 Comments »

A Little Oakville (Ontario) History Lesson: Understanding Our Roots as a Community

Respecting the Past, Celebrating the Present , Embracing the Future is the Town of Oakville’s motto.

John A. MacDonald bookMy husband Wayne (history major) is currently reading a book entitled John A., the Man who Made Us.  It is a new book about Canada’s first prime minister, by Richard Gwyn, author of The Northern Magus. 

Wayne has been feeding me tidbits of Ontario history such as:

Did you know that in 1820 the population of the entire province of Ontario was 200,000 people? In a few years the Town of Oakville will surpass that in number!

All this talk of Ontario history this week inspired me to write something on how the Town of Oakville evolved. 

Mississauga Indians

Oakville was originally the home territory of the Mississauga Indian tribe who were hunters and fishers.  The Mississauga sold their land to the Crown in 1805 but retained lands at the mouth of the three major rivers emptying into the lake – the Credit RiverSixteen Mile Creek, and Twelve Mile Creek (now called Bronte Creek).

Oakville early settler's homeEarly Settlers Had Hard Life

As in other parts of Ontario, the New Territory was surveyed into lots.  Lines and Concessions created blocks of 1000 acres each, which divided into five settler lots each of 200 acres.  To acquire title to a piece of land the settler was required to clear and fence at least five acres, build a house about 16 by 20 feet, and also clear the road adjacent to his land; it was hard and laborious work as the area was densely wooded!

Willliam Chisholm Purchased Land

Land with waterways was always in demand, for drinking, fish, and for water power to drive grist mills and sawmills.  By 1820, the Mississauga Indians decided to sell their reserved land at the mouth of the Twelve and Sixteen Mile Creeks. The thousand acres at the mouth of the Sixteen were bought by William Chisholm, a successful businessman and politician, for the sum of $4,116!  It was Chisholm’s vision that a town and harbour at the Sixteen would be a center through which goods could flow and grain be exported from farm lands to the north.  

Oakville Harbour

The mouth of the Sixteen was protected by piers and the harbour dredged; a shipbuilding yard was set up (at the north end of Navy Street); further up, the Sixteen was damned for water power and a grist mill/sawmill was built; and the village was surveyed into streets and building lots for tradesmen, mariners and workmen.

What we now know as Oakville Harbor was built with private funds, and for this William Chisholm was authorized to levy duties and tolls on goods arriving and leaving.

Timber, Wheat, and Barrels

The first “crop” produced from the forests was timber, particularly for making barrels.  Staves were produced from the White Oaks of the forest.  Heavier timbers were used for home building and ship building, and exported.

As settlement developed, wheat became the important export, and wheat rolled down the new ‘plank road”,the Seventh Line, (now Trafalgar Road), for shipping from the harbour. 

First Mayor and Strawberries

Lots of strawberries were grown in Oakville OntarioThe village prospered, and in 1857 it was designated a Town (municipality).  Its first Mayor was George King Chisholm, eldest son of Oakville’s founder William Chisholm, who had died in 1842.

When a number of economic factors resulted in a glut of grain and a depletion of oak trees, farmers in the town also turned to fruit production, with strawberries a principal crop.  Strawberries were introduced by John Cross at his farm located where Cross Avenue now stands.  Oakville became known as the strawberry capital of the Canadas.  (For more on how Oakville’s founding fathers provided  names for Oakville streets click here.)  Besides strawberries, other fruit orchards produced apples, pears, and plums.

Summer Visitors from Toronto, Large Estates Built Along the Lakeshore 

Because of its attractive location, style, and pleasant summer weather, Oakville became the destination of summer visitors, for the most part from Toronto, many arriving by steamship.  One of these, the “White Star,” would bring up to 3000 visitors on a single day, giving the Townsfolk opportunities to sell teas, and to provide overnight accommodation.  It became fashionable to “summer in beautiful Oakville”. Soon the lakefront bristled with a few large estates on the lake and more modest cottages, walking distance to the lake.

Early in the 20th century, wealthy city gentlemen, who could commute to their city employment by train, developed the Lakeshore through the construction of more permanent homes, often with large grounds or estates. 

Cars, Paved Highways and Ford Motor Company

old ford carThe automobile reached Oakville for the first time in 1909 but could not be used for commuting until 1916 when Lakeshore Road between Toronto and Hamilton was paved – with cement – for the first time.  But it was not until the Queen Elizabeth Way was opened in 1939 that “easy” commuting became possible; both ways; into Oakville from the cities of Hamilton and Toronto, and to the cities from Oakville.

An early consequence of this was the settling in Oakville of car manufacturer, The Ford Motor Company, which contributed a great deal to the economic prosperity of the Town. 

Incorporating Neighboring Villages

Oakville continued to grow from a sleepy Town to the large municipality it now encompasses, incorporating neighbouring villages, Bronte, Postville, Palermo, Proudfoot’s Hollow, Merton and Sheridan.

That’s enough history for today!  More History of Oakville in further posts.

Want to subscribe for this blog to receive regular updates on Oakville and real estate?  click here.

LIKE THIS POST?  READ ALSO:

Landmark Oakville Historic Home for Sale

Do You Remember When we Ate the Fish In Lake Ontario? New Memorial in Bronte

Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: 6 Comments »

U.S. Home Prices Increase in Some States, Fall in Others

I came across an article from Inman Real Estate News this morning which has some interesting information for Canadians trying to figure out what’s going on south of the border.

A few observations:

1.  Year over year, November 2007 vs. 2006, prices rose in 31 states, and fell in others.

2.  States that experienced larger declines were Florida, Nevada, Arizona, California where prices had risen astronomically during the housing boom.

3.  The chart below gives a quick overview of price increases and decreases in some major cities in the U.S.

4.  Canadian Investors:  Many clients have indicated they want to purchase in the U.S. in the markets where prices are declining, for investment purposes.  This chart gives a good summary of valuable data. 

Statistical area

12-month change Nov. 2007

Honolulu, Hawaii

17.10%

Salt Lake City, Utah

10.53%

San Antonio, Texas

7.48%

Austin-Round Rock, Texas

7.47%

Raleigh-Cary, N.C.

4.62%

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas

4.16%

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

3.53%

Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C.

2.62%

Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash.

2.01%

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.

1.23%

New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.

-0.51%

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich.

-0.79%

Philadelphia, Pa.

-1.00%

Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.

-1.63%

San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.

-2.06%

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.

-2.59%

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.

-3.30%

Denver-Aurora, Colo.

-3.30%

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.

-3.93%

St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.

-4.54%

Boston-Quincy, Mass.

-5.11%

Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla.

-7.23%

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.

-7.77%

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio

-8.72%

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.

-9.19%

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.

-11.42%

Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla.

-11.49%

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, Fla.

-12.11%

Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, Calif.

-12.89%

Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.

-12.96%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.

-13.16%

San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif.

-13.16%

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.

-16.82%

Click here for full article http://www.inman.com/inmanstories.aspx?ID=65908, and source of statistical data.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON REAL ESTATE TRENDS AND INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE, call Hilary at 905-599–3311 or [email protected]

  

Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: No Comments »

Discover Enza Natural Health and Day Spa in Oakville. See Below for Oakville Buzz Discount!

Hot stone massageIt was like stepping out of a cold Canadian winter into an African rain forest… 

Recently I spent four blissful hours at Enza Natural Health Spa in the middle of a very hectic week.  It was time to “turn myself in” and allow the experts to de-stress and re-energize me.  

Having chosen the “Lion Package”, my experience began with the donning of a plush African-themed bathrobe and the opportunity to warm up in the infrared dry heat sauna.  

This was my first experience with a hot stone massage.  It was both relaxing and reinvigorating.  In a softly lit room, my South African therapist, Jenna, performed her healing magic to the enchanting strains of Chopin’s Nocturne and Ravel’s Bolero, the calming sound of water lapping against a distant shore, the occasional chatter of tropical birds.

I was being tansported to a place far, far away…  when Spa Owner Judith Elaine began a hot oil scalp and shoulder massage, with an application of shea butter providing much needed nourishment to skin and hair.

Male lionIn addition to being passionate about health and healing, Judith is an artist and her original paintings of South African flora and fauna adorn the tea room where I floated in, after my treatment, to enjoy several cups of hot South African rooibos tea and taro cookies.

I enjoyed my conversation in the tea room with Judith and the chance to find out more about her, her life in South Africa and how she brings so much of the wisdom and natural healing philosophy from that continent to people here.  Enza is the only south African spa in Canada.

How much did this calming oasis and respite from the rigours of daily life cost me?  A very reasonable price.  Next time I will try the “Giraffe Package” which includes a facial. 

Click here to find out how you can have an “Out of Africa” experience right here in Oakville. Write back and let me know how it goes!

As a benefit to readers of THE OAKVILLE BUZZ, Enza will provide a DISCOUNT OF 10% on your first visit.  Just print off this post and present it at time of purchase.  SAUBONA*!

 *Zulu greeting

Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: No Comments »

Update on New Oakville Hospital: Construction to Commence in 2010

Hospital visitationA question I get frequently when I ask Oakville residents what they would like to find out more about on The Oakville Buzz is “Give us news on the new hospital”.

1.  The new hospital will be located at the corner of Dundas Street West and 3rd Line in Oakville

2.  In March 2007 the province donated 50 acres of provincially owned lands for the new hospital to be built.

3.  The new state of the art facility will have more beds than Oakville’s existing hospital and will provide a full range of health services, including acute care, pediatrics, surgical care, mental health programs and complex continuing care.

4.  Local fundraising for the new hospital has begun and construction work on the facility is expected to start in 2010.

 

Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: No Comments »

Canadian Interest Rates Anticipated to Go Down Further/No Cause for Alarm for Canadian Home Prices

Canadian Interest Rates To Fall Further

Home and keysAs world stock markets roil and the spotlight turns on U.S. Fed Chairman Bernanke to follow up Tuesday’s sharp 75 basis point rate cut with another cut next week, Canadians are wondering what will happen to interest rates here at home.

Last week I was hearing rumors that even if the Bank of Canada were to cut rates, some or all of the major Canadian banks might break precedent and not follow suit.  However the relatively more conservative 1/4 point cut in rates this week by the Bank of Canada did result in all major banks reducing their rates accordingly, impacting mortgage rates.

The Bank of Canada has communicated that they are prepared to cut rates further.  A communique I read today from the Toronto Dominion Bank Financial Group said we can anticipate a further 50 basis point (1/2%) rate reduction on March 4th with the potential of another 25 basis point cut on April 22nd.

This is good news for homebuyers. 

Canadian Home Prices:  No Cause for Alarm

The TD communique also indicated that despite tighter credit conditions, strength in domestic demand is expected to remain supported by continued income growth associated with increases in commodity prices since October, which has led to further gains in our terms of trade. 

With respect to Canadian home prices, and the rationale for their 50 basis point prediction I quote from today’s TD report:

Home prices remain on the upswing in most major urban centers, and there is little concern that the Canadian housing market will start to mirror the slump in the U.S. In fact, we believe national home prices will rise at a rate of 5-7% in 2008, compared to a U.S. market that will likely absorb losses of around 5% or more. However, we believe that by the next meeting (i.e March 4th), data on the U.S. economy will provide a smoking gun, showing clear signs of a sharp economic slowdown. Given that inflationary pressures remain well in hand, a 50 basis point cut would provide much-needed insurance against the degree to which a U.S. economic downturn would lap onto Canadian shores.

Certainly, inflation will not provide a barrier to a more aggressive Bank of Canada. The central bank has indicated that increased competitive pressures in the retail sector and the one percentage point GST cut at the start of the year will cause both core and total CPI inflation to fall below 1.5% by the middle of this year before returning to their 2% target by the end of 2009.

Looking to buy or sell?  Call Hilary at 905–599–3311 or click here to contact Hilary for more market information.

Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: No Comments »

Attention Builders and Homesellers: What’s Hot and What’s Not for Homebuyers

Builders and homesellers, make sure you are hitting the sweet spot with buyers

Here are latest home trends for 2008 revealed in annual survey by Mark Nash, real estate author, (Nash surveys 886 real estate agents in U.S. and Canada).

What’s Hot  in 2008

Luxurious Master bathroomDestination Bathrooms  The master bath has evolved into “the home getaway with multiple task areas, featuring freestanding or “throne” bathtubs in the center of a soaking room, multiple flat screens TVs and wireless Internet so you don’t miss anything as you move from bathing to grooming to lounging. If the bathroom is outfitted for serving bars, wine coolers, espresso machines and grazing snacks, all the better.  (Definitely seeing this trend in Oakville luxury homes)

Pet Showers  The kitchen or work sink is out for the dog bath. Dedicated dog showers are an emerging trend. Be it in a mud or utility room, garage corner or basement, dog lovers want a place to clean their pooches after a visit to the neighborhood dog park. Common dog showers feature a 3′ x 3′ shower base, surrounded by ceramic tile 4 feet up the wall. Pet showers are all about convenience: Fido can step in, eliminating the master’s need to lift. (Seeing these in many $1 million+ homes in South East Oakville)

Monitoring and Controlling with Hand-held Devices. Forgot to turn off the coffee maker, close or open the blinds, turn the heat down or the air conditioning up? The latest technology lets hand-held devices open or close the blinds, turn lights on or off, or let Fido out the electronic pet door. The home owner can be around the corner or across the country and still determine what’s going on at home.

Home Elevators  Catering to the aging baby boomer population, home elevators are another trend. You don’t have to move or downsize when you get older. Simply have a mini-elevator installed and you’re all set for the future. No more unsightly and very 1970s chair-on-the-rail-system for these financially flush, forward-thinking home buyers.

Outdoor Living Spaces Nash says outdoor living spaces that look interior are a very hot item for 2008. These spaces are decked out with massive fireplaces, flooring, walkways, custom kitchens and even artwork, fabrics and finishes that will hold up against Mother Nature.

New Home Energy Options The environment is a big part of the home scene. Eco-friendly homeowners are also looking for new home energy options. More and more builders will be employing out of the ordinary energy sources, such as solar panels and windmills. Using materials and systems that help protect the environment are not just a fad, notes Nash.   “Home buyers are asking about how their potential new home can save the planet,” he says. “It’s more than a trend, it’s a convenient truth.”

Off-grid homes. Solar panels, windmills and inverters are here to stay in a big way. With brown-outs and power line-damaging storms on the increase, buyers in 2008 will look for hybrid home-energy options. Even being partially off-grid beats getting expensive power from coal-fired utilities to these eco-energy users.

Floating homes. If your ‘hood has calm, protected waters, you’ll soon have floating homes that look like conventional, soil-situated structures. From Louisiana to Vancouver, floating homes are being chosen as primary home. Plus, watching sunsets are a more enjoyable and greener alternative to lawn mowing.

Concealed appliances  Buyers bypass matching cabinet panels that are used to disguise the ubiquitous refrigerator and dishwasher. Hinged and pocket doors are the latest way to integrate visually those boxy necessities and make the kitchen more non-traditional and less functional-looking.

What’s Not

Formal Living Rooms  The living room belongs to a bygone era. The great room has officially replaced the traditional living room. Homeowners are favouring more of an informal open space that combines the eating, cooking and living space in one. Nash refers to the living room as the “forced museum”. (In viewing homes with buyers, we often see the living room being used as work-out space, pool room, home office, craft or hobby place.

Soaring cathedral ceilings are now being seen as wasteful. Buyers prefer ceilings between nine and 11 feet in height.  If you can’t add a loft in a soaring room, “downsize me” height-wise, buyers say.

Bigger Is Not Better  Goodbye to what Nash calls the “McMansions”. Huge homes that boast massive square footage are out. In 2008, homeowners are looking for quality, not quantity. Nash says size doesn’t matter as much as quality finishes.  (On that note, we are seeing custom rebuilds in Oakville sit on the market if finishings, fixtures, workmanship are not of a high standard.)

Mosaic Tile and Retro-70’s Look  Mosaic tile is on its way out.  Intricate, detailed tile is very costly and time-intensive to remove and it really reflects the previous owner’s taste. In general the retro-70s chic look is becoming a thing of the past.

Need help getting your home ready for sale? Click here to Contact Hilary and her home-selling team today!

Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: 4 Comments »

News on North Oakville Development: OMB Gives Approval for Greenbelt

Green Victory for Oakville!As an interested resident and local REALTOR, I attended some of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearings for the North Oakville Secondary Plan in October at Town Hall.

This week the OMB gave approval for the preservation of an extensive network of linked natural heritage corridors as the “first priority?. This ruling means that 900 hectares, or more than one-third of the 3,400 hectares of developable land, will be preserved as green space.
The planned system of linked open spaces, woods and wildlife corridors, along water systems such as Bronte Creek and Sixteen Mile Creek and their tributaries, preserves an area 20 per cent bigger than New York’s Central Park, bigger also than Vancouver’s Stanley Park and almost double the size of Toronto’s High Park.

The OMB ruling marks the end of a decade-long battle by town planners and environmentalists who fought to ensure the proposed development would adhere to the planning principles of “new urbanism,” particularly in being more transit- and pedestrian-friendly.

The town has won a series of successive, hard-fought victories over developers who initially tried to fight the Natural Heritage System idea of planning at the OMB a few years ago and then abandoned the battle.

Most of the developers settled with the town in August, but a handful continued to fight, asserting their right to develop lands the plan had designated for green space.

Until now, the notion of “linked natural heritage” corridors has typically been an afterthought in planning GTA developments – or at least secondary to the goal of putting in as many housing units as possible.
The OMB ruling is expected to have ramifications across the GTA, especially in other high-profile developments in the works such as the provincially planned community for about 70,000 people on the Seaton Lands in north Pickering.

Some believe it may also play a significant role in how the province’s internationally lauded Places to Grow Act is implemented. The act is an attempt to contain urban sprawl by promoting intensification and growth in already built-up urban areas in the Golden Horseshoe.

Much of the information in this post came from a longer article in The Toronto Star entitled Hard Won Green Victory for Oakville, January 17, 2008.

Should you be interested, the Town of Oakville website contains full details of the proposed North Oakville Secondary Plan including maps.

Stay posted for upcoming article: The Oakville Buzz Interviews Planning Director, North Oakville, Town of Oakville

Related Posts:

Oakville Development North of Dundas: What?s Happening?

Do You Remember When We Ate The Fish in Lake Ontario: New Memorial in Bronte

 

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Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: No Comments »

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times/ Happy New Year from Your Oakville REALTOR!

Forest behind I awoke this New Year’s Day to a mantle of white on the trees behind our home and the comforting silence of snow falling.   A gentle start to a New Year. 

Nature has inspired me to pass on excerpts from Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue, which I read over the holidays.  O’Donohue, an Irish poet, scholar and philosopher writes with an arrestingly original, cadenced quality, while culling enduring truths from ancient Celtic tradition. 

He reminds us of things that we should watch for, and may have let go of, in our modern way of living.

I appreciate O’Donohue not just for what he says, but for how he says it. Even beyond his refreshing use of words is the lyrical quality of his spoken voice, which I had the good fortune of hearing on a radio program a few years ago. 

On Being Yourself:

“The shape of each soul is different. There is a secret destiny for each person.  When you endeavor to repeat what others have done or force yourself into a preset mold, you betray your individuality… We will find ourselves more frequently at that place of childlike discovery…that place of ease, light, and celebration.  The false burdens fall away.  We come into rhythm with ourselves.  Our clay shape gradually learns to walk beautifully on this magnificent earth.”

On Competition:

“The world of quantity is always haunted by competition. If I have less, you have more.  But in the world of soul, the more you have, the more everyone has. The rhythm of soul is the surpise of endless enrichment.”

Having has Become the Sinister Enemy of Being:

“The motor and agenda of greed is always the same.  Joy is possession but sadly possession is ever restless.  It has an inner insatiable hunger.  Greed is poignant because it is always haunted and emptied by future possibility.  It can never engage presence.  This greed is now poisoning the earth and impoverishing its people.  Having has become the sinister enemy of being.”

On Modern Language:

“The fast-food metaphor provides a deep clue to the poverty of sensibility in modern culture.  This is also mirrored in our use of language.  Many of the words we use are of the fast-food spiritual variety.  These words are too thin to echo experience; they are too weak to bring the inner mystery of thngs to real expression.  In our rapid and externalized world, language has become ghostlike, abbrieviated to code and label.” 

On Friendship:

“A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.”

On Memory:

“Memory:  Where our vanished days secretly gather”

On Becoming a Poet:

“When you speak from that deep, inner voice, you are really speaking from the unique tabernacle of your own presence.  There s a voice within you that no one, not even you, has ever heard.  Give yourself the opportunity of silence and begin to develop your listening in order to hear, deep within yourself, the music of your own spirit.” 

I believe that many of the things we value most in our high speed and high tech world are beginning to wear thin.  There is a hunger for the spiritual, the slower, more gentle and reflective way of living that our forefathers held onto.  Must we let go of the latter as we pursue the former?

Blessings and inspiration to you for a profoundly meaningful and beautiful 2008 from your Oakville REALTOR. Call Hilary 905–257–3633, or sign up here to receive regular information about Oakville and Real Estate.

 

Authored by hilaryshantz | Discussion: 6 Comments »

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