April in Victoria is Pretty Great

April in Victoria is Pretty Great

Dont Forget This New CRA Tax Rule!!


It is hard not being smug when you live here. Easter weekend was for the most part sunny and warm, but don't tell that to friends or family in Edmonton or Calgary. The climate patterns are all over the map these days. Someone said to me the other day that cruise ships heading up to Alaska have been able to alter their start dates because the winter snow and ice are not as much of a factor as they used to be on route to the North. 

This time of year always brings a rush of activity to the market with the number of listings increasing, as people love to sell when their garden is looking its best. After many years we finally completely fenced our yard and the garden is once again taking shape. The deer had free rein for years and ravaged it mercilessly. The fruit trees all were eaten back and left for dead and our raspberry canes were trampled. My wife Sue and I have spent some backbreaking hours weeding the vegetable garden beds and we will slowly start to plant for a bit of a summer harvest. Garlic was planted in the fall and it is coming up nicely. Raspberries, rhubarb and a thornless blackberry were next and some peas and sweet peas have been planted. It was nice to have some onions and shallots last year so we will do that again. With the weather warming up soon, we hope to plant some lettuce and kale, and then round things out with some beans and basil. Asparabroc is new to us... always fun to try something new. Look at the size of the morel mushroom Sue found in the veggie garden last year. You can judge the size next to her index finger. And no, we didn't make mushroom soup out of it.


As promised, here are FOUR of my most


1. My kitchen and ensuite bathroom are really outdated. Should I put money into fixing them up before I put my home on the market? I think it really depends on the house. If your home has been beautifully updated but the kitchen and bathroom are lacking I think its worthwhile (if you have the budget for it). However, I think you should keep the design and palette neutral (no accent colours please!). Alternatively, if the bathroom and kitchen are from the same era as the rest of the home, I think it might be wasted money. Of course this depends greatly on many other factors - your personal motivation, time impediments, permitting process to get the work done and availibility of trades (unless you are capable of doing it yourself).

2. Why is everyone these days holding off listing until the spring? The market seems flooded then with inventory. Is there a benefit to listing in a quieter time of year? Is your market very active? Is there an imbalance between inventory and buyers? If the answer is yes, then I would say any time is a good time (with the caveat that I would avoid August and most of December). The advantage of course is that fewer people are selling during the shoulder months, so you have less competition for that perfect buyer. 


3. We have been trying to put offers in on places and have lost out a few times. Should we make our offer unconditional? I am never comfortable with uncondtional offers. They are very stressful for everyone. However, if the situaton warrants it then try to be as prepared as possible. Have your Realtor review all permit documentation, the Heritage registry, zoning limitations, bylaw complaints. I would even suggest, if time permits, to review the OCP (official community plan) and see if there is anything afoot in the local neighbourhood. If possible, do a pre-inspection (the big drawback of course is that if you have to do this multiple times it can get expensive) which may require building inspection as well as scoping the perimeter drains and of course for older homes, an oil tank scan. 


 I said that I would pass on more information about the Victoria Consevatory of Music Garden Tour that Newport Realty helps to sponsor. The dates are Saturday May 12th and Sunday May 13th. The tickets are $35.00 each and that allows you access to 10 gardens which each have VCM students, faculty and guest musicians entertaining throughout the day. It is a wonderful event and I am sure it will become an annual outing as it is so much fun looking beyond someone's garden gate. Enjoy this promotional video and use this link to purchase tickets.




When we moved to Victoria we bought a house in Rockland and this amazing Cherry tree came with it. It's incrediblly beautiful and although its showing its age, its blossoms are prolific. 



Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House in Chicago


I am so lucky to have friends who like to cook and entertain, and it is always nice when we share in the duties of making the meal. I enjoy making desserts and so that is often what I contribute. Here is one of my favorites!

Log Cabin Nut Bars

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees

 Prepare 9 x 13 baking pan by lining it with parchment paper so it comes up the sides (this creation is GOOEY so you will need the paper)


2 1/3 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup cold butter

1 large egg (lightly agitated)

Whisk flour sugar, bp and salt

Blend in buter with your fingers or pastry blender or even pulse in a food processor until mixture resembes course meal.

Turn out dough and knead a few times on counter

Press into pan and...

Bake 15/20 minutes or until edges are golden and starting to pull away from edges

Cool for about 20 minutes


1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup packed light golden sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup butter cut into pieces

2 tbs whipping cream

1 cup whole almonds toasted

1 cup hazelnuts toasted with skins removed (do your best, I know this is a pain)

1 cup cashews, salted and roasted

1 cup pistachios, salted and roasted

Bring syrup, honey, sugar and salt to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved. 

Boil for 2 minutes without stirring

Add butter and cream and boil, stirring for 1 minute

Remove from heat and stir in all nuts until coated

Spread mixture evenly over crust and bake until top is caramleized and bubbling - about 15-20 minutes.

Cool completely before cutting into squares

Store for three months in freezer before eating (Ok I'm kidding. Indulge!)

Next month is our youngest daughters graduation ceremony from high school. GULP! It is sure to be a hectic month as the market is becoming busier every day. Take some time to check my blog in May for Real Estate news and other fun and informative information.


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