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The Best Tacos
in London

What’s trendier than tacos these days? Besides sushi burritos and pizza of course, not a whole lot! And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. From food trucks to pop-up shops, hole-in-the-wall’s, fast-food chains and locally owned family restaurants, authentic Mexican eateries and modern fusion taco spots are all the rage right now, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

London has recently seen a wave of new restaurants that’ll surely satisfy any hankering for a taco, and among the prevailing taco trend the locally owned, authentic eateries have seen an influx of foodies wanting to get their paws on the tastiest (and most authentic) tacos in town!

Read on to discover the best taco joints in the city, from authentic Latin cuisine to new and trendy spots, the Forest City has a ton to offer.

Neighbourhood: Downtown London
611 Richmond St. (map)
https://www.dostacos.ca/

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If you’re looking for a cheap, quick and reliable option, then Dos Tacos is the place for you! Dos Tacos is reminiscent of a classic taco spot that offers up the benchmarks, with a few twists. They’ve garnered an awesome reputation for themselves, with a premier location on the famous Richmond Row. Dos Tacos is the go-to spot for after the bar grub and weekday lunches.

The menu isn’t as extensive as others on this list, but for a quick service restaurant the options are diverse. They have five taco flavours – shrimp, chicken, cod, steak and sweet potato. Arguably the best part about Dos Tacos is the customizable menu options. Once you’ve chosen your flavour combo, you then decide if you want it in a taco, loaded on fries or in a salad. They have tasty salad dressings made in-house such as jalapeno lime and honey chipotle. We also can’t fail to mention their out of this world salsas that range from mild (red guajillo chili), to medium (green tomatillo and jalapeno) and up to hot (yellow habanero and pineapple). Dos Tacos has quickly become the local watering hole for western students and young professionals alike. Next time you have a hankering for a taco or loaded up fries, check them out and you won’t be disappointed.

We interviewed the guys down at Dos Tacos for one of our #BusinessOfTheWeek segments! If you haven’t checked it out, click HERE to watch! You can find out a bit more about where they came from and what their tasty tacos are all about. Our personal favourite is the Cod Father, a lip-smacking mix of delicious, lightly fried cod, always fresh pico de gallo, cabbage, salsa and their to-die-for guacamole!

Neighbourhood: Downtown London
580 Talbot St. (map)
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The Wolf brothers have done it again with their latest restaurant venture, Los Lobos. Riding fresh off the success of their previous restaurant, Wolf of Wortley, these brothers have provided London with an Instagram-worthy hot spot that’s not lacking in ambience or flavour.

They’ve taken the classic Mexican Day of the Dead theme and went full throttle. The restaurant is decked out with murals of skulls and vibrant decor reminiscent of badass Mexican nights and celebrations. While the decor is impressive, the food they’re serving up is even better. They have a multitude of appetisers including cauliflower queso and a variety of dips. Each taco is reasonably priced at $5, and the options are quite varied.

From the classics like lightly fried cod and pork carnitas to beef cheek, sweet potato, blackened cod, shrimp and scallops, the toppings are fresh, and the flavours are explosive! Pro tip: even if you’re a die-hard carnivore try the cauliflower taco and you won’t be disappointed. With perfectly fried nachos and radishes for garnish, the guacamole is a go-to at Los Lobos as a shareable appetizer. Always satisfying and fresh!

No Mexican restaurant would be complete without an extensive margarita list, and Los Lobos offers some innovative twists on this classic cocktail. If you’re feeling adventurous, we recommend the pineapple jalapeno and strawberry cumin margaritas! They’ll leave you feeling refreshed on the outside and warm on the inside, perfect to wash down those delicious tacos.

Neighbourhood: Old East Village
784 Dundas St. (map)
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Tacos are best when they’re done in authenticity. With the catch phrase, ‘keep it authentic,’ True Taco is a Salvadorian and Mexican restaurant located in the beloved Old East Village of London, Ontario. A family run hole-in-the-wall, True Taco has dedicated themselves to providing Londoners with authentic Latin food made with loyalty to the original cuisine. The atmosphere of the restaurant is welcoming and they do take-out, catering and regular dine-in service.

The soft corn tortillas come with your choice of chorizo, beef barbacoa, beef tongue, bean or veggie mix and are topped with onions, cilantro, lime and homemade sauce. The tacos fillings are perfectly spiced and juicy, leaving the drippings down your hand as you eat them – always a sign of a good taco! Next time you’re in the OEV don’t forget to drop in and grab yourself a quick bite to eat from one of London’s best kept secrets – True Taco!

Neighbourhood: Oxford Park
30 Wharncliffe Rd. (map)
http://underthevolcano.ca/

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Colourful Mexican décor and tasty Mexican food, this cheery family-friendly restaurant has become a hub for families and friends who want a casual spot with delicious and satisfying Mexican style grub. Located on Wharncliffe Road just past Riverside, Under the Volcano has been serving up classic Mexican entrees that are packed with flavour. Always fresh and delicious, the menu is seriously extensive with a ton of options including gluten, vegan and vegetarian items which Is always a win-win in our books! Not to mention, the portion sizes are huge, so you’ll never leave feeling hungry.

Their tacos come in either hard or soft shells, with a ton of options for fillings. Seasoned taco beef, medium spiced pulled pork, spiced chipotle steak, spicy cayenne beef, grilled chicken breast, mixed veggies, black bean, spinach and mushroom and jump shrimp. All the tacos are topped with lettuce, cheese, tomato and sour cream and come with your choice of two sides.

These tacos are the kind that’ll remind you of your childhood and how excited you’d get when your mom told you it was taco night! Next time you’re feelin’ like enjoying dinner in a vibrant and family-friendly atmosphere, definitely check out Under the Volcano. They do take-out express too! Take-out, vegan and vegetarian options are always a win in our books.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Neighbourhood: Glen Cairn
772 Hamilton Rd. (map)
http://www.lonuestrolatinrestaurant.com/

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Do you value authenticity in your tacos? Do you prefer a hole-in-the-wall that serves up food you can tell was made with love and originality? Then Lo Nuestro Latin Restaurant is the place for you! A small eatery located on Hamilton Road in east London, Lo Nuestro has been serving up tasty and satisfying Latin cuisine since its opening. Their dedication to authenticity is shown in their meals that pay homage to Latin, Salvadorian and Mexican cuisine.

Lo Nuestro is a quaint, no frills eatery that is less concerned about the atmosphere, and more concerned about the food. For authentic Mexican tacos that don’t disguise the fillings with a ton of sauces or extraingredients. These tacos are filled with spiced meat, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Leaving the flavours to speak for themselves – we highly recommend testing out the beef tongue tacos, you won’t be disappointed!

Village North
Tricar

In the past two decades, the Masonville area of London (main intersection of Richmond Street North and Fanshawe Park Road) has seen a significant, and impressive, influx of commercial and residential developments. These developments have both expanded London’s boundaries and amplified the economy, adding numerous jobs and opportunities for expansion in different sectors. Masonville is booming and has established itself as a commercial hub for the Forest City. With commercial developments growing at the rapid rate they are, and residential developments expanding at a pace faster than we can blink, it comes as no surprise that Tricar planted their roots in this end of town.

The intersection of Sunningdale and Richmond used to feel so north to Londoners that they thought of the area as out of town and so out of the way that it was often referred to as the country. It’s the same way we now refer to those living in Ilderton or Komoka as living out in the country. It’s not that far away, but it’s definitely not convenient to get to if you reside in the downtown area, especially with no car.

Since the days of being the country, Sunningdale and Richmond has transformed from an area with nothing more than desolate farmland and an expensive members-only golf course and some well-hidden neighbourhoods to a thriving commercial hub. This area, while seemingly exclusive in its expensive nature, is as inviting as it is prosperous to our Forest City and its economy. The intersection has seen numerous residential developments in recent years. The area is now full of different housing such as single-detached homes of various sizes as well as a sprinkling of attached and detached townhouses. The near future will see the development of a commercial hub known as Richmond Village. This space will be home to various businesses such as food and retails stores and medical offices. The transformation of Sunningdale and Richmond happened so fast, it is incredible to see the developments in this end of the city.

Behold the production of Tricar’s latest and greatest development, Village North. Winner of Project of the Year award at the London Home Builder’s Association Awards (LHBA), this condominium is impressive in all the right ways. The demand for high-rise living is so great in London that the plans for this building were actually put in motion a full year prior to the original timeline. Tricar has been churning out some impressive high-rise condominiums throughout London in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. The success of the Renaissance Towers in the downtown core was tremendous and enforced plans to erect Azure Tower, yet another luxury condominium centrally located and built by Tricar.

Village North stands 14 storeys tall and once complete, will house a whopping 154 condominium suites. Construction has been underway for a while now and the building is pretty much complete and three of the floorplans are already sold out!

There are a total of nine distinct floorplans, all offering an exceptionally modern and elegant appearance, while upholding the well-known high-quality that Tricar is known to execute. There are three 1-bedroom plus den suites, and six 3-bedroom plus den suites available. These suits range in square footage, bathroom options, layout and price points. Unequalled Style, Uncompromised Lifestyle is the motto for this luxurious condominium and will no doubt become synonymous with the already opulent and sought-after lifestyle of living in Masonville.

Village North, while tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, is conveniently close to every amenity one may need. It’s one block away from Richmond Street which is one of the most significant arteries in the city. A drive south down Richmond Street will bring you to Masonville Commercial District within five minutes, and the downtown core within ten to twenty minutes depending on the time of day. Residents can also make their way west down Sunningdale Road and quickly arrive at another fast-growing commercial hub for the north end of the city, Hyde Park Commercial District. The location doesn’t come without its perks. Although the area of the city is up and coming, and has seen an influx of residential development, the vast farmland and beautiful countryside feel is still present. Residents who score top-floor suites in this building will without a doubt cherish the stunning views from their balcony. While amenities are just a short drive away, the building itself doesn’t come without its perks and assets to live a healthy lifestyle in the comfort of your own building!

Within Village North is ClubNorth is a 11,750 square foot floor dedicated to personal amenities that will allow you to simultaneously entertain guests and achieve the healthy lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of having! The building offers its residents an indoor pool that’s so stunning they’ll never want to leave. The indoor aspect allows guests to enjoy it year-round without worrying about weather, bugs, trees and leaves interfering in their swim session.

In addition to a swimming pool, there is a full fitness centre with men and women’s change rooms. ClubNorth also has a billiards room with a full working bar. A state of the art golf simulator allows residents to practice their game from the comfort of their building! A movie theatre is implemented into ClubNorth, allowing residents to book at their leisure and watch a movie in huge, luxury, even better than movie-theatre style seats. No luxury condominium would be complete without a beautiful lounge area perfect for studying or cosying up in with a good book by the fireplace. The outdoor lounge area is complete with fire pits, barbecues and furniture, making it the perfect place to host guests. Large parties can be entertained in the fully working, state of the art kitchen complete with a large dining table. The aesthetic and attention to detail in ClubNorth is synonymous with the luxurious lifestyle Village North is attempting to provide for its guests. This amenity building is beautiful and impressive, and definitely a deal sealer for those looking to make the move to a luxury condominium. 

The construction site was split into three separate phases – two residential towers and the aforementioned amenity building, ClubNorth. The units in the building start at 1,100 square feet and range up to 1,800 square feet. The entire tower is undeniably aesthetically pleasing and the décor of the main foyer and ClubNorth is classic in its style yet possesses an updated and modern flair. The suites are spacious and all contain gorgeous and large windows, allowing as much natural light in as possible, and incredible views. As far as pricing goes, the units in the completed tower will start at $250k and cost up to as much as $950k with penthouses starting at $600k.

While there are many options to choose from with interiors and floorplans, there is a base standard that Tricar implemented to every suite in the building. The following are the base features and many suites will allow for residents to opt for upgrades:

  • High ceilings
  • Premium flooring such as plush carpeting and wide plank laminate hardwood flooring (residents can choose their color)
  • 80-inch designer two-panel interior doors
  • Enormous extra-deep balconies built with tempered glass and aluminum railings. These balconies are one of the most exciting features of the building as they allow residents to take in the nature surrounding Village North.
  • California textured ceilings
  • Crown molding and 5.5-inch baseboards
  • Wire-shelving in closets.
  • High-efficiency, state-of-the-art appliances.
  • Thermal windows.
  • Programmable thermostat and humidistat.

Tricar is committed to providing cities with the most luxurious and state-of-the-art residential buildings. One of their greatest commitments, however, is to improve the efficiency of each building with the latest in green technology. Village North is ahead of its time with numerous green initiatives in place to ensure the success of the infrastructure of the building, eliminating waste of non-renewable resources and diminishing possible costs for residents in the future. Tricar has implemented thermal windows. These improve heat retention in the winter while enhancing cooling during the warmer months. A green heating and cooling system is implemented into the building. This system provides a centralized gas-fired boiler and chilled-water cooling system. Together these minimize energy consumption while maximizing performance.  Every light-fixture in the building is energy-efficient. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) washable paint and low VOC spray-foam and air barrier insulation was used in the construction of Village North. These are ecologically reliable and the use of them improves the overall air quality in every room of the building. Transparent china toilets are elegant in their style, and low flow ensuring improved efficiency of water usage in every suite.

Living a green life is not only a perk of the future of living, but a necessity. By purchasing a home that has been built with a green state of mind is not only allowing residents to save money in the future, but helping improve the nature of the world as we know it. It is imperative that residents seek out a future home that will decrease the use of non-renewable resources and look to energy efficient ways of living.

There’s no doubt that the implementation of a second luxury condominium within a 2-block radius of the Richmond and Sunningdale intersection is a nod to the major development that has happened in the north end of the city in the past decade or two. The lavish nature of the condo directly relates to the vibe of the area it’s located in, and will no doubt become a sought after building to live in. Village North is setting itself up to be in the same league as the Renaissance and Azure Towers that Tricar recently built in the downtown core. What are your thoughts on the substantial growth the north end of the city has undergone? Are you supportive of the city growing out, or would you prefer to see the city growing up in the future? Village North will no doubt attract a multitude of new residents to the area, whether it’s retirees looking to downsize or a young professional snagging a swanky penthouse, the options are endless in this beautiful new luxury condominium apartment.

 

The Best Bowling Alleys
in London

The premise of bowling has been around for centuries, and it’s become a pastime that everybody from all walks of life can enjoy. Whether you’re a six-year-old going to a birthday party with your classmates, or a sixty-five-year-old joining a tenpin league on Tuesdays and Thursdays, bowling is always a great time. Luckily for Londoners, the Forest City is home to some great bowling alleys. These classic London establishments have planted their roots as reputable businesses providing Londoners with incredible memories since their opening. Read on to learn about the best places to bowl in London, Ontario!

Neighbourhood: Oxford Park
720 Proudfoot Lane (map)
http://fleetwayfun.com/

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Fleetway is a classic London destination that since its opening has solidified itself as a reputable bowling alley of choice amongst kids and adults alike! The major appeal comes with their undeniably fun glow-bowling and the fact that Dairy Queen is attached to it. The family traditions that have formed at Fleetway have become engrained in many Londoners childhood memories.

While the classic London destination stuck in our minds as an awesome childhood memory, it was impossible to ignore its ageing interiors and atmosphere. It soon became an outdated and unassuming spot for bowling and billiards. Since its recent renovations though, it has once again become one of the most entertaining and fun destinations for both kids and adults!

The facility offers 44 lanes of bowling, with ten-pin and five-pin options. Their state of the art machinery and extreme lighting elevates the bowling experience. If you want to impress your kids, make sure you go to glow-bowling, they will be extra entertained by the black light effects and it’ll make the experience even better!

One of the newer additions to Fleetway is their 7,000 square foot miniature golf course! It is a full 18-holes of glow in the dark, fictional characters such as pirates, and fun landscapes. Perfect for a carefree date night or an afternoon out with the kids.

Fleetway’s brand new Kid’s Play Centre is a must-visit for those with children 12 and under. This playground offers five levels of fun for kids including slides, tubes, punching bags, trolley glides, a toddler area and way more.

Fleetway wouldn’t be Fleetway without its classic Billiards Room. The large room is home to fourteen Boston Pool Tables that are kept in mint condition. Novices and experts alike will enjoy practicing their skills on the professional surfaces.

The Fleetway experience wouldn’t be the same without a stop at attached Dairy Queen!  This became a tradition amongst families in early years, and still is today. There’s nothing better than grabbing a well-deserved blizzard after a few rounds of bowling on a Saturday afternoon.

Fleetway, in all its glory, is the perfect destination for date-night or just fun with a group of friends. It’s kid-proof in all the right ways, but offers up entertainment that’s perfect for adults only! 

Deals and Pricing:

Glow Bowling: Fridays 8:00pm – 1:00 am // Saturdays 3:30pm-6:30pm and 9:00pm – 1:00am

Shoe Rental Rates: Adults (13+) $3.75 per person // Kids (12 and under) $2.75 per person

Days:

Monday – Friday: $25.00 per lane per hour until 5:00pm

Saturday and Sunday: $29.00 per lane per hour until 5:00 pm

Nights:

Monday – Thursday: $29.00 per lane per hour from 5:00 pm – 11:00pm

Friday – Saturday: $34.99 per lane per hour from 5:00 pm – 1:00 am

Specials:

Tuesday & Sunday: $21.00 per lane per hour from 5:00pm – 11:00 pm

Neighbourhood: Westmount & Carling
141 Pine Valley Blvd. & 777 Adelaide St. North (map)
http://palasad.com/

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In a time where arcade-like bars that boast billiards and bowling alleys are becoming an increasingly trending business to get into, it’s hard to ignore the fact that London has been home to such an establishment for over twenty years!

Palasad has been providing Londoners with endless fun and entertainment since owner and founder Rob Szabo made his dream a reality. He felt that bringing billiards and bowling together in a cool and comfortable atmosphere complete with delicious food and snazzy drinks would be an asset to the London community.

There’s no doubt he was right as since Palasad’s opening back in 1994, almost 24 years later they have two locations and have established themselves as the go-to destination for events with people form all walks of life. Whether you’re a kid wanting to play at the arcade, a couple going on a date or an office looking for a place to host a work party, Palasad is able to cover every event!

Bowling, billiards, laser tag, ping pong and karaoke are all offered at both Palasad locations. Both venues boast an inviting and comfortable atmosphere complete with a life-size bowling pin for a mascot. London-based community events will often have the life-size bowling pin walking around, greeting children and handing out free-play cards for Palasad, further establishing the brand as a mainstay in the London community.

Both locations are equally fun but boast different decor and atmosphere. The north location is the tried and true original, flaunting a more casual vibe with retro decor, while the south location is more modern and upscale. There is an exciting renovation happening at the north location, so Londoners look out for the sparkling new Palasad north as we know it won’t disappoint, and will surely give Rec Room a run for its money. Both locations offer the most delicious wood-oven pizza that has become a favourite amongst those residing in the Forest City.

Palasad North has ten bowling lanes and ten pool tables and the South location has twenty lanes and six pool tables. Rather than bowling pins being secured on the lane by a magnet, they are attached to strings. This reduces lane issues and makes for a smoother bowling experience!

Pricing and Deals on bowling at both locations:

Shoe Rental: $3.99 per adult // $3.49 per child

Monday: $2.00 per game + shoe rental

Bowling is priced per person, with lane time based on group size. 
1 person = 20 minutes 
2 people = 40 minutes 
3 people = 60 minutes 
4 people = 80 minutes 
5 people = 100 minutes 
6 people = 120 minutes

Tuesday:

  • All day / All night 11am-midnight 
  • $7/person 
  • Shoe Rental Included

Wednesday & Thursday:

  • Before 5pm $10/person 
  • After 5pm $14/person 
  • Shoe Rental Included

Friday:

  • Before 5pm $10/person 
  • After 5pm $16/person 
  • Shoe Rental Included

Saturday:

  • All day / All night 11am-11pm
  • $16/person 
  • Shoe Rental Included

Sunday:

  • Before 5pm $16/person 
  • After 5pm $14/person 
  • Shoe Rental Included

 

Neighbourhood: Argyle Park
2086 Dundas Street (map)
http://www.bowleramaroyale.com/

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If you’re a Londoner who is serious about bowling, then chances are you’ve been a regular for years, (or you’re at least familiar with) the classic of all bowling spots in the Forest City, Bowlerama Royale! Located at the east end of Dundas Street just west of Clarke Road, Bowlerama Royale is the tried and true, ultra-vintage yet consistently reliable bowling alley that will never disappoint.

The venue itself began as a bowling alley, Town Bowl, and went on to serve its purpose as a recreational facility hosting bowling alleys and roller skating rinks through the years. After a brief stint as a furniture store, the site returned to its roots as Bowlerama Royale. This is a destination that will bring back memories for Londoners as a place they either bowled or roller skated at in their younger years.

The facility needed much updating which was fulfilled when the new owners, Mark and Brenda came on board in 2011. Mark Decman has done professional bowling in the past, and is well known in the bowling world. He competed in the TSN championship and is auditioning for Team Canada. This in and of itself is a reason to check out Bowlerama Royale!

The bowling community is tight-knit and ranges from kids to adults. Bowlerama is home to many bowling leagues that run throughout the year. These leagues are open to people with all skill levels from beginner to competitive. Bowlerama hosts end of season banquets with prizes and offers discounted open bowling practice rates and shoe rentals for league bowlers. There is a Bowlerama Royale Youth Program which offers opportunity for scholarships and tournaments.

Bowlerama itself is an awesome place to go for a fun night out or to join a community of like-minded people who love to have fun. A unique aspect of Bowlerama is its bowling pro shop. The pro shop provides any avid bowler with every accessory they may need. From custom drilled bowling balls (who even knew there was such a thing?!) to customized individual training for people of all skill levels, the staff at Bowlerama will welcome you with a energetic attitude that will no doubt teach you something you didn’t already know about bowling!

The venue boasts 32 lanes of ten-pin bowling. If you and your friends are looking for a fun night of bowling, the building is licensed so you can get drinks while you bowl making it the perfect spot to go on a Friday or Saturday night (or any night of the week, really!). The area is 27,000 square feet and is perfect to host events such as parties, fundraisers, field trips and much more.

Pricing and Deals:

Shoe Rental: $2.75 for juniors // $3.75 for adults

Daytime:

Monday – Friday: Juniors & Seniors bowl for $4.00 per person per game // Adults $4.50 per person per game // OR daytime by the hour $21.00 per lane

Nightime:

Monday – Thursday: $26.00 per hour per lane after 6:00 pm

Friday and Saturday: $31.00 per hour per lane after 6:00 pm

Deals:

Monday: Cosmic Bowling // 9:00pm-11:00pm special game rate of $2.20 per game

Tuesday – Thursday: 9:00pm-11:00pm $15.90 per person including shoe rental for all-you-can-bowl

Wednesdays: Red Pin Bowling! Red pins are placed between the pins and if you bowl a strike on the head pin you get your bowling for free from 9:00pm-11: 00 pm

Thursdays: All you can bowl for $15.00

Weekends: Cosmic Bowling all weekend long!

Group rates are offered depending on how large the group is. Check them out or give them a call to see what kind of discount they’ll provide you and your party!

Neighbourhood: Fairmont
972 Hamilton Rd. (map)
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While tenpin bowling seems to be the game of choice for many, we can’t forget about the five-pin option. Whether you’re a five-year-old who can’t yet hold up a tenpin bowling ball or a 55-year-old who loves the difficulty of aiming the small ball at those pins situated pretty far from each other, five-pin should most definitely be your game of choice! Invented in the early twentieth century for those who deemed ten pin bowling too strenuous, five-pin bowling made its mark and is here to stay! There is a bowling alley in London dedicated to five-pin bowling. This bowling alley is called Fairmont Lanes.

This small and unembellished alley is located just west of Highbury Avenue North and Hamilton Road. Fairmont Lanes offers a combination of that classic bowling alley vibe, and a pleasant family-oriented atmosphere thus providing patrons with a sense of familiarity and nostalgia from those afternoons spent at the bowling alleys as a child. Especially those memories of being enthusiastic about bowling, yet not quite strong enough be like the adults and tackle those daunting yet alluring ten-pin lanes.

Fairmont Lanes has been around for 52 years and has cemented itself as one of London’s most steadfast establishments. Let’s be honest, bowling alleys normally aren’t recognized for their state-of-the-art equipment and flashy technology. What makes a bowling alley great is their loyalty to the game itself. Fairmont Lanes has stayed true to its devotion to bowling in its half-century run and has created an incredibly tight-knit community of bowlers from all walks of life!

Most of Fairmont Lanes revenue comes from bowling leagues which are primarily hosted during the week. They offer open bowling, but that’s mostly on the weekends. Their facility houses full twelve lanes and has a liquor license! While this is a smaller business than the others on this list, the quaint atmosphere brings people closer together, which is exactly why it’s such a great destination for bowling leagues!

Deals and Prices:

Free Bowling: Adults $4.75 per game // Kids $4.00 per game

Hour Rentals: $36.00 per lane (up to 5 people)

 

Azure
Tower

High-end, high-rise condominium living is becoming more and more attractive to potential buyers because of its innate convenience and luxurious features.

Young professionals and retired couples alike have been making a move from large houses or starter homes in the suburbs to impressive condos in the city centre. Convenience meets luxury for the occupants of these apartments and London has seen and will continue to see a vast influx of high-rises in the coming years.

This wave of development is the start of a new era for London’s skyline, and in the wake of the Renaissance Towers’ sheer success, Tricar has done it again with the recently erected Azure Tower. The appeal of high-rise living is growing tremendously, especially for Londoners and the constantly changing weather. The main advantage of living in a luxury condominium downtown is the access to amenities and worry-free lifestyle of maintaining a house, backyard. Shovelling snow? Not a problem once you don’t have a driveway!

The building’s address is 505 Talbot Street. Located on the north side of Dufferin Avenue it is the perfect spot in walking distance to everything downtown yet shy enough of the core that it’s possible to avoid the crowds of people, especially in the summertime. The proximity to Budweiser Gardens makes this a prime location for Londoners. There is always something going on in the downtown core, and for Azure occupants, right at their doorstep! Victoria Park is only 5-minute walk away, and there are plenty of bus stops in the area, allowing residents access to the rest of the city with ease. Residents will love the views from the tower, if situated in the right spot they’ll be able to look down on Labatt Baseball Diamond, Harris Park and the Thames River! Those residents who aren’t situated that way can always enjoy the rooftop terrace and get a 360 view of the city.

Downtown London Ontario skyline

Let’s talk construction. Tricar is the builder behind Azure Tower and has been in high-rise and condominium development for thirty years now. As a big-wig developer for southwestern Ontario, Tricar has become a household name for anyone who’s interested in real estate and building. Their commitment to revitalizing downtown cores and withholding a certain standard of luxurious living is undeniable. With over 5,000 luxury apartment and condominiums since the beginning, it makes sense why the development of Azure is predicted to be a significant success and benefit for London’s downtown core.

Holding the record as the tallest residential tower in the city, Azure Tower is nothing short of impressive. It features a full 29 floors of 198 unique suites and amenities. There are fifteen suites available throughout the building and feature variances in floor-plan, size, amount of bedrooms, bathrooms etc. The lobby itself will offer a colourful and welcoming ambience with gorgeous interiors and incredibly well-done design. The building will boast high-speed elevators which is essential for a tower as tall as 29 floors.

The 29th floor is full of remarkable amenities that’ll surely sway any potential buyer. Azure has been built for a luxurious and convenient life and the facilities offered in the building are pretty impressive. The 29th rooftop floor boasts a sizeable open terrace which, once completed, will be beautifully furnished with outdoor furniture for lounging, barbecues and a fire pit perfect to host guests during the summer months. In addition to a terrace, residents can take advantage of a ‘social lounge’. The lounge will be home to a bar area and a pool table. For more recreation, residents can take advantage of the state-of-the-art golf simulator which is indoors and available all year round.

For those hoping to host larger parties, residents will be able to rent out a decked out prep kitchen and dining space. The amenity floor also features a library and lounge area perfect for studying, and offers stunning views of the city from the 29th floor!

GREEN

Tricar Group is devoted to ensuring their developments are as environmentally sustainable as possible, and with that comes major commitment to building efficient infrastructure. Azure Tower will be the very first residential high-rise building in London to be LEED certified!

So what does a LEED certification mean for a building of this stature? LEED stands for Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design. To become certified, a building must meet specific requirements proving that the building is efficient in various ways. By meeting these requirements, Azure Tower is enabling condo-owners to live a sustainable life and save money on energy simultaneously. 

This means the building was erected with specifically sustainable efficacies in mind, including the location, providing residents with quick access to transportation thus ensuring heightened connectivity within the community.

Azure Tower is complete with state of the art cooling and heating systems, which significantly improves the indoor air quality and balances out the air flow, ensuring the healthiest air all the time. In addition to this, Tricar Group has implemented green roofs and water efficient landscaping. This saves water consumption for the building as a whole and the green power will provide 35%, if not more, electricity to the building – ultimately saving homeowners money and foregoing the waste on non-renewable energy.

Residents who own electric vehicles, or who are thinking about purchasing one, will be pleased to note that there are car charging stations available, and those who cycle will have access to secure bike storage.

These efforts to promote a green lifestyle are remarkable, as a green tower is necessary for the future. The high rises of the future will undoubtedly possess every sustainable feature possible, providing residents with direct access to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Whether it is promoting residents to walk instead of drive to their essential amenities, think about purchasing an electric vehicle or waste less electricity, it’s imperative for the high rises of the future to be built in an ecofriendly manner.

SUITES

Tricar Group has made a name for itself by providing residents in southwestern Ontario with luxurious buildings second to none. As previously mentioned there are 15 suite types, but all boast a similar feel. Each suite encompasses an open concept with plenty of natural light and incredible views through high-end glass windows.

Suites available range from two bedrooms, two bedrooms plus den, three bedrooms and penthouse with small variances between each one. The kitchen in each suite is graciously designed with the resident in mind, offering state-of-the-art appliances available in lavish granite or quartz.

The Tricar Group website has listed all the specifications available in every suite in the building, for more detailed info you can check them out here http://www.tricar.com/ . Each suite will vary slightly but these are the basic specifications found in each one throughout the building:

  • Premium flooring, wide plank engineered hardwood flooring in your choice of colour and plush carpeting with high-density underlay in bedrooms
  • 80” designer two-panel interior doors
  • Oversized, extra-deep balconies with tempered glass and aluminum railings
  • Closets with premium wire shelving
  • High-efficiency appliances and built-in laundry
  • Thermal windows
  • Programmable thermostat and humidistat for personalized temperature control
  • Energy-efficient lighting fixtures
  • Heating and cooling through centralized gas-fired boiler

Sound appealing to you? If you’re interested in Azure it would be smart to look into it sooner rather than later. Move-in dates are set for July and as of April 2018, over 80% of the units are already sold! While every suite is undoubtedly luxurious and well-built, the range of condominium pricing in the building is pretty vast. Suites start as low as $300k and skyrocket all the way up to $1M penthouse suites. Obviously there is a difference in square footage and interiors, but ever suite is built with the same vibe in mind and every resident will certainly feel at home in this building.

Not looking for a while? Don’t worry as London is set to embark on a skyline improvement with plans for many high-rises in the next decade there will surely be a luxurious condo suited to your needs! The growth rate in London is growing by the year, and predictions that there will be a significant influx of people moving from the GTA to downtown London will only be satisfied by the implementation of high-rise towers in the core. Azure is setting the standard for luxurious living in the heart of London.

This is an exciting time for the city as London as it comes at a time when The City is making a valiant effort to revitalize the downtown core. The implementation of luxury high-rise condominiums is no doubt going to add to the appeal of living downtown. Whether a couple coming up to retirement is looking to leave the hassle of taking care of their home for a more convenient and lavish lifestyle, or a young professional is looking to purchase their first place and want to be part of the action in the downtown core, Azure Tower will definitely fill their needs. Convenience meets luxury for residents of Azure Tower and following the success of Tricar Groups Renaissance Towers in downtown London, we have no doubt that Azure tower will undergo similar successes and pave the way for high-rises and the impending revitalization of the downtown core. Between this and the Dundas Flex Street, big things are happening and we are so excited to be in on the action.

What do you think about Azure Tower? Do you support The City’s push to revitalise the downtown core by implementing numerous high-rise residential towers? Let us know on any of our social media accounts linked below and don’t forget to comment, like and share!

The Best Record Stores
in London

April 21st was International Record Store Day, so we thought we’d celebrate by rounding up the best spots in our Forest City for vinyl!

Whether you’re someone who’s been thinking of dabbling in the wonderful world of vinyl or you’re a full-on record connoisseur, these spots will surely satisfy all your musical cravings and curiosities. 

London’s budding music scene is complete with small venues that showcase local bands and ranges all the way up to Budweiser Gardens, which is the largest venue of its kind in southwestern Ontario! What’s even better is the city is full of spots to purchase that new vinyl you’ve been eyeing down, and the staff are always in the know about the goings on of the music scene in the city.

It’s no secret that vinyl is trending amongst millennials. Whether you’ve just purchased that portable Crosley turntable from Urban Outfitters or you’re looking to break in your dad’s vintage Pioneer PL12D from the 70’s, we’ve got you covered with the hottest spots to start your LP collection or add to it!

Neighbourhood: Downtown
236 Dundass St. (map)
http://www.groovesrecordstore.com/

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A Forest City classic, Grooves Records has been selling an insane selection of vinyl, CD’s and DVD’s for years and shows no sign of stopping. Most Londoners will be familiar with their previous location on Clarence Street, but they’ve since moved to a fresh new spot just around the corner on Dundas Street.

Grooves Records made a reputation for themselves as a gathering place for music lovers since they opened. An awesome community of people who share a common interest, what’s not to love? One of the many remarkable things about Grooves Records is their commitment to showcasing local talent. They do this by holding shows right in their store! The small sets are always intimate and showcase local talent right in their city, and what better venue than one where music is always the star of the show.

Grooves selection of records is undeniably impressive; they’ve got pretty much every genre you can think of. From used vinyls to rare box sets, brand new recordings and the rarest of LP’s, Grooves has you covered. They even sell accessories such as record boxes, t-shirts, concert tickets and more.  They’ve even been known to do concert ticket giveaways for venues as large as Budweiser Gardens.

Grooves cares about their customers and always offers help to those lost souls looking for a new record to jam out to. Can’t find what you’re looking for in the store? They can order in certainly almost any record you’re lookin’ for if you don’t feel like hitting up Amazon yourself, they save you the hassle!

Grooves also sets up shop outside of their store at Home County Fair each year with a tent full of cool records for sale. Customers love shopping at Grooves because there always seems to be some sort of sale, whether its buy three get one free, for 25% off there’s always some money to be saved when shopping at Grooves! The customers always feel included and special at the shop, and that’s why it’s become a London favourite. They hold special events and sales, and even held a Kids Album Art contest at their Record Store Day event last year.

We can’t fail to mention the fact that Grooves has even set up their own label! They support local talent and were tired of seeing such talent come and go due to a lack of finances. This is what lead the awesome people down at Grooves Records to create a space for local bands to record and have their music pressed onto vinyl! The freshly pressed vinyl is then exclusively sold in-store. This is an impressive feat for a small store and a fantastic ode to the talent that London has to offer!

Neighbourhood: Old East Village
900 King Street – Western Fair Market (map)
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Saturdays just got a whole lot better for music lovers! Old East Village Vinyl has established themselves as an awesome one stop shop for finding those rare gems or beginning your LP collection!

Add this to your Saturday morning routine and you won’t be disappointed. Visit our friends down at the Fritter Shop to fuel up before spending your morning perusing the impressive collection of records for the limited amount of space allotted to Old East Village Vinyl.

They’re booming with rare finds as well as the classics and new hits. We can’t think of a much better way to spend a Saturday morning than grabbing a delicious blueberry fritter before purchasing a fantastically well-kept Bee Gees album to rock out to later in the day.

The best part about shopping at Old East Village Vinyl and the Western Fair Market is that you’re supporting local. Us at Santa Knows Best are passionate about sourcing locally and supporting the community. By incorporating the Western Fair Market into your Saturday morning routine, you’re undoubtedly giving back to the community by supporting multiple local businesses! And you’re getting amazing music and the highest quality records. What’s not to love!

We know we’ll be hitting up the market this Saturday to get our Fritter fix and to check out the new shipment of Old East Village records!

Neighbourhood: The Coves
294 Springbank Dr. (map)
http://speedcityrecords.com/

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Established in 1977, Speed City Records has made a name for itself as London’s longest standing record store with an indie focus. Located in southwest, London on Springbank Drive, what was a passion project of a former record store employee has turned into a twenty-year stint of being one of London’s most sought-after record stores.

The beauty of Speed City is their dedication to music. They opened as a record store and kept it that way, focusing on music and accessories and nothing more (except maybe a little bit of pinball).

The ambience of the quaint shop offers a no-frills, vibe that allows you to dive straight into their massive collection of records without being distracted by gaudy décor or memorabilia that’s not vintage records.

The music that’s available at Speed City is widely varied. They purchase a ton of different genres, more specifically rock, jazz, blues, soul, R&B, alternative, punk, heavy metal, reggae, electronic and hip hop. In addition to selling a ton of records, Speed City sells accessories for those beloved vinyls. These accessories range from turntables to amplifiers and speakers – new and old there is a wide selection at the store.

Speed City Records has been part of London’s music scene, providing avid music fans with collections and rare finds for over twenty years. Speed City is all about supporting London’s music scene, always open to selling local records, CD’s and cassettes as well as showcasing posters for upcoming shows!

Their online presence is awesome and they’ve brought some amazing events to the city, including the London Record Show. The London Record Show is a huge event held at Centennial Hall and is the quintessential vinyl collectors’ heaven. The event showcases a massive collection of all the London record store greats in one room, offering up hundreds of records for a ridiculously low price. There will be blood, sweat and tears at this show, for those dedicated metal heads and classical addicts looking for the last piece to complete their collection, but it’s worth it and has become a traditional London event since its inaugural show in 1983! It’s an important time for the music scene in London as it brings all the record stores and the music community together under one roof, because of one common interest: music.

Speed City has a major focus on music, but let’s be honest, everyone has a side hustle and Speed City is no exception to that. They are passionate about pinball and buy and sell pinball machines! They are also the business behind weekly local league night registered by International Pinball Flipper’s Association at Call The Office.

Neighbourhood: Old South
135 Wortley Rd. (map)
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The Village Idiot is located in the beloved Wortley Village of London. The beautifully named record store is a direct reflection of its location. Charming, quaint and independent. What more could you want in a record store?

Shopping in this small store jam packed with records is always a delightful way to spend an afternoon after charging up on some much-needed coffee from any of the cute café’s located in the village.

Not only those who live in Wortley are privy to the awesomeness that is The Village Idiot, music lovers from all around town known this is a place to go if they’re in the market for a rare find. There are lots of hidden gems to be found in this store, and quality is never sacrificed. The Village Idiot is also the place to go to brush up on your vinyl knowledge, as the employees are full of interesting facts and info, always teaching you something about the music before you head out the door!

Like other record stores in the city, this spot of course supports local. You can also purchase tickets for local concerts through the store.

Neighbourhood: Downtown
356 Richmond St. (map)
http://www.citylightsbookshop.ca/

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City Lights Bookshop has been around since 1975 and is one of those stores that you never forget. A quaint, ever-trendy spot in the heart of downtown, London, this place has been offering pop culture odds and ends to Londoners with its unique flair, and will likely continue to do so for many years ahead.

Not just a record store, City Lights sells used books, vinyl, movies and music. Because of its vintage flair, it has become a spot that music lovers go to find that one rare vinyl they haven’t been able to get their hands on, or to score that little-known gem that’ll add the perfect amount of spice to their growing collection.

An inviting atmosphere complete with two floors of vintage items, pop culture paraphernalia, adult magazines, postcards and used books. While it’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth that is City Lights Bookshop, the upstairs is dedicated to entertainment and music.

The cosy atmosphere is reminiscent of what you’d picture a traditional used bookstore to be like, but sloshed with trinkets and items that give it a unique throwback feel. This London gem, while located in a drab part of the downtown core, has made a name for itself as a classic hotspot for bookworms and music lovers alike. Check them out next time you’re craving a new (used) addition to your collection and you’ll surely leave feeling satisfied like a kid in a candy store!

Sifton Properties
West 5

Sustainability is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance. It is more than just a growing trend; sustainability is a necessity. Since the world is facing some grave environmental consequences from the pollution and ignorance of eco-friendly practices, it is more imperative than ever to produce communities that emphasize the importance of sustainable living.

Green initiatives are present throughout London, Ontario whether it is recycling awareness in schools, eco-friendly homes, using the internet instead of paper, using solar panels or the City Green Community etc. These initiatives are fantastic, but there is a lack of community-based, comprehensive sustainability.

That’s about to change with the development of Ontario’s first sustainable community of its kind, right in our Forest City! Sifton is currently constructing West 5, their ambitious vision of a small, net-zero village in west London. What is net-zero you ask? The answer is simple; a community that produces as much energy as it consumes each year.

This development is a commitment to think about the future in regards to saving energy and being environmentally friendly. It is located at the gates of West London, and is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city but easily connects to major arteries throughout. The specifications of West 5 include 450,000 square feet of commercial space and 2,000 townhomes, condominiums, apartments and retirement residences.

The goal of this development is to create a community that lives and grows with each other. The small village-like subdivision will boast everything a resident may need, from retail stores to pathways and trails, restaurants, parking, events and fitness/recreational opportunities – all in a sustainable manner, ensuring energy savings in all aspects.

Sustainable Village

The West 5 complex isn’t so much a place to give back to the community; it’s a green district that relies on sustainable resources for energy. The hope here is that by drawing power from unlimited natural elements (such as the sun), the use of our limited natural resources on earth will decrease over time while simultaneously benefiting the community in different ways.

The implementation of solar panels will generate clean electricity and reduce energy costs at the same time. Solar parkades will not only keep your car safe from the heat, rain and snow; they will also generate a ton of power for the community. Solar energy is a resource that we will be able to use for years and years to come. By implementing solar power into the neighbourhood, Sifton is setting the residents up for energy savings not only today but for the future.

Electric vehicle charge ports will be installed. These will add to the appeal of purchasing an electric vehicle for those who are living in the community. These ports will eventually give back to the town over and over again by reducing gas consumption, meaning more money in pockets and a greener planet in the future.

There are also plans to include high-performance road surfaces. These surfaces will improve the speed of snow and ice melting, reducing the amount of salt needed throughout the neighbourhood.

Office and Retail Spaces

This groundbreaking initiative will start with the creation of Sifton’s Head Office, a state-of-the-art building that is being designed and constructed to power itself. This is about creating the most amazing lifestyle that you can enjoy today and tomorrow.

West 5 is committing itself to providing the most cutting-edge and modern office spaces. These offices won’t only be environmentally friendly but will also provide companies with the most advanced workspaces. Companies who possess a progressive, forward thinking philosophy will no doubt show interest in this leasing opportunity.

There are two main office buildings, the Sifton Centre and the retail and office spaces spread throughout the subdivision. The Sifton Centre offers first and second-floor office opportunities, as well as ground floor retail. The Mixed-Use Retail & Office Buildings will have four floors of office leasing opportunities.

These office buildings are complete with net-zero efficiency and have been developed to power themselves. 1st building is Net Zero – designed and constructed to power itself

2nd-floor tenants will overlook the green roof. The windows are made of thermal glass and automatically tint, adjusting to the sunlight. The office spaces are surrounding by retail, restaurants and activity – leaving no shortage of things to do over lunch etc.

There is free WiFi in all public areas of West 5. Cyclists can take advantage of the indoor secured bicycle parking, and drivers will benefit from free parking.

As of April 2018, there are five companies are located in the Sifton Centre. Backroads Brews & Shoes London, MedPoint Executive Fitness, Edward Jones Investments, West Five Family Dentistry. Sifton Properties even uprooted their downtown office and made a move to the West 5 spaces.

Backroads Brews & Shoes is an amalgamation of running and coffee. The owners are avid long-distance runners and have committed to opening up a shop that specialises in running. The retail store sells all running apparel and the owners are shoe fit experts. They wanted to add a twist to your run of the mill running store and added a cafe to it. The best part? They’re licensed and feature local beers on tap, such as Anderson Cream Ale and Toboggan Stout. This creates a space where people come together whether it’s after a day of shopping, before or after the running club meets up, or just while you’re walking through the complex!

These businesses are just the beginning for the office spaces in the West 5 community. They expect to see it flourish in the next few years and fill up with an array of different businesses from retail stores to restaurants. The implementation of businesses to this village-like neighbourhood is crucial to turn it into a self-sustaining community, economically speaking.

Townhomes and Residences

The townhomes are scheduled to be complete by the end of spring, and residents are now officially renting. Potential renters can choose from seven contemporary suite styles. These include 2-bedroom, 2-bedroom and den, 3-bedroom, 3-bedroom and den. The townhomes will have a selection of modern paint colours, designer finishes and beautiful 9ft ceilings in the main living areas.

Details in the suites include luxury vinyl plank flooring, luxury carpeting in bedrooms and glazed porcelain tile in the bathrooms. Kitchens boast fresh cabinetry, and quartz countertops and Energy Star certified stainless steel appliances (refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer). Every suite is, of course, wired for cable, internet and phone. A bonus for townhome renters is the ample parking for themselves and guests, as well as multiple private garages and private terraces.

Community living is an inescapable part of West 5’s success. To achieve a completely sustainable net-zero community, the homes within must use a lot less energy than typical housing. To make the homes more energy efficient, specific differences in the development were made.

Firstly, additional insulation is fitted in the townhouse walls, thus ensuring the living area is better protected from cold weather, and heat is trapped more efficiently within the home without air leaking out. The furnaces are top of their line. They are modulating electric heaters which use advanced technologies to decrease temperature fluctuations. These furnaces continuously carry warm air from one place to another, ensuring the home is always at a consistent temperature.

For additional energy saving, the townhomes boast drain water heat recovery. As warm water from showers and sinks goes down the drain, it passes over a system of copper coils. These coils capture the existing heat from the hot water and use that to pre-heat incoming cold water. LED lighting is the norm for West 5. LED lights are much more efficient than the alternative and can last over twenty years.

The fresh urban architecture will impress potential residents and retirees looking to move. These will boast 100% energy efficiency and will be complete with Energy Star rated appliances.

Retirement residents can enjoy planned events and activities and partake in personalised wellness support services. Since West 5 is a village complete with restaurants and shopping, this gives retirement residents freedom to enjoy the community without worrying about driving far.

Central Park

The community aspect of West 5 is incomparable to any other neighbourhood in the city. To bring people together in a village-like environment, Sifton is incorporating a Central Park. The park will bring West 5 to life, adding a pleasant and comfortable aspect to the neighbourhood.

This is imperative to bringing a community closer together as the park is where residents can enjoy time outside, walk their dogs and be active. The park is located centrally so residents have super quick access to it. The housing and the complex at large are interconnected through pathways, trails and open green spaces. The official West 5 website pegs the area as a possessing pedestrian-centric design. The focus on allowing residents to freely walk around with no worries about bustling streets with cars is always a plus.

Central Park, while being environmentally friendly, is a place to bring residents together. It is designed to be a premier destination for not just residents of the neighbourhood but all Londoners with a variety of events going on throughout the year. Sifton envisions events like Easter egg hunts, movies at twilight, food festivals, concerts, yoga sessions, the lighting of the Christmas tree. Food markets on Saturday mornings and outdoor games area make Central Park the number one place for residents to gather.

We value the concept of modern technology advancing the use of renewable resources. Who wouldn’t? We have been burning through our natural resources at a rate faster than the planet can handle and change must happen. West 5 is a big leap for the residential and commercial industry, and if it’s successful, it could be a turning point for future developments in southwestern, Ontario. What is your opinion on West 5? Do you think a net-zero community is attainable, or too ambitious? Let us know on any of our social media links down below and don’t forget to comment, like and share!

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