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!


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.


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 . 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)

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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)

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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)

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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!

Duck & Dodo


The Duck & Dodo logo

This week I visited Tiffany Hillman, founder and owner of the antique and artisan market, the Duck & Dodo. Growing up in an old farm house, Tiffany has always been surrounded antiques. Pair that with a desire to bring a new life to old items and a background in interior and kitchen design and you get the Duck & Dodo.

The Duck & Dodo is not just an Antique Market, nor is it  just an artisan shop. It is a hybrid of the two worlds.  This is how  Tiffany came up with the name The Duck&Dodo . The Duck represents the Artisans – The new generation of creators building items out of the old . And the Dodo is the Antiques – Vintage items that are gone and extinct, such is the Dodo.

The Duck & Dodo is a marketplace with a mix of antiques and artisans. These are primarily local, independent businesses that use this as their bricks and mortar, but they’re also a supplier of things like barn board and paint. One interesting thing that they offer are different classes. For example, they offer paint classes where they walk you through the entire process from picking the item, to painting it, to the final project, all in-store for a hands-on learning experience! You can book a class to paint your own piece with fusion mineral paint here!

What makes the Duck & Dodo different from other marketplaces is that they have an open concept so that all of their vendors products can be shown to their full potential. It is a space where artisans can really spread out their products allowing space for both large and small items!


Contact The Duck & Dodo

Phone: 519-601-9255




245 Maitland St.


Sunday: 11am-4pm

Monday & Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday & Thursday: 11am-6pm

Friday & Saturday-11am-5pm

Fanshawe’s Exciting New Campus!

One in six Londoners has attended Fanshawe College. Since its opening in 1967, the school has established itself as a vital organisation for the Forest City. It increases employment rates and provides a world-class education to those who attend.

The recent expansion of Fanshawe College campuses has sparked our interest in the history of the renowned institute. Read on to take a closer look at the college campuses throughout the years and the exciting expansion that Fanshawe has recently undergone.

A Brief History


Fanshawe College opened in September of 1967 with 15 acres of land to its name, and 720 students enrolled.

By the summer of 1968, the college had purchased a whopping 78 more acres. At this time, the school also owned a campus in Woodstock, which was solely for Farm Business Management.

With plenty of land under their belt, Fanshawe would go on to expand the campus based on steadily growing reputation, enrolment and additional programs offered to students. By 1984, 1,700 students attended the school, which employed 1,140 people.

By 2006 Fanshawe would be home to 15,000 full-time students and 40,000 part-time students. These enrolment numbers completely surpassed any predictions the founders could have made some 40 years prior!

Today, Fanshawe College has planted its roots in London, Simcoe, St. Thomas, Woodstock and additional areas scattered throughout Southwestern, Ontario. It has approximately 45,000 students (full-time, part-time and online) in over 200 degree, diploma, certificate, continuing studies and apprenticeship programs.

So what’s new?


The London community has been abuzz with the new campus that Fanshawe is integrating into the city.

Fanshawe itself is relatively out of the way from the goings on of London – about a fifteen to twenty-minute drive depending on traffic. Most Londoners have always known of it as a “city within a city” tucked in the southeast end.

With this being said, the vast campus consisting of eleven buildings, home to 21,000 full-time students is an impressive feat for a school that started out so small. This campus has grown with its enrolment rate and has seen thousands of eager students walk through its halls.

By the fall of 2018, a brand new downtown campus will be fully up and running. This campus will be home to classes for the information technology, tourism, hospitality and culinary programs. Construction on the new campus is moving along quickly!


What was once a historic London retail store, Kingsmill’s, is a shiny new state-of-the-art Fanshawe Downtown Campus! Passersby will notice a modern touch to the six-storey building, which has a 1,600-student capacity and cost a total of $66.2m with a $9m contribution from the city. The building is a distinct addition to the stretch of Dundas St. between Talbot St. and Richmond St. but isn’t ostentatious in its design.

This is an essential move for Fanshawe as it is taking a significant step forward to integrate itself with the London community. Downtown, London is vibrant and full of life, and the influx of locally owned businesses and local interest in the city itself is undeniable. By making themselves part of the downtown core, Fanshawe will be instantly recognisable and a lot more relatable to the average Londoner!


The Best Places to Walk Your Dog in London

It’s a beautifully breezy mid-July afternoon, and your beloved pooch just arrived from the groomers. His or her heavy fur coat is gone, and they are free to run around outside without succumbing to the heat. They’re used to flopping in the shade and panting after a thirty-second jog, but now with their new haircut, they deserve an extra long walk.

Where do you take your canine best friend? To the river trails? Around your neighbourhood? Downtown? It’s almost impossible to decide which area to take your dog to in our beloved Forest City. That is is likely because we are so fortunate to live in a town that is home to over 200 parks and 100 kilometres of trails and green spaces. With winter coming to an end, we’re eager for those hot afternoons spent outside with our pups.

The options are endless! We’ve talked to numerous Londoners to find out which parks are the best for you and your dog! If you have further suggestions, please comment on this post! After all, I think our office dog Maya would appreciate any and all suggestions for an afternoon out basking in the sun.

2A Grosvenor St. (map)

Gibbons Park is one of the most expansive green spaces in the city. It has a ton to offer including trails right along the river, recreational basketball and tennis courts and trails to walk your dog. It has been a family favourite destination for years in London. Also it is a popular spot for downtown-based summer camps to visit on day trips. Whether it’s walking or running with the dog, feeding the ducks or having a lazy afternoon – Gibbon’s Park is always a safe spot to go with your pup!

Neighbourhood: Downtown London
580 Clarence St. (map)

As beautiful as it is imperative to London’s culture and history, Victoria Park is a favourite place to take dogs. It is located in the middle of the city and has been the venue of concerts, festivals and events for much of London’s history.

Dogs love Victoria Park park as it is full of pathways primarily canopied by towering trees. There are numerous tables throughout the green space making for a pleasant walk with spots to sit and have a picnic or just to take a breather from the heat!

Pet owners beware: this isn’t the best spot to avoid other dogs, so if yours doesn’t do so well with other pets it’s probably best to avoid this park.

Neighbourhood: Kilworth
503 Gideon Dr. (map)

Situated just twenty minutes west of London, Komoka Provincial Park boasts some of the most beautiful trails along the river. Disclaimer: if you don’t like paying for your parking, then avoid making the trek out here (even though it’s totally worth the $6).

The trees are so built up and broad that they tower above trail-goers and provide just the right amount of shade with spots to catch the warm sun in between. You can come here for a short or long walk, really get a work out in if you try (there are numerous slopes and hills), and take in the undeniable serenity of the preserved provincial park!

Neighbourhood: Arva
11 St. Johns Drive (map)

Weldon Park

Weldon Park is about five minutes north of London in the small community of Arva. It offers expansive green spaces and most importantly, an off-leash area for the dogs! Aside from green areas, there are plenty of recreational sport facilities such as baseball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts. Because of this, Weldon Park attracts numerous people in the warmer months. The beauty is consistent all year round, and the trails always make for a lovely walk.

Neighbourhood: Byron
1085 Commissioners Rd. (map)

How could we not include the one and only Springbank Park in this list? This widely expansive park (140 hectares) is situated along the Thames River and boasts 30km of trails! It is the ideal spot to take your dog as they’ll never get bored snooping around the trails, lazing out by the river and taking in the scenery. From rollerbladers to bikers to hikers and dog walkers, this park is busy. Especially in the warmer months! Because of this, it’s an excellent place to go only if your dog is friendly to its fellow canines along the trails.


Neighbourhood: Riverbend Community
1615 N Routledge Park #23 (map)

Located in the southwest end of London, Kains Woods is a preserved area of town complete with trails situated along the Thames River bend. This ESA stretches across 28 hectares of land. Many joggers enjoy these trails and are often greeted by pet-owners out for a stroll with their dog!



Monday Market Update Episode 47


Welcome to episode forty-seven of the Monday Market Update!

On the Monday Market Update, Matt provides you with numbers and facts about the London, Ontario real estate market. These include new listings, homes sold, and homes conditionally sold. In this segment Matt also gives his opinion on what the current London, Ontario market looks like, as well as the surrounding areas! Matt also shares his predictions on what the real estate market will look like going forward. 

Today we are filming outside of Budweiser Gardens. As many of you may already know London has been chosen to host the JUNO Awards in 2019! This is a very exciting moment for the city. It has been very interesting watching as London becomes more and more recognized for events of this magnitude.  In the week of January 29th, 2018 London, Ontario’s real estate market saw 150 new listings come to the market, and 111 homes sold and 61 conditionally sold.

Its negative fourteen degrees out right now and I am freezing! However, the real estate market in London is heating up! This is now week three where we have started to see the spread between new listings and sales. These new listings are starting to creep up higher than sales which is great as it is evening out the market a little bit. That being said we still have a long ways to go to level out the London market.  In a perfect world if we could say hey five hundred  people go list your home and no body buy. If we did that for a week we would probably begin to see some stabilization and less of a frenzy here in the London, Ontario real estate market. Because, after all we still are seeing homes selling for multiple offers and above list. There is still tons of activity in the London, Ontario real estate market even though it feels like it is negative one hundred degrees out. 

Thanks for watching, and check back next week for another new episode of the Monday Market Update!

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