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How To Up Your Real Estate Game With Video

phone on tripod looking at a cityscape Being a Realtor is not just one job—it’s many jobs in one. As a Realtor, you’re an advisor, you’re the yellow pages, the white pages, and you’re a marketer. But your marketing is not just about promoting your listings, it’s also about promoting your team and your brand. In today’s day and age sitting at open houses waiting for connections is not going to cut it. Our potential clients are not going to be reached that way. So, we came up with the #BusinessOfTheWeek videos. But before we dive into exactly what that is, let’s walk through how we got there. As a Realtor, it’s your job to be the connector. You need to know your city inside and out. The art of this has somewhat been lost, thanks to Google. When you can just google the answers, then there is no pressing need to get out there and learn your city through and through, but there is a big difference between googling an answer and knowing the answer. When you know this city and the local businesses inside and out you can provide your client with real, genuine answers from experience. You’ll be able to advise your client and connect your client in a way that Google never could. A big way that you can get to know your city, and also build on your own brand, is to bring visibility to entrepreneurs. When you’ve grown up in a city or have been working in a city for so long, you can easily overlook the really cool things going on that people don’t even know about. As you help grow these entrepreneurs, you help grow the city. You’re shedding light on the amazing things that your great city has to offer that few people know about. You’re helping to grow the local economy. The more the city grows, the more valuable the real estate. So this is where we got the idea of connecting with local businesses in our Business of the Week videos where we feature one local entrepreneur every week and let them tell their story and what their business is about. As we started connecting with local business owners and entrepreneurs, we started to realize that our city is actually bursting at the seams with these really cool businesses and opportunities that no one really knows about. We’re giving a voice to small, local businesses, we’re growing people’s awareness of what London really has to offer, and we’re showing our potential clients that we are really knowledgeable and have a deep connection to this city. By now we all know that one of the big key factors to success in this day and age is social media. Our prospective home buyers are on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter. If we want to reach them, we need to be too. We can leverage social media by connecting with other businesses. When we do that, suddenly, not only are we getting access to our followers, but we’re getting access to their followers too. The same logic can be applied when we collaborate with other individuals, places, and events. By teaming up with others on social media we reach more people which then increases our own visibility and our own brand awareness. group of 5 individuals on their phones with a white background Not only are you leveraging the platforms for your own visibility and awareness, but you’re also connecting with your clients on the platforms that they prefer. Gone are the days of phone calls. People want texts and messages that they can deal with on their own time. People are busy and are putting in more than 40 hours in their work week. We need to be able to meet them where they are, and where they are is online. So what does this have to do with video? Video growth on social media is HUGE. Between 2016 and 2017 the views of branded video content on Facebook increased by 258%. When it comes to Twitter, a video Tweet is six times more likely to be retweeted than a photo Tweet. Those differences are huge. Video is where you’re going to reach people. But we all know that it’s going to take more than just posting videos to really increase your brand awareness. You need to create a video that gets people engaging with it. You want to create a video that has people sharing, commenting, and tagging their friends. And that is where our 12 Days of Giveaways comes in.
The 12 Days of Giveaways

☃️MASSIVE GIVEAWAY☃️ Share this post and tag 3 friends in the comments to be entered to win 1 of 12 prizes from our #BusinessOfTheWeek participants!*There is no limit to the number of times you can enter*How does it work?➡️ We will announce a new winner every day from December 7th-19th, 2018.How do you claim your prize?➡️ Santa himself (Matthew Santagapita) will deliver them to you on Friday, December 21st, 2018 at your home or place of business!Happy Holidays from the Santa Knows Best Team!🌲

Posted by Santa Knows Best on Tuesday, December 4, 2018
We wanted to end 2018 off with a real bang. So we came up with the idea for 12 Days of Giveaways. It’s exciting. It’s getting people to share, comment, and tag. It’s bringing 12 different local businesses together with one huge giveaway. We teamed up with 12 businesses who provided prizes that draws people to their store, spreads the word about what they do, and hopefully gives them repeat customers. Our potential clients are getting 12 chances to win fun prizes and they’ll connect all of that with us and our brand. All 12 of those businesses will be sharing the video and will be helping us promote it, which means our Brand is getting visibility across all of their platforms. Essentially, we’ll get the chance to “hijack” their audience because we’re getting centre stage in this promotion. Let’s be honest here: our industry is seeing a huge amount of disruption. Our value is on the decline with each and every passing day. It’s our responsibility as the new age of real estate professionals, to change with the times and bring value back to our clients. Our Business of the Week and 12 Days of Giveaways is just a few ways that we do that.

The Best Brunch Spots in London

Brunch, the combination of breakfast and lunch, is a hot trend that’s taken off in London. The versatility of the meal, as well as the social acceptance of having a boozy beverage in the morning/early afternoon makes it highly attractive to all ages. Whether you’re nursing a hangover, having lunch out after church, or on a date with a romantic interest, brunch is can fit into any weekend plans. The places on this list will be more than enough to get you out of bed in the morning.

The Early Bird

Neighbourhood: Downtown London 355 Talbot St. (map) https://www.theearlybird.ca/

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For a premium version of the diner classics you know and love, the Early Bird is the place to go when you’re downtown. They call themselves a “fine diner,” meaning they bring fine dining standards to diner food. They avoid frozen and processed foods at all cost, including smoking and curing their own bacon in-house. The Early Bird has become a hotspot for Londoners to get their greasy spoon fix without sacrificing in food quality. The Early Bird offers classic brunch fare with a twist, including a variety of styles of Eggs Benedict, including one with BBQ pulled pork and smoked garlic slaw. Alongside those options, they have classic breakfast platters, a Toad in the Hole, and their take on a breakfast sandwich that they call the Egg Mc Justin. Or if you’d prefer a sweet brunch over savory, they offer mouthwatering pancakes, waffles, and French toast. Or if you’d rather pull out all the stops, the Fat Elvis, a monster-sized plate of French toast slathered in peanut butter, honey, and maple syrup and layered with bacon and fried bananas. Breakfast dishes aren’t the only options though. Early Bird offers a plethora of sandwiches, including some of the best grilled cheese known to man, poutines and perogies. Or for the best of both worlds, the chicken and waffles will rock your world. If you slept in on your weekend, fear not: their breakfast menu is available all day. Or at least until they close, which is 8pm on Saturdays and 3pm on Sundays.

Cora Breakfast and Lunch

Neighbourhood: Glen Cairn & Carling Heights 395 Wellington St. (map), 1030 Adelaide St. N (map) http://www.chezcora.com

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Although we don’t usually like to feature chains, Cora is too good not to talk about. With two locations in London, one on Adelaide North and the other on Wellington by the Victoria Hospital, Cora’s is a go-to brunch spot for Londoners and Canadians in general. Starting humbly in a small diner in Montreal by Cora Mussely Tsouflidou, Cora Breakfast and Lunch was a pioneer in the breakfast/brunch space, claiming to have invented, or at least improved, a great number of modern staple breakfast dishes. The Cora model is simple: quality, feel-good food done quickly. While they’ll never push you out of the restaurant, the rate of people flowing in and out of their dining room is impressive. Food comes quick, but not for lack of quality, freshness or taste. Their menu offers every breakfast staple, from omelets to crepes to bagels and lox, in an unbelievable variety of combinations. Their fruit and/or chocolate-filled pancakes are huge crowd-pleasers and their array of egg preparations – from scrambled to Eggs Benedict to omelets – are incredibly satisfying. Always innovating, their newest menu items are as thought-provoking as they are mouthwatering. From their omelet burger (in any of their varieties of omelet) to the Double Surprise, a plate of two French toast sandwiches made with egg, bacon or ham, and swiss cheese, all topped with fresh fruit. While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the sweet/salty combination is hard to deny. Since brunch is also half lunch, Cora also offers a lunch menu. Burgers and sandwiches are their main offerings, as well as savory crepes turned into wraps and burritos. Cora Breakfast and Lunch is an easy go-to with options for even the pickiest of eaters. Cozy but cool, classic but innovative, Cora is perfect for any crowd no matter who you are.

Richie’s Family Restaurant

Neighbourhood: Masonville 1673 Richmond St. (map)

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Richie’s Family Restaurant is an old school diner nestled away in a plaza across from Masonville Mall. After over 60 years of service, it’s easy to say these guys know what they’re doing. Breakfast at Richie’s isn’t just a morning deal. You can get it any time you desire so long as their doors are open. Their all-day breakfast has attracted London to their doors for over half a century. Their menu is familiar, but not tired. Whether you’re looking for the classic breakfast or a more lunch-like meal, you’re bound to find something that you’re already craving on that menu. Eggs, pancakes, and bacon cover much of their menu in various ratios. They also offer an 8oz New York Sirloin steak served with two eggs and toast if bacon or sausage fails to intrigue you. Or for a lighter variation, you can get your eggs with fresh fruit and cottage cheese, called the Fresh Start. Richie’s is a family favourite, which makes sense as a family-owned and operated business. When you enter, you’re bound to find multiple generations sharing a table in the dining room. For a welcoming and cozy experience, Richie’s is a go-to favourite for many Londoners, and that many people can’t possibly be wrong.

Johnny’s Restaurant

Neighbourhood: Fanshawe Ridge 1910 Highbury St. N (map)

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If you talk to a north Londoner about weekend brunch, you’re basically guaranteed to hear about Johnny’s. This family-owned diner is about as north as you can go on Highbury without leaving the city at the corner of Fanshawe Park Road. Johnny’s is a great fit for anybody. It’s family friendly while still maintaining a degree of coolness that attracts a younger, childless crowd. The combination of friendly staff and large portions of delicious food, and fair prices is undeniable, no matter what demographic you fall under. Diner classics come hot and fresh from Johnny’s kitchen, from breakfast sausages to pancakes, you’re bound to be satisfied. For the lunch side of brunch, a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches are up for grabs. Whether you want a burger, a chicken caesar wrap, or a beef dip, they’ve got you covered. Even when Johnny’s gets busy, you’ll never be waiting too long. Sunday mornings and early afternoons are their busiest time considering one of the largest churches in the city of London, North Park Community Church, is a stone’s throw from the diner and many have made Johnny’s their brunch destination after their service has finished. The appeal of Johnny’s is universal, attracting Londoners of all types to their location in the far north.

Campus Hi-Fi

Neighbourhood: Downtown 736 Richmond St. (map) http://www.campushifi.com/

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Campus Hi-Fi is a mainstay in the everchanging landscape of Richmond Row. While there has been a whole lot of ebb and flow throughout the years, this diner has stayed the course since 1957. With two post-secondary campuses in London, Campus Hi-Fi knows what college students need on weekend mornings: food that is simultaneously tasty, cheap, and just greasy enough to curb the effects of last night’s party. All-day breakfast is the name of the game at Campus Hi-Fi, offering classics and implementing their own personal twists. Sure, getting The Traditional – 2 eggs, 3 strips of bacon or sausage links, home fries, and toast – is a guaranteed hit, but why not try something a little new, like Shawn’s Breakfast Poutine, Pete’s Scramble, or Meg’s Ukrainian Breakfast, which offers perogies, Polish sausage, eggs, and toast. It’s close to the classic, but just different enough to keep things interesting. If you’re not feeling the breakfast elements of brunch, you can grab one of their lunch dishes, whether if be fish and chips or the Hi-Fi burger. The entire menu is on the cheaper side, considering their target demographic is college students, it makes sense. But if you’ve graduated, dropped out, or were never interested in post-secondary life, don’t feel like you aren’t invited to this brunch party – everyone is welcome.

VEGAN FRIENDLY

While so many brunch spots are focused on eggs and their many preparations, these places look to attract the plant-based crowd. Rather than just offering options like plain old fruit salad and dry toast, these places celebrate the plant-based lifestyle and make it something to get excited about.

Plant Matter Kitchen

Neighbourhood: Old South 162 Wortley Rd. (map) https://plantmatterkitchen.com/

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Don’t let vegan scare you away, it’s not going to hurt you – in fact, it didn’t hurt anyone or anything to make these delicious brunch options! Whether you’re vegan, brunching with someone that is, or just looking to switch things up and step out of your brunch comfort zone, heading down to Wortley Village to visit Plant Matter Kitchen is a fantastic idea. Not unlike the restaurants above, Plant Matter Kitchen offers classic brunch dishes such as breakfast sandwiches, huevos rancheros, and breakfast burritos – but they’re vegan. In place of eggs, which aren’t vegan, Plant Matter fills your plate with scrambled tofu, which has a similar texture to scrambled egg. If you’re worried that they would leave hungry, fear not. For the largest diets, Plant Matter Kitchen offers the Hangry Burrito Deluxe, a burrito so massive, it has its own gravitational pull – or maybe that’s just the intoxicating smell pulling in those who order it. The Hangry Burrito Deluxe is a tortilla packed full with everything but the kitchen sink and topped with tomato sauce, house-made cheese sauce, and sour cream. There’s no picking this thing up, it’s a fork-and-knife type of burrito. And you can be sure it’s a glorious mess once you dive in. As one of the growing number of vegan restaurants in London, Plant Matter Kitchen is absolutely leading the charge in the brunch category. Their offerings will hit the spot for vegans and non-vegans alike.

Z’Energy Day Cafe

Neighbourhood: Downtown 71 King St. (map) http://zenzapizzeria.ca/

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Z’Energy Day Café is the identity that Zen’Za Pizzeria takes on in the morning hours until 3pm. Z’Energy’s claim to fame is the most visually impressive avocado toast that I’ve ever seen. On most avocado toasts, the titular avocado is presented on the toasted bread as a mash or maybe in slices. At Z’Energy, the skilled hands of James the Brit Barista shape avocado into a beautiful swirling flower. But it’s not just a feast for the eyes, the Brit Barista concocts delicious flavor combinations to compliment the richness of the avocado. Caramelized onions, balsamic mushrooms, various cheeses, both dairy-based and vegan, can all be added to your avocado toast to enhance it even further. But it’s not called a café for the avocado toast, their drinks are also heavenly. Their drink menu runs the gambit of old school to trendy, simple to complex. Grabbing a black coffee is an undeniable classic but exploring new terrain with a turmeric and ginger latte could result in you finding your new personal favourite. James the Brit Barista always goes above and beyond, and he’s a real character, so expect lively conversation as you order. We highly recommend following the Z’Energy Facebook page for his daily show which is always high energy and engaging – definitely worth checking out, but the real thing is always better. Z’Energy is a great place to spend your morning or early afternoon. Between the fantastic food, the delectable drinks, and the Brit Barista, Z’Energy’s irresistible energy will be bringing you back time and time again.

HIDDEN GEMS

These places are small and mostly unknown. Their internet presence is nearly non-existent, their signage is minimal, and they don’t advertise. In fact, you’ve probably driven past them and not given them a second thought, but little did you know that they’ve got some of the most rocking brunch in the city.

Westside Family Restaurant

Neighbourhood: Oxford Park 107 Mount Pleasant Ave. (map)
Westside Family Restaurant is nothing fancy. They’re a tiny restaurant that shares a parking lot with a gas station. But in their kitchen, some of the best greasy spoon breakfast foods are dished out. Although it might not be the healthiest start to your day, the home fries are to-die-for and can heal your hangover pains like nothing else.

B&B Snack Bar

Neighbourhood: Downtown 529 Pall Mall St. (map)
B&B Snack Bar is another tiny spot you may have driven past several times without even realizing. This hole in the wall can be found on Pall Mall, but only if you’ve got great eyesight or a map app open. Their signage is pretty small, but it’s apt for their space with only 10 counter seats and a few two-person tables. Their menu is simple, but delicious nonetheless. Eggs, a selection of breakfast meats, toast, and home fries are the main core of their menu with a few additions and daily specials to round it out. At B&B, they focus on the basics, and they do it well, so as long as you go in craving bacon and eggs, you’ll leave satisfied.

The First Steps to Making Your House a Home

Buying a new home is exciting, but it is only the first step on a long and wonderful journey of home ownership. Once the ink is dry and the keys are officially in your hand, the work has just begun. Now it is time to turn that foreign building into a place you love by making your new house a home. Whether you have purchased a new build, an older residence, or condominium, you will want to make changes to the property that will reflect your style and taste. This can include painting, remodelling, buying new furniture, and setting up your existing belongings just right so the room feels good when you are in it.  No matter how big or small they are, one of the first things you should do is make changes to turn your newly bought house into a welcoming, warm sanctuary that you want to live in. Your home should be a place that represents you. It should be a home that you want to go to and spend time in; a space that reflects what you like and value. Creating that feeling takes some work. Just moving furniture into the home is not enough to make your house feel like a home. Adding your own personalized touch to the interior and exterior will help turn your new place into your own private paradise. From the smallest to the largest details, every area should loudly and proudly scream you. There are many ways to make your house look like a home, no matter what your budget is. Whether you plan to buy all new furnishings or work with what you have, these simple tips will help you transform your new residence into your own personal haven.

Personalize Every Room

A modern interior design (bedroom).   First and foremost, it is important to personalize each room to reflect who you are so you feel good spending time in every section of your new place. Whether it is the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, bedroom, or living room, spend some time in each area designing it the way you want it to look. Take your time to choose paint colours, furnishing, rugs, and other flooring, appliances, and other accessories that will showcase you and meet your needs. Plan your layout and set up so that the room feels comfortable and functional.

 

 

Wall Colours

  One of the first things people do when they move into a new place is to change the wall colours. Painting is one of the easiest and most economical ways to completely transform a room. If the room’s colour scheme does not match your furnishings or décor plans, change it. By adding the hues that you choose to the space, you will quickly change the tone of the room to reflect you.

 

 

Furnishings

Whether you are buying new furniture or bringing in existing furnishings, it is important to take time to set up your possessions so you like how the room is arranged. To make your new house a home, the furniture should be what you want and like, not what someone else has chosen. The setting should be arranged to fit the space so you can move easily and freely. If you have furnishings given to you by others, slipcovers and throw pillows are a useless and inexpensive way to change the look of the sofa or chair so it better represents your likes and wants.      

 

Storage Space

Moving is a messy job that takes time to unpack, arrange everything and settle in. But once the boxes are emptied and your belongings are in their proper place, now it’s time to assess the storage space. When unpacking, it usually doesn’t take long to figure out if your home does not have enough adequate closet room to stow your stuff. Nothing will make your house feel more uncomfortable and less homey than walking into a cluttered, messy place. To reduce the piles, go through your place to see where and how you can add extra storage room. This can include building extra closet space or installing additional shelves and cabinets. If neither of these options is doable, there are different types and styles of furnishings and accessories you can purchase to tuck your belongings attractively out of sight.

 

Pictures and Wall Art

Bare walls can look very cold and impersonal. Adding artwork to the empty surface can brighten up a room while filling a void. If you do not have a favourite art piece to hang on your barren wall scape, there are plenty of ways you can create your own personal wall displays. Frame your top travel and event photos along with family and friend images, to create a collage made of beautiful memories and loved ones in your room or hall. Hanging framed calendar pictures or images taken from an old book or magazine will also add to the personal beauty of your place.

 

 

Area Rugs and Mats

  Cold, hard, and impersonal floors can be given a warm upgrade by adding an area rug and doormats to the room. Applying mats will easily make your house feel like a home because the vibrant colours and patterns bring all the décor together while covering an empty, blank space. The right area rug will turn any room into a comfy, warm, and welcoming place.

 

 

Fixtures

Some structures cannot be easily replaced or removed such as cabinets, doors, and some appliances. If you cannot paint or change the permanent features to better reflect your décor wants, you can still change the look of the surface by replacing the fixtures around or on the room. Changing doorknobs, taps, light switch casings, and other fixtures is an affordable and easy way to remove someone else’s impersonal choice and add your own. These simple adjustments are easy to complete but can have a huge impact on making your first house feel like your home.

 

 

Landscaping

While the exterior of your new home is not as important as the interior when making your house look like a home, it still needs your attention. Your yard shows the world what type of person you are and is the first sight you will see when you approach your property every day. The exterior should feel just as welcome, inviting, and comfortable as the inside. You can easily turn your yard into your own personal space by adding flowers, shrubs, foliage, flowering pots, ornamental garden accessories, lighting, and outdoor furniture. By personalizing your front and backyard, you can create an outdoor area the makes your new house feel just as much like your home as the interior décor does.   Buying a new house is one of the biggest and most exciting ventures you will take. But purchasing the property is just the beginning. Once you have bought the house, it is time to turn your new abode into your very own home; a place that you want to and enjoy spending time in. Inside and outside, your new house is your private sanctuary. It is a place that should feel like it belongs to you. To make your new house feel like a home, it is important to spend time in each part, designing the rooms and spaces to reflect your style, taste, and personality.  Whether you are on a limited budget or have lots of free money to completely transform the residence, you want to put your personal stamp on the interior and exterior layout to create a joyful, homey atmosphere that is all you.

The Best Hair Salons and Barber Shops in London

In London, and across the world in all honesty, going to a hair salon or barbershop to get a cut has always been a somewhat dreaded experience. If you have bad luck and get a bad cut, you basically have two options: shave it all off or wait weeks, if not months, for your hair to grow back out and look normal. Since the former is an incredibly bold statement most people aren’t willing to make and the latter is awkward as can be, the best solution is to get a good haircut in the first place. Finding the perfect hair stylist can be like looking for love. It takes time and effort to search for “the one.” You might get a bad cut or two on the way, and that might make you want to give up, but you persist on your search. Finally, you find him or her, and it’s a match made in heaven. At any of the salons and barbershops on this list, you’re in great hands. The scissors, clippers, and razors are handled with precision and care, guided by the stylist’s expert eye. In their care, you’ll have no problems getting the perfect new style to stun family, friends, and the folks at work.

Vanity House

Neighbourhood: Downtown London 124 Dundas St. (map) https://www.vanityhouse.ca/

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We might be biased on this one since Vanity House is the place that Santa himself, Matt Santagapita, gets his hair cut and styled. That’s right, a select few people have been afforded the opportunity to work on Santa’s majestic mane, and owner/stylist Aran Beattie has been Matt’s go-to stylist for over half a decade, since the salon opened their doors. Vanity house, found on Dundas in the heart of downtown, offers one of the most luxurious hairstyling experiences out there. Upon your arrival, you will be offered either French pressed coffee or freshly brewed tea – on the house, of course. Every appointment includes a consultation with a stylist and a fresh wash, regardless of the service you’ve chosen to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for. The boho-chic aesthetic of exposed brick, full length mirrors with ornate frames, and chandeliers dotting the ceiling give the salon a high class feel while still being warm and comforting. The time and effort going into the look and feel of the salon is an indicator of how much effort will go into your new hairstyle. The handful of stylists at Vanity House are experts at their craft, offering a wide range of innovative and exciting styles for everyday life or special events. Whether you’re looking for a simple trim, an extravagant updo, or a crazy new colour, these guys will make your vision a reality and make it look fantastic. The service and skill of the stylists at Vanity House is unparalleled, such that customers are driving in from as far as the GTA for appointments with Aran and his team. For your next haircut, why not go ahead and treat yourself to the Vanity House experience?

Whistling Dick’s

Neighbourhood: Old East Village 760 Dundas St. (map) https://www.whistlingdicks.com/

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For a haircut that feels like a blast to the past, Whistling Dick’s is the place to go. Whistling Dick’s emulates the style and feel of a 1930’s barbershop, from the tunes on the stereo to the straight razors they use to shave their customers. Whistling Dick’s harkens back to the good old days, where the barbershop was an institution, a safe haven. When you cross the threshold into their Old East Village shop, the feel of the place beckons you to leave your everyday stress at the door and relax as you’re pampered with high quality service and products. The vibe in Whistling Dick’s is rustic and as masculine as can be. Stained wood, brick, and leather comprise most of the surfaces in the place, with vintage tools and other flair adorning the walls, all because the owners, John Parlow and Gregory Kahnert, believe a haircut should be more than just an errand, it should be an experience. No fancy ombres, highlights, or hair dyes of any kind will be found in this establishment. All these guys do is cut, trim, and shave. They don’t offer a whole lot of variety, but they are masters of their trade. Scott Wilkins and Jose Interiano are both educated and experienced barbers with seemingly more years of experience than there are hairs on a head. Being primarily a men’s barber, Whistling Dick’s focuses on shorter hairstyles. So fair warning to those with luscious, flowing locks: you might not get the hairdo they desire unless you’re looking for something drastically shorter. The feel and experience of Whistling Dick’s is more than enough reason to go, but the fact that you can get a great new hair style in the process just makes the prospect worth its weight in gold.

Salon Entrenous

Neighbourhood: Downtown London 579 Richmond St. (map) http://www.salonentrenous.com/

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Found in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Richmond Row, Salon Entrenous has been cutting London’s hair for over a quarter century. The award winning team is committed to making sure you leave happy and looking fantastic with your new style. The vibe is clean and stylishly minimal, offering a welcoming open space that is devoid of clutter and mess, even at their workstations with all the tools of the trade. The staff always aim to ensure their customers are as relaxed as they can be and enjoying their time in the salon. Salon Entrenous is committed to making sure you get the style you want, including a thorough consultation with all services, alongside a scalp massage, and a blow dry. And they have a multitude of services from classic cuts to colouring to texture treatments for relaxing and smoothing your hair or adding permanent waves. In the salon, they also offer an extensive variety of shampoos, conditioners, and styling products for you to grab on your way out to keep your new do looking pristine days, even weeks, after your appointment. All of their products are professional grade with endorsement from the Salon Entrenous stylists, so you know you’re getting the good stuff. Ask your stylist which product will work best with your hair type, they’re highly informed and can give excellent recommendations for your needs. The award winning stylists at Salon Entrenous make it a prime choice for your next haircut.

Love Alchemy Lifestyle Boutique & Organic Hair Studio

Neighbourhood: Old East Village 764 Dundas St. (map) http://lovealchemy.ca/

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Love Alchemy’s organic and holistic approach to hairstyling and beauty is a welcome addition to London’s Old East Village. Opening their doors in February of 2017, Love Alchemy offers haircuts, styling, colouring, and holistic therapies like reiki, blue matrix, and massage therapy. Long or short, curly or straight, natural or dyed, Love Alchemy is a great spot for your trim, cut, or style if you’re strongly eco-conscious. Every single product in their salon is socially sustainable and ethically sourced, making it the perfect spot to stay stylish while reducing your carbon footprint. Love Alchemy’s number one goal is to keep the Earth as beautiful as they make you. With the help of their partners at Green Circle Salons, they recycle every bi-product they possibly can, such as empty colour tubes, foils, and leftover hair colour. This prevents the plastics and other non-biodegradables from entering landfills. Even your clipped hair gets put to good use, with their partner Matter of Trust, they use clippings to make hair booms for cleaning up oil spills. Their dyeing services are extensive, from full colour to balayage to root touch ups, all without harmful chemicals, toxins, or carcinogens. Whatever you need, these ladies will be able to provide. And if you’re looking for some ethical fashion to match your new hairdo, Love Alchemy has a selection of clothing, accessories, and home décor that proudly features local, national, and international brands that are all sustainable and ethical. For eco-friendly, guilt-free hair, Love Alchemy is definitely the place to check out.  

Nova Vita Hair Studio and Esthetics

Neighbourhood: Downtown 740 Richmond St. (map) https://novavita.ca/

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“Nova vita” translates to “new life” and the stylists at Nova Vita Hair Studio and Esthetics will do just that. You will feel like a new person after the pampering and styling that you receive at Nova Vita. Whether you’re looking for a basic trim, a designer cut, or even a perm, the stylists at Nova Vita will be able to give you a hand. Hair of all lengths and textures are welcome and will get the attention they need. Their skilled hair stylists will have you looking ready for a photoshoot, or at least to take on the day with newfound confidence from your new hairdo. Customers are always ecstatic when they leave Nova Vita, excited to flaunt their new style. This Richmond Row salon offers more than just hair styling though. They offer a variety of other services, including massages, airbrush tanning, waxing, and makeup application. Despite having so many options under one roof, their attention to detail is incredible, and the end results of every service is always top tier. Regardless of what you’re there for, at Nova Vita, the best is the only option, and anything else is unacceptable. From the products to their expert stylists, there is no second rate. Premium service, premium products.

The Best Places to Watch Fireworks in London

Canada Day is coming up this weekend, and it is tradition across the country to celebrate with fireworks. These dazzling displays bring awe and wonder to the faces of children and adults alike in commemoration of another year of Canada’s existence as a country.

Harris Park

Neighbourhood: Downtown 530 Ridout St. N (map) https://www.londonheritage.ca/canadadaylondon

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Photo By Scott Webb

Head on down to Harris Park for an event-filled Canada Day. A 12-hour extravaganza of Canadian and multicultural celebrations beginning at 11AM, fun for the entire family. There is a new act performing basically every half hour throughout the day, ranging from First Nations drumming and singing to interactive Bollywood dancing to Hells Bells, an AC/DC cover band. There is bound to be something for everyone throughout the day. Don’t worry about the kids either, they’ll be plenty entertained. The Kids Zone will have bouncy houses, face painting, airbrush tattoos, and other activities to keep the kids busy until the sun goes down and the sky is dark enough for fireworks. There will be an array of food vendors to grab snacks and meals while you hang out and enjoy the day. For the adults, a beer garden opens at 8PM serving a variety of cold and boozy beverages. Their fireworks show begins at 10PM and promises to be a colourful display to dazzle and astonish all. If you’re looking for a full day of fun in the heart of downtown London, head on over to Harris Park.

White Oaks Park/South London Community Centre

Neighbourhood: White Oaks 1119 Jalna Blvd. (map) http://southlondoncanadaday.com/

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This Canada Day celebration is a whole day event, beginning at 2PM and running into the night. With a variety activities for children and the family, this south end celebration is bound to be exciting. Live musical acts play throughout the day, with acts such as Big Bang, Men Without Cats, and the Night Crew. The kids will be kept busy with inflatable rides, a spray pad, and a movie in the gym of the community centre in the early evening, all for free! They also have a variety of food vendors selling their wares and a cake cutting ceremony, so you won’t go hungry. Their firework display begins at 10PM and is intended to be 20 minutes in length. For a fantastic, budget friendly, family-oriented day, the South London Canada Day celebration is a great spot to check out.

Argyle Arena

Neighbourhood: Argyle Park 1948 Wavell St. (map) http://www.eastlondonoptimists.com/

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The Optimist Club of East London is hosting this celebration, and it promises to be epic. This is a two-part event: an indoor vendor fair and an outdoor activity area and stage. The event’s opening ceremony begins at 1PM, followed quickly by a cake cutting. Music starts after the cake has been sliced and continues on into the evening. The musical acts include rock and country artists such as Kill Effect and Truelove Ways. This celebration has some of the most interesting things for the kids to get up to, including face painting, a reptile show, and mad science exhibits, all for free! There are also carnival games with prizes and a raffle, so don’t miss out on your chance to win. The vendor fair features local businesses such as Baby-Bee Design, Karen’s Kreations, and Metal Man Mike. So peruse at your leisure and maybe even grab something if it catches your eye. We always admire supporting small businesses. Fireworks begin at dusk, so keep an eye on the sun as it sets so you can get a prime spot to watch.

Outside of London

While we typically prefer to keep our recommendations in London, there are also some excellent firework displays outside of the city limits in surrounding townships and municipalities. Even though this would require some more driving, they’re definitely worth checking out.

Grand Bend

Neighbourhood: Grand Bend Lambton Shores (map) http://canadadaygrandbend.ca/

 

Grand Bend is a beach town to the northwest of London on the shores of Lake Huron. Their event consists of an evening of music, featuring Jessica Allossery, Vintage Flight, and Highway 21. This, of course, is all an opening act for the pyrotechnics. The fireworks begin at 10PM after the singing of the national anthem. The show that Grand Bend puts on is the largest in southwestern Ontario and is visible from mostly any point in the town, but the prime seating is definitely on the beach. Best of all, the whole event is completely free, except for public parking!

Port Stanley

Neighbourhood: Port Stanley William St. (map) http://www.portstanley.net/

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Port Stanley is a lakeside town to the south of London, offering Canfest, an event that runs the entire long weekend, from Saturday June 30th to Monday July 2nd. Basically the whole town participates, but the centre of the action is on the main beach, where you’ll find live music, a kids zone, and other events throughout the weekend, such as a BBQ on Saturday evening, a parade on Sunday morning, and of course, fireworks on Sunday night. Their fireworks being at 9:45PM, just after the sun has set and people can stop worrying about sunburns. The fireworks are sure to impress as the colours reflect off the water, making it seem like twice as many explosions of colour than there actually are. It’s a truly wonderful experience and heading out there is highly recommended.

The Best Places to Watch the World Cup in London

The FIFA World Cup has returned and as always, it has infected the world with patriotism. Londoners are reconnecting with their roots, since rooting for Canada’s soccer team just isn’t an option this time around. While watching in the comfort of your own home can be great, there’s nothing like the comradery of screaming with other fans at giant television screens, and for that you’ll probably have to head out to a public space. There are plenty of places to watch the tournament. Sports bars across the city will be putting on the game live, replaying it in the evening, and showing highlights the day after. But for the best experience to cheer your heart out, the places on this list are the ones to check out.  
Neighbourhood: Downtown 122 Carling Street (map) http://www.marienbad.ca/

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Marienbad Restaurant and Chaucer’s Pub, a two-named establishment, has strong European roots, so it’s needless to say soccer runs through their veins. The large television at Chaucer’s will be showing every game of the tournament. Come together with friends and family at this downtown location to watch your team and root them on. While you’re there, it will be hard to resist grabbing a pint of one of their 75 unique varieties of beer, 11 of which are on tap. These beers range in nationality, not unlike the teams participating in the World Cup, coming from all six inhabited continents, so you’ve got plenty to pick from that could even rep your team. Since most of the games start between morning and midafternoon, you’ll be getting acquainted with their lunch menu. A range of European inspired salads, sandwiches, and platters, along with daily specials – displayed on their sandwich board out front of the restaurant and on their Twitter. For a taste of Europe to match the team you’re cheering for, Merienbad/Chaucer’s is the place to be.
Neighbourhood: Downtown London 595 Richmond St. (map) https://joekools.ca/

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Joe Kool’s is a Richmond Row staple, serving hot food and cold drinks over the sounds of sports games for over 30 years. Joe Kool’s offers sports bar classics like burgers, pizzas, and nachos as well as a variety of domestic and imported beers, including a selection of beers from their Richmond Row neighbour, Toboggan Brewery. With over a dozen screens throughout the restaurant, you’ll easily be able to see the game from any table in the place. Sports fans have used Joe Kool’s as a gathering place for decades, and nothing can change that. The atmosphere is vibrant with cheers of elation and groans of disappointment whenever a team scores. Joe Kool’s itself does not have a public stance on who wins the World Cup, so everyone should feel welcome. Just keep it civil if you get seated next to a family cheering for the rival team.  
Neighbourhood: Downtown London 268 Dundas St. (map)

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The Scot’s Corner is a classic British pub with beer always flowing and brimming with UK pride. It almost goes without saying that the Scot’s Corner will be showing the World Cup, but that is the point of this list after all, so it must be said. The Scot’s Corner will be putting every World Cup game on display for its patrons. Whether it’s a 9AM start or 2PM, you’ll be able to grab a seat and a pint, and watch the game. Thanks to the AGCO’s temporary change, bars and restaurants are now allowed to serve alcohol as early as 9AM, though that rule is only for the duration of World Cup tournament play. They’re even offering a World Cup special – 20oz pints of Scot’s Corner Local Lager for $5. Between this deal and the game, it’s understandable to get a little rowdy – but don’t go full hooligan, or you won’t be invited back for the next game. Being a British pub, a good portion of the patrons will be rooting for England, but all are welcome to eat, drink, and cheer for their team.
Neighbourhood: Fairmont 706 Haminton Rd. (map) http://reidosleitoes.com/

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King of the Pigs, or Rei dos Leitõs, is a barbeque joint with a few locations across London. Their style of barbequing and love for soccer stems from Portugal, so you know both flow through their veins. Their Hamilton Road restaurant, their flagship location, has been open for over 25 years. Their Portuguese barbeque is unrivaled, charcoal infused chicken, Peri Peri sauce, and pork ribs are mouth-watering and have gained them much renown throughout the city, beyond just the Portuguese population. No matter who you’re cheering for, grabbing a table at King of the Pigs is guaranteed to be an excellent experience, just make sure to tip well if you’re rooting against Portugal.
Neighbourhood: The Coves 1 Cove Rd. (map) http://germancanadianclublondon.com/

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The German Canadian Club of London is welcoming Londoners to watch the World Cup on their big screen. While there may be a slight preference toward the German team, soccer fans of all nationalities and club affiliations are welcomed. Their kitchen and bar will be open an hour before each game and throughout the match, so classic German dishes and beer will never be in short supply. Sausages, schnitzels, and lagers make for excellent sustenance to keep your cheers going strong. Check on their social media or their website’s event page to see which games they’re showing. You’re guaranteed to get every Germany match, but showing other matches depend on public demand. And just for good measure, after every Germany match, there will be giveaways and prizes. No public word on what they are just yet, so you’ll have to head over and check it out if you’re interested in potentially winning a prize.
Neighbourhood: Downtown, Masonville & White Oaks 660 Richmond St, 88 Fanshawe Park Rd. & 1070 Wellington Rd. (map) http://jackastors.com/

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We don’t usually shout out chains on Santa Knows Best, but Jack Astor’s has one of the best sports bar set ups we’ve seen out there. Their massive screen makes the game visible across the whole space, it’s impossible to miss, even from outside. Crowds gather there to share in one communal watching experience. Everyone has probably been to a Jack Astor’s at some point, so there aren’t really many surprises on the menu. Classics like burgers, chicken fingers, and steaks, alongside a plentiful array of beers, wines, and spirits. Other chain sports bars, like Crabby Joe’s and Boston Pizza, which have numerous locations across the city, will give you a similar vibe to Jack Astor’s, so in a pinch they’re also a great choice for decent food, good service, and watching the World Cup.

Neighbourhood: Fairmont 134 Falcon St. (map) http://www.portuguesecluboflondon.com/

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The Portuguese Club of London are cheering on Ronaldo and the team and welcoming everyone from far and wide to join them. Their club’s adjoining sports bar is always open to the public, no club membership needed, you just have to show up and enjoy a drink and the game. The sports bar’s kitchen will be ready and available for your snacking and/or meal needs, serving up traditional Portuguese cuisine alongside their cold beverages, or hot coffee for the early morning games. It’s safe to say that all of the other cultural community centres in London will also be playing their team’s games, if not more. Check out places such as the Irish Canadian Club or the Curinga Italian Canadian Sport Club. National pride runs strong, especially when it comes to soccer, or “football” as they call it.