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My Canadian Experience
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Wednesday 17th October 2018 was a special day in Canadian History... Canada becomes second country to legalise recreational marijuana.

Recreational marijuana is legal as of today, but the vision of what a pot-permissive Canada looks like remains somewhat hazy.

There's still a lot we don't know, including what will happen to the illicit dispensaries that popped up in cities across the country in recent years. But here's a look at what we do know as Canadian consumers buy legal cannabis for the first time.

You can find out some answers to most questions at:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/marijuana-faq-legalization-need-to-know-1.4862207

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January 2019

I have to say that not everything is good in Canada.

I've recently been reading more about indigenous women being murdered and going missing and yet the police service seems to have a very poor track record in solving these cases. Also, I have been reading since coming to Canada of the problems in the RCMP on sex issues. Far too many women police officers are being sexually harassed and the RCMP don't seem to be fixing those issues and that's now some 15 years I've been reading about this.

Then of course with Canada having the second largest reserves of oil in the world they can only sell it to America at a major discount at that. For some reason many First Nations people and the Green lobby are standing against allowing a pipe line to be built to get it to the coast so they can sell it to world markets. Canada could be making billions every year and the Government seem unable to just get a pipe line built.

Then there is the case of the Prime Minister doing a terrible job at dealing with foreign leaders. Like the last visits by the Prime Minister to India and China have been a disaster and the continued war with China is still going on and if anything getting worse. He had said that getting a free trade deal with China was a top priority but having just sacked his Ambassador in China things are going backwards.

The debt that Canada has built up since the Liberal Government took power is now 3 times what the Prime Minster said he would spend if elected. A lot of that debt could be wiped out if they would only get that Pipe Line built but the Prime Minister seems incapable of resolving this very long lasting issue. However, he has still to make up his mind about financing the armed forces in Canada.  No decision yet on what aircraft to purchase as just one example of many that are being delayed.  There is also a housing crisis in Canada and especially in the two largest cities of Toronto and Vancouver where rents are sky high. No wonder that many young people are still living with their parents. Mind you, if people were willing to locate outside these major centers they can find quite reasonable prices. Of course the same can be said of places like London in the UK.

We are due national elections in October 2019 so we'll get an idea what Canadians think about his tenure in office when the results come in.

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Today, Monday 28th January 2019, I got the start of work to get the house gutters fixed but due to the snowy weather it's going to take another day to complete the work. He noted I have some wood issues in the roof so I'm going to have to get that fixed so tomorrow he'll give me contact details of who to get to fix that. He seem to be a very capable young man so I'm going to ask him for a quote on getting that door I have wanted to put in the garage to allow me easier access to the house from outside. The last rough quote I got was over $2,000.

I might add that I did get the quote in and it was $5,900 so that's not going to happen at that price.

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As it is that time of year again I've just sent my books of to the accountant in the USA for my tax return for the company. I have also now prepared my accounts for the Canadian folk but can't send these in until I receive my audited accounts back from the USA.  However it's mostly done and dusted as they say which is always a good feeling.

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I note the local company Tek-Savvy is now offering full telephone, TV and Internet services.  Certainly worth a look if you live in Chatham. I don't know how good their support is mind you.  I use Cogeco and have a business account with them which means they guarantee a visit within 24 hours.  I do know with a residential account it can be a week before they will come out.

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Had an issue with my garage door so I called in Door-Co in Chatham and they came around within an hour and fixed the issue.

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Today, 12th February, schools were shut today due to ice on the roads and people in the area have been advised to stay of the roads if at all possible. My cleaning lady, Liz Watson, phoned to tell me she had to cancel her 2 weekly visit with me due to that ice and told me that she thought this was the first time in a lot of years that they had closed the schools. I did wander out to my porch and it didn't look that bad.  However she told me she had at least half an inch of ice on her car.

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On March 7th, 2019, I got a notification that my water heater rental was going up from $29.85 to $30.89 a month.  I use Reliance Home Comfort.  I was with another company but Reliance bought them over.  It seem each year I am now due to get an increase in the price of my rental but with my older company I never got an increase so am not happy about this.

Frankly the last Engineer that came out to my home said they had got more reliable and there wasn't much to go wrong with them.  In fact I was told back when I first took out the contract that it would get cheaper pro rata as the years went on but clearly Reliance are going to keep increasing the price each year which is in excess of inflation. 

I have talked to them about this and they are providing me with a 10% discount on the price so that helps.  However I would advise if possible not to rent your water heater and instead purchase it. I am now going to look at purchasing a new water heater before the year is out.

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North Kent Mutual Insurance

I got in my renewal for my house and car insurance from my insurance company this March and so thought I might highlight them in here in the event you are new to the area and are looking for similar insurance coverage.

I have found them to be quite flexible on how they deal with insurance matters.  For example a couple of years back I reversed into another car by accident in the Supermarket car park.  My insurance covered this just fine and they didn't increase my premiums as a result.

Also on another matter a car ran into my home and partially demolished my porch.  They covered the whole cost and didn't take off any deductable.

As they are a mutual company they do share any profits with you.  Like a couple of years ago I got a cheque in for some $70.00 as they had made excess profits that year.  Of course you won't get a cheque every year but it's a good benefit when you do.

Below is my own agent so feel free to give him a call or email him and be sure to let him know I sent you.

I might just add that car insurance here in Chatham-Kent is around half of what you would pay in Toronto which is just another benefit of not living in Toronto as the house prices are also way lower.

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My new hosting company, 4GoodHosting in Vancouver has increased my monthly charge due to my going over my storage allowance. I complained and they reduced the increase a little but now I'm going to have to watch this.  They've given me another 50 Gbyte so that should last me a while. 

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Today 2nd April 2019 I learned that I am getting around $150 a year as a Climate Action Incentive Payment. My accountants have already claimed this for me through my tax return but if you are filing yourself without an accountant then you need to contact the Canada Revenue Agency to claim your amount. I'm told that a family of 4 will receive $307. See https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change.html for further information. This amount will increase each year up to 2022 anyway.

  2020 2021 2022
First adult $226 $295 $360
Spouse $113 $147 $180
Child $56 $73 $89
Family of four $451 $588 $718

Federal fuel charges – Starting in April 2019 and increasing in stringency over time, the federal pollution pricing system will add a nominal cost to everyday fuels.

In Ontario, for example, the fuel charge on gasoline, in 2019, will be 4.42 cents per litre and the fuel charge for natural gas used in home heating will be 3.91 cents per cubic metre. These rates will increase over time.

Under the federal system, the estimated average cost impact for a household in Ontario is $244, in 2019, which is less than the average for Climate Action Incentive payments ($300). Households of Ontario can also reduce this cost through many options, such as better home insulation, switching to a more fuel-efficient vehicle, using public transit, and lower-cost solutions like LED lightbulbs.

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12th April 2019

Speedy Glass has been advertising on the TV for a while now and as it happens I got a crack in my car windshield so had to have it replaced.  I was partly covered by insurance but my deductible is $500 so I still needed to pay a fair chunk of the cost.

That said it took them 3 hours to complete the work but that also included cleaning all my windows and vacuming the car.  They also supplied me with new wiper blades and replaced the cabin air filter. So all in all I was very pleased with the service.  In with the price they included getting me a taxi back to the house and getting me picked up again when the car was ready.

You can learn about them at: https://www.speedyglass.ca

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Fires
I take this as a topic as I'm just watching the fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. 15th April 2019.

I have watched a number of fires and the one down the road to where I live I noted just how long it took to put out the fire and the hours of work that it took.  I have since felt that using water to put out fires is simply not working.

I feel we need a chemical option to put out fires or some other method to extinguish them as water simply takes far too long to put them out.

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I went to Toronto for the Easter Weekend and had a great time. Nola's daughter and son-in-law have a new restaurant in Toronto and Nola's grandson Dillon is now the manager and apparently really enjoys the job and they seem to be happy with him so that's great news. Michael, another son-in-law was let go by Rogers as he was a supervisor in their support call centre.  He has now got a similar position with Home Depot in Toronto and seems to be happy with the move. Always good to get caught up with what everyone is doing and wow the grand kids and great grand kids are all looking much older now. Just as well I got new wipers as it was heavy rain most of the way from Chatham to Toronto. Lovely and sunny and dry on the way home.

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The man is pretty cool
Jun 19, 2019 in The Voice Newspaper

I’ve lived in Chatham since May of 2001. In that time, I’ve crossed paths with Rob Myers – the “RM” in RM Auto Restoration and RM Sotheby’s – a handful of times. Those included various press events, at Bike Fest when he was out with his cute granddaughter, or while touring South Kent with his daughter in his 1957 Mercedes coupe – picture Rob trying to get flats of berries into the trunk of that car.

But until I sat down to interview him about RM’s 40th anniversary celebrations earlier this spring, I never had a chance to just talk to the man.

For anyone who knows Rob, speaking to a member of the media is not his favourite thing to do. He feels a columnist burned him in an article in a business magazine several years ago, so he’s loath to speak to other writers.

But he eventually agreed to chat with me, thanks to a good word from Fannie Vavoulis, the chair of the committee organizing all the crazy stuff happening this weekend.

He was pretty much exactly how I expected him: loud, proud and a bit of a conundrum – at times very humble, and at others, somewhat arrogant.

Let’s face it, with what Rob has done with his business, whom he has met and done deals with over the years, and what he’s done with a section of downtown Chatham, he has earned the right to those character traits.

He regularly rubs elbows with the rich and famous, and with the rich and not so famous.

Rob’s nouveau riche, a compliment in my books. He didn’t inherit his wealth, but instead busted his butt for years to get where he is today atop the auto restoration and classic auto auction fields. He has earned everything; it wasn’t handed to him.

How can you not respect that?

It’s hard to get a feel for Rob’s reach in the automotive world, until you step into his office/man cave.

When I did that earlier this spring, I was immediately greeted by the strangest rear ends of three cars that I’d ever seen.

You could tell they were related, as they all had swept rear fenders that curled around the back of each vehicle.

I walked around to the front to see each was built by the same company, Alpha Romeo.

A chat with Rob revealed they were “bat cars.” I googled “bat cars” and “Alpha Romeo” when I got back to the office and learned they are B.A.T. cars – B.A.T. 5, B.A.T. 7 and B.A.T. 9 to be exact.

It turns out, they were prototypes in the quest to create cars with the lowest possible drag coefficient. B.A.T. stands for Berlinetta Aerodynamica Tecnica. And in successive years, these cars were showcased at the Turin Auto Show – in 1953, ’54 and ’55.

And then I realized these are the only such vehicles ever produced. Three of a kind, yet three one of a kinds; built by an Italian sports car company more than 60 years ago.

And they are sitting in a man cave in Chatham.

That’s how deep Rob Myers is into the auto world.

As for what Rob is to Chatham-Kent, it was disheartening to hear some folks on social media complaining, asking why everybody was so accommodating to one man and why the concerts weren’t free this weekend.

Well, as part of the RM40 weekend, Myers and company want to raise funds for three charities. It’s hard to do that with free concerts.

As to why the municipality and others want to accommodate RM Sotheby’s so much, this is an organization that could operate literally anywhere in the world. It has 180-plus employees, most of who work here in Chatham-Kent.

RM’s many clients are a globally diverse group. When they come here to check on progress on their vehicle restoration, Rob wanted them to have a rather unique place to stay, so he opened the Retro Suites boutique hotel.

It is an award-winning hotel and is a bit of a tourist destination on its own as a result.

But it also caters to many local events.

In fact, Rob has fixed up a nice chunk of King Street downtown. The backs of these buildings have a South Beach (Miami) feel to them as well.

Very unique, and located here.

Rob Myers does a great deal for Chatham-Kent. He has only a small window in which his staff are available to partake in the celebrations and this coming weekend was the best time.

Is he supposed to put on such an event when his people can’t even be here due to requirements for auctions around the world?

Um, no.

So, yes, the municipality worked to accommodate. But it isn’t for one man. It’s for his employees, his customers, everyone who utilizes the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, has children who need help through the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent, and who may have a friend or loved one who will pass through the C-K Hospice.

That’s pretty much everyone in Chatham-Kent. Yeah, we can bend over backwards to help accommodate him. In fact, it’s the least we can do.

The busiest weekend ever in Chatham-Kent is now one for the history books, and what a weekend it was.

From the RM 40th anniversary parade with Kid Rock sitting with RM’s Rob Myers as parade marshals, to the classic car cruise of hundreds of amazing vehicles, to the Thamesville Threshing Festival, to RM festivities, to the Erieau Parade of Dreams car show – the weekend was packed with people.

Thankfully, the weather co-operated with mostly sunny skies and no rain. Chatham-Kent has never looked more vibrant and alive than it did this weekend. Pictures galore are turning up on social media from all the different venues, including Rob Myers playing the tambourine while Kid Rock and Sam Roberts looked on.

We have photo pages in this week’s edition, and posted dozens more online. Be sure to check them out at www.chathamvoice.com

Community pride is at an all-time high, and not just because Chatham-Kent hosted one heck of a party, but because the people behind it worked hard to make the weekend successful for locals and visitors alike.

Myers and his team outdid themselves in pulling off an incredible weekend full of fun activities for everyone, and local charities won big thanks to the extra special events.

Not only does Myers have a big wallet, he has a big heart to go with it, and has given more to this community and its citizens than can be acknowledged.

He was everywhere this weekend; his pride in his company, his team and his community evident for all to see.

RetroFest 2019 won’t be forgotten for a very long time, and the success of the weekend – for all of Chatham-Kent – is something not even the naysayers will find much to complain about.

Too many people, too much noise, too much fun – bring it on, because Festival of Nations and our Canada Day celebration are next and hopefully people riding the high of RetroFest will come out and make this weekend a success as well.


Thank you, RM Sotheby’s, the Historic Downtown BIA, the organizers of the Threshing Festival, and everything else that took place.

Yes, downtown Chatham was in the spotlight, and with good reason. It all began at 5 p.m. with the RM parade to kick off the RM 40th/RetroFest weekend.

Mechanical elephants from 80 years ago? Check.

Kid Rock riding with Rob Myers? Check.

By the way, that was Kid Rock’s ride they were in.

And did you notice Sam Roberts behind the wheel of a 1966 Mustang? Yep, the Canadian rocker who played in Tecumseh Park that night was in the parade too.

Nice work, Fannie Vavoulis! Fannie was the chair of the organizing committee. She set up the media interviews with Sam. Those took place on June 17, just four days before the festivities.

When I interviewed Sam, as classic cars came up in conversation, he mentioned when he signed his first record deal, the first thing he did was purchase a 1966 Mustang GT. He loved the car, but since sold it off as he has three kids now.

I mentioned the fact to Fannie in a quick e-mail. She thought it would be cool to offer him a chance to drive one again.

Fannie got to work with her RM contacts. In no time, she’d found a Mustang. After reaching out to Sam’s PR folks, the car had a driver.

And anyone who saw Sam Friday in the parade could not help but see a huge smile on his face.

Then again, there were smiles all around this past weekend. The weather was perfect. The parades and displays were amazing.

We caught the RM parade near the Capitol Theatre/Frendz area and headed to Indian Creek Road to catch the Classic Car Cruise.

The RM parade delivered some wild rides, including a chicken truck, Kid Rock’s Pontiac Bonneville, which was tricked out by the late Nudie Cohn, a huge Oscar the Grouch float, the mechanical elephants, a giant shopping cart, three Batmobiles and even a jet engine.

Friends Pete and Arlene were with us to enjoy the spectacle.

When that parade ended, we accepted an invite from other friends Charlene and Eggless Chad to catch the Classic Car Cruise as it went along Indian Creek Road near their house.

Great choice as we relaxed in the shade and watched as hundreds of vehicles went by.

I loved the parade and the cruise, which featured two Deloreans, at least one Ferrari, tons of vintage Camaros, Mustangs, Firebirds, Triumphs, and some beautiful 1950s iron, as well as some cars and trucks that were much older than that. There were also custom-made rides.

Just a great selection and showcase.

https://chathamvoice.com/2019/06/25/retrofest-and-rm-fun-pack-the-downtown/#!prettyPhoto[gallery]/6/


5th October 2019
This week I got the outside of my home painted as it was starting to look a bit weathered.


You can see fall has yet to mean leaves are off the trees

I used a local chap (Doug) who cuts my grass as he's a bit of a handyman.  We did need to get some scaffolding to get to the top of the house and I will say he did a very good job.  In the process we removed the wee shutters from the windows.  While Doug did a great job he wasn't too good in estimating how much paint was needed so ended up making four trips to the paint store!!!

If you need a handyman or someone to cut your grass you can contact Doug on 226 627 3467.

His flyer says...

Lawn Care / Odd Jobs
I have been doing lawn care and some landscaping for 25 plus years. This includes hedge trimming, flowerbed cleaning and / or some landscaping. This also includes some odd jobs like window washing. Reasonable rates.

This week I also ran out of printer ink and when I sent to get some more ink I found out the printer company had gone out of business so no ink meaning I had to buy a new printer. I opted to get a cheap laser printer as I don't do much printing and the toner cartridge will last ages unlike an ink cartridge.

I also bought a new electric razor as I found what I had to pay to replace the cutting heads I could buy a complete new razor for less money. Mind you after using it for 4 days it then wouldn't switch off but the company replaced it free of charge so that was ok.

I also discovered the company called Instacart who will deliver your groceries for you and thus I can order from Walmart, Canadian Superstore or M & M.  They operate both in Canada and the USA.  I've actually ordered from all three stores in Canada and I believe, depending on where you live in North America there may be less or more stores you can shop at. For my Canadian readers try instacart. ca or in the USA use instacart.com.

My small 13" TV wouldn't switch on so also had to replace it with a 15" one.  The 13" one has lasted some 15 years or so and so it did well for me.

I also noted that Frick's Fish & Chips has moved to the old Kentucky Fried Chicken store at 541 Queen St., Chatham 519 351 3556 and they are still doing their special each Tuesday - 11 am to 8 pm - 1 piece Boston Blue with chips for $4.25 or 2 piece with chips for $6.50 or a single piece of fish for $2.50. I decided to try the Haddock dinner with chips for $12.50 and it was very good and I got 4 smaller pieces with that.


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