Archive for the ‘Reflections’ category

The New Canadian Dream?


Mason Homes’ Avonlea was a hit with homeowners who value a walkable neighbourhood and Green for Life homes.

I recently came across an interesting New York Times article that discussed the American dream as it pertains to new homes.

People all over the world know that the American dream typically involves a big house and a big lawn, often out in the suburbs.

What many people don’t know is that the Canadian dream is very similar. Our homes may not be as big, but the truth is that, unlike most Europeans for example, Canadians families don’t really see themselves making do in a downtown apartment. They want a house, a big one, to raise their family in.

For a long time, Americans (and Canadians) could get away with making this dream real. But the dream doesn’t make as much sense now, not when commutes have gotten so long, gas more expensive, and traffic much worse.

As the New York Times writer argues, many American builders have stopped asking, “How much square footage are you looking for?” The new first question they pose to would-be homeowners? “What kind of community would you like to be a part of?”

We have found something similar at Mason Homes. People no longer want homes that are too isolated or require too much energy. They want homes that are easy on their pockets and provide a healthy background for their children to grow. Others want a home offering options for aging in place. Most wish they lived in a walkable community that allows them to reduce car usage, saving gas dollars and helping them make the most of good weather.

So while this article didn’t really illustrate anything our experience hasn’t shown us, it was still promising to see this topic tackled in a publication of that calibre. Hopefully the trend toward sustainable homes will continue, both in the U.S. and Canada.

What’s your dream home like? Is bigger better for you, even if means living in a remote neighbourhood with nowhere to walk to? And if you’re a builder, what does your recent experience tell you in terms of what Canadian homeowners want?

Green Kids in a Green Home



This Sunday is a great day for every dad out there. New dads in particular will always remember it. (One of the best things about building new home communities is interacting with families across all stages of their lives, from first-time parents at Avonlea to empty-nesters at Port Hope.)

Besides being a happy day, Father’s Day is also a good time to reflect on the education you’re giving your children.

One of the most important things you can teach them is how to live responsibly and how to grow into an adult who loves and cares for their family. Because doing will always set a better example than preaching, the best way to instil these important principles is to live by them.

Luckily, you’re setting the perfect example by living in a Mason Home. Your home and community not only protects the environment, but thanks to our Green for Life program, it also protects your loved ones and leaves more money in your pocket to provide for your family.

You can always do more, though. Be a role model — I try to take the following steps on a daily basis and to make sure I tell my son not just to do the same, but to take the time to explain why.

  • Turn the lights off when you leave the room
  • Always use reusable grocery bags
  • These days, most people recycle. Go a step further and recycle things many people still neglect, like running shoes and electronic equipment. You can even get your kids involved by recycling their school supplies
  • These children’s books are geared towards the environment, biodiversity, garbage and recycling

Now I turn it over to you:  what do you like teaching your kids on a daily basis? How do you do it?

The Most Popular Mason Homes Blog Posts


My first blog post went up on December 9, 2009. Hard to believe it’s been that long.

Taking a look at the blog’s stats, I was surprised to find these 3 most popular blog posts to date are:

  1.  New Urbanism Feature: Narrower Roads
  2.  A New Gem! New Design Studio Coming to Peterborough
  3.  Mason Homes Sweeps PKHBA Awards (closely followed by Valentine’s Day: Green is the New Red)

The reason I was a bit surprised is because in writing this blog, I set out not just to share Mason Homes news and updates but also to discuss practical ways in which people can reduce energy while saving money.

My most popular blog post discussed narrow roads, a common feature of New Urbanism communities.

I’ve also attempted to discuss topics that interest me personally and are embodied in the Mason Homes philosophy — topics like  New Urbanism, which I discussed in the most popular blog post, according to the list I showed above.

In other words, I didn’t want the blog to focus on Mason news solely. I wanted to reward readers with tips and information they could use right away to better their lives.

Yet, for all the interest some of my readers have expressed in these topics,  the second and third most popular blog posts dealt with Mason Homes announcements.

(Of course, if I look at say, the next ten most popular posts, many of them deal with green tips and New Urbanism.)

Still, these findings made me curious: what would you like me to blog about? Which posts did you enjoy the most? I look forward to hearing from you!

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