Thursday, May 31, 2012

How Mike Holmes Keeps His Cool

As someone who lives in the Southwestern desert in the United States, I can surely appreciate Mike's efforts to cool me down. In this Ottawa Citizen article, he talks about alternative -- greener -- ways to keep the home comfortable during those grueling summer months. All I can say is Mike, just be glad you don't live where I live. But I guess in places where the temperature doesn't rise above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping your blinds closed and putting up awnings helps. My tip -- go hang out at the grocery store in the frozen foods isle. That always seems to work for me.

Use more than an air conditioner to cool your home

Things are heating up, folks.

Most of us love the warmer weather. But as soon as the temperature starts to rise, a lot of us are ready to crank our air conditioners into overdrive.

If you can’t take the heat there are different ways to keep your home cool over the summer. Not only do they work, but they’re also easy on the wallet and the environment — I love it when that happens.

Keeping blinds and curtains closed during the day helps. I encourage everyone to do this. But a lot of heat can get trapped between the blinds and the window. And once the heat is already in your home, cooling things down is an uphill battle. Most homeowners treat the effects of heat. The smart ones stop them before they start.

You want to stop the heat before it comes into your home. Otherwise, half the battle of beating the heat is already lost — before it’s even started. And since the problem starts in nature, let’s look to nature to solve it.

How do we stay cool when we’re outside? We look for shade. What gives us shade? Trees.

Just how trees keep us cool outside, they can help keep us cool inside, too. They provide a natural way to block the higher temperatures from entering our homes. If you’re thinking of doing some landscaping, plant a few extra trees around your house. But don’t plant them near the house itself. The extra foliage will direct water and precipitation to your home’s exterior and roof. This wears down exterior finishes and is an open invitation to leaks.

Another way to block the heat and get some shade is with an awning, an exterior covering that extends from the top of windows. They’re like a visor for your home. Some homes even have a large one that extends across one side of the house — the side that gets the most sun — usually over a patio.

Awnings are an old-school solution that works. They reduce heat gain by about 55 to 77 per cent. They also block UV rays that can damage floors, furniture and finishes. In certain climates, awnings have proved their worth — saving homeowners as much as 25 per cent on their energy bills.

Some awnings are retractable. These are good because they let heat and light come in during the winter. Other ones are stationary and have to be taken down before the colder weather sets in again.

You need to install an awning the proper way. Do it wrong and it can cause a lot of damage. If it falls, it can pull the siding off your home and damage the exterior — not to mention the safety risks of it falling on someone. Just like everything else, you want to get the right pro for the job.

If you’re interested in awnings, contact a company that specializes in them. They’ll be able to recommend the right length, width and material, depending on your home’s specific needs. And they’ll install it the right way. Their employees should have a lot of experience working with these units. Some companies even certify their installers in-house to make sure they know what they’re doing before they show up at your home.

Another way to keep your home cool is insulation. Most people think insulation only helps keep our homes warm during the winter. But it actually keeps the interior temperature at a comfortable, constant level. So it keeps homes cool in the summer, too.

If your air conditioner is always working and your energy bills keep rising, your home could need insulation. A good home inspection will tell you if you’re missing insulation. Make sure the inspector you hire uses a thermal imaging camera and is certified in thermography. Otherwise, the inspection could be worthless.

Summer is a really good time to do this. It gives us that crucial temperature difference we need to do thermal imaging the right way. If the inspector knows what they’re doing, they’ll be able to see heat spots along surfaces where insulation is missing.

Air conditioners are the still the crowd favourite for keeping cool. But we want to minimize our A/C usage and make it work as efficiently as possible. To achieve this, the outdoor unit must be clear of any leaves, dust and debris. Also, clean the filter every month while you’re using the A/C. And if you can, keep the outdoor unit in the shade. This will increase its efficiency by five to 10 per cent.

If you’ve had the same air conditioner for more than 10 years, consider replacing it. Older air conditioners use 30 to 70 per cent more electricity than energy-efficient models. They can also corrode or rust. When that happens, harmful refrigerants like Freon can enter the environment and contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer.

Incorporating different cooling solutions is smart. We decrease our energy consumption, we decrease global warming, we make our homes work for us — and we save money in the process. Everyone wins when we care.

Catch Mike Holmes in his new series, Best of Holmes on Homes, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Jamie Bell Playground To Rise From Ashes

Here's another recent article from pertaining to the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park and Mike Holmes' involvement in rebuilding it. In March of this year, a part of the park was purposely set ablaze, and apparently a suspect has been arrested. On May 18, 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony was held with several public officials and Mike Holmes in attendance.

Jamie Bell playground to rise from ashes

Mike Holmes part of team set to rebuild park
By Omar Mosleh
May 29, 2012
Neighbourhoods: High Park
Originally published in our Bloor West print edition(s).

A NEW BLUEPRINT: Contracting guru Mike Holmes, left, looks over several kid’s drawings of Jamie Bell Adventure Playground with architect Janet Rosenberg. The new play structure is expected to be completed by July 7.
The torched Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park is receiving a helping hand from one of Canada’s most famous handymen.

Mike Holmes, the host of Holmes Makes it Right on Home and Garden Television Canada will be leading the reconstruction effort.

The wooden playground, originally built in 1998, was severely damaged in March in an act of arson. Toronto Police have arrested 19-year-old Christian Kupiecki and he has been charged with one count each of arson and attempting to obstruct justice.

But the mood was jubilant and celebratory at the May 18 groundbreaking, said local resident Robin Sorys, who initially helped build the park as a member of the High Park Citizens Advisory Committee the first time around.

“I’m just happy that this is all going to work out,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”

Although the community will not be physically constructing the playground as they did with the original park, they will still be involved in the design.

“I know some of the people are a little upset that it’s not going to be community built back like it was in 1998, but here’s a great opportunity and it’ll be done by July 7,” said Sorys. “So I’m very happy with the fact we’ve been able to do this.”

While the new playground will stay true to the original concept, complete with a wooden castle and big slide, there could be some improvements. There has been talk of adding seating, as well as moving the slide to the south side to eliminate a perceived blind spot.

There is also currently a problem with water drainage that Holmes is looking into. Sorys said they are looking into treating that water so it could be used to create a recreational area, which was part of the original playground’s plan.

“Part of our phase three, if Jamie had still been with us, was some kind of splash pad for the kids,” she said. “There’s no water at all at that end of the park.”

Discussion on adding lighting is in the preliminary stages, but that may be limited by funds.

Monies for the reconstruction effort are coming entirely from donations, from organizations such as Canadian Tire, Lowe’s and TD Bank Group.

All together more than $80,000 was donated. The Sprott Foundation is also matching donations made to the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation until June 30 up to a maximum of $30,000.

For Ward 13 councillor Sarah Doucette, who was a friend of High Park Adventure Committee coordinator Jamie Bell, the most important aspect is staying true to Bell’s original vision.

“For me personally, it’s amazing to be able to help lead the charge to rebuild the playground because I knew Jamie and I know his family,” said Doucette. “It’s not just a name on a plaque in a playground.”

Doucette said the arson sparked to the same community spirit as when the playground was first built.

“The playground was planned and built by volunteers, it wasn’t just choose a playground out of the catalogue and throw it in,” Doucette said. “There was a lot of passion and dedication.

“Now we can rebuild this playground in a way that Jamie would be proud,” she added. “And that means a lot to me.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mike Holmes Tattoo Watch 2012

A couple months ago, I think around February or March of this year, Mike Holmes had the two tattoos redone on his arms. On his right arm, he had a small cobra, and on his left, he had a bulldog, along with a more recent 2006 addition of "Make It Right."

Both were souvenirs of his teenage years. Also, both were placed rather poorly and in desperate need of a little maintenance, two things which are very uncharacteristic for Mike Holmes. So, Mike decided to make it right, and have his tattoos covered up with some new artwork. What that artwork is, is as of now, a mystery, and will not be officially revealed until September. In fact, there was a contest for Holmes fans to guess Mike's mystery ink and win a prize. Well Mike, maybe you should be a liiiiitle more careful about your wardrobe choices, because there have been several peek-a-boo's on the internet as of late. Here's the latest, this one from a article.

 The Holmes Spot

Not a full reveal, but Mike, did you mean to show so much skin, you f&#$ing tease?!!! This has definitely got my interested piqued. Cant wait to see the unveiling in September. Looks like Mike has doomed himself to a summer of long sleeves, good luck trying to keep them bad boy biceps under wraps.

6/5/12 UPDATE - Mike revealed his tattoos early. View the full story.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Holmes Is Where The Heart Is

I think as Father's Day rapidly approaches, it's great to find articles that emphasize yet another one of Mike's many roles. He's "Superman" to millions of men and women who look up to him, but to his kids, Mike Holmes is just "Dad." Oh, and don't forget "Boss" as well, because Mike not only gets to see his kids, he also gets to work with them on the set of Holmes Inspection and his upcoming sure-to-be-a-hit-because-Mike-made-it show Make it Right. Both Sherry and Mike Jr. work on site right alongside dear ol' dad, while oldest daughter Amanda typically works behind the scenes with the Holmes Foundation. For Mike, his many endeavors have become the family business, and he's all too happy to teach his kids the skills and the work ethic that made him famous. In this great article from the Toronto Observer, Mike and his kids talk about the family dynamics on and off the set, and what it's like to work as a team. Carrying the name "Holmes" is a big responsibility, as Mike's kids readily confess, but it's a responsibility they're willing to live up to.

Holmes is where the heart is

Published 15 March 2012

Holmes Inspection crew gathers for a quick snapshot at the Megaspeed Car Show held at the International Centre in Mississauga over the March 9-12 weekend: l-r Rob Brown , Sherry Holmes, Damon Bennett, Mike Holmes, Mike Holmes Jr., Nichole Faucher, Carlito Pavlovic, Uncle Billy (Bell) and Evan Jatou.

The set of hit television show, Holmes Inspection, gets pretty chaotic sometimes. The home is full of drilling, hammering and discussions of building plans. But amid the construction, a father watches his children grow as his family and as his employees.
“I believe in having a business that the whole business is our family…that everyone gets treated like we’re related,” Mike Holmes said. “Having my kids here is just an extra added bonus.”
Mike Holmes, 49, has successfully created a business phenomenon in the construction industry over the past decade. While the company grew, his three children: Michael, 22, Sherry, 24, and Amanda, 26, got the opportunity to work one summer and the family business was born.
When he started working construction at 15, Mike Holmes Jr. discovered that he shared his father’s passion for helping people.
“We do change peoples lives,” Mike Holmes Jr. said. “(My dad) isn’t just saying it. He believes it…That’s why the company is a success. And that’s why I do it too.”
“We’re all very dedicated in what we do,” his sister, Amanda Holmes, said.
Mike Holmes has expectations of his children, not only as their father, but as their boss. He expects a good performance and attitude from his employees; he expects that his family will be respectful and make good decisions. The children also feel the weight of being “the boss’s kid.”
“There’s the stigma of being the boss’s child. It’s just something you can’t shake,” Amanda Holmes said. “You have to work harder to be respected.”
“A lot is expected of me because I’m Mike’s kid,” Mike Holmes Jr. said. “When people see me, they expect me to know a lot as well and fill his shoes a bit…and I’m doing the best I can at that. It’s pretty nerve-racking sometimes.”
Mike Holmes said that one of the hardest issues is maintaining a balanced system between co-workers and his children, but he believes he has accomplished that.
He said mistakes are allowed on set, but the rule is that no mistake is made twice, and his children don’t receive preferential treatment. On a past roofing job in L.A., Mike Holmes asked his crew not to touch the structure until he returned to lead the construction. At the time, the crew lacked experience in pitching frames for roofs; that’s why Holmes felt he needed to be present. Without his consent, the crew finished the frames improperly, and what was a planned surprise ended up being a costly mistake.
“They’re all employees and I’m not going to treat anyone different and I think that’s why my kids respect me,” Mike Holmes said.
“We’re all treated as a team,” Mike Holmes Jr. said, “When I was younger, I established that I didn’t want to be treated different than anyone else otherwise I wouldn’t be able to gain anyone’s respect. (It’s) frustrating sometimes but it’s good.”
Carl Pavlovic, 38, is a member of Mike Holmes’s contracting crew and has worked with Mike Holmes and his children since 2005.
“I find myself being with people that actually care about me,” Pavlovic said. “We’re learning together. Their whole family always encourages me (and) always accepted me. I don’t ever feel out of place here.”
Mike Holmes and his three children all say, there are moments when they bump heads like any family, but the importance lies in their dedication to the business. Mike Holmes Jr., recalled a moment when he said he entered his father’s office to kindly ask for a raise.
“I basically told him…I’m not here to get a raise because I’m your son, I’m here to get a raise because I deserve one,” Holmes Jr. said.
His father’s reaction was positive.
“I had a frog in my throat and that’s when I realized my son was becoming an adult and that he loves doing it,” Holmes Sr. said. “It showed me that I have a smart son; I have a good son and I have a son that is proud of his dad and is working hard.”
Holmes Sr. says he hopes his children will one day take over the franchise.
“They are going to have to stick together and follow their father’s dreams and add to their father’s dreams of this corporation,” Pavlovic said. “I want to see them grow in the company.”
Regardless of future plans, mistakes, arguments and expectations, Mike Holmes says there is one thing that will always remain true for the family business he created.
“No matter what, I’m dad and there’s no changing that,” Mike Holmes said.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mike Holmes gearing up for ATV ride this Saturday in support of the Holmes Foundation

This Saturday June 2, Mike Holmes will be getting dirty - downright filthy in fact - and he'll be doing it alongside crew members Damon Bennett, Adam Belanger, Carl Pavlovic, Nicole Faucher, and daughter Sherry Holmes. I'm talking of course about the OFATV Ride in Support of The Holmes Foundation. Get your mud on, Mike. And please... STAY SAFE!!!!!

From Mike's Facebook Page:

Looking forward to the OFATV Ride in Support of The Holmes Foundation this Saturday (June 2nd). Find out how you can ride, pledge or donate at the link below. Don't miss it - Disaster DIY / Bryan Baeumler is going to be joining in! 

According to Mike's Website:
The mission of The Holmes Foundation is to ensure that all residential renovation and construction in Canada is done right–the first time...The Holmes Foundation is a charitable foundation that supports the training of youth in the skilled trades, through apprenticeships, scholarships and bursaries.
For more information about the ride, and to support your favorite rider (cough ****Mike**** cough), visit the Holmes Foundation website for details.

Mike Holmes joins Investing in Care – Close to Home Honorary Campaign Cabinet

Mike Holmes is known for working hard to make his local community a better place. One of his latest causes is supporting the Investing in Care – Close to Home Honorary Campaign Cabinet, a group that invests in and fundraises for the hospital that serves Mike's community of Halton Hills, Georgetown Hospital in Ontario, Canada. Using the latest and greatest technology to get the job done doesn't just apply to building houses. For Mike, it's a personal cause, as a CT scan was used to detect a potentially deadly brain tumor in his daughter, Sherry, a number of years back.  “Without question the doctors did their jobs well, but as far as I’m concerned it was the CT scan that saved her life,” Mike is quoted in a Georgetown Hospital Foundation news release. Investing in technology, such as CT scanning, is a major focus of the group. (Related to Sherry's brain tumor, I do believe she has a tattoo on her wrist which reads "hope," to signifies her ordeal with a brain tumor. I think I read this on the Official Mike Holmes Fan Forum somewhere, but quote me with extreme caution.)

Here's the GHF news release:

Mike Holmes joins Investing in Care – Close to Home Honorary Campaign Cabinet

For Immediate Release
January 17, 2012
Mike Holmes joins Investing in Care – Close to Home Honorary Campaign Cabinet
HALTON HILLS, ON – The Georgetown Hospital Foundation (GHF) is honoured to announce that Mike Holmes, Canada’s Most Trusted Contractor, best known for his work as creator and host of television shows Holmes on

Mike Holmes and his daughter Sherry
Homes® and Holmes Inspection, has joined the Honorary Campaign Cabinet for Georgetown Hospital Foundation’s Investing in Care – Close to Home campaign.
The Honorary Campaign Cabinet is a small group of leaders who represent the Campaign for Georgetown Hospital to the community. They are ambassadors, donors and spokespeople for the importance of Investing in Care – Close to Home. Or, as Mike puts it, “I am here to help Georgetown Hospital. It’s my local hospital after all, I look forward to helping make this project a reality.” The other members of the Honorary Cabinet are Mayor Rick Bonnette, Josey Bonnette and Fred Helson.
Mike Holmes has been a Halton Hills resident for more than ten years, enjoying private time on his property when he is not busy filming one of his television series or working to promote skills training for youth through the Holmes Foundation.
Mike’s decision to get involved is inspired by his first-hand experience of the importance of CT scanning technology – a key piece of the Campaign. A number of years ago his daughter Sherry had a brain tumour which was discovered through a CT scan. Within a week she underwent life-saving surgery to remove the potentially deadly tumour. Recalls Mike, “without question the doctors did their jobs well, but as far as I’m concerned it was the CT scan that saved her life.”
Late in 2011 Mr. Holmes had a chance to tour the Hospital with Chief Operating Officer Cindy McDonell who gave him an up-close view of the challenges associated with the Hospital’s small size and 50-year-old structure. When asked about the significance of Mike Holmes’ support for the Campaign, McDonell put it this way: “As I toured Mike through the hospital he could immediately see the difficulties we have in our existing space and the need we have to construct a new Emergency Department. He already had very personal reasons to support our goal to acquire a CT scanner, and it is terrific to also have his appreciation of our vision of better healthcare for our community through our Emergency Department construction and Diagnostic Imaging renovation project.”
The Campaign for Georgetown Hospital is GHF’s biggest-ever fundraising drive. The Campaign will assist in funding the construction of a new 14,000 square foot Emergency Department – doubling the size of the existing cramped one. Featured in the expansion will be the acquisition of a CT Scanner that will be the first in Halton Hills, eliminating the need for patients to travel to other area hospitals. In addition, the Diagnostic Imaging Department will be transformed into a larger space – consolidating services that are currently located outside the Department and improving the quality of care that the Hospital provides to its patients.
To date, the Foundation has been fortunate enough to announce $2.2 million in pledged charitable donations to this project. The total cost is anticipated to be $12.2 million. Support from the Town of Halton Hills of $2.6 million has been announced along with up to $2.6 million from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. In addition, Halton Healthcare Services is contributing $2.5 million from various revenue generating sources.
Georgetown Hospital Foundation continues to provide funding for new medical equipment and other hospital improvements in order to achieve our vision of the best healthcare possible for the people of Halton Hills. For more information please visit

To use a very American phrase, bully to Mike for investing in his local community. It's a good thing to do. And much love to Sherry Holmes, so happy that she's healthy, and may her good health continue long into the future!

For Sherry

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mike Holmes Pitches In To Rebuild Torched Playground

Here's another news article covering Mike Holmes' involvement in helping to rebuild the Jamie Bell Playground in High Park, Toronto. Go Mike! (Don't mean to be critical, but somebody needed to proofread this a little better this before they posted it up on the website. All errors from this point forward are [sic]. Just sayin'...)

click to view news video on website

Date: Friday May. 18, 2012 7:01 PM ET

Television handyman Mike Holmes joined city councillors Friday at a groundbreaking ceremony to rebuild an elaborate play structure that was destroyed by arson in March.

The wooden castle at the Jamie Bell Playground in High Park went up in flames in the early hours of March 17.

Police charged Christian Kupiecki, 19, with arson and attempt to obstruct justice.

In the days after the fire, Coun. Sarah Doucette, whose ward includes High Park, joined members of the community to plan how to rebuild the play structure, which was originally built by a team of volunteers in 2008.

Holmes announced Friday he would volunteer his time as the contractor.

He said he plans to stay faithful to the original design, while bringing the structure up to current building codes.

He also wants to add LEDs and water features.

"I definitely want to make is look like a castle," Holmes said. "I want to make is a little bigger with more slides."

Companies, including TD Bank, Canadian Tire and Lowe's, offered both cash and materials for the rebuild.

Other building companies have also promised to donate roofing and pour concrete.

Donations should cover the cost of the rebuild and pay to improve portions of the existing park left standing after the fire, said Doucette.

"When I started putting out the word that this has happened, I got instant response from people," Doucette said. "I know this community. I knew they'd respond. I know the passion (that) people have for this playground, and it spreads."

Landscape architect Janet Rosenberg is leading the design, rounding up ideas from children about what they'd like to see in the new park.

The design process for the structure is still underway, with building set to begin under the supervision of Holmes and his crew for five days in the first week of July.

The community is invited to help finish the structure on July 7. There will also be a barbeque and community party on that day.

With files from CTV Toronto's Michelle Dube

MyFixItUpLife Talks To Mike Holmes

Mark and Theresa of MyFixItUpLife talk lead, asbestos, remodels, magic, and enduring the elements with Mike Holmes at the International Builders Show. My favorite part about this video (other than Mike of course) is watching all of the random people in the background whipping out their camers and cell phones to take pictures. Wherever that Holmes guy goes, he always seems to draw a crowd. Figure that. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact they're sitting directly behind the wine bar. And yes, Mike, you most certainly are a freak, in more ways than one. But that's why we love you.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Extra, Extra! Mike Holmes Eats Lunch Out of Lunch Box

Sometimes even the most pointless things are the most interesting. Take this very blog for example... Ouch, insert ironically placed rimshot here! Anyways, in this somewhat random article from the Sudbury News, Mike Holmes receives a most unusual gift. It is a lunchbox, but not just any lunch box mind you, a locally made lunch box. And that makes all the difference in the world. I guess now Mike can be socially conscious every time he sits down to a ham and cheese on rye. Seriously? Oh well, when it comes to pointing out the pointless, I suppose have no room to talk, as I've already pointed out.

Mike Holmes gets Dragon-approved lunchbox

Mike Holmes poses with one of Catherine Langin's locally-made lunch boxes. Holmes was giving a talk to a packed house at Rainbow Cinemas as part of the Sudbury Living Lifestyle and Home Show on Oct. 18. The company is responsible for producing a million of the metal lunch boxes since her dad, Leo May an Inco miner (now deceased), began production over 50 years ago.

Mike Holmes poses with one of Catherine Langin's locally-made lunch boxes. Holmes was giving a talk to a packed house at Rainbow Cinemas as part of the Sudbury Living Lifestyle and Home Show on Oct. 18. The company is responsible for producing a million of the metal lunch boxes since her dad, Leo May an Inco miner (now deceased), began production over 50 years ago.

Oct 19, 2009- 3:46 PM                   
By: Bill Bradley - Sudbury Northern Life

Sudbury miners have been able to sit on Leo May's metal lunchboxes for half a decade. A Dragon from CBC television show Dragon's Den recently sat on one. Now, TV personality and contractor Mike Holmes can sit on one too.

Holmes was presented with a super sized, locally-made lunch box Sunday, Oct. 18, at Rainbow Cinemas by Patricia Mills, publisher of Sudbury Living Magazine. Holmes was a making a presentation at the Sudbury Living Lifestyle and Home Show. The gift originated from local businesswoman Catherine Langin, owner of L. May Metal Fabricators.

“It's a super sized lunch box, 14 inches long by 5 and a half inches wide. I also had a similar sized lunch pail presented (at the show) as a door prize,” she said.

The metal lunch pails have been receiving a lot of attention lately.

Last week, Langin appeared on the CBC television show Dragons' Den, attempting to convince one of the venture capitalists on the show's business panel to invest in her company.

After a few back-and-forth negotiations on the show, Langin was able to convince one of the Dragons, investment banker Brett Wilson, to provide $75,000 in equity for 20 per cent of her company. She would also get a $75,000 line of operating credit from Wilson.

As the show that aired last Wednesday was taped earlier in the year, negotiations with Wilson are still on-going.

“I have been in contact with David Waslen, Brett's vice president of business development at one of his companies, Prairie Merchant Corporation. At this point it is (still) back and forth,” said Langin.

She is asking for the capital and loan to increase production “substantially” at her Moonlight Avenue area location.

“I want new equipment,” she said. It was reported on the show that in 2008 the company earned a net profit of $45,000, after producing 5,000 lunch pails. In the past, production has been higher when off-site buildings were utilized.

Langin cautioned that a deal negotiated on the CBC show is not airtight.

“This deal can change. It is not a 100 per cent done deal, as both parties do their due diligence.”

However, the television exposure has paid off for Langin.

“I just met an official from FedNor. He saw me on television (and) he said they have programs for developing industrial prototypes.”

Langin is developing a new lunch pail that involves an anodizing process where an electrical charge is applied to the metal so that various colours, patterns or even pictures can be embedded into the metal. Now she can offer pink lunch pails.

What did she think of the Dragons' Den experience?

“I felt I was treated kindly, as opposed to some of the others (entrepreneurs).”

Langin said she thought that using a photo of her late dad, from a 1963 Inco Triangle publication, helped her cause during her presentation.

L. May lunch boxes are sold in a variety of sizes at Soucie Salo, Superior Safety, City Surplus and Clark Phillips. To learn more about the Dragons' Den show, as well as view Langin's presentation, visit

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mike Holmes and Scott McGillivray visit JJ and Melanie in the Morning

It might have been a chilly 7 degrees outside the Flow 93.5 studios in Toronto, but Mike Holmes and Scott McGillivary of  Canada's Handyman Superstar Challenge and its American counterpart  All American Handyman  were heating things up. In this March 2011 radio chat, Mike discusses his proclivity to cut through other people's BS on his shows, stating "I know you cannot take the strips off a tiger, I am who I am." Mike Holmes definitely knows how to use a tool belt, AND looks good in one too. As far as who's the better handyman... sorry Scott. You know who our vote goes to.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mike Holmes on the Ultimate Tool, the Worst Fix-It Mistakes and the Power of Overalls

In this 2011 Q&A with Mike Holmes from AOLTelevision, most of the standard questions were covered... Were you born with a tool belt on? Why did you write your books? What's your worst reno? In typical Mike Holmes fashion, he gets candid about his work, including the work he did with Brad Pitt in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He bemoans about the rain, the heat, the humidity, and the nasty little side effect from working all day in wet underwear. Ouch. (Just FYI Mike, it's not the overalls that bring the ladies in, it's the man who's wearing them. But more on that point later.) Food for thought. Great little video, definately worth the five minutes it takes to watch it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mike Holmes Niagara University Commencement Ceremony Video, May 13, 2012

On May 13, 2012, Mike Holmes was awarded an honorary doctorate in Pedagogy (definition: the correct use of instructive strategies; the holistic science of education. Source: Wikipedia). This is a video of Mike humbly and graciously accepting the honor.

In the video, he gives his father credit for why he does what he does, calling his father "a man of strength and love." Addressing the group of professors and students, he couldn't help but do the very thing he'd been awarded a doctorate for. Not holding anything back, he instructed the crowd with his words of hard-earned wisdom, "If you're going to do something, you'd better love it. Because if you don't love it, you're going to waste your time and you're going to make an awful lot of mistakes. If you love what you do, that's the passion in itself." He also stated in regards to being passionate about his line of work, "I love my job, I love what I do, and I'm never going to stop. I will change the industry."

You can read the prologue to Mike Holmes receiving his honorary doctorate, as read by Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., President of Niagara University, here (or just scroll down the page):

Doctor of Pedagogy

For people intent on fixing up their homes, Mike Holmes is a household name. As the host of HGTV’s Holmes Inspection and Holmes on Homes, Mike advises homeowners around the world on how to manage renovations, repairs and maintenance. He is also a judge on HGTV's Handyman Superstar Challenge and its American counterpart, All American Handyman.  
Mike learned his craft from his father, who started teaching him construction work when he was 6 years old. By the time he was 19, Mike had started his first contracting company and, at 21, founded his own renovation business.

Mike is a contractor who knows the importance of resourcefulness and craftsmanship. His experience in new home construction and sustainable building has garnered him a growing number of fans and awards. In 2006, Mike was recognized in Canada’s House of Commons for his support in improving building standards and skilled trades. The House of Commons called him an "extraordinary craftsperson" and "an accomplished master builder with a social conscience."

True to form, Mike launched a charitable foundation in Canada to support youth training in the skilled trades through apprenticeships and scholarships. The purpose of The Holmes Foundation is to encourage young people to enter the building trades and to assist those who have been impoverished by poorly-constructed renovations.

As the national spokesperson for Skills Canada and for World Skills 2009, Mike is often invited to speak in front of a variety professional organizations, including the Ontario Building Inspectors Association and the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors. His C.V. lists more than 75 such high-profile speaking engagements. Mike is also the author of two best-selling books and a weekly newspaper column.

Mike recently partnered with several home builders across Canada to develop the Holmes Approved Homes program. The goal of the program is to raise the bar for home building standards by granting Mike’s inspection teams’ access to a residence several times during the building process.

Mike’s charitable work has even crossed international boundaries, such as when he and his crew built a sustainable and hurricane-resistant house in New Orleans as part of Brad Pitt's "Make It Right NOLA" project in 2008.

But it was our neighbors to the north who showed Mike their appreciation by voting him as Canada’s second most trusted person in a 2010 Reader’s Digest survey. Today, it is our turn to recognize a man steadfastly determined to improve the lives of those around him. Niagara University is pleased to confer,

honoris causa, the degree of Doctor of Pedagogy on Mike Holmes.

Joseph L. Levesque, C.M.


May 13, 2012

Congrats Mike for an honor much deserved. You are a teacher of millions upon millions. Keep making it right <3

6/11/12 UPDATE - Full video and critique

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mike Holmes Original Painting and Overalls Up For Auction

As if Mike Holmes didn't receive enough strange requests for help, this year Mike was asked to submit a some original artwork for the Georgina Arts Centre's ArtXtreme celebrity art challenge. The painting, a "simple garden angel," will be auctioned off to support children's art programs. Because no one could possibly be interested in Mike Holmes painting anything but a piece of drywall, he also submitted a pair of his old used overalls, signed. Hopefully he washed them first. I'm of couse being cheeky, I'd love to see Mike's mad art skills in motion. And as far as a pair of his overalls... I'd rather not comment about what I might or might not do with those. Anyways, here's the article, from

Mike Holmes' signed overalls on block

Going up against original Robert Bateman piece

DINAH CHRISTIE. Dinah Christie holds up an original Robert Bateman commissioned for this year's ArtXtreme celebrity art challenge June 2 at the ROC.. Handyman celebrity Mike Holmes also painted a canvas, which will go with a pair of overalls he has worn for one year - signed! submitted photo
ARTXTREME WHEN: June 2 from 2 p.m. to midnight featuring licensed patio WHERE: The ROC chalet, $10 in advance/$15 at gate, features free bus shuttles from Keswick and Sutton. Call 905-722-9587 or e-mail for more details.
Four years ago, I met renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman and asked him if he would paint a canvas for our Dinah Christie Celebrity Challenge.
He was kind enough to oblige in support of our children’s art programs.
Since then, he has continued to send signed prints every year, but this year I decided to ask for another original painting.
I knew my chances were slim because, as his staff explained, he has a long list of large commission works and very little time for extras.
“That’s okay,” I said, “Can you just sit my empty canvas beside his easel in case he gets the urge one day?” Two months later, the freshly painted canvas arrived.
Three years ago, I asked Canada’s most recognizable professional contractor and TV celebrity Mike Holmes if he would accept the Dinah Christie Challenge and, with extreme trepidation, he took a canvas.
After only a few calls back to me to check that he was “doing it right”, he had finished a lovely canvas of a simple garden angel. This March, Mike and his crew were at the MegaSpeed Custom Car & Truck Show at the International Trade Centre and our ArtXtreme Team had a booth around the corner.
Having already accepted this year’s art challenge, Mike told me that he never paints unless it’s on drywall and that there are only three pieces of his work out there – two of which were done for ArtXtreme.
He can’t figure out why anyone would want a piece of his artwork, so he’s also submitting a package along with the canvas that includes a pair of his famous overalls that he has worn for more than a year – and they’ll be autographed.
Bateman and Holmes in an art auction together – now that is ArtXtreme!
ArtXtreme is live country and soft rock music with 10 bands, ribfest and delectables, the Dinah Christie Celebrity Challenge auction, live artists exhibiting in the Artisans Walkway, KidzArt Zone full of children’s art activities, Eddie Shack and his sports art (signed NHL jerseys up for auction), radio, filmmaking, licensed patio, TV and last year’s newest art form addition ... the official summer MegaSpeed Custom Cars & Trucks Show.
As a registered charity, the Georgina Arts Centre is thrilled to bring our ArtXtreme event to the new ROC facilities this year and we hope you bring your families for a great day of fun and enjoyment of all of these art forms. There is literally something for everyone.

Oh, and just to supplement this article, I also looked up the Georgina Arts Centre for more information. Their ArtXtreme 2012 newsletter mentions Mike and the Holmes Foundation. Definately worth checking out. PDF Link.

Building Safety Month, Week 3

It's week 3 of Building Safety Month. Mike Holmes is of course the honorary ambassador for the month, and as an advocate for building better, stronger structures, he released a short statement today on his website regarding fire safety and awareness. From

It’s week 3 of Building Safety Month, folks. This week we’re talking about fire safety and awareness. I can’t tell you how important fire safety is. Thousands of people die every year in their homes due to fires. Most of them are children. When are we going to say enough is enough? This shouldn’t be happening at this point in the game. There are products that help make our homes fire resistant. Simple things like fire alarms, making sure they work and replacing their batteries every year saves lives. It’s that simple.

For more information on fire safety check out

Monday, May 21, 2012

Talking To Mike Holmes with Toro Magazine

An online Canada edition of the New York Times, Toro Magazine, sat down for an interesting interview with Mike Holmes in 2009. It's pretty much the standard Q & A we  usually get from a "candid" sit down with the big man himself. Long story short, Mike Holmes is a Canadian ninja, and he wants to take on a tornado. Good luck with that Mikey. Do be careful, and please let us know how it all turns out. :)

POSTED BY: Salvatore Difalco
April 7, 2009
To be canonized a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, an individual must enjoy, among other holy virtues and requirements, something referred to as "the Beatific Vision," and perform one or more miracles. I don´t know if Mike Holmes enjoys the Beatific Vision, or if he even believes in God, at least the Roman Catholic version of Him, but Holmes has certainly performed a bunch of miracles. And although he may never be assigned a feast day, and no parish church may ever be built in his honour (don’t count it out), it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to think of Holmes as a secular saint, and one of some considerable standing.

Mike Holmes, the affable, sturdy Canadian contractor made himself a household name with his television show Holmes on Homes, where he came to the rescue of homeowners stuck with renovations gone terribly wrong. His integrity, his technical knowledge and his unflagging and rigorous desire to make it right really struck a chord with the public. And not just in North America. Holmes on Homes is catching on across the English-speaking world. And his influence goes beyond simple reality-TV entertainment to educating an ignorant public and pressuring contractors and legislators alike to clean up their acts.

Last June, Holmes headed to New Orleans to face the toughest assignment of his professional life: in 10 weeks, make it right for one family whose home was destroyed three years earlier by Hurricane Katrina. The result is Holmes in New Orleans, a two-part special which begins Tuesday, April 7, at 9 p.m. ET on Global, and concludes the following night. Untangling the tragically stupid mistakes of several layers of government administration and doing it in the sweltering heat of a New Orleans summer proved daunting to say the least.

He did have some high-profile “assistance” from Brad Pitt, who had launched his own Make It Right campaign in New Orleans. When Holmes heard that Pitt had co-opted his trademarked expression, he made inquiries and got on board with the project, flying his all-Canadian crew down to build the first energy-efficient home in the still devastated Lower 9th Ward region. Holmes and his crew, which included his son Mike Jr. and daughters Amanda and Sherry, put in long, difficult days and nights to meet their August 29 deadline.

Whether or not he ever does get canonized, make no mistake, Mike Holmes is a much beloved figure these days, and it doesn’t seem like this will soon wane. Women swoon around him, children smile and most men find themselves simperingly beguiled. Maybe one day we will see a parish church go up in his honour, or at the very least a monument with his warm and smiling visage on it. And why not, the guy can do it all – he can do what most of us cannot. TORO caught up to Holmes during the production of his new series called Holmes Inspection, which profiles home inspections gone wrong.

Q: I remember as a kid in the ’60s watching a sitcom about these bumbling handymen called Mack & Myer for Hire. Some of the jobs you’ve been called in to fix look like their handiwork. Nightmare reno stories abound, but is it as bad as it seems out there or are you highlighting worst-case scenarios?
A: It’s worse than anybody really knows. And that is the bare-bottom truth, because I can prove it. You know, to receive 100,000 emails a year at Holmes on Homes to help 13 families – and out of that 100,000 there’s 60,000 for sure begging for the help because they’re in big trouble. Now these are the people brave enough to send in an email. Imagine how many are ashamed and don’t want to do anything.
Look at the world of construction and what is happening. We’re actually building no longer with knowledge, we’re building with education of how: minimum code is how it’s not why. So long as we build this way, we’re going to make mistakes. Now, add the factor that there’s a lot of people who really don’t give a shit about what they’re doing, like “mine over matter” – it’s not mine, so it doesn’t matter. And I hate these sayings, but the truth is there. We only have so many people with integrity that actually care about what they’re doing. Add that factor into a bare-minimum code, with no real knowledge of what they’re doing, and you really have a bad formula.

Q: Your motto is “make it right.” If there is virtue in doing a job right why do so many fail when it comes to doing home improvement – is it a lack of ethics or a lack of skills? A skill set that used to be widespread has waned. Trying to find someone competent and trustworthy to do the job isn’t easy.
A: That is the truth. I always say the good, the bad, the ugly – and that’s the good 20 per cent, the bad 70 per cent, the ugly 10 per cent, you know. Easily we can see the ugly because these are trained guys who rip you off. But that’s a low percentage. And the good 20 per cent, these guys know what they’re doing and they care, they have the integrity. It’s the bad. And that’s 70 per cent, and that’s because they just don’t know enough and they don’t care enough, and if you put those two together it’s just a recipe for disaster.

We need to make some sort of a change. And I don’t think it’s the licensing or the certification programs. I think it’s the education itself: stop teaching how and start teaching why. Let me give you some examples. We have mould-resistant drywall on the market, but it’s not in the stores. Okay. We have environmental wood which is made of aspen and poplar and it’s not in the stores. We have BluWood and it’s not in the stores, it’s custom order. So we have all these things and why aren’t they in the store? Minimum code says use green drywall if you’re going to tile. We know it moulds. We know it because I can put it up everywhere in the house possible, take it down and it’s all moulded. The reason that it’s not in the stores is because of demand. If we do not change the demand – which means people buying stuff that doesn’t work start demanding stuff that does – it won’t change. So, for example, no one should ever use anything but mould-resistant drywall, and it should be in the stores now.

Q: Holmes on Homes airs on HGTV Canada, BBC Canada, on the U.S. Discovery Channel, in New Zealand on The Living Channel, in Australia on The How To Channel, in the United Kingdom on Discovery Realtime ... Have I left any out?
A: Germany [chuckles].

Q: Germany! Well. Are you surprised by the show’s amazing success and reach – and your sudden iconic status? Everybody knows who you are, including my elderly Italian mother who admires you immensely.
A: [Laughs.] I had a feeling the show was going to do something, but I didn’t expect this whole thing – the whole country pretty well knowing who I am. It’s surreal to go to the store and hear, “Hey, Mike how you doing?” – and it doesn’t matter where I go. That’s something I didn’t expect. The interviews, the other television shows, the popular magazines, I just didn’t expect all that. I didn’t know what the hell I was thinking.

Q: A television show like yours wasn’t imaginable a few short years ago. Why did you think it would work, and how did you convince someone to take it on?
A: It was an accident. Actually, I met the executive producer of HGTV – he asked me to build him a custom home. And I got to know him and I really liked him. And one day I said to him, “I’ve got a show idea for you, just one guy to another.” I asked if he wanted to hear it and I blabbed off – long story short, he just started smiling and said he wanted a pilot right away. I laughed. “I’m a contractor. I’m giving you an idea, run with it.” And it took him a few months but he convinced me to shoot a pilot. And it was the way he said it to get me interested to do it: it wasn’t money or anything, it was education. And once I shot the pilot I got where he was going with it, and that’s how the show started.

Q: When I heard about the Holmes Foundation I thought that learning a trade or a useful and in-demand skill set had to be a lifesaver for some of these troubled kids. How has that project fared?
A: Well, I think they’re lost. They don’t know where they’re going and for whatever reason they’re lost, and to give them help, to steer them in the right direction so they’re back on course and give them a job in the skill trades – my God, this is a great opportunity, this is a great job. I think anybody, if they had the opportunity to be educated well in what they were doing, I think they would just thrive in it. How much better can it get to be able to stand back and look at your work and go, “This is awesome.”

Q: Talk about your work in New Orleans. I know it was a big concern of yours.
A: It was. I remember when Katrina first hit, I had watched it on television much like 9/11, and I said, “That’s it, we gotta go down there and help these people.” I think some people think I’m insane when I say these things. Why do we want to go down there? Because they’re going to build the same crap and it’s going to wash away again. I said we can help build better technologies, so all of a sudden, three years later, I’ve got so much work hanging out of my pants I can’t hold the mop [laughs].

Anyway, Brad Pitt started the Make It Right Foundation, and I love him for what he’s done. I kinda own Make It Right, and so we contacted him and I said, “I really love what you guys are doing and your intentions – and hey, by the way, why don’t I help you? Let’s make it right together.” And that’s exactly what happened. I went down there and we helped with all the technical part of the builds. I didn’t change the designs because they were done by 13 architects worldwide. But I’m responsible for the technical part and, really, the show. Throughout an emotional show, you’re going to see what happened after Katrina, what happened to the people and the stories that blow me away. In between all that you’re going to see the world’s best house being built.

Q: You have a new project in the works – Holmes Inspection. How will it differ from Holmes on Homes?
A: It was the next – obvious for me – the next obvious thing to do, because I think I’ve helped make a difference in the building industry with Holmes on Homes but it didn’t really change anything other than the education of homeowners and maybe some of the contractors, which I’m proud of, but we have big issues with the home inspections. And as it stands, it was the number one complaint on my website since Holmes on Homes started.

And I wrote a book about it, and in writing a book about it I went and inspected many homes and I got to talk to all the home inspectors, really, of Canada, or the great majority of them, and the organizations. And I said, “Look, you need to start making serious changes and introducing documents – it’s just not good enough now. You must create a documented report that goes with that house from homeowner to homeowner. Let’s do thermographic image reading, and air sampling, that’s all easy. Let’s find out if the permits were pulled on the house that the real estate agents are bragging about.”

So how I made a difference with a television show was doing just that: showing how I believe, or how I think, or what I’m actually doing (I opened the first Mike Holmes inspection company a couple of weeks ago) and how to change the home inspection industry. And I added an element of special effects to it that I think people are going to love. I put my money on it that it’ll get more viewers than Holmes on Homes.

Q: Do you hope that your work will lead to stiffer legislation and penalties when it comes to shoddy and often dangerous work, or do you think an educated public and perhaps a more ethical ethos among workers is enough?
A: You know, it’s a shame but I think we’re going to need both. More education is a definite – start teaching why and not just how – and I do think that for those that are ugly and the ones that don’t care enough there should be a penalty, because right now there is not a penalty and the truth is that these homeowners are left holding the bag. And that is wrong, and something should be done about it. I’m always the person who says you get what you give. So, if you really give it, you know, you deserve to get it. And that depends whether it’s good or bad that you’re giving – if you’re giving bad then you deserve bad, if you’re giving good you deserve good. So those who are really screwing people should have to pay a penalty.

Q: You’re probably the first man Ellen DeGeneres has every proposed to – but I can understand why. You perform miracles, and we all want you to come to our homes and make them shine. What’s next on your agenda?
A: [Laughs.] I like the idea of changing the building industry. I started the Holmes Homes, the Holmes Communities, the Holmes Approved Homes, which [together] is a whole new program, and that’s building the next generation of homes. And that’s also educating the next generation of builders with the skills to build the home – how to build them, creating a new system that easily educates, that easily gets them into the trades and starts the change that we should have been doing years ago. It’s about time somebody steps up and does it. I don’t care if it’s me or anyone but someone’s got to do it so I’m doing that.

I would also like to play a little more with the worldwide shows – I get the idea that I can go to Kansas City and piss off a tornado because it can’t tear the house down [laughs]. I like those ideas.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Holmes On Your Home

I always like to find articles originating from the US pertaining to Mike Holmes. Not that I don't love Canadian sourced articles, it's just that I like to see people from the outside Canada recognizing the expertise of my home improvement hero.

This article from asks Mike all the major questions about home inspection and renovation. Who better to ask, right?

Holmes on your home
Getting it right from inspection through renovation

By Molly Logan Anderson, Posted Apr 23, 2012

With the housing market trying to rebound and more Americans retiring each year, many opt to renovate, or downsize to new homes that require work to elevate a house to “just what we’re looking for” status.
In order to set homeowners on the right path, we asked general contractor Mike Holmes, star of “Holmes on Homes” and “Holmes Inspection” and author of “Holmes Inspection: The Essential Guide for Every Homeowner, Buyer and Seller,” for his top tips on the inspection and renovation processes.

Q. Once a project begins, how can homeowners remain involved and assured that the project is running smoothly?

It’s always good to talk to your contractor. Be involved, ask questions and communicate your concerns. And the sooner, the better. Don’t wait for a small problem to turn into a big one. Also, set up a clear contract with a payment schedule that’s tied to project milestones. This helps everyone start off on the same playing field, with the same rules. And if at any point you feel uncomfortable or see red flags – stop the project!

Q. On the flipside, what won’t inspectors provide?

You can’t expect a home inspector to know and see everything. For one, they can’t move things. Two, they’re not experts in every field, so they can’t tell you exactly how much a repair will cost. And three, they’re limited by outdoor conditions. This is especially important if they’re doing a thermal scan.

Q. In determining which contractor to choose, what important questions should homeowners ask?

Make sure the person you hire has done the kind of renovation you’re looking for. Don’t hire a deck guy to do your kitchen reno. You’ve got to do your homework. Ask for referrals and follow-up on them. Go see their work, talk to their clients. And look at work they’ve done a few years ago. Those are the jobs that tell you the real quality and durability of their work.

Q. Does a renovation project need to be stressful for homeowners?

No, it doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t. More often than not, they are. First off, renovations inconvenience peoples’ lives. When a person doesn’t have the space to do regular, everyday stuff, it takes a toll. But add handing over your home to someone you don’t really know you can trust – that’s stressful. I can understand why some homeowners stay up at night when they’re going through a renovation. It’s tough. But that’s why you’ve got to do your homework before letting anyone touch a single brick on your house. That way you’ll know if you can trust them. And once you’re sure, you stay sure by staying involved. If you don’t understand something, ask as many questions you need to understand. A pro is happy to explain. If you’re respectful, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Q. What can folks in the market to buy expect from a home inspector?

A home inspector looks for the clues and red flags that tell the general condition of the home. And that starts the moment they arrive on the property. They should be scanning the outside of the home for signs of water damage. They should be looking at the roof, the foundation, trees and shrubbery around the home, and windows. They should also be looking for signs of past renovations, and how well they’ve been done. And when a home inspector points out problems, they should be explaining why one problem might be safely overlooked for the time being and why another cannot. They should show you the cheap fixes and the ones that will cost more to make right. And if they come across something they aren’t qualified to judge – maybe something related to the home’s structure, electrical, plumbing or HVAC system – they should advise you to bring in a licensed expert that is.

Q. When moving forward with a renovation and selecting a contractor, what’s the No. 1 mistake that homeowners make?

Rushing. They’re impatient to get the project done so they rush to find a contractor. What’s the rush? Are you rushing to end up on my show? Slow down. Finding the right contractor for the job takes time — usually longer than doing the job itself. If you rush, you’ll pay for it in the end. Period.

As always, great advice from home improvement ninja warlord Mike Holmes. Bow to your sensei.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

At Least Mike Holmes Has a Sense of Humor...

This is one of my favorite video clips of Mike Holmes. It's from a 2008 appearance on the Canadian current events show The Hour. In this clip, Mike supposedly gives some bad advice, and pays the ultimate price for his mistake. Dun dun dun...

At least Mike Holmes has a sense of humor. LOL.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mike Holmes To Help Rebuild High Park Playground - Video and Article

From CBC News

Mike Holmes to help rebuild High Park playground

Work set to begin in July

Famous TV handyman Mike Holmes and his crew will help rebuild a children’s playground in High Park badly damaged by a fire in March.
Details of plans to rebuild the Jamie Bell Adventure Park were released on Friday
“I haven’t been this excited since I went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina,” Holmes said.
Plans for the new park include more seating, slides and cutting-edge building technology.
"Solar lighting that has no electricity ... we are going to be state of the art," said Holmes.
The playground, which is located near the park entrance off High Park Boulevard and Parkside Drive, was originally built in 1998 by a group of community volunteers.
Coun. Sarah Doucette has been working to co-ordinate the rebuild efforts, which include pulling together community and corporate partners.
She said having Holmes and his building expertise will be key to the project.
"This is what we needed," she told CBC News. "Someone to come and do the big heavy build so the community can still do the painting, the mulch, the tweaking."
Corporate donors, including Canadian Tire, Lowes and TD Bank have all pitched in with contributions of money and materials.
Holmes and his crew will begin the work in the first week of July.

Mike Holmes Helps to Rebuild Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in Toronto

Police investigate at Jamie Bell Playground in High Park, which was set ablaze in mid-March. (Christopher Drost/Torontoist)

Yesterday, Mike announced on his Facebook page that he would be helping to rebuild the playground that burned down March 17 in High Park, Toronto.

Proud to be rebuilding the playground in High Park, Toronto with Janet Rosenberg. We're shooting the process for my new show! Join me at the public ground breaking at Jamie Bell Playground in High Park, Toronto today (Friday May 18) at 1pm.

Here's an article from

Mike Holmes steps up to help rebuild High Park playground
Community rebuild day and barbecue set for July 7

Conal, 9, and his brothers Kieran, 7, and Lochlan, 4, have one simple wish for the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground rebuild.

"We just want the castle back," they agreed as they coloured pictures of a castle at a public consultation meeting to discuss the beloved High Park playground's reconstruction Thursday, May 17.

Conal, whose favourite part of the playground is the big slide - "I like how high up it is and you can see the rest of the park" - said he wished there could be another slide.

His wish could very likely come true with the help of Canada's favourite contractor Mike Holmes of HGTV fame. Holmes and his film crew for his new show 'Make it Right' will assist with the playground rebuild. He attended the meeting to find out what the community would like to see for the playground's design and rebuild.

"I want to work with you, I want to work with the kids. I want to make sure it's safe, accessible. I want to build the best playground that everyone has ever seen, one that Jamie Bell would say 'Two thumbs up,'" Holmes told his audience at Humberside Collegiate Institute.

Holmes said he learned from the news of the fire that engulfed the castle turret in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 17.

"When I saw the fire, I thought 'you've gotta be kidding. We've got to make this right. I went to High Park as a kid," he said. "We're going to make it right together."

Landscape Architect Janet Rosenberg will help Holmes, his team and the community with the design.

"The playground is incredibly magical and built from love. It's so very much about the community," said Rosenberg, who added issues like drainage, shading, visibility in the castle and a greater variety of seating would be addressed.

The castle, as residents have requested, will remain close to its original design, assured Rosenberg. A community rebuild day and barbecue is scheduled for Saturday, July 7. Over the past two months, a number of corporations have stepped forward with donations, including Canadian Tire with a total of $60,000; TD Canada Trust Bloor and Runnymede branch with $10,000 and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse with a $10,000 donation of materials. At the meeting, Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette made another funding announcement. The Sprott Foundation has agreed to match dollar for dollar donations to the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground up to $30,000. Donations made to the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation website between May 17 and June 30 will be matched.

"We've heard loud and clear you'd like the city to do this very, very quickly," said Doucette of the reconstruction project, which is set to begin immediately and will be completed in early July.

Eleven-year-old Sydney told Holmes she's been going to the adventure playground since she was one.

"I want to be able to go there and say 'Wow, this is the most amazing park I've ever been to.' I want to be able to climb on everything," she said.

Holmes assured everyone that he and his team would like the community to make the decisions.

"I will do as much as you want or as little as you want," he said.

Doucette said any left-over funds would be put aside for the maintenance of the playground.

The Jamie Bell Adventure Playground was inspired by and built by the imagination and creativity of the local community and its children in 1998-'99.

A ground-breaking ceremony will be held today at 1 p.m. in the playground.

And yet another article, this one from the Torontoist:

Rebuilding the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground

With a dash of television magic, the High Park playground that was burned down in March will be rebuilt in July by Mike Holmes (and the community).

By Sarah-Joyce Battersby

“Think of me as the new Jamie Bell,” might not have been the most tasteful thing for celebrity contractor Mike Holmes to say to a room full of the late Bell’s friends, family, and neighbours, but surely Holmes meant well. Standing in the auditorium in Humberside Collegiate Institute on Thursday night in his spotless overalls, he laid out the plan for him and his “guys”—and his new Holmes Makes it Right TV show—to rebuild the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in partnership with the City of Toronto and Janet Rosenberg and Associates landscape architects. Though light on a few details, like whether the updated playground will include a climbing wall, or if wood chips or rubber are best for the ground-cover, the plan’s finish-date is clear: July 7.

Local councillor Sarah Doucette (Ward 13, Parkdale-High Park) told the crowd of about 60 adults, 10 kids, and eight TV production crew guys (who were filming the event for the TV show) that the groundbreaking ceremony for the park will be today, Friday, at 1 p.m.

The July 7 deadline will be the official “community build day” when local residents can add finishing touches to the playground, after Holmes and his crew have done the heavy lifting.

Though Doucette confirmed that wood will be the primary building material, Rosenberg said that the actual design of the new structure will be “a surprise,” but it will be “based on input from the community.” To facilitate input from the community, tables were set up at the front of the auditorium for families and children to draw design ideas. Doucette added that any other ideas or drawings can be sent to her office email, and told us after the meeting that given the tight deadline, any ideas should be sent in “as quickly as possible.”
Ward 13 Councillor Sarah Doucette, landscape architect Janet Rosenberg, and Mike Holmes. Photo by Miroslav Glavic.

A previous offer to rebuild the playground in time for summer, extended by a group including Landscape Ontario and Natural Playgrounds, was turned down by the City, citing the need for community consultations and special planning considerations in light of the playground’s location in an environmentally sensitive ravine. But Doucette stressed that she and Rob Richardson, the acting manager of partnership development in the City’s parks department, who was in attendance at the meeting, have been doing lots of work behind the scenes in the meantime. There are also some important differences between the two plans, she explained later by phone: the earlier one wasn’t focused on rebuilding the castle, which she identified as a key priority, and involved design ideas that weren’t feasible in a graded ravine. Utility line information for the area was still being nailed down, and the whole thing would have been too rushed. “We just needed that little bit more time,” Doucette said.

She also told us that Richardson spoke with Landscape Ontario this week; their offer to help stands, and once the summer season is over they will be looking at making some contributions to the playground as well.

In addition to Holmes’ in-kind donation of the labour, a previously announced corporate donation of $50,000 from Canadian Tire is still coming through (along with an additional $10,000 that was fundraised at two individual store locations); TD Bank Group has made a $10,000 donation via the Bloor and Runnymede branch; and Toronto Parks and Trees has received over $16,000 in donations for the project. Doucette also announced that any donations made to Toronto Parks and Trees from May 17 to June 30 will be matched dollar for dollar by the Sprott Foundation, up to a total of $30,000.

As for how the partnership between Holmes and the City came to be, Doucette told us Holmes’ people contacted her office, but also that “we had to do a video to let [HGTV] and Mike know what we were all about. So we sold ourselves. And obviously we did a good job.”

The Holmes Spot

I smell t-shirts.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Skills Canada 2012 Video

Here is some official video from the closing ceremony of the Skills Canada 2012 competition in Edmonton that Mike Holmes is currently busy being an official spokesman for.

"Being in the skilled trades is an opportunity of a lifetime." He says. "We're never going to stop building, we're never going to stop fixing what we build. You have an opportunity for life." Speaking about the magnitude of the event, Mike expressed his interest in seeing the event grow. "It's only growing, this is just the beginning... I want to see this as big as the Olympics, if not bigger," a message which was resonated later in the ceremony. Holmes also spoke about his desire to see more people participate in the skilled trades. "We built this country, and right now it's growing so fast, we don't have enough skilled trades. We need to get women in the trades. We need to get men! Kids! Come on, let's make it right!"

I've found Mike at minutes 1:30, 2:20, 3:20, 4:50, with a nice long dialog at minute 26:00. (You can also spot him in the audience during the wide pan shots. He's not that hard to spot! Just look for the big bald head and the overalls.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Skills Canada 2012 National Competition

Yesterday, Mike Holmes, official Skills Canada spokesman, was hanging out in Edmonton with Team Nova Scotia for the Skills Canada National Competition. From Mike's Facebook page:
In Edmonton to cheer on the 2012 Skills Canada / Compétences Canada National Competition. I love the energy here - very inspiring!
A message from Mike was also posted on the official Skills Canada page:
 “Supporting the skilled trades has been an important part of my work and what I do because I understand the incredible value they bring to every industry. Skilled trades people are responsible for taking ideas and concepts, and turning them into real, tangible things. They literally build and shape the world around us,” said Mike Holmes in a message of support to Skills Canada – Nova Scotia.
“Skilled trades are important to the economic stability of our country. They build our homes and office buildings; assemble and fix our cars, trucks, trains and jets; theyʼre involved with robotics, computer graphics, welding and so much more! They are among our countryʼs most crucial resources.”
Holmes explained that he cares about the work he does, takes pride in his craft, and always does his best to give people the quality they expect with the integrity they deserve. He said he is a proud supporter of Skills Canada because it promotes this kind of work ethic.
“Skills Canada helps Canadian youth involved in vocational education and training develop a sense of pride in their skill, which doesnʼt just affect the quality of work they produce but shapes the kind of people they become.”
In October 2011, Mike Holmes (official Skills Canada spokesperson), traveled to London, England to support Team Canada at the WorldSkills competition. While there, he met “some of our countryʼs best and brightest – some of the most skilled and determined youth in the world!” Among them was Aaron Hebb of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, who took home an international medal in car painting. Hebb earned his spot at WorldSkills by winning gold at the Skills Canada National Competition in 2010, and as a champion in his trade, took his skill to the next level at World’s and won bronze, marking the first time a Nova Scotian competitor has received a medal at the global event.
“Nothing inspires me more than seeing the future, the next generation of trades people, achieve that kind of success!” Holmes said in his letter. “To Aaron, and each of the other 33 competitors who represented their province, their country and their trade . . . thank you! Thanks for your single-minded dedication to a craft and for investing countless hours, energy, blood, sweat and maybe even a few tears to produce the best work you can. If youʼre winning a medal at WorldSkills, you know youʼre doing something right!”

More Photos:
The Holmes Spot

The Holmes Spot