FEATURE: MAPLE RIDGE Community Management’s own Michael Le Page talks about the importance of a condominium community’s first impression!

how-big-is-your-welcome-matAt a time when cranes flock to Greater Metropolitan Toronto not as migrating birds but as construction tools, when views from skyscraping penthouses can be through cumulus clouds and the creativity of one architect’s landmark condominium is blocked by another and another, maybe we need to take the focus back down to street level and ask… how big is your welcome mat?

When guests arrive at your condominium, what do they see and how are they welcomed? Is your curb appeal exciting and eye catching and does it stay fresh and last throughout the seasons? Does your building stand out from others in the neighbourhood?

The welcome mat can be found on the ground floor, more exclusive to the pedestrian traffic, but hidden behind a vestibule guarded by an intercom and backed up by a uniformed security guard positioned behind two entry doors and a camera or two for extra support. We now live in an era where electronic surveillance has to replace a neighbor such as Mrs. Kravitz as our watchful eye. Let’s be clear, we want every community to be safe and secure. We want every resident to wrap themselves in the security their building provides, we want every guest to feel welcomed and we want all the ne’re-do-wells to trod along. But how do we extend the hand of welcome when by design we must direct our visitors through a process of checks and double checks?

Your building’s welcome mat should be almost as large as the footprint of your home. Let it extend beyond the building, beyond the entrance and spill over to the green space, the sidewalks and the laneways.

On the outside as the seasons change, remember to keep your curb appeal ever changing and interesting. Flowers can be planted or potted throughout the spring and summer and greenery can fill the planters for fall and winter to add a touch of colour through our duller seasons. Make sure your landscaper plants a variety of flowers and bushes that are staged to be at their very best during different times of the year. By seizing the season, you can also keep your front entranceway fresh and inviting. A front entrance that pops can be eye-catching and add pride of ownership to any community.

When readying the building for winter, it is important to ensure all exterior elements, such as lighting, are operational. But taking that extra time to add some additional decorative interest can be very effective in adding curb appeal. We recognize the winter season makes decorating more difficult, especially after the holiday season; however, the extra effort can go a long way to developing your property’s reputation. By adding simple decorative elements such as twinkle lights on the trees in winter, your building’s exterior is easily enhanced.

On the inside, the front lobbies can also be enhanced to have a seasonal feel, warmed up with a flowering plant at the concierge desk or a wreath in the vestibule. Why not personalize the winter mats – add a logo or address to brand the building and elevate the look of the mats laid for the winter traffic.

Your building is your home. Your home is your haven. Home is where your heart is. So take it down to street level and add some pizzazz to help make your home a welcome place and the talk of the town. Remember, your home is your greatest investment and oftentimes the first impression goes a long way to tug at the heart, influence potential buyers, and raise the pride of ownership for all who live there.


how-big-is-your-welcome-mat2The surrounding hardscapes make life that much more enjoyable in Toronto’s Junction triangle. The historical Wallace Avenue Pedestrian Bridge is just steps from the front door of the converted Canadian glue factory that is now the Wallace Station Lofts. The bridge has become a popular place for many local residents to exercise but has also become an outdoor gallery of sorts. Local children’s artwork is hung along the railings during the warmer months and permanent murals by local artists are found on the supporting beams and surrounding pavement. The bridge was also the location of artist Richard Mongiat’s Legacy Project mural in 2011 and his “Rail of Light” exhibition in the 2010 Scotiabank Nuit Blanche event. The close proximity of High Park, Toronto’s largest public park – known for its nature trails, sports facilities, outdoor theatre, gardens and diverse vegetation, picnic areas and playgrounds – makes this central location a great place to live. It is the little things that make the city a village and this urban village has it figured out.



shutterstock_139797331START WITH YOUR FRONT DOOR

Use a wreath to add some immediate colour to your front door. Not into the traditional green wreath? Not a problem! Wreaths come in many different styles now and one can easily find a how-to guide online. Plus, creating your own is often a great activity to do with kids. Green garlands around your doorway will also immediately add interest and colour.


Lights can make any space more inviting. Easily create a more welcoming exterior by adding lights to your trees, door frame or banister. Use white lights with green wire for darker trees and white lights with white wires for light trees such as a Birch tree. No trees around your front door? Add lanterns or candles to your exterior. They look great placed along a pathway, banisters, or hung from hooks on your porch.


Don’t let your planters sit idle. Use them! They will look fantastic filled with fresh greenery, twigs, and red pepper berries and holly! You may paint the twigs white, gold or silver to add a personal touch. Or place bottlebrush firs into small planters or buckets to look like miniature evergreens.


Add visual interest by using decorations that display your’s and your family’s interests. Prop an old sled up beside your front door, hang skates, home-made decorations, or make a home-made wreath with your family.


No doubt you already have some decorative elements by your front door or on your porch or windowsills. Some great winter enhancements include decorating an empty bird bath with fruit (cranberries, kumquat, pepperberries, and polished stones), decorate your bench with pinecones, gazing balls, greenery and ornaments, or decorate your mailbox.


Decorations don’t always have to be serious. Hang something that will make you and your guests laugh as they walk through your front door. This will work as a conversation starter and will also guarantee to cheer you up on dreary freezing cold days as you walk through the front door. An example? The Marty Moose string lights from Urban Outfitters ($28) work for me!