Thursday, April 5, 2012

Being the Tourist Invader at Niagara-on-the-Lake

Misty Hollow Carving
This BLOG is sponsored by “Misty Hollow Carving”. You are welcome to visit Misty Hollow and see all of my carvings.

My Web Site is a like a Gallery – please drop in for a stroll through.

To help me promote my Web Site please copy this URL address and email to someone today

* * * * * * * *
Today’s Blog Post
Being the Tourist Invader at Niagara-on-the-Lake

In 2009 and 2010 I came to know what the Recession was all about. The income source dropped radically and money became tighter than ever before.

Yesterday I believe that I witnessed another aspect of the Recession as well. People are selling off properties in larger numbers. We saw this as we walked around Niagara-on-the-Lake, the small community at the lower end of the Niagara River, on the Ontario side of the river.

It seemed that every block we walked by had one or two houses for sale. People are getting rid of the homes that they worked so hard on to restore to their old glory.

Now recession may not be the only aspect. Age is another factor. The people that live in these homes are not all young. As the aging catches up to them something has to change. They have to sell.

For my readers from Western Canada, where the heritage and homes are at the oldest … maybe circa 1900… you need to know that in this area you can add another 100 years to the history and that is considered “recent”.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is celebrating its 200th year of being a town this year.

Now granted only a few homes survive from that early time. The Nasty Americans did real damage to most of this community when they invaded in 1813. To take control of the area and knock down anything that the British troops might have used – the Americans burned the fine old homes to the ground!

They burned down the oldest Presbyterian Church when they invaded that day – because they claimed the British troops had used the steeple as a lookout!

The homes that were built in the subsequent years from 1820 to 1830 or so were new houses to replace the ones that were destroyed.

Now to level the playing ground(and specially for my American readers) the Nasty British pushed far enough south while invading the USA to make it to Washington and burn down some of their homes. One that the British burned was the Whitehouse where their President lived.

I think the phrase is “Tit for Tat”.

Way back when this burning was taking place the town called Niagara (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) was the first “Legislative capital” from what I have gleaned. Then the capital area was moved to Kingston, not a long journey across the Lake Ontario, and then finally to Ottawa where it would be safer from possible burning by the Nasty Americans. (but.. some of my historian readers will correct me I am sure of that)

We are tourists and love looking at everything that is so different in the area that we visit. And in Niagara-on-the-Lake there is so much to look at. The homes are particularly part of this tour.

Now the day and age that we live in has made it much more fun to look around the community. We not only looked at the homes that were for sale on each street… but we also looked inside of each home. Whoa – was that ever fun.

“How did you do that?” you ask.

Well the real-estate sign outside has a sign… and on the sign are the names of the companies that are selling. By simply going to the Internet and looking up the realtor and the address… you can click on to the tab that takes you through the house – every room, every bathroom and you see it all.

Now add one more factor, some real-estate signs now has that funny little square box on the bottom – made up of the funny little squares in weird patterns.

By holding my cell phone over the funny little square called the “QR Code” and pushing a button the QR Reader snaps and immediately my Cell Phone gives me the Web Site with the information about the person’s home – price, size, bedrooms, bathrooms and also the complete tour of the photos of the inside of the house!

No kidding. With the push of a single button outside of their home I am inside and looking around at everything! And I am doing that right outside the person’s home!!!

Now this makes the tourist thing way more fun!

Do I feel like a “Peeping Tom”? Nope – I am a potential buyer when people look at me out front of their house.

In one case yesterday I was being watched very closely by one old man that lived across the street from one of these mansions. After I took the photos and was looking at the Cell Phone Web Sites, he was staring at me intently from the other side of his Lexus. He was likely in his 80s but a very sharp old fellow from what I saw.

That street had a number of homes for sale. And it appeared that few people were home… except for this older fellow.

I moved on and took more photos further down the street. And the old fellow moved closer to follow my steps as we walked on.

Now can you imagine if the Nasty Americans and the Nasty British Soldiers had an apparatus like I have, they could have looked inside in a heart-beat!

Yesterday my wife and I did the Tourist invasion. What fun!

Take a look at this Link for the house shown above. One click and you can see this gorgeous home on the inside that is worth $1,749,000 and has the following… quote…
“Detached - Lot: 79.00 x 147.70 Feet
Truly an architectural masterpiece! This expansive home, nearly 10,000 sq ft in total, was built in 2001 by the current owners who envisioned a space where the entire family, from aunts and uncles to grand kids, would gather and spend time together. This is certainly a house to be called home. Boasting 3 levels plus the finished basement, even an elevator servicing all levels, views of the lake and golf course, and steps to the famous main street of NOTL, this home is surely not to be missed. Charm and character abound in this Queen Anne revival with a huge living/dining room, stylish kitchen, and massive family room with fireplace and walk-out to the gorgeous landscaped gardens. The upper level features a grand master bedroom with cathedral ceilings, 4 piece ensuite and large walk-in closet. Additional bedrooms, stunning custom office & laundry are also found on this level. The piece de resistance is the grand piano residing in the turret overlooking the lake. (this link will likely be active for a few weeks – until the place sells or another realtor gets the task of selling it)

A reflection… Two days ago we stayed at the Bear’s Inn in Ohsweken. That was a warm and friendly place to be. The next day we drove through the very old area of Ontario that was once owned and loved by the Aboriginal people that called it home.

Yesterday we looked into homes that are from the circa 1830s or so. I have seen opulence beyond my most remote imaginations.

Today I am processing it all.

~ Murray Lincoln ~ 

No comments: