This North End Bungalow at 37 Garnet Street Just Hit The Market ~ Call Timothy Today!!

UPDATE: This property has been sold!

Please use our online complimentary St. Catharines Ontario real estate search to find similar available listings.

Transformed from frog to prince, this home has had its share of change. In the past few months, this home has had a new roof installed, laminate and carpet throughout, fixtures replaced, and much more.


Priced at $124,900
Down payment only $6,245.00
Northend location
Approximately 700 square feet
Totally renovated from top to bottom
2 bedrooms, 4pce bathroom
Detached garage with private driveway


Current Mortgage Rates

5-Year Fixed 6.05%
3-Year VRM 5.75%, Prime minus 0.50%, fully open term

Bank of Canada Update
As expected, the Bank of Canada did not change its overnight lending rate, which means there will not be a change in BMO’s prime lending rate. With the recent increases to fixed rate mortgages, variable rate products are now becoming very popular again. The Central Bank does not meet again until December 4th, which ensures low variable rates throughout the Fall season.

Quote of the Week

“If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.”
Warren Buffet

Paul Croteau
Mortgage Specialist
BMO Bank of Montreal
ph: (905) 321-3230

Down Payment Options for Home Buyers

Do you have any friends or family members who would like to buy their first home but just can’t seem to save for the down payment? This could be an option for them (see below). Another option is 100% financing!! As always, should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call me and I will arrange an appointment with any of our full-time mortgage specialists.

Timothy Salisbury
Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre, Inc., Brokerage
Office: 905-937-6000
Toll Free: 800-467-8498

P.S. Remember the very best time to buy is from September to the end of December, so call me today, should you have any buying questions!!

Every year, just a few months before it’s time to file your tax return, we tell buyers that this is the perfect time of year to “create” a down payment by using their RRSP allowable contribution limit and the Federal Government’s Home Buyers’ Plan for first time home buyers.

First a quick review…every first-time buyer has the right to withdraw up to $20,000 from his/her RRSP at the time of a home purchase. The little-known secret is that the money does NOT need to be used strictly for the down payment on your house or condo purchase.

However, it does have to be in your RRSP for at least 90 days before pulling it out to purchase a home, so that’s why you need to do some advanced planning!

So, how can you create a down payment out of ‘nothing’?

The first step is to dig out your last Tax Assessment form from Canada Customs and Revenue (you received this when you received your tax refund last spring) and check it to find out your allowable RRSP contribution as of right now. Many people have several thousand dollars left that they can contribute because they haven’t topped up their contributions annually; some people have a lot more than that.

Let’s assume for a moment that a couple is planning to purchase a home and each of them can top up their RRSP by at least $20,000.

The next step is to arrange for an RRSP loan of $20,000 each. Pretty well everyone can qualify for this loan because the banks keep your RRSP investment (a GIC, for instance) in their bank, so it’s safe in their eyes. Take out this loan for a long term (three to ten years), not because you’re going to have this loan for a long time, but because it will make your payments lower while you do have the loan.

When March 1st comes along, file your tax return right away and wait for the big refund cheque to come in the mail.

Let’s assume that you’re in a 40% tax bracket. You should then get back approximately $8,000 each in tax refund based on reducing your taxable income by $20,000. This $8,000 each (total of $16,000) now becomes your down payment…don’t spend it!

Now, here comes the fun part. Go out and purchase a home with a closing date of at least 90 days after you put your borrowed funds into our RRSP.

When you get to about 10 days to 2-weeks prior to the closing date for your home deal, instruct the bank to cash in your $20,000 worth of RRSP’s each. The person at the bank, of course, will say…”You’ve got a loan against it” and then you say…”Pay the loan off with the $20,000 I’m withdrawing”.

Following all of these steps carefully will leave you in the enviable position of having NNO RRSP loan, $16,000 in your hand to use as your down payment and 15 years to repay the $40,000 that you withdrew from your RRSP’s.

Thanks again – Timothy

Current Mortgage Rates

5-Year Fixed 6.04%
3-Year VRM 5.75%, Prime minus 0.50%

Quote of the Week

“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”
Peter Drucker

Paul Croteau
Mortgage Specialist
BMO Bank of Montreal
ph: (905) 321-3230

Food Items Needed

Project S.H.A.R.E. is currently experiencing a shortage of some needed emergency food items for their food bank. Items include dry pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned meat, tuna and rice. If you would like to make a donation to Project S.H.A.R.E., please visit them at 4129 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls from Monday to Friday between 8:30am to 4:30pm.

You can visit their website at Project S.H.A.R.E. of Niagara Falls.

Architectural Style in St. Catharines

I saw this article in the St. Catharines Standard a few weeks ago and it was talking about some of the homes that were built by Nicholson and Macbeth. It reminded me of a house I had listed and sold back in 2005. It was located at 48 McDonald Drive here in St. Catharines. I have added a few photos of the house. The article below, by the way,  is compliments of Peter Downs of the St. Catharines Standard.

An architectural style, rooted in the early 1920’s, that defines affluent St. Catharines
Compliments of Peter Downs – Standard Staff

Some of the bricks in Ian Ellingham’s attractive heritage home are botched. Misfired.

Something went wrong during the heating process when they were created more than 80 years ago, leaving the bricks scarred by dozens of little pock marks that look like they may burst air bubbles.

Not all of the bricks bare the blemishes.

They share space – one here, one there – with properly formed bricks in a wall directly beside the front door to Ellingham’s house at 21 Yates Street.

The bricks – smaller and less symmetrical than those found in modern subdivisions – rise and fall slightly in rows that are decidedly not level or true.

The imperfect brick work wouldn’t be tolerated in cookie-cutter houses of today. But to Ellingham, the bricks are one of the design elements that make his house beautiful.

“Making things straight is the easy part. To get that sort of randomness just right, that’s magnificent,” said Ellingham, an architect and development consultant.

The misfired bricks are also a calling card of the two renowned architects – Arthur Nicholson and Robert Macbeth – who designed some of Niagara’s finest homes.

“This is the kind of thing that happens when two people come together who complement each other,” Ellingham said. “It’s sometimes difficult to tell who did what to whom, but they both worked very well together.”

Nicholson, born in Buffalo in 1881, became involved in the construction industry through his father, who was a well-known builder with a lumberyard and mill in St. Catharines.

Macbeth, born in Inverness, Scotland, in 1891, also had family ties to the building industry. His father – Robert John Macbeth – was a prominent architect.

A few years after Macbeth immigrated to Canada, he apprenticed under Nicholson and later joined him as a partner.

In addition to commercial and institutional buildings, the design duo created dozens of striking homes across the peninsula that fall within the arts and crafts philosophy.

Within that overall framework, the design of individual houses touched on a variety of styles, including neo-Tudor, Italianate, colonial and modern.

“They’re beautiful houses. There’s a real lesson in there for people today,” said architect Harald Ensslen of St. Catharines – based Macdonald, Zubrec, Ensslen Architects Inc.

“It’s like a custom-fit piece of clothing which you treasure because it’s designed and made just for you.”

The Yates Street house Ellingham lives in with wife Diana and two of their three children was among the earliest homes designed by Nicholson and Macbeth.

The house, built in 1922-23 for lawyer Donald Pepler, displays many design features the partners would repeat in other homes.

From the street, the house looks like a relatively small and quaint English-style cottage. A six-foot tall visitor practically has to duck when entering the front door.

But once inside, the smallness of the building’s outside appearance melts away. The home’s tiered design takes advantage of the sloping yard backing onto the 12 Mile Creek. The L-shaped home extends into expansive living quarters on the ground-level lower tier facing the ravine.

“That’s part of the whole philosophy of the arts and crafts house,” Ellingham said. “The houses are much larger on the inside than they appear from the outside.”

The exterior of the home remains largely the same as it did when it was built, but previous owners have made many interior changes.

Plank hardwood flooring in the street-level library has been replaced by granite tiles. Modern pot lights shine from the hallway ceiling. The kitchen has been modernized over the years.

Ellingham, who bought the house two years ago, said he’d like to gradually bring the interior of the house back to a more fitting design for the period when it was built.

“People get hold of these houses and they want to decorate them. These houses don’t really survive that well,” he said. “Heritage houses are different. If you try to impose your will on them, funny things happen.”

Moving into a heritage home took a bit of getting used to for Murray and Silvia Miles.

The St. Catharines couple moved into their Nicolson-Macbeth house at 32 Glenridge Ave. – one of three in a row built by the architects – in 1984 after Murray was hired as a philosophy professor at Brock University.

“We came from a very bright and modern apartment in Toronto. We had to learn to love it,” Murray said of the 1926 house.

But the skilled detail work of the craftsmen and architects won them over.

Nearly all of the two-storey home’s original features have been preserved. The original oak floors complement dark chestnut paneling and trim work throughout the house. Rectangular leaded glass windows look out at the property’s mature trees. Copper eaves troughs run beneath the roof’s cedar shingles.

“I always say the key to beautiful buildings is beautiful materials,” Murray said sitting in a backyard that overlooks the 12 Mile Creek valley.

“It’s built to last. These are materials that have life.”

The couple also marvels that the architects left no detail to be second guessed by the builders.

The home still has all of the original painted brass hardware mounted on its doors – each latch laid out in drawing by the architects. A handcrafted brass chandelier also designed by the architects hangs above the couple’s dining room table.

“It’s designed right down to the last detail,” Murray said.

But the glory days of the ‘20’s, when affluent families could afford to build high-end homes, didn’t last.

Twelve years after they joined forces, Nicholson and Macbeth went their separate ways in 1930 as the depression ground the construction industry to a halt.

They each carried on with the profession, but on their own neither man continued on in the style that made them sought after as a team.

Retired architect Bill Williams formed a partnership with Macbeth in 1949, which lasted until Macbeth’s retirement in 1964.

“He was a wonderful person to work with. He was much older than I was, so he was like a father to me,” the Port Dalhousie resident said.

Williams, 83, began working with Macbeth at the age of 22 after graduating from the University of Toronto.

Williams said he was well aware of Macbeth’s previous work with Nicholson.

“I thought they were very interesting and distinguished homes,” he said.

“They were very well designed – basically a Tudor or Elizabethan style building. I think people enjoyed that.”

Architect Sam Woodruff joined the firm permanently in 1955, where he got the chance to work with his uncle – Macbeth – for nearly a decade.

Woodruff, 78, said he was inspired to pursue architecture in part because of Macbeth and his well-known architect father.

“He was a very fair man to work with. It was a very enjoyable office always,” Woodruff said in a phone interview from Huntsville, where he has retired.

“He was exacting. You had to do things properly, but that was great training.”

Woodruff, who later became a partner in the firm, said the work of his uncle and Nicholson continues to resonate with people today because of the high quality and originality of their designs.

“They definitely had a British accent to them, with the rather steep roofs and the very misshapen bricks and the leaded windows,” he said.

“They’re beautiful, they really are. They have a character all of their own.”

Part of the Heritage

They may be best remembered for their residential work, but Nicholson and Macbeth also partnered on numerous well known public and institutional buildings, including:

– The old YMCA building on Queen Street, which was demolished.

– The Merritton Public Library

– Additions to St. Catharines General Hospital

– The former land registry building at the intersection of Ontario Street and King Street

-Glen Ridge School

– St. Catharines City Hall

mcdonald-street-48-active-rhs-pic-2.jpg 48 McDonald Drive

mcdonald-street-48-living-room.jpg Living Room

mcdonald-street-48-living-room-wood-fireplace.jpg Living Room Fireplace

The 19th Annual Pumpkinville!!

Slated for Saturday, October 17, 2007 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

A free family event held at Happy Rolph’s Bird Sanctuary. The day includes professional children’s games, face painting, costume characters, pumpkin carving and scarecrow building contests. For more information, go to The City of St. Catharines or call 905-688-5601, ext. 1570 or 1563.

There will also be a free shuttle service from the Grantham Lions Club on Niagara Street to Happy Rolph’s between 8:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m.