Giuseppe Agrippa takes the scenic route with his wide-ranging landscaping firm
The city’s lush, sprawling backyards have become a hotbed for seasoned landscapers, but one green-thumbed entrepreneur has risen above the rest. “The fact that we’re able to transform nothing into something that people can enjoy for years is an incredible feeling,” says Giuseppe Agrippa, president of Vaughan Landscaping. Agrippa, who founded his company 11 years ago at the age of 20, has cultivated his craft into an all-encompassing, award-winning firm focused on quality, customization and client care.
“Word of mouth has played a big part in our success,” says Agrippa, who caters to homeowners across the GTA and recently transformed a Forest Hill backyard into a breathtaking retreat. “I’m there from start to finish to ensure the level of quality is something I can be proud of. You’re only as good as the people who work for you so I have a skilled team behind me.”
From patios, pergolas, stonework and gazebos, to lighting, irrigation, water features and pool construction, Vaughan Landscaping and Agrippa’s subsidiary company, Vaughan Pools, can turn any outdoor space into an intimate oasis.
There are times when significant moments have the ability to transform the course and purpose of our lives. For Alfredo Aiello, that defining moment came on a crisp spring day in the 1970s after successfully selling a family’s house in Etobicoke and relocating them to a new home in Mississauga. The selling and buying process wasn’t just a transaction for the aspiring Aiello — it was the starting point of a career embedded in a feeling of pride and sense of accomplishment that comes from finding families the perfect home. Alfredo’s initial experiences in real estate eventually set forth the foundation of a promising career, one that would expand and continue over four memorable decades.
Immersed in the industry since March of 1975, Alfredo got his feet wet in residential resale and commercial real estate before working at a leading development firm in Vaughan. “In 1984, I became involved in the new homes division at Greenpark Homes, keeping my land and commercial touch as I explored a part of real estate that intrigued me,” says Alfredo, who continued to pursue his passions in and around the GTA. Soon enough, his son Massimo Aiello began to display interest in his profession, obtaining his Broker’s Designation at the tender and rebellious age of 19. With Alfredo’s expertise in new homes and Massimo’s proficiency in customer and company liaisons, the father-son twosome decided it was time to set out on their own.
Victorian chairs, vintage chandeliers, antique ottomans, stainless steel sinks, sliding doors and stylish textiles fill the aisles of Habitat for Humanity’s Vaughan ReStore. A haven for homeowners in the midst of renovating, a playground for value hunters and a source of revenue for one of York Region’s most transformative not-for-profit organizations is breaking ground with its resourceful retail concept.
“It’s an amazing success story all around and the ReStore is a big part of it,” says Habitat for Humanity York Region’s newly appointed executive director Tom Vegh. By selling pre-loved home improvement goods, furniture, flooring, home accessories, lighting and appliances at a fraction of the retail price, Habitat for Humanity’s York Region ReStore outlets have been serving the public, preserving the environment and saving savvy shoppers money.
“We can’t build homes without this,” says Bryon Disera, operations manager of York Region ReStores. With an annual revenue stream of approximately $1.2 million, the Vaughan and Newmarket locations offset Habitat’s administration expenses, so 100 per cent of local benefactions can go directly towards its successful homebuilding program. “It ends the cycle of poverty and gets families and their children out of unsafe situations and into safe affordable home ownership,” he adds.
On May 10 2013, chocolate lovers can indulge in their love of the sweet treat at the fourth annual Vaughan Chocolate Ball in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. From appetizers to dessert, chocoholics will sit down to a chocolate-infused dinner at Le Jardin in Woodbridge, Ont. Hosted by Global Toronto’s News at Noon anchor Antony Robart, the event will feature live entertainment, raffles, door prizes and a grand silent auction with exquisite pieces up for bid.
Visit www.thechocolateball.com for tickets and information.
Who to bring, what to wear, when to leave, how much to give and why it all matters. The evolution of wedding guest etiquette.
THE PRESENT MOMENT
While the rule of thumb used to be that you pay for your plate, Toronto wedding planner Karina Lemke believes people have long been smashing that sacred proverb (often without even realizing it). With a nuptial landscape that’s greener than ever, covering your palatable plate of rosemary organic chicken, truffle risotto and the cavalcade of buttercream desserts that follow can mean dishing out $600–$1,000 per couple, if you consider the countless rounds of Cabernet that coincide. Instead, Lemke estimates that the average couple gives closer to $250–$400, regardless of how posh the property is. While you should consider boosting your busta to cushion the blow, “most etiquette experts would back up the philosophy that if you’re throwing or hosting a party, you’re doing so with the expectation of nothing in return. You’re doing it because you’re a host.” The rise of destination weddings has also ushered a new wave of gifting, which Lemke personally experienced while exchanging vows with Yuk Yuk’s founder Mark Breslin in an intimate Laguna Beach ceremony in 2010. “If you’re getting married away you have to assume that you’re not going to get very much because their contribution is the fact that they’re going — and they’ve probably spent anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 a couple to join you for the week.” The Emily Post Institute Inc.’s etiquette blog also dispels the pay-your-plate myth, suggesting that “the amount you spend is strictly a matter of your budget, how close you are to the bride and groom and what you think is an appropriate gift.”
Author and founder of Sharma Leadership International Inc. knows a thing or 50 on how to improve one’s self. A Robin Sharma shortlist on life-changing goals and plans for a fresh start to 2013.
1. Hard work is a force multiplier.
2. Don’t participate in recessions.
3. Exercising for 20 minutes first thing in the morning is a game-changer.
4. If you’re not innovating daily, you’re on the path to obsolescence.
5. If you want an A-level company, you can’t afford to hire B-Level players.
6. Procrastination is an escape mechanism for people scared to do their best work.
7. Give your customers 10 times the value they expect and they’ll tell everyone they know about you.
8. Don’t do it if you’re not having fun.
9. If you’re not scared a lot you’re not growing very much.
10. Invest the time to create great social media content and your base will go global + viral.
11. There’s never been a better time to be a social entrepreneur.
12. It’s never been easier to be of service to a large amount of people (and few things are as rewarding).
Find your haven within developments that are reshaping the suburban scene.
Capo Di Monte
Debuting on the edge of a forested ravine, Capo Di Monte will offer the perfect balance between classic and scenic. On the corner of Major Mackenzie and Pine Valley drives, residents will be a touch away from Woodbridge’s colourful core while still within an arm’s reach from the stunning countryside.
Downtown-style luxury comes to a community on the rise. Within walking distance of the forthcoming subway extension, these pristine condos connect Vaughan residents to the excitement of the Big City without leaving the community they call home.
At a signing ceremony on Dec. 19, 2012, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and Villa Charities Inc. announced a joint development project that will function as a hub for Toronto’s burgeoning performing and fine arts community. Serving the educational, cultural and recreational needs of the Dufferin Street and Lawrence Avenue West neighbourhood, the $50 million redevelopment project will house a variety of services, including a reinvisioned Columbus Centre, Carrier Art Gallery, Day Care and a new Dante Alighieri Academy that will boast space for 1,300 pupils, extended fitness and music facilities, dance studios and a shared theatre. The first phase of the project is anticipated for completion in 2016.
Five-year-old Giada Zingone made the decision to change a child’s life. Following in her older sister Noemi’s footsteps, Giada cut her hair and donated it to Angel Hair for Kids, a division of A Child’s Voice Foundation. Angel Hair for Kids is dedicated to providing wigs and hair loss solutions to children suffering from medical conditions or treatments that cause hair loss.
Culture-infused films straight from the boot is what L’Altra Italia — the non-profit organization highlighting Italian arts — has been bringing to Toronto since 2002. Partnered with TIFF, L’Altra Italia screens the finest Italian projects at one of the country’s most renowned locations. For a kick of culture, movie-lover members can catch the screening of Il Giorno In Più at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on February 8 or at the Colossus Vaughan Cinemas March 21. La Moglie Del Sarto screens at the Lightbox on March 1 and at Colossus on February 28.