November 25, 2019
Properties deemed empty will be subject to a tax of 1% of the property’s 2019 assessed taxable value. Most homes will not be subject to the tax, as it does not apply to principal residences or homes rented for at least six months of the year; however, all homeowners are required to submit a declaration. Net revenues from the Empty Homes Tax will be reinvested into affordable housing initiatives.
Each year, every owner of residential property will have to make a property status declaration. This will determine if the property is subject to the Empty Homes Tax, also known as the Vacancy Tax.
Properties not subject to the tax
Most properties will not be subject to the Empty Homes Tax, including those:
- Used as a principal residence by the owner, his/her family member or friend, or other permitted occupier for at least six months of the 2019 tax year
- Rented for residential purposes for at least six months of the current year, in periods of 30 or more consecutive days
- Meeting the criteria for one of the exemptions
If you do not qualify for an exemption, several options are available to you in 2020:
- Become a landlord by renting your property for at least six months of the year, in periods of 30 or more consecutive days
- Enlist a property management firm to rent your property on a long-term or periodic basis
- Invite a family member or friend to occupy your property as his/her principal residence for at least six months of the current year
- Occupy your property as your principal residence for at least six months of the current year
- Keep your property as-is and pay the Empty Homes Tax
- Sell your property.
November 25, 2019
Challenge #1: Take a photo every day of something you’re thankful for.
Challenge #2: In your transactions with cashiers, baristas and others, take the time to look them in the eye and really thank them.
Challenge #3: Put up gratitude “stop signs” in your life.
Challenge #4: Write a thank you note for a loved one — and give it to them.
Challenge #5: Be honest about the thanks you’d like to hear from the people in your life.
November 16, 2019
It’s been said that you should never judge someone for what they say when they’re wearing a wet pair of shoes. It can be miserable to walk around in soggy, cold clothes, but you don’t have to go on an expensive gear shopping spree to enjoy the outdoors in wet weather. You probably have some great clothing hiding in your closet! Certain fabrics such as cotton or denim can be a nightmare when they get wet; they take a long time to dry, and you can feel the moisture through them. Other fabrics, such as wool or fleece are great for wet weather! That ugly sweater that Grandma gave you for Christmas? Perfect for a rainy day on the trail. Those weirdly tall wool socks that your uncle keeps insisting are the ultimate work-wear? They’ll keep your feet warm even if they’re wet. Fleece and wool are great fabrics for outdoor activities because they keep you warm even if you get wet (and you can tell Grandma that you wear that sweater she knit you all the time!). Pair them with a rain jacket and boots and you are ready to explore!
Surround yourself with good vibes
A positive attitude can go a long way on a day that it isn’t raining, so imagine how helpful it can be when it is! Any kind of gloomy weather can deflate your mood, but if you are surrounded by some positive, upbeat souls on your adventure, it can make a really big difference. Make sure your adventurous crew has one or two painfully-optimistic individuals, and you’ll always be able to find the silver lining in any situation (even that big black rain cloud that keeps getting closer…)
Bring a warm beverage
Being wet can often leave you feeling “chilled to the bone.” A great way to remedy that deep-cold feeling is by eating or drinking something warm. I love to bring a thermos of tea with me on wet hiking days, or to drink after a paddle where I know I’ll be getting wet. Other people like to bring soup, or even a small camp stove to make a warm meal. You don’t have to be quite that extravagant though. You can find a thermos at any outdoor, department or thrift store for a pretty reasonable cost. Just fill it up with your favourite warm beverage before you head out, and enjoy it as you adventure to lessen the chill in the damp or cold air.
Dance in the rain
In places like Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, we are definitely not strangers to rain, getting an average of six hundred to six thousand millimetres of it every year. We know that we live in a wonderful place, surrounded by all kinds of natural beauty, the trick is to get out and enjoy it. That means that for about six months of the year, we are going to get wet. So get outside, bring a waterproof speaker (or a normal speaker in a plastic bag) and have fun! After all, “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
November 15, 2019
The world’s lowest-lying nation rises barely four-feet above sea level (at its highest point, a mere eight-feet), and fans over the Indian #Ocean in wide, flat circles of blindingly white sand. The Maldives are nestled halfway between Indonesia and Africa, and attract travelers seriously committed to communing with the sparkling #turquoise tides.
Made up of 26 atolls spanning 1,190 different islands (of these, less than a third are inhabited) the Maldives are like one giant jigsaw #puzzle of sandbars and lagoons. An impressive number of marine species have made their homes in the surrounding reefs and, as a result, the #Maldives are particularly popular among scuba divers.
Within each of the island chain’s ring-shaped atolls — North Ari Atoll, South Ari Atoll, Laamu Atoll, and so on — is a group of different islands typically anchored by a small #airport. In the case of Kaafu Atoll, it’s home to Velana International Airport, which is the main entry point for all travelers. From here, you’ll need to arrange a separate flight or speedboat transfer to get to your individual hotel.
December through April is the dry season, and the most popular time to visit the Maldives. This can make hotels slightly more expensive, but it’s also when you can enjoy a guaranteed streak of gorgeous, storm-free days. Moreover, dry season makes for better visibility (think: crystal-clear snorkeling and underwater diving). No matter what time of year, travelers can expect balmy temperatures in the mid-80s.
The Maldives are full of dreamy, relatively untouched islands, and one of the joys of vacationing here is venturing beyond your hotel. A typical #excursion might include fishing at sunset in a 60-foot dhoni (a traditional Maldivian wooden boat). Another favorite is island hopping, when resort guests are taken to a handful of nearby islands and properties to #snorkel and explore on land (a packed or barbecue lunch is almost always included). Some hotels even offer intimate escapes for couples. Just imagine being taken out to a deserted beach in a dinghy, where you’re left to enjoy the company of your significant other for the entire afternoon, equipped with only a fully stocked #picnic basket and a mobile phone in case of emergencies.
November 6, 2019
We humans have become multi-tasking productivity machines. We can work from anywhere, to great effect. We can do more, and do it far more quickly, than we ever dreamed possible.
So now the #solution is sitting still! Stillness—or the ability to just sit there and do nothing—is a skill, and as a #culture we’re not practicing this skill much these days. When we can’t tolerate stillness, we feel uncomfortable when we have downtime, and so we cancel it out by seeking external stimulation, which is usually readily available in our purse or pocket. Instead of just staring out the window on the bus, for example, we read through our Facebook feed. We check our email waiting in line at the grocery store. Instead of enjoying our dinner, we mindlessly shovel food in our mouths while staring at a screen. Here’s the core problem with all of this: We human beings need stillness in order to recharge our batteries. The constant stream of external stimulation that we get from our televisions and computers and smart phones, while often gratifying in the moment, ultimately causes what neuroscientists call “cognitive overload.”
If we want to be high-functioning and happy, we need to re-learn how to be still. When we feel like there isn’t enough time in the day for us to get everything done, when we wish for more time… we don’t actually need more time. We need more stillness. Stillness to recharge. Stillness so that we can feel whatever it is that we feel. Stillness so that we can actually #enjoy this #life that we are living.