Photography by John Hyrniuk Credits: Photography by John Hyrniuk
Photography by John Hyrniuk Credits: Photography by John Hyrniuk
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One (1) round trip airfare, based on economy class, for two (2) adults from a Canadian gateway to Quebec City
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Canadian Living visited the historic South End district of Halifax to see the celebrated craftsmanship of architect Andrew R. Cobb. Over 100 years since his work, his signature style has left a mark on the residents of this charming period neighbourhood, who take time to decorate their doors in vivd holiday vignettes. Find inspiration for your own holiday decorations from one of these 12 beautifully decorated holiday doors.
Lynn O'Callaghan took the three Rs to heart for her vibrant decor. She reduced the number of urns on her veranda to a single standout arrangement; reused her old wreath, updating the original lime ribbon with fab fuchsia tulle; and recycled a large birch branch destined for the dump by sawing it up and inserting pieces into the urn. We'll add a fourth R for "reimagined." Instead of plastic ties, Lynn used green dollar-store pipe cleaners to suspend her handsome spruce and hemlock garlands. Brilliant!
Wreath, propsfloraldesign.com; light, livinglightingns.ca
The bright Bermuda-inspired front door of Elizabeth and Michael Ryan's 1920s Andrew Cobb home is complemented with a simple homemade wreath. Elizabeth wired small pinecones onto a wreath form; added a few larger pinecones that she and her husband, a Second World War buff, found in Normandy, France; and finished the look with metallic gold sprays and ribbon.
With its luxe louvered shutters, stucco exterior and climbing vines, Lynn Tilley's home exudes French country charm. During the holiday season, an ornate wreath of pink and burgundy flowers, berries and pinecones pops against the stately black door, while a bold yet elegant bow tops the pretty package.
Bow, mymothersbloomers.ca; wreath, costco.ca
Festive flourishes are no sweat for Larry Swinamer and Susan MacIntosh. Decorating, says Larry, is "a collective, fun endeavour. It just sort of flows." He's in charge of the entryway's delightful arrangement of hanging ornaments, while Susan, who is the owner of Props Floral Design, takes care of the wreath and planter. She breaks up the evergreens with decorative elements made of copper, including whimsical whales – a nod to the couple's waterfront location.
Wreath and planter arrangement, propsfloraldesign.com
"A wreath on the door expresses the circle of love, peace and joy that begins at home," says Catherine Johnston, who had this splurge-worthy statement piece custom-designed to complement her home's dazzling façade. As a personal touch, she added fragrant cedar and balsam fir boughs cut from her winter cottage at Foley Lake, N.S.
Wreath, propsfloraldesign.com; light, homedepot.ca
"Every year I'd buy a wreath and it would come with a piddly little red bow," says Cindy Wheeler Ingham, who wanted something more substantial to decorate her Andrew Cobb home for the holidays. Her search led her to this bold ready-made bow in her youngest son's favourite colour – only to find it was too big for her wreath. So...she ditched the wreath!
Bow, mymothersbloomers.ca; coach lanterns, homedepot.ca
"We really try to achieve the classic Dickens theme," explains Margo Giacomantonio. From the thick pine garland wrapped in 40 feet of ribbon to the pine and eucalyptus wreath, everything in the traditional red-and-green scheme is fresh and homemade. Flanking the door are two massive urns featuring dogwood, gold-sprayed branches and poinsettias."
Ribbon, kent.ca; wreath decorations, propsfloraldesign.com
Why should the front door get all the glory? Graced with a corner lot, these homeowners took much care in creating garden gates that were not only complementary to their Tudor-style home but also pleasing to passersby en route to the nearby city park. The neutral backdrop means the sprays – a mix of balsam fir, white pine, alder and teasel – garner the attention they deserve.
Sprays, Balsamea House, 902-624-6261
"Nova Scotia weather is not kind to Christmas decorations," says homeowner Suzanne Morrison. The secret to her success? A collection of fabulous faux adornments, including holly berry and pinecone garland, lit potted plants and a cool contemporary silver wreath.
Garland, walmart.ca; plants and wreath, homesense.ca; planters, halifaxseed.ca; mailbox, michaels.com; sconces, kichler.com
At Laurie Cruess's 1915 American foursquare–style home, a wreath of wide-meshed ribbon, purchased at the Dalhousie University Christmas Craft Sale, shimmers under the soft glow of the period-perfect mission sconces. With the help of a friend who works at the Halifax Public Gardens, Laurie arranged the planters with fresh evergreens clipped from her own garden, along with magnolia leaves, pinecones and dogwood branches.
The Boileau family refreshed the stately elegance of their 1910 Andrew Cobb home by repainting the original sconces and replacing the drafty old door with a handsome replica. But when it comes to decorating for the holidays, they choose fun over formality. Take, for example, their wreath, decked with brilliant purple baubles and delightfully unexpected eggplant-coloured leaf clusters.
Silver branches, winners.ca; silver baubles, realcanadiansuperstore.ca; wreath decorations, propsfloraldesign.com; evergreens, Balsamea House, 902-624-6261
Janet Willwerth keeps her front-door decor minimal but meaningful. "I find comfort in the familiarity of my Christmas things," she says. "Each time they are brought out, they bring back memories." Her whimsical grouping showcases two special gifts (the Santa and candy cane), a robust wreath (bought from a door-to-door salesperson) to which Janet added a bow, and an antique ship's lantern from Pictou, N.S., that's been in her family for generations.
Illustrations by Josie Portillo
These pooches, all Purina Animal Hall of Fame inductees, showed amazing loyalty and courage in the face of potential tragedy.
Late one evening, Matthew Church returned from a bike ride complaining to his wife, Patricia, of pain in his shoulder and elbow. She gave him a couple of Aspirin, and he went upstairs to watch TV while Patricia read by the fireplace downstairs, the family's labradoodle, Zola, at her feet. Moments later, Patricia heard a thud from upstairs. She would have brushed off the noise, but Zola began to bark and growl at Patricia. Confused by Zola's behaviour, Patricia followed the dog upstairs, where Matthew was lying facedown without vital signs. He'd gone into cardiac arrest, but because of Zola's protective instincts, the ambulance arrived in time to restart his heart and save his life.
Raya, a five-year-old black Labrador retriever–Norwegian elkhound mix, loves elk hunting with her owner, Brent Cote, and his mother, Trudy. On a warm fall day in 2015, one such outing turned out to be much more exciting than usual. They'd been hiking for several hours when dusk fell and they began making their way back to their truck, walking along the edge of the forest. Out of nowhere, a bear burst out of the brush and charged toward the family in an effort to protect her cub. In an instant, Raya leaped in front of Brent and Trudy, barking and growling at the bear. After three attempts at charging, the mom and her cub were forced to retreat. Because of Raya's bravery, the trio was able to escape without injury.
Port Alberni, B.C., resident Kayla Aolick credits her golden retriever, Shadow, with helping restore her independence. Kayla has epilepsy, the aftereffect of a cancerous brain tumour that was removed when she was 11, and her episodes were once so bad that she couldn't go anywhere alone. But since the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides matched her with the seizure-detection dog four years ago, things have been very different. Shadow warns Kayla when a seizure is coming on—and he may be the reason she now experiences fewer episodes. With Shadow around, she and her family don't stress out as much about what will happen if a seizure strikes; they know he'll alert Kayla, get her mom or even push her medical-alert button, if necessary. From taking cooking classes to running errands solo, Kayla can finally live a more independent life.
Toronto Police Service Canine Unit Const. Steve Balice rarely goes anywhere without his police dog, Lonca. One November evening, the duo was stationed at the back entrance of a residential address, while the rest of the Emergency Task Force entered through the front door. Const. Balice saw an armed man running from the building, seemingly headed toward the officers out front, so he shouted numerous warnings before finally releasing Lonca to bring the suspect down. The man proceeded to strike Lonca in the face with a machete—but he didn't let go until the suspect finally surrendered. Though bleeding, Lonca assisted in the capture of a second suspect before being rushed to the veterinary hospital, where he received five stitches on his face and two staples in his paw. The suspect who attacked Lonca was the first in Canada to be charged under Quanto's Law, a piece of legislation enacted in 2015 to protect law-enforcement animals, military animals and service animals.
The Purina Animal Hall of Fame is an annual ceremony that recognizes heroic animals from across Canada—to the tune of 172 inductees in its 48 years. The vast majority are dogs, but there have also been feline inductees—and even a horse! This year, in addition to these four brave dogs, Rex, a Saskatoon-area pooch who saved a family member from a house fire, was honoured. Read his heartwarming tale here: How one family's rescue dog turned out to be a hero.
Create a beautiful holiday centrepiece that you can display all season, with these easy, painted pinecones.