Monday, June 30, 2014

Mike Holmes Safety Stories from 3M DIY

Mike Holmes has been a contractor for over 30 years, and he's no doubt picked up some wisdom and hard-learned lessons along the way. When many people look at Mike, they see the epitome of doing things right, so it's easy to forget that Mike was once a young and inexperienced contractor still learning the ropes. For the past couple of years Mike has been teaming up with 3M to encourage homeowners to put safety first with his own line of personal protective equipment. Mike's line of safety eyewear is some of the most stylish and comfortable safetywear on the market. Why is it important for safetywear to be stylish? Because, to paraphrase Mike, if it looks good you'll be more likely to want to use it. I completely agree! Last year, my husband and I embarked on a home improvement project. We bought one pair of Holmes safety glasses, and one pair of the bargain ones. The Holmes glasses wrapped around my face and eyes, better protecting them from debris. The bargain ones were clunky and allowed sawdust to fly up and into my eyes while I was working. Needless to say we fought over the Holmes pair, which looked and fit like a nice pair of sunglasses. The bargain pair broke within 3 hours of bringing them home. The bargain pair ended up in the trash, and the Holmes pair sits in it's own case and has been used several times over the last year. So I ask you, which pair was truly the better bargain?

Years ago, Mike Holmes almost learned the hard way about using safety glasses. When he was 22 years old, a knot from a piece of wood was kicked up by a table saw and nearly blinded him. In a previous interview, Mike revealed that the knot hit him just under his eye with enough force to give him a black eye. He was very lucky not to have gone blind, and he learned his lesson that safety always comes first. Mike is sharing that story of his near-miss safety accident with the world in a new video put out by 3M DIY entitled "Mike Holmes - Near-Miss Safety story." There are several versions online, including a 60-second full version video  and shorter, more condensed 15- and 30-second videos.

From 3M DIY's YouTube channel:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Flashback Friday -- Mike Holmes at the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre Meaford

Forget Throwback Thursday. Here at the Holmes Spot, were more of the "Flashback Friday" type. Last year in June of 2013, Mike Holmes and his Holmes Makes It Right crew visited the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre Meaford of the Canadian Army. While there, Mike and the crew had a little bootcamp-style fun, which included shooting machine guns, crawling around in the dirt, and scaling a very tall wall! Just an average day on Mike's crew, I guess. Some of the footage made it into the episode of HMIR, "Log Jam." Here are some photos of Mike sporting fatigues from the "4th Cdn Div TC" Flickr page.

You know, it's funny... we don't normally get to see Mike from those angles. Looks like he had fun!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mike Holmes With Skills Canada Contest Winners

Mike Holmes is a big advocate for women in the skilled trades. He has shared his own personal opinion numerous times that women in the trades make men honest and force them to work harder. Mike Holmes is also a huge supporter of Skills Canada, part of WorldSkills International, which encourages young men and young women to contemplate a career in the trades as a viable career choice. A few weeks ago, Skills Canada asked students to enter a video contest, and Mike got to meet with the winners of the contest. The winners created a video called "Essentially Speaking" about women in non-traditional trades.

Essentially Speaking from 'Just' Docs Festival on Vimeo.

Mike not only took the time to meet the young ladies who won the contest, he also featured them in an episode of Holmes Makes It Right! Congrats to the winners!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mike Holmes at the 2014 Anne Murray Charity Golf Classic

Mike Holmes, fresh back from a fishing trip in Vancouver, traded his fishing pole for a 9 iron and headed to the Angus Glen Golf Course to participate in the 6th Annual 2014 Anne Murray Charity Golf Classic. The charity tournament has helped to raise over $1 million in support of Colon Cancer Canada. Green fees for the event were $400 per person, which I'm sure Mike was happy to pay in order to support such a worthy cause. The event was studded with Canadian notables and celebrities, including:

     Canada’s first woman astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar
 Renowned entrepreneur and star of Dragons’ Den Arlene Dickinson
 CTV News Toronto Consumer Reporter Pat Foran
 Canada’s Most Trusted Contractor and star of Holmes Makes It Right Mike Holmes
 CANADA AM Sports and Weather Anchor Jeff Hutcheson
 Television personality Seamus O’Regan
 Professional golfer Sandra Post
 Canada’s most successful amateur female golfer Marlene Streit
 Celebrity chef Corbin Tomaszeski


To learn more about the Anne Murray Charity Golf Classic, view the information PDF on the Colon Cancer Canada website.

There should be more photos coming soon in the coming days.

Here are some photos from Mike's Facebook page:


Monday, June 23, 2014

Gone Fishing 2.0 -- The Aftermath

Mike went fishing. Thankfully, there were still fish left in the Pacific Ocean after all was said and done. For more information about Mike's fishing trip, see Gone Fishing .



Friday, June 20, 2014

Gone Fishing

Mike Holmes works way too hard. He definitely deserves some R&R every once in a while, after all, you know what they say about all work and no play, and Mike is anything but dull! It seems that for a couple of days this week, Mike and some of his buddies have taken some time off to relax out West in Vancouver, British Columbia. From the looks of it, Mike's traded his hammer and tool belt for a fishing pole and a tackle box. Here are some "leaked" photos from the fishing trip, courtesy of Frank Cozzolino and Ben DaPonte, who are busy tearing up the West Coast with Mike. Wreak some havoc boys!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mike Holmes: Green Condos? Yes, They Exist!

Everyone knows Mike Holmes loves houses. He built his empire on the back of fixing up other people's homes and incorporating energy efficient and energy saving materials into them. Home ownership is a wonderful thing, but buying a house isn't for everyone. Some people choose to go other routes, and condos are a viable alternative to a house for many people.
Early this month, Mike Holmes celebrated the public grand opening of the On The Go Mimico Condo development, which is the first condo development to be "Holmes Approved." (For more information, read this article about Stanton Renaissance and the On The Go Mimico Condo project and Mike's endorsement.) Mike not only put his stamp of approval on the project, he bought a unit in the development. Mike knows that people who choose to buy a condo want the same energy efficient features and amenities that go into a house and housing developments. Mike Holmes put his "Holmes Approved" stamp on this development for several reasons. First, the development utilizes combined heat and power, or "CHP." What is CHP and how is it a more efficient alternative to other energy sources? Let Mike explain in his own words:

Combining this with geothermal and solar makes for a smarter and more environmentally responsible way to generate and use power. With builder incoproate smart technology into their buildings, owners can live sustainably without sacrifice. Good deal!

From the Calgary

Mike Holmes: Green condos? Yes, they exist

Builders offering more eco-friendly options to buyers

June 21 is the longest day of the year, the day we’ll get the most daylight hours, which is reason to celebrate. Not to mention, it’s also my daughter Sherry’s birthday.
It makes sense to use that extra sunlight. It’s free, clean, renewable, and thanks to huge leaps in technology, it’s getting easier to incorporate solar power in homes.
And condo builders are joining the fun, too.
When most people think condos they think standard construction — if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Not true. Just as the housing market has changed over the last 10 years, so has the condo market. Why? Because homeowners are homeowners, whether they live in a 3,000-square-foot house or a 500-sq.-ft condo.
Homeowners care about saving money on their monthly bills, healthy indoor air, sustainability, and most importantly they care about their home and how it works for them. Today’s smart condo builders know who they’re selling to.
It’s no secret I love houses. They are great investments homeowners can keep all their lives, and you can change the space so it works for you, especially as you grow older. But is buying a house realistic for everyone? No. More homeowners are being forced to raise their families in smaller spaces like condos. So issues such as indoor air quality and responsible building are becoming more important in the condo market.
Buying a condo doesn’t mean you have to sit out going green and accept the standard concrete box. You can do better than that and save money.
Some condos going up today are creating the highest level of environmental and sustainable standards. These condo developments are future-focused and help support healthier lifestyles.
For example, a smart developer will build a condo on a transit line, so you can be downtown within minutes without relying on a car. Think of how much money you can save being vehicle-free — not to mention the benefits to the environment, like fewer CO2 emissions and less fuel consumption.
Some new green condos also have programmable thermostats in every suite, quiet and energy-efficient air circulation (including fans), waste-heat recovery systems for heating and domestic hot water and greywater recycling. Some even collect rainwater to water the property, and some have an eco-friendly car wash.
It’s about incorporating smart and sustainable solutions that create more value — for condo owners and the environment — for example, cogeneration, or combined heat and power systems also known as “CHP.”
Typically in high-rises as much as 30 to 40 per cent of the heat a building generates is wasted.
But some condo builders are taking that energy and using it to preheat water for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry.
Really innovative condo builders are taking this co-gen system and combining it with geothermal — so they’re creating a hybrid system that generates power, uses the heat from generating that power to heat water, and then using the temperature from the ground (geothermal) to further increase the temperature of the water for domestic use. So they’re using even less energy, and any excess energy produced by the condo’s system can be sold back to the grid.
There are huge benefits here: First, a system like this can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7,500 tonnes over its 30-year life — the equivalent of removing 2,884 cars from the road!
Two, it can help protect condo owners from unexpected spikes in monthly fees, or “improvement fees.” And three, it provides on-site energy that can be used during grid interruptions or failure, so your lights stay on while the rest of the city is in the dark.
When condo builders build right and smart, they help residents save — up to 30 per cent over several years on utility and monthly maintenance costs. Who wouldn’t like that?
If you’re going to buy a condo, be smart. Look for one that’s built with your future in mind.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mike Holmes Q&A at the Toronto Public Library

On May 28 of this year, Mike Holmes had a super busy day, appearing on several media and news shows, as well as doing a question and answer session at the Toronto Public Library moderated by Global TV's Liza Fromer. The purpose for this media blitz was to promote his new book, The Holmes Manual, which hit shelves on June 3 in Canada. For more information on this, see Mike's Super Busy Day Promoting His New Book. Earlier this week, the Toronto Public Library posted Mike's Q&A on their YouTube Chanel. It's about an hour long, and it's truly worth the watch.

There's a reason why people love Mike. Yes, he helps people, and he's very knowledgeable, but he also oozes charm and humor with a hefty dose of personality and warmth. It's the perfect magical combination that causes fans to create entire blogs following his every activity :-) Needless to say, this video is a gem and a must-watch for every fan!

My only contention with the video is that partway through it, Mike makes what I consider to be some mildly offensive anti-American remarks. Being an American and knowing many good American contractors, I can say that a skilled professional is always willing to learn and take knowledge from the best sources, regardless of what those sources are or what countries they originate from. I would also like to point out that as a whole, Americans do not just consider Canada a country "way up north." In fact, I would say we consider Canada our closest neighbor and friend in this world. PS -- I watch so much Canadian TV I think I've developed an accent. Perhaps Mike needs to remember that his audience is far more global than he thinks, and that he shouldn't make sweeping generalizations. The world is watching.

Here's my favorite moment from the video above. During the meeting, a woman by the name of Angel asked Mike a question.

Mike listened intently to Angel's problem:
Angel asked Mike to "make it right" :
Mike helps Angel by passing along another contractor's personal cell phone number. Mike no longer gets invited to parties by Collin the foundation guy.* Poor Collin.
Additional photos:

*Probably not true, but I'd put money on it that Collin is a smidge pissed.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day Mike!

Mike Holmes has admitted on several occasions that he was not always there for his kids. While they were growing up, work often took greater president over being a dad, but he's certainly working hard to make up for lost time. These days, all three of his kids -- Amanda, Sherry, and Mike Jr. -- work at their dad's side, which gives Mike plenty of time to spend with his kids. They're a part of Mike's world, and that makes Mike a very happy daddy.

So what is Mike Holmes doing for Father's Day this year? Well what would you do if you had three kids, two grandkids, and this were your backyard?

Yup, that's right. You'd have a pool party, and probably grill up some burgers and steaks too! On HGTV Canada, Mike Holmes writes this about his plans for today:

"This Father's Day all the kids (and grandkids) are coming to the house for a day at the pool! When they were younger I never saw them--I worked 7 days a week. But I'm making up for lost time--I even work with my kids now! It's like Father's Day every day. Best Father's Day gift? Sherry. She was born on Father's Day--I couldn't have asked for a better gift!"

Amanda Holmes-Belanger Tweeted this "oldie but goodie" today in honor of her dear old dad! From the looks of it, I'd say this photo is circa 2000.
Happy Father's Day Mike from the Holmes Spot! Keep teaching dads to make it right!
From the Montreal Gazette:

Mike Holmes: Lessons my father taught me

Hard work, respect, pride essential for every trade

Mike Holmes Jr., left, on a job site with dad Mike Holmes, who says watching his kids work and seeing the respect they have for the trades makes him proud as a dad.

Father’s Day is coming up, which makes me think about my kids.
As a dad I realize I’ve been lucky. I have the best kids in the world — they work hard, they’re smart and they’ve got big hearts. And all three of my kids work with me; two on the job site and one at the office, so I get to see them often.
That wasn’t always the case. When they were growing up I worked a lot, so I missed them. But now they’re part of that world.
It was natural — I brought them to work, they got to see what dad does all day, and as they got older they became interested. And it was the same thing with my dad — I’d follow him around the house, watch him work on the plumbing, fix something in the bathroom or kitchen, or see him work on our neighbours’ homes. It was amazing for me to watch as a kid.
That kind of inspiration is important. It triggers something inside you that says, “Hey, this is cool. I could do this — I want to do this.” Not too many kids get that anymore.
That’s why events that expose kids to different tools, different jobs, different skills are important — and they’re becoming more important as we start to see the effects of a skills shortage in this country.
Skills Canada National Competition wrapped up last week. This event promotes skilled trades, including careers in technology, to Canadian youth. It’s a national competition where kids put their skills to the test — in everything from mechatronics, aircraft maintenance and pipefitting to computer animation, baking and public speaking. If they win, they could compete at WorldSkills International.
Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney was there, too. What does that tell you? That investing in skilled trades is an investment in this country’s future, and I believe the government is getting onside.
There has been a lot of talk this year about essential skills — those skills everyone needs no matter what trade they’re in. They include numeracy, oral communication, working with others, reading, writing, problem solving, digital skills and so on.
To me and anyone who works in the trades, these skills are a no-brainer — they come with the territory. But this is easy to forget if you’ve never been exposed to a skilled trade or don’t know anyone who works in the trades. Unfortunately, that can undermine the work and the dignity that goes with it.
Some people might think that working in the trades is a fallback career or anyone can do it. But I bet you those same people have never actually tried doing a trade, or they’ve never watched someone build a masonry wall or install an electrical circuit. Because the second you do, you learn very quickly that these jobs aren’t easy.
They require strategy or “thinking outside the box” — seeing the bigger picture. You need to know how different things connect, how they work and how one part affects another. You need good writing and communication skills so people you work with can understand you. Not to mention all of the other skills you need for your particular trade, such as how to get precise fits, make measurements down to the millimetre, and proper documentation.
When you work in the skilled trades you develop a full set of skills that are important for every job. The truth is not everyone can do it. It takes a real commitment to your craft and thousands of hours of dedicated work. As soon as you learn that, honour and dignity become part of it.
Having honour in what you do is what pushes you to put in the time, continue learning and improve all the essential skills that make you a better tradesperson ... one of the best. It’s the stuff my dad instilled in me — respect and pride in your work.
I honour my dad every time I pick up my hammer, and watching my kids work and seeing the respect they have for the trades makes me proud as a dad, too. It makes every day Father’s Day.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mike Holmes' Wind Walk Coming Closer To Reality

I don't think Mike Holmes will ever go to sleep satisfied until his pet project "Wind Walk" -- a proposed environmentally friendly community just outside of the Okotoks -- is underway. The community has been six years in the making and has suffered some devastating setbacks, some of which have made their way to the front steps of the Supreme Court. Disputes over water usage have pretty much brought Wind Walk to a grinding halt, until now. A new water plan being proposed has brought new life into the project. According to the news article below, the proposed plan calls for a waste water reclamation plant, which will feed 55 million gallons of water via pipeline to the proposed community. And the cost? While exact numbers for the water licence have not yet been announced, the plant is estimated to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million. The biggest news of all is that the developer hopes to break ground in spring of 2015.


Wind Walk developers wait for province to approve water plan
Foothills: MD Reeve says approval one of few remaining hurdles for project

By: Don Patterson

| Posted: Friday, Jun 13, 2014 06:13 pm

Developers of the Mike Holmes led Wind Walk community are close to being able to break ground on the project. They are waiting for the provincial government to approve its plans to provide water for the development, a key hurdle remaining before MD council can give th eproject the green light.

It has taken six years so far, but the Mike Holmes–lead Wind Walk development is inching closer to reality.

The project’s developers, Holmes Communities and Alberta Foothills Properties, have acquired a water licence to take water from the Highwood River to serve the community.

They are now awaiting approval from the provincial government on a plan to hand the water licence over the MD, and to build water treatment plant in Aldersyde and a water pipeline from the Highwood River.

MD of Foothills Reeve Larry Spilak said provincial approval is one of the last hurdles left before council can give the development the green light.

“It’s the last condition, it is the primary condition that would push the development forward,” he said.

Located on a 135-acre site just outside Okotoks’ south boundary by the intersection of Highway 7 and Southridge Drive, the proposed environmentally friendly community would include 458 homes and 80,300 square feet of commercial space and would be built out over three phases.

It’s been a long process for the MD and Wind Walk’s developers. The project was first proposed in 2008, plans for the community were submitted to the MD in 2009 and MD council approved an area structure plan (ASP) for the development in 2010. Most recently, MD councillors approved a list of 15 amendments to the community’s ASP last, a decision Spilak characterized mainly as “paperwork.”

Wind Walk has also been the subject of a long-running dispute between the MD and the Town of Okotoks, which has unsuccessfully challenged the project to the provincial Municipal Government Board, and a court challenge that went to the doorstep of the Supreme Court, which refused to hear an appeal by the Town last year.

Harry Harker, Manger of CitySpaces Consulting, a planning consultant hired by Wind Walk’s developer, said a number of things have changed since the original development plan was submitted to the MD.

Initially, developers planned to use groundwater to serve the community. After concerns were raised by the Town of Okotoks and area residents about the impact the development would have on groundwater supplies in the area, MD council required a pipeline be built for its second and third phases.

When the provincial government turned down the developer’s application for a groundwater licence at the site, it began working on a new water plan for the site and acquired the water licence.

The license allows 170 acre feet of water, more than 55 million gallons, of water to be taken from the Highwood River each year.

Harker, the former High River town manager, said this will be more than enough to supply the Wind Walk development, leaving some left over for the MD to provide to other users in the area.

Wind Walk’s developers have now applied to the provincial government to hand the licence over to the MD and to build a water treatment facility in Aldersyde.

Under the developer’s plan, water would be taken from the Highwood River east of Aldersyde and treated wastewater would go back into the river at the same location. A water treatment plant and wastewater plant would be built at the MD’s Aldersyde public works yard. A water pipeline would be built along 402 Ave, one mile south of Highway 7, to serve the Foothills-Okotoks Regional Field House and Wind Walk. It would then run along Highway 7 to serve the Gold Medal and Sandstone springs developments.

The developer will cover all costs associated with the water plan and hand the system over to the MD to own and operate.

“It’s our water and we’re giving it to the MD,” said Harker.

He said they are waiting to hear whether the provincial government will approve their water and wastewater plans.

Wind Walk’s developers aren’t saying how much they paid for the water licence. However, they did confirm the entire water plan will cost in excess of $30 million, all of which will be covered by the developer.

Depending on the final provincial decision, Harker said they hope to be able to break ground on the development in spring 2015.

“It’s not as optimistic as we’d like it to be, but I think it’s realistic,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Town of Okotoks continues to have concerns about the development.

The Town of Okotoks has asked the MD postpone its decision on Wind Walk until after Okotoks’ annexation application is completed and submitted to the provincial government this fall.

“We feel it’s in the best interests of our region to wait,” Okotoks Coun. Tanya Thorne told MD councillors on June 12.

She the Town has dropped its former population cap since the Wind Walk development was first proposed and land along the Highway 7 corridor is an important part of its growth plans.

Okotoks community planner Steve Hanhart said the Town is looking at a pipeline to Calgary to serve the community and the region. He said building a pipeline from the Highwood isn’t a good use of public or developer’s money and would end up duplicating services.

Spilak said the project has faced many delays, many of which were caused by the Town of Okotoks, and the MD doesn’t want to wait any longer.

As for a pipeline from Calgary, he said it wouldn’t benefit the MD, because the city won’t provide water to developments with densities lower than eight to 10 units per acre.

“We’re not interested in doing development that has those types of densities,” he said.

On the other hand, he said the plan proposed by Wind Walk’s developers would significantly benefit the MD.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Reality Check: Reno-Reality Shows Give Homeowners Unrealistic Expectations

I am a self-proclaimed HGTV junkie. I love pretty much everything about reno-reality shows. I love the drama of watching the contractors work in near-impossible conditions, and I love seeing the looks on people's faces as they walk into their homes for the first time and see the final product. Most of the shows on HGTV and DIY are entertaining and fast paced, but just how realistic are they? As an avid disciple of Mike Holmes I am well aware that real renovations aren't anything like their sterile, sexy, fast-paced TV counterparts. In fact, real renovations are dusty, noisy, time-consuming, and far more expensive than TV lets on. One of the biggest differences between Mike's shows and almost every other reno-reality show out there is that Mike purposefully works against many of the common misconceptions that homeowners get from watching entertainment-driven home improvement shows (and they are very entertaining). With his latest and arguably greatest show Holmes Makes It Right, Mike aims to set a realistic, almost sobering expectation for those watching by line-itemizing the cost of the renovation he and his crew just completed at the end of every show. The cost is usually in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range, and that's before the cost of labor. That's a lot of money -- much more than homeowners are willing to spend to get the job done right. The reno-reality TV show is a two-edged sword for most real-life renovators. The shows get people inspired and motivated to do a renovation, but they oftentimes leave homeowners with distorted expectation of the money, time, sweat, and tears involved with every project.

In this fascinating and well written article from, the author discusses the positives and negatives of home improvement television shows. The article makes references to many different industry celebrities (all of whom I have met in person, might I add!). Steven Fanuka ("Million Dollar Contractor"), Mark Clement ("MyFixitUpLife"/"Save My Bakery"), and of course Mike Holmes all throw their two cents into the mix, emphasizing their own very different backgrounds in contracting.

Brag time! (Did I mention I've met everyone mentioned in this article?):

 Okay, brag time is over...

Here is an abridged version of the article "Reality Shows Distory Client Relations." To view the full article, visit the link to the website below.


Reality Shows Distort Client Relations—Here's How to Change Channels

Do remodeling reality shows always hurt, or can they sometimes help your clients?