Bratty Family Gifts $10M to York Markham Campus

Bratty Family Gifts $10M to York Markham Campus

The Remington Group is pleased to announce a generous gift by the Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation towards the building of York University’s Markham Centre Campus.

The Bratty Family Foundation is donating $10 million towards York Region’s first public university campus. MCC, which officially broke ground in late September, is scheduled to open its doors in 2023.

“York University is incredibly grateful to the Bratty family and the R.P. Bratty Family Foundation for their generous gift toward the future Markham Centre Campus, and their visionary leadership as supporters of higher education,” said President & Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton during a livestream of the announcement from the Toronto Marriott Markham on October 16, 2020.

“This contribution will not only support the MCC’s ability to provide a high-quality student learning experience in newly emerging and high demand programs but facilitate the research, innovation and creative activities contributing to York’s larger mission to build inclusive and resilient communities in one of the fastest-growing regions in Canada.”

In its first phase, the campus will offer up to 4,200 students a range of professionally relevant degree programs and micro-credentials with work-integrated learning opportunities within the community.

“This is the crowning jewel of education in York Region and in Markham,” said Chris Bratty, President of Land Development and Investments for The Remington Group, who spoke on behalf of his father Rudolph P. Bratty and the family.


In honour of the donation, a stunning atrium on the building’s ground floor will be The Bratty Family Atrium.

“For my dad, education was so important because it helps us to understand different perspectives,” said Chris Bratty. “It’s the best tool we have for conflict resolution. York Region is underserved in terms of universities. That’s why we’re so proud to partner with York University to make this campus possible in Markham. This will be a significant building block for downtown core of Markham specifically and we hope it will attract businesses and cultural centres to the region.”

The campus will be located adjacent to the Pan Am Centre on Enterprise Boulevard, in close proximity to The Remington Group’s burgeoning cultural hub in Downtown Markham.

Keep moving to keep healthy

Keep moving to keep healthy

We all know that activity is great for your overall health and even helps boost your immune system. Having said that, you would not be alone if most of your activity while working from home so far has involved short walks to the kitchen for a series of not-so-healthy snacks.

Making things more complicated is that your fitness routine may have involved a gym membership and, as we all know, gyms are not an option at present.

Before you get too settled into a new home-office routine, consider this a gentle reminder to ensure physical activity is still a part of your workday.

Keep it up!

If you used to work out before you went to the office, make a plan to keep doing so. If a midday run to the gym helped keep you energized for the afternoon, keep it up. If you needed to wind down at the end of the day, keep it up. This temporary situation is not exactly a new normal, so it’s best to keep operating as normally as possible.

For those with memberships, the GoodLife Fitness member portal offers at-home workouts. Apparently, they’re relaunching an app next week. Once you sign in, you’ll find a selection of video workouts from beginner to advanced, that focus on stretching, meditation, yoga, bodyweight exercises, core and so much more. Each Monday, members receive  a weekly workout plan by email showing which routines to do each day.

If you don’t have a gym membership, there’s good news. Walking is something humans are biologically engineered to do. Walking at a brisk pace for just 30 minutes a day can help reduce stress and improve heart health. Bonus, if you live in a hilly area or have a route with a series of stairs to climb for your workout intensity!

Feel free to invite the kids (unless, of course, this is your only break of the day). You can make it educational by trying to identify plant and animal species along the way. They can create a journal of what they’ve seen on daily walks or even do a research or art project about what they’ve seen. Or have your kids plan the route and calculate the distance you’ve walked or number of steps they’ve taken. They can log distance travelled or total steps taken at the end of our stay-at-home period. Another great activity, solo or with kids, is a bike ride. Now that things look to be warming up, it’s time to get your bike out of storage, tune it up and hit the road, enjoying less vehicular traffic while you can.

Start some new, healthy habits

If regular workouts were never your thing, maybe it’s not such a bad time to start something new. No need to overdo to start. Plan to do something at the top of each hour of your workday for just two minutes. Jumping jacks for 30 seconds, alternating with 30 seconds of rest. Walk up and down the stairs, do a few laps of the house, stretch. Get a drink of water. Whatever gets you out of your chair.

Here, by the way, is a backed-by-science 7-minute ideal workout from the New York Times. It’s only 7 minutes long (it’s designed to be at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity in order to produce “molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running”) so it is described as being “unpleasant” for the duration. Did we mention it’s just 7 minutes long? Do each of the following exercises for 30 seconds, take a 10-second break, then start the next.

There are endless fitness and wellness videos on the internet, not to mention a wealth of challenges. Get a group of your friends or co-workers together and consider committing to one together. Create a meeting request for all participants to remind you it’s time to get moving.

More resources:

10 tricks to help you de-stress

10 tricks to help you de-stress

Reducing stress and anxiety should be a part of your daily routine, now more than ever. If you have just five minutes, here are some ways to take it down a notch. Some of these activities are great to do with the kids!

1. Take a break (and connect)

Brew a cup of green tea, which contains L-Theanine – a chemical that can help reduce the body’s stress response, soothing the soul. Even the ritual of brewing the tea can help calm you. Extend the feeling by making it a planned tea break with co-workers also working from home. Set up a Zoom call and enjoy a visit by the virtual water cooler. Make it a routine with a planned break at the usual time each day.

2. Chocolate indulgence

Yes, we are giving you license to eat chocolate but, everything in moderation as they say. A square of dark chocolate can boost your brain health. Choosing dark chocolate, which has less sugar than milk chocolate, can still tame your sweet tooth.

3. Add a little honey

Winnie the Pooh may been on to something. Add a drizzle of honey to tea, coffee or yogurt. Honey may help to relieve anxiety and protect the brain. It also helps with a quick energy boost.

4. Breathe

Don’t forget to breathe. Try an easy relaxation technique called ‘equal breathing.’ Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Your eyes can be open or closed. Inhale for 4 counts, and then exhale for 4 counts. All inhalations and exhalations should be made through your nose, which adds a slight, natural resistance to your breath. Once you get these basics down, try 6 to 8 counts per breath.

5. Put your head down

When seated, put your head between your knees or, if standing, hang your head and arms toward your toes. Having your head below your heart has restorative effects on the autonomic nervous system, lessening your reactivity to the fight-or-flight response. Yoga practitioners: think downward dog and standing forward bend.

6. Release the tension

Try some progressive relaxation, which involves tensing and releasing muscles, body part by body part. You may not have time to do your whole frame in five minutes, but just arms, shoulders, neck, and head will do. Focus on a body part, tense for a few seconds and then exhale and release. Repeat from head to toe.

7. Close your eyes

Shut out your stress simply by shutting your eyes. Think of this as a little sensory deprivation, shutting out the external things giving you grief. Take a minute to close your eyes and focus simply on the darkness of your eyelids. When you open them, the world may seem brighter in more ways than one.

8. Massage your hands

If you’ve been working from home, you’re likely still engaging your hands. And with all this hand washing and hand sanitizer, I’m sure your hands could use a little extra TLC these days. Add a dab of moisturizer to your palm, rub then together and begin to massage each joint in the webbing between each finger, massage each finger to the tip, clench and release your fists, and finally, flex your wrists.

9. Acupressure trick

If you work at a desk, it’s likely you carry some stress in your neck. A quick way to relieve neck tension is with this acupressure trick. With your fingers, find the two divots at the back of your neck where your neck muscles attach to the skull. Press firmly for 15 seconds and release.

10. Get your heart rate up

Getting your blood flowing is a great distraction. Make a point of taking a few physical breaks throughout the day. This one is great to do with the kids. Get the blood and endorphins flowing, by doing burpees, jumping jacks or jogging on the spot for 30 seconds, take a one-minute break and repeat two more times.

Quick ways to refresh your home

Quick ways to refresh your home

We’ve all had plenty of time to be home of late and, for some of us, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore a lot of those renovation projects we’ve been putting off.

In the spirit of making the best of it – and since it really isn’t the best time to plan a major renovation when your home is now also your office, your gym, the kids’ school … well, you get the picture – we asked our experts at Remington’s Design Studio to weigh in with some less disruptive ways to freshen up your home.

De-cluttering is the first step

If you’re not sure where to start, the first step is to de-clutter advises Design Studio Director Paula Avbar.

“Tackle one room at a time,” says Avbar. “This is a great time to ‘spring’ clean. It is refreshing and vindicating. It can give new life to a dingy and ‘tired’ area of your home.

“If you look around, you’ll be amazed how many things are just laying around that you have been walking over for weeks, months, even years.”

While de-cluttering, she adds, give thought to alternate and more practical storage solutions.

“There are many websites that can assist with these ideas,” says Avbar. “And, you can order storage bins, baskets, etc., on-line if you are self-isolating.”

De-cluttering can be a good activity for the whole family. Kids can tackle their own rooms and you can work together on communal spaces.

“If you want to be more ambitious, a fresh coat of paint and re-accessorizing can alter a space drastically,” says Avbar.

In terms of re-accessorizing, there are no shortage of online shops where you can order new throws or cushions, a new vase or clock or some accent furniture.

If you want to keep it even simpler (and cheaper), try shopping within your own home. Consider a simple rearrangement of a furniture layout. And see what furniture or accessories you can swap from one room to another.

“Altering furniture in ANY room can be fun for anyone and gives surprising new life to the space,” says Avbar.

“Have your kids ever wanted to swap bedrooms? Now is the time! Flip-flop furniture, window drapes and accessories. It can be a fun task for them to help with and it passes some time to keep them busy.”

Planning for bigger changes

You’ve swapped furniture and accessories, re-organized and de-cluttered, but deep down know that it was only a short-term fix. You’re still not entirely happy with your home and are considering more significant changes.

“Really think about how you want your space to work for you, what does work and what doesn’t,” says Avbar.

Would you like to be able to see what your kids are up to in a family room while you’re in the kitchen cooking? Would you like to have more counter space now that you’re engaging more of the family in meal preparation?

Does your home need a dedicated quiet space for kids to do homework or a dedicated home office for you?

Is it time for the kids to have their own hang-out room or do you want to see all the toys in a separate playroom? Do mom and dad need a space of their own to relax and unwind? Or does the family need a more comfortable space where you can all gather now that you’ve created a new board game or movie night tradition?

If your list of what doesn’t work for you in your space still far outweighs what does, it’s the perfect time to start collecting design inspiration.

When it comes to creating a dream home, the Internet is our friend, says Avbar.

“Pinterest, Houzz and so many other fantastic websites are there to inspire us,” she says, adding, “I usually always have HGTV on in the background when I’m at home.

“Even if you catch only a few moments of a few shows, you start to get ideas and figure out quickly what your ‘style’ is. And there aren’t just one or two styles anymore. In my opinion, it’s most beautiful when two or three styles are merged to create your own eclectic style.”

Whether it’s a minor refresh or a major renovation you’re looking for, it’s time to start making the most of your home.

Steve’s Perfectly Simple Tomato Sauce

This staple can be used in so many ways. If you have a can of tomatoes and some pasta on hand, you have the beginnings of a perfectly simple meal. Toss in some fresh vegetable, sprinkle with cheese and you’re all set!


1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can best-quality tomatoes, pulsed in a blender (San Marazano, without citrus juice, is my choice but whatever you have on hand will do!)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 sprig of fresh basil (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)


1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Swirl around the olive oil to coat the pan. When the oil is hot, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, just long enough to release the garlic’s fragrance and transform it slightly from its raw state. Do not cook to golden.

2. Raise the heat to high and stir in the tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the basil sprig, if using. Remove the basil before serving and swirl in butter.

Chef Ricci’s Classic Ragu Bolognese

Chef Ricci’s Classic Ragu Bolognese

It requires some time and love, but nothing says comfort like a classic ragu bolognese. What’s best, any leftovers can be frozen and stored for up to two months. Though, I doubt there will be much left over!

Serves 4


2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
4 stalks celery, very finely chopped
4 carrots, very finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 lb. ground veal
3/4 lb. ground pork
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dry white wine
1 lb. tagliatelle, cooked and drained
Parmigianno regianno


1. Heat the oil and butter in a 6-8 quart heavy bottomed pot. Continue to cook over medium heat until hot. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic. Cook until the vegetables are translucent but not browned, 5-10 minutes. Add the meat. Increase the heat to high, and brown the meat stirring frequently for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook and stir for another 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for another 30 minutes. Add the milk and cook for one hour.

3. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Cook until the wine has evaporated and the alcohol has cooked off, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, adding a splash of water if necessary to keep the sauce from drying out.

4. Season the ragu with salt. Remove it from the heat and let it cool.

To serve with pasta, add 2 cups of the ragu to the tagliatelle and toss briefly over high heat.

Spezzatino di vitello con piselli (veal stew with spring peas )

Spezzatino di vitello con piselli (veal stew with spring peas )

God Bless Italy – I know this country that has been through plagues, wars and so much more. The country will bounce back, and its glorious food will always lead us back.

Serves 4-6


2 lbs veal stew meat, cut into cubes

½ large onion, finely chopped

Olive oil and 1 knob of butter

Salt and Pepper

1 cup of white wine

1 can of tomato or 2-3 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 cups of beef stock

For the peas:

2 lbs of fresh peas or frozen

½ large onion, finely chopped

A large knob of butter



1. In a large braising pan, sauté the onion gently in the oil and butter make sure it does not brown. Turn heat up and add veal, turning and mixing until completely brown.

2. Add salt and pepper and white wine and let it reduce down.

3. Add tomatoes and simmer. Add beef broth to almost cover veal, cover the pan and lower the heat to as low as possible and simmer until fully tender  – about 1 hour to 1½ hours. If stock gets too low, add a little water during the process.


Sauté the onions until soft, then add peas and simmer until peas are soft. Add broth and simmer until liquid has disappeared – do not overcook the peas!

To serve, spoon stew on plate and add spring peas all over.

The Mafia Muffin

The Mafia Muffin

I got this from Alma, a great friend and mentor. Alma pushed me to cook and our love for cooking was amazing and something I dearly miss. I still make these bad boys at Bistro 7501 for our breakfast menu but, as pictured here, with a bagel.


12 slices good salami

2 tbsp butter

4 English muffins

8 slices Provolone cheese

4 large eggs

Pickled hot peppers or any hot peppers you wish


1. Cook salami in large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat with oil until crispy.

2. Place English muffin in buttered pan and let English muffin get crispy, then remove and let sit.

3. Fry the eggs up in butter, add salt and pepper and at the last moment add cheese and salami in layers.

4. Put the egg, cheese and salami stack you created into the English muffin and finish with hot peppers to kick it up.

Osso Buco

Osso Buco

This is one of my favourite comfort slow-cooking dishes.

Serves 4.


4 Veal shanks, cut thick 3-4 inches



¼ cup of olive oil

½ red onion, chopped medium

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 stalk of celery, cleaned and chopped

2 tablespoons of chopped thyme

2 cups of white wine (dry, nothing sweet)

3 cups tomato sauce

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup chopped parsley , and lemon zest mixed


Step 1    

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Season the veal with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron casserole dish, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the veal and cook over moderately high heat, turning until browned all over, about 12 minutes. Transfer the veal to a plate.

Step 2    

Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole. Add the onion, carrot, celery and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Return the shanks to the casserole, cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours and 15 minutes, until the meat is very tender. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.

Step 3    

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the parsley with and lemon zest and season the gremolata with salt and pepper.

Step 4    

Transfer the veal shanks to a platter. Season the osso buco sauce with salt and pepper and spoon it over the veal. Sprinkle some gremolata over the osso buco and serve with the polenta or buttered pappardelle.

Tips & Tricks for working from home

Tips & Tricks for working from home

Working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds – it can actually be very difficult for some accustomed to working in a loud, bustling office environment to shift gears. But if you create some new routines and stick to them, you’ll get used to the new normal in no time.

Here are some tips and tricks that will make working from home productive and enjoyable!

Set aside a specific area of your home for work and only work

Ideally it’s a separate room like a den or office, but it could just be a corner of a bedroom or kitchen table. Make this area your dedicated office space, where you are focused on work. Avoid household tasks from this space, just as you wouldn’t let chores interfere at your cubicle or office at work.

Pick a place where you can keep your cellphone and landline handy so you can stay connected without leaving your “office,” and let everyone in the house know that when you’re there, you’re at work.

Maintain regular hours

Oh sure, it’s easy to sleep a couple of extra hours or knock off a little early if things are quiet. Resist the temptation! Believe it or not, you will feel guilty for cutting corners and will feel compelled to do work beyond work hours, which is when working from home becomes a drag. Stick to a regular schedule as much as possible.

Video Conference - Remington GroupStay in contact

Whether it’s with an app like Zoom, Skype or Facetime, or more traditional methods like text, messenger or email, it’s important to stay in touch with your coworkers throughout the day. It’s important for three reasons: 1) to stay on track with what’s required of you, 2) to avoid feeling isolated and outside of the loop, and 3) to show that you are actually working. Has anyone heard from Bob lately? That slacker!

Get a radio

Or Spotify, or an iPod, or whatever your music of choice is. Music helps keep things light, adds ambient noise and lets you to take a ‘rock out’ break when a great song comes on. Listening to the radio helps you to stay connected to the outside world and news of the day. Ideally, avoid using headphones because they can actually increase the sense of isolation.

Get a bigger monitor

Working on a laptop isn’t easy, because the screen is so small. You end up spending all your time flipping between windows, squinting at emails and getting a thumb callous from trying to trackpad everything. You can get a good-sized monitor from Amazon for as little as $200, a generic keyboard and mouse for $25. They can hook right into your laptop, and will make your life 200 times better. If you already have a big monitor, consider getting a second one.

Take breaks

Believe it or not, you may find yourself in such a groove that you forget to give your eyes and body a break once in a while. You need to take breaks! Set an alarm if you have to – just give your eyes a chance to look beyond that monitor and stretch your back and legs. When you take lunch, leave your “office” and catch up on what’s happening in the world so you don’t feel so isolated.

When your shift is over, it’s OVAH!

Keep the same habits you did when you worked at the office – check email/text on your phone occasionally during the evening, take an after-hours call if you have to, but don’t get sucked into thinking working from home is a 24/7 commitment. When you leave your “office” there’s no going back until the next morning. Stick to that rule.

Bonus tip: Get comfortable furniture

Of course you don’t want to spend a lot of money if working from home is just a temporary situation, but if you aren’t comfortable where you’re working, you will either destroy your body or not work as hard as you should. So figure out how to get as ergonomic as possible given your available space. It’s worth it in the short-term, and given that home offices continue to be a growing trend, it could prove a good long-term investment, too.


Just like you have a schedule, a list of tasks and different ways to communicate at the office, all of those habits should be incorporated into your home office, too. And adding some perks like a bigger monitor, great tunes and a comfy chair can actually make the experience more enjoyable than suffering through bumper-to-bumper traffic while schlepping to the office every day.

Enjoy the opportunity!