Transcript: Tax Assessment & Encyclopedia Of Christmas, X-Mas Decorating | Dec 05, 2000

(music plays)

The opening sequence shows a wooden table with a small lit candle.
Fast clips show different sets of hands performing activities on the table such as pulling petals from a daisy, drawing a big red heart, tuning a violin, flipping through the pages of a book, cooking, and pouring a glass of red wine.
In animation, the title appears inside the shape of a house: “More to life.”

Maureen Taylor sits in a studio with a yellow wall displaying the “More to life” logo in the background.

Maureen is in her late thirties, with wavy red hair. She’s wearing a gray blazer and a light patterned silk scarf.

Maureen says YOUR HOUSE IS WORTH.
LARRY HUMMEL IS WITH THE
ONTARIO PROPERTY ASSESSMENT
CORPORATION.

Larry is in his late forties, clean-shaven with combed grayish hair. He’s wearing a black suit, a white shirt and a gray silk tie.

Maureen continues IN THE LAST FEW WEEK,
THEY'VE MAILED OUT MORE THAN
4 MILLION ASSESSMENT
NOTICES.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT
WHY YOUR ASSESSMENT WENT UP,
WAY UP, THEN YOU CAN GIVE US
A CALL.
WE'LL ALSO TAKE YOUR CALLS
ABOUT HOW ALL OF THIS MIGHT
AFFECT YOUR TACKS.

A caption appears on screen showing two phone numbers.

Maureen continues IN TORONTO CALL US AT 416-484-2727.
IF IT’S LONG DISTANCE IT’S FREE
WHEN YOU DIAL 1-888-411-1234.
OR YOU CAN e-mail YOUR
QUESTION FOR LARRY TO
moretolife@tvo.org
AND LARRY,
WELCOME BACK TO “MORE TO
LIFE.”

Larry says GOOD
AFTERNOON, MAUREEN.

Maureen says IT DOESN'T SEEM
ALL THAT LONG AGO THAT YOU
WERE HERE ON THE PROGRAMME
BEFORE EXPLAINING CURRENT
VALUE ASSESSMENT AND TAX
ASSESSMENT AND WHAT IT MEANT
FOR ONTARIANS.
DIDN'T WE JUST GO THROUGH IT
THIS A LITTLE WHILE AGO?

Larry says WELL THAT
WAS THREE YEARS AGO, AND HOW
TIME FLIES.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Larry Hummel. Ontario Property Assessment Corporation.”

Maureen says YEAH.
AND IS THAT WHAT WE'RE
SUPPOSED TO BE ON?
A THREE-YEAR CYCLE HERE?

Larry says WELL, WE
STARTED A CYCLE THAT'S
CONTAINED IN THE LEGISLATURE,
THE FIRST REASSESSMENT WAS
GOING TO OCCUR, AND THERE'LL
BE THREE YEARS AT THAT VALUE,
BASED ON JUNE 30th, '96.
THE NEXT CYCLE IS TWO YEARS,
AND IT WILL BE BASED ON JUNE
30th, '99, AND THAT'S THE
VALUES THAT WE'VE SENT OUT
IN ALL OF THE 4 MILLION
NOTICES THAT WE JUST
DELIVERED TO PROPERTY OWNERS
ACROSS THE PROVINCE.
THE NEXT REASSESSMENT WILL
THEN BE ON AN ANNUAL BASIS,
AND FROM THEREAFTER WILL BE
ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, WE'LL BE
SENDING OUT THESE NOTICES.

Maureen says ON AN ANNUAL
BASIS?

Larry says YES SO,
VALUE ALSO THEN BE CURRENT
AND THEY'LL BE KEPT CURRENT
AND THAT WAS THE INTENTION
OF THE GOVERNMENT WHEN THEY
BROUGHT THE LEGISLATION IN.

Maureen says THAT'S A GOOD
POINT.
THIS ASSESSMENT WAS DONE IN
JUNE OF '99 YOU'RE TELLING
US?

Larry says THE VALUE
EFFECTIVE -- EFFECTIVE DATE
OF THE EVALUATION IS JUNE 30,
'99.
IN OTHER WORDS WHAT WOULD
YOUR HOME HAVE SOLD FOR IF
IT WAS AVAILABLE FOR SALE ON
JUNE 30th, '99.
WE HAD TO PICK A DATE SO
THAT IT WOULD BE CONSISTENT
ACROSS ONTARIO FOR EVERYONE.

Maureen says WHICH IS WHY
PERHAPS TO ME MINE LOOKS LOW,
NOT THAT I'M COMPLAINING,
LOOKS LOW COMPARED TO WHAT
HOMES ARE SELLING FOR ON THE
STREET NOW.
BECAUSE THIS WAS JUNE '99.

Larry says THAT'S
CORRECT, AND IF YOU'RE IN A
MARKET IN A LUCRATIVE PART
OF ONTARIO IS IN A HEALTHY
MARKET RIGHT NOW, AND PRICES
HAVE MOVED UP FROM JUNE 30th,
'99 BY FIVE, SIX, EIGHT
PERCENT, DEPENDING ON THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD THAT YOU'RE
IN.

Maureen says CAN WE TALK
ABOUT -- GO BACK TO THE
WHOLE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND
CURRENT VALUE ASSESSMENT?
WHY WAS IT NECESSARY -- WHY
WAS IT DEEMED A FAIRER WAY
TO DO PROPERTY TAXES?

Larry says WELL, IT
HAD BEEN ON A PATCHWORK
BASIS ACROSS ONTARIO.
SOME CITIES AND TOWNS
THROUGHOUT ONTARIO WERE ON A
MARKET VALUE BASIS, AND WERE
KEEPING IT CURRENT.
OTHERS, SUCH AS TORONTO AND
OTHER MUNICIPALITIES HADN'T
BEEN REASSESSED SINCE THE
1950s.
SO THEY WERE 40 YEARS OUT OF
DATE.
SO YOU HAD THE PROBLEM WHERE
PEOPLE WITH EQUAL VALUE
PROPERTIES PAYING VASTLY
DIFFERENT AMOUNTS IN TAXES
AND THAT'S JUST NOT FAIR.

Maureen says THE OTHER THING,
THOUGH, THAT DOESN'T SEEM
FAIR IS THAT SAY A SENIOR ON
A FIXED INCOME WHO'S BEEN IN
A HOUSE FOR 30 OR 40 YEARS
IS SUDDENLY FINDING
THEMSELVES IN A HOME THAT'S
WORTH A LOT OF MONEY BUT HAS
NO INTENTION OF SELLING IT
TO USE THAT MONEY TO LIVE ON
AND IS SUDDENLY ASSESSED AT
A MUCH HIGHER RATE OF TAXES.
DOES THAT SEEM FAIR EITHER?

Larry says WELL THE
YARDSTICK IS VALUE.
AND THAT VALUE HAS TO -- THE
VALUE HAS TO BE CONSISTENTLY
APPLIED TO ALL PROPERTY
OWNERS.
NOW THERE ARE MIT GAIGS
TOOLS THAT THE MUNICIPALITY
HAS TO BRING IN FOR LOW
INCOME SENIORS AND DISABLED
PEOPLE.
AS WELL, FOR DISABLED PEOPLE,
THERE'S AN EXEMPTION
PROVIDED FOR A PORTION OF
THE PROPERTY IF IT'S BEEN
REDEVELOPED HOUSE THAT
DISABLED INDIVIDUAL.
SO THERE ARE MITIGATION
TOOLS IT ASSIST IF THERE'S
AN UNDUE BURDEN OR A
FINANCIAL BURDEN OR HARDSHIP
AND EACH MUNICIPALITY CAN
SET THOSE RULES SO YOU HAVE
TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL
MUNICIPALITY TO SEE WHAT
RULES THEY'VE PUT IN PLACE.
BUT THE PROVINCE HAS
DIRECTED THE MUNICIPALITIES
TO PUT THOSE IN PLACE TO
PROTECT INDIVIDUALS THAT
WOULD BE HARDSHIP CASE.

Maureen says SO WHAT KIND OF
CALLS ARE YOU GETTING AT THE
OFFICE NOW IN THE WAKE OF
SENDING OUT THE ASSESSMENTS?

Larry says WELL, WE'RE
GETTING CALLS JUST GENERALLY
ABOUT WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT?
HOW YOU VALUED MY PROPERTY.
I THINK THAT THE VALUE MAY
BE TOO HIGH.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOU GOT
TO THAT VALUE?
THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF
QUESTIONS THAT COME UP.
WHAT WILL BE MY TAXES?
OF COURSE WE CAN'T TELL THEM
WHAT THEIR TAXES WILL BE,
BECAUSE THERE'S OTHER STEPS
YET TO BE PLAYED OUT BY BOTH
THE, BY BOTH THE MUNICIPAL
GOVERNMENT.
THEY HAVE TO SET THEIR TAX
RATE, AND ALSO BY THE
PROVINCE THAT HAVE TO SET
THEIR EDUCATION TAX RATE.

Maureen says BEFORE WE GO TO
A CALL, IT'S -- IN TORONTO
IT'S GENERALLY ACCEPTED, OR
AT LEAST WHAT I'VE READ IN
NEWSPAPER REPORTS IS THAT IF
YOUR ASSESSMENT HAS GONE UP
MORE THAN 21 percent, YOU CAN
EXPECT TO PAY MORE TAXES.
WE DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH.
IF IT'S AROUND 21 percent, YOU
MIGHT STAY THE SAME, AND IF
IT'S BELOW 21 percent YOU MIGHT
EVEN GET A REDUCTION IN YOUR
TAXES IS THAT A FAIR --

Larry says WELL, IF
ALL THINGS ARE EQUAL, REALLY
THE PURPOSE OF PUTTING A
VALUE ON EVERYBODY'S HOME IS
TO PROVIDE AN ASSESSMENT
BASE FOR THE MUNICIPALITY TO
TAX ON.
SO THAT IF THE SHARE --
REALLY WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO
DETERMINE IS YOUR SHARE OF
THAT TAX BASE AND THE VALUE
IS THE WAY IN WHICH WE DO
IT.
SO IF ALL PROPERTY HAVE GONE
UP BY, ON AVERAGE BY 20 percent,
AND YOURS HAS ONLY GONE UP
10 percent, WELL THEN YOUR SHARE
HAS DECREASED OF THAT TAX
BASE SO, ALL THINGS BEING
EQUAL, YOU SHOULD TAKE A 10 percent
LESS IN TERMS OF A TAX
BURDEN BECAUSE OF THE
REDUCTION IN YOUR SHARE.

Maureen says OKAY SO, WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT LARRY HUMMEL
THIS AFTERNOON ABOUT
PROPERTY ASSESSMENT AND TAX
ASSESSMENT.
HE'S WITH THE ONTARIO
PROPERTY ASSESSMENT
CORPORATION.
IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR
ASSESSMENT IN THE MAIL AND
HAVE SOME QUESTIONS, GIVE US
A CALL.
AND GORD IS IN
TORONTO.
HI GORD, WELCOME.

Gord says HELLO, HOW ARE
YOU?

Maureen says FINE THANK YOU.

Gord says MY QUESTION ACTUALLY HAS
TO DO WITH MY PARENTS.
THEY HAVE A THOUSAND IN THE
BEACHES.
WHEN THE CURRENT VALUE
ASSESSMENT WENT THROUGH THEY
WERE ASSESSED AT 270 DOLLARS.
THEY WENT TO THE HEARING --
NOW THEY'RE SENIORS,
OBVIOUSLY.
THEY WENT TO A HEARING, OR
THEY SCHEDULED A HEARING
WITH THE CITY, THEY WENT TO
CITY HALL AND WENT THROUGH
THE WHOLE NINE YARD, THE
CITY CALLED THEM UP AND SAID
“WE WILL DROP IT DOWN TO
239 DOLLARS,” WHICH WAS STILL A LOT
BUT THEY FIGURED OKAY, THAT
SAVES THEM A BOTHER.
SO THAT WAS ABOUT THREE
MONTHS AGO.
NOW THEY'VE JUST GOTTEN A
NEW ASSESSMENT IN THE MALE
FOR 271 DOLLARS.
SO THEY'VE HAD ONLY A FEW
MONTHS AGO A DEAL WITH THE
CITY, THEY CANCELLED THE
HEARING, THE WHOLE BIT AND
NOW YOU'VE BACKTRACKED AND
EVEN PUT IT UP TO 271 DOLLARS!
WHY WAS THAT?
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DEAL
THAT WERE MADE PRIOR TO
THIS?

Larry says WELL GORD,
WHAT'S HAPPENED IS THAT THE
VALUE AT 239,000 DOLLARS WAS
REFERRING TO A JUNE 30th '96
EVALUATION YEAR AND THAT
WOULD HAVE EFFECTED TAXES
FOR '98, '99 AND '2000.
THE 271,000 DOLLARS IS THE NEW
VALUE ESTIMATE WHICH WILL BE
FOR 2001 AND 2002 TAXES.
SO I DON'T SEE ANY
INCONSISTENCIES THERE, GORD.
IT'S REALLY YOU'VE HAD --
THESE ARE TWO DIFFERENT BASE
SHARES AND TWO DIFFERENT TAX
YEARS THAT ARE INVOLVED.

Maureen says SO EVEN THOUGH
IT TOOK THEM SOMETIME TO
WORK OUT WHAT THE ASSESSMENT
WAS FOR '96, THEY WERE STILL
SAYING, “THIS IS WHAT YOUR
HOUSE WAS WORTH IN JUNE '96,”
EVEN THOUGH THEY DIDN'T COME
TO SORT OF AN AGREEMENT
UNTIL HE'S SAYING MAYBE, YOU
KNOW, EARLIER THIS YEAR.
IS THAT RIGHT?

Larry says THAT'S
CORRECT.

Maureen says OKAY.
SO THERE'S SOME OF THE CON
CONFUSION.
AND NOW WHAT HE HAS TO DO TO
FIGURE OUT IF THEY'RE GOING
TO PAY A LOT MORE IS WHAT?
TELL US HOW TO DO THIS
CALCULATION.

Larry says WELL,
YOU'VE GOT A 32,000 DOLLARS
INCREASE, FROM 239 TO 271.
NOW 32,000 ON 271 IS JUST
A LITTLE OVER 10 percent, 12 percent,
THERES ABOUT, TAKING 32,000
OVER 239.
SO THEN IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT
WOULD BE 20 percent, SO YOU'RE
UNDER THE CITY AVERAGE, SO
ACTUALLY YOUR PARENTS' HOME
HAS ITS SHARE OF THE --
SHARE OF THE TAX BASE IS
REDUCED BECAUSE IT'S LESS
THAN THE CITY-WIDE AVERAGE.
SO I DON'T SEE IT AS, THAT
IT WOULD BE AN IMPACT ON
TAXES.
AT LEAST NOT FROM THE
REASSESSMENT.

Maureen says WELL THERE MIGHT
BE AN IMPACT -- THEIR TAXES
MAY GO DOWN, IF IT'S ONLY
10 percent AND THE REST OF THE CITY
IS 20 percent --

Larry says WELL I
THINK IT'S PROBABLY CLOSER
TO 15 DOLLARS BUT IT WOULD BE DOWN
BECAUSE IT'S NOT AT THE CITY
AVERAGE.

Maureen says SO I THINK
GORD'S GOING TO GO AWAY A
LITTLE HAPPIER.
LET'S HOPE IT WORKS OUT THAT
WAY FOR THEM, GORD.
THANKS VERY MUCH FOR THE
QUESTION.
KAY IS NEXT.
HI KAY.

Kay says HI.

Maureen says KAY, WHERE ARE
YOU CALLING FROM?

Kay says CAT KATHRYNS.

Maureen says OKAY GRX AHEAD.

Kay says I'M A WIDOW, GOT ONLY A
SMAUT HOUSE.
24 ALL AROUND.
MY HOUSE WAS ESTIMATED AT
66,000, NOW IT'S 74,000 DOLLARS.
I'M A WIDOW, CANNOT AFFORD
IT.
WILL MY TAX GO UP OR DOWN?

Maureen says I DON'T KNOW IF
YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN
SAINT KATHRYN'S, LARRY.

Larry says I CAN'T
REALLY SAY IN SAINT
CATHARINE'S.
I WOULD CALL MY LOCAL
ASSESSMENT OFFICE TO FIND
OUT WHAT THE RATE IS THERE.
SOME OF THE COMMUNITIES
ACROSS ONTARIO, IF WE TAKE
ONTARIO RIGHT ACROSS IT'S A
12 percent OVERALL FULL.
TAKE ONTARIO, I'M NOT SURE
OF THE INDIVIDUAL
CIRCUMSTANCES THERE, WHETHER
IT'S ABOVE OR BELOW THAT
AVERAGE.

Maureen says BUT YOUR OFFICE
WILL KNOW IF SHE CALLS AND
GIVES THEM THE
INFORMATION --

Larry ay says WELL GIVE THEM SOME
INDICATION OF WHETHER OR NOT
HER SHARE HAS DECLINED
RELATIVE TO THE ENTIRE
ASSESSMENT BASED ON
INCREASED AS A PERCENTAGE.

Maureen says IF SOMEONE LIKE KAY
FIRST OF ALL WANTS TO MAKE
THE PITCH, LIKE GORD'S
PARENTS DID, THAT THEY'VE
BEEN OVER ASSESSED, HOW DO
YOU GO ABOUT DHOOG?

Larry says WELL, IF YOU'RE
OVER-ASSESSED, IF YOU
BELIEVE THAT, THEN YOUR
FIRST COURSE OF ACTION IS TO
CONTACT THE ASSESSMENT
OFFICE.
THEY WILL RE-CONSIDER THE
ASSESSMENT, AND THERE'S NO
CHARGE FOR THAT
RECONSIDERATION.
YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT THE
REQUEST IN WRITING AND THAT
CAN BE DONE ANY TIME
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, FROM
JANUARY 1st TO DECEMBER 31st
OF THE TAX YEAR.
SO YOU CAN MAKE THAT REQUEST
AND IF THE ASSESSOR BELIEVES
THE VALUE SHOULD BE REDUCED
THEY WILL FILE MINUTES OF
SETTLEMENT AND ACTUALLY WILL
SEND THEM ONTO THE
MUNICIPALITY FOR PROCESSING.
SO THAT DOESN'T TAKE ANY
EFFORT OR EXPENSE ON YOUR
PART, THE ASSESSOR WOULD GO
OUT AND REVIEW IT.
THE OTHER STEP IS IF THE
ASSESSOR DISAGREES WITH YOUR
POSITION.
IN THAT STAGE, WHAT WAS IS,
IS THAT YOU HAVE TO FILE AN
APPEAL.
AND AT THAT POINT AN
INDEPENDENT THIRD PARTY
WOULD REVIEW IT, AND THAT'S
THE ASSESSMENT REVIEW BOARD.
AND YOU WILL HAVE TO -- AND
YOU WILL HAVE TO MAKE YOUR
APPEAL, FILE IT BY MARCH
31st.
I THINK WHAT'S ALSO
IMPORTANT IS THAT YOU HAVE
TO BE PREPARED TO PRESENT A
CASE IN FRONT OF THE
TRIBUNAL OFFICER BEFORE THE
ASSESSMENT REVIEW BOARD TO
DEMONSTRATE THAT YOUR
PROPERTY IS OVER-VALUED.

Maureen says YOUR CASE CAN'T
BE “I'M A WIDOW AND I CAN'T
AFFORD AN INCREASE.

Larry says IT CAN'T BE “I CAN'T
AFFORD THE TAXES” YOUR CASE
HAS TO BE THAT THERE ARE
SIMILAR PROPERTIES THAT HAVE
SOLD ON ON MY STREET THAT
INDICATE THAT MY PROPERTY IS
WORTH LESS THAN WHAT YOU ARE
SHOWING ON THE ASSESSMENT
NOTICE.

Maureen asks WHERE DO YOU GET
THAT INFORMATION?

Larry replies WELL THAT INFORMATION CAN
BE GOTTEN FROM THE, FROM THE
REAL ESTATE REALTORS.
YOU CAN LOOK UP LISTINGS.
YOU CAN CONTACT THE
ASSESSMENT OFFICE.
THEY'RE' OBLIGED TO GIVE YOU
UP TO SIX COMPARABLES OF
HOMES THAT HAVE SOLD IN YOUR
NEIGHBOURHOOD.
AND YOU CAN FASHION YOUR
CASE.
YOU SHOULD LOOK AT THE
PROPERTIES, TRY TO DETERMINE
WHETHER OR NOT THEY'RE TRULY
SIMILAR TO YOURS AND PRESENT
A CASE.

Maureen says HOW MANY PEOPLE
WHO APPEALED AFTER THE LAST
ROUND WERE SUCCESSFUL IN
GETTING THEIR ASSESSMENT
REDUCED?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT PERCENTAGE?

Larry says A GOOD
PERCENTAGE OF THEM DID GET A
REDUCTION.
ALL ACCOUNTING ISN'T IN
BECAUSE WE STILL HAVEN'T
GONE THROUGH THE PROCESS.
WE'RE ABOUT 80 percent THROUGH
DEALING WITH ALL OF THESE
APPEALS FROM THE LAST TIME
AROUND.
I MIGHT ADD THAT WE HAD
FEWER APPEALS THAN WE
EXPECTED, BUT IN MOST
INSTANCES, IF THE ASSESSOR
BELIEVES THAT YOU HAVE A
GOOD CASE, THEY WILL MAKE
THE RECOMMENDATION.

Maureen says THEY WON'T MAKE YOU
GO TO APPEAL?

Larry says THEY WON'T
MAKE YOU GO, JUST AS GORD
INDICATED, THE PREVIOUS
CALLER.
THEY DIDN'T GO TO THE
HEARING, THE ASSESSOR MADE
AN OFFER TO SETTLE, AND THEY
ACCEPTED IT.
AND SO THAT HAPPENS IN A
HIGH PERCENTAGE OF THE
CASES.
I WOULD SAY IN THE 20 percent TO
30 percent RANGE.
BUT THEN THERE IS GOING TO
BE, WHEN YOU GET TO THE
HEARING ITSELF, AND THE
ASSESSOR HAS SAID NO, AT
THAT POINT, BECAUSE THE
ASSESSOR OBVIOUSLY HAS A
GOOD DEAL OF DATA AND HAS
PRACTICED IN THIS AREA,
GENERALLY SPEAKING, WE ARE
SUCESSFUL IN 60 percent OF THE
CASES.

Maureen says IN 60 percent.
OKAY.
KAY, THANK YOU FOR YOUR
CALL.
GOOD LUCK.
JOSEPH FINE IS IN ANCARSER.
HELLO.

Josephine says YES, HELLO.

Maureen says HI.

Josephine says HI.
I HAVE QUESTION.
I BOUGHT A HOUSE A YEAR AGO
AND I GOT MY NEW ASSESSMENT
TAXES AND IT WAS 20,000 DOLLARS
MORE THAN WHEN I BOUGHT THE
HOUSE BUT HE PUT IT AS A
RESIDENTIAL AND FARM.
AND I LIVE IN THE TOWN.

Larry says WELL JOSEPHINE
THE CATEGORY OF PROPERTY IS
FOR PROPERTY CLASS PURPOSES
IS RESIDENTIAL/FARM.
THE IMPORTANT PART IS DID WE
PUT THE RIGHT VALUE ON?
IS IT A HOUSE?

Maureen says IS IT A HOUSE?

Josephine says YES, IT IS.

Larry says WELL THEN
IT'S IN THE PROPER CLASS,
AND THE SECOND QUESTION IS
DID WE GET THE VALUE RIGHT?

Josephine says NO.
WELL YOU VALUED 20,000 DOLLARS MORE
THAN I BOUGHT THE HOUSE.

Larry says WHEN DID
YOU BUY THE HOUSE?

Josephine says ONE YEAR AGO.
IT COULDN'T GO UP THAT MUCH.

Larry says WHAT YEAR?

Josephine says JUNE.

Maureen says JUNE '99 YOU
BOUGHT IT?

Josephine says YES.

Maureen says AND THAT'S
WHEN YOU WERE ASSESSED.

Josephine says YES.

Larry says DID YOU
MAKE ANY CHANGES OR
MODIFICATIONS TO THE
PROPERTY?

Josephine says NOTHING, IT'S
EXACTLY THE SAME AS I BOUGHT
IT.

Larry says WELL I
THINK YOU WANT TO BRING THAT
TO THE ATEVEGS THE ASSESSOR
AND GET THE REASONS WHY THEY
PLACED THE VALUE AT 20,000 DOLLARS
ABOVE YOUR PURCHASE PRICE.

Maureen says NOW I'VE READ
THOUGH THAT ASSESSORS SAY OH,
YOU CAN'T GO ON WHAT YOU
ACTUALLY PAID FOR YOUR HOUSE,
EVEN IF IT WAS DONE IN THE
SAME MONTH BECAUSE THERE'S
DIFFERENT REASONS PEOPLE
SELL HOMES.
THEY MIGHT NEED A QUICK SALE
SO THEY'RE WILLING TO SELL
IT AT A LOWER PRICE --

Larry says WELL IT
COULD BE IN JOSEPHINE'S CASE
IT MAY HAVE BEEN THE LAST
HOME IN THE SUBDIVISION THAT
WAS IS UP FOR SALE AND IT
WAS IN THE -- AND THE
DEVELOPER WANTED TO COMPLETE
AND MOVE OFF OF THAT
DEVELOPMENT.
SO THAT MAY HAVE BEEN REASON
FOR THEM TO GIVE A PRICE
REDUCTION.
THERE MAY HAVE BEEN HOMES
SELLING PREVIOUSLY, THERE
COULD BE ANY NUMBER OF
MOTIVATIONS AND THE ASSESSOR
HAS TO LOOK AT ALL OF THE
SALE PRICE TRANSACTIONS IN
THE MARKETPLACE, NOT BE
GOVERNED BY ONE SALE,
BECAUSE THERE ARE DIFFERENT
MOTIVATIONS.
AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO
REMEMBER THAT THE WHOLE
PURPOSE OF THIS EXERCISE IS
TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'VE GOT
ACCURATE AND CONSISTENT
VALUES SO THE PROPERTIES
THAT ARE THE SAME IN THE
SAME LOCATION AND HAVE THE
SAME AMENITIES AND SAME
FEATURES WILL PAY THE SAME
IN TAXES.
SO THEY MUST HAVE THE SAME
VALUE.
SO THE ASSESSOR HAS THAT
RESPONSIBILITY AS WELL.

Maureen says BUT IT DOES
SOUND LIKE JOSEPH FINE IT
MIGHT BE WORTH A PHONE CALL
TO THE ASSESSMENT OFFICES.
WE'LL BE HANDING OUT THAT
PHONE NUMBER IN JUST A FEW
MINUTES SO GOOD LUCK.
STAY TUNED.
I HAVE AN E-MAIL QUESTION
FROM DON.

Maureen turns to look at a computer screen.

She reads WHO'S WONDERING
IF THERE'S ANYWAY TO
FIND OUT PREVIOUS
ASSESSMENTS ON A CERTAIN
PROPERTY IN ONTARIO ON THE
WEB.

Larry says WELL AT
THIS POINT WE DON'T HAVE THE
PROPERTIES ON THE WEB.
THERE ARE FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION AND PROTECTION
OF INDIVIDUAL PRIVACY
CONCERNS.
WHERE WE CAN'T PUT NAME AND
ADDRESS AND PEOPLE'S
PROPERTY THAT'S
ELECTRONICALLY AVAILABLE.
IT'S NOT ON FOR US TO DO
THAT.
HOWEVER IF DON WANTS TO
CONTACT OPAC CONCERNING THE
PROPERTY, WE CERTAINLY WOULD
UNDERTAKE THAT REQUEST.

Maureen says OKAY.
JOHN IS IN TORONTO.
HI JOHN.

John says HI.

Maureen says HI.

John says I'D JUST LIKE
YOUR GUEST TO COMMENT ON A
COUPLE OF ITEMS HERE.
I THINK YOUR POINT WAS
WELL-TAKEN WHEN YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT THE PHILOSOPHY
BEHIND THIS BUT IT SEEMS TO
HAVE OPENED A CAN OF WORMS.
THERE WERE MANY MORE -- OR
MANY FEWER COMPLAINTS PRIOR
TO THE ASSESSMENT, THE NEW
PROGRAMME THAN THERE IS NOW,
THAT'S THE ONE THING, AND
THE OTHER THING IS THAT
PEOPLE NOW ARE HESITANT TO
FIX UP AND MAKE THEIR HOUSES
LOOK ATTRACTIVE.
I THINK IT'S A DETRIMENT TO
THE CITY THAT, YOU KNOW,
PEOPLE NOW THINK TWICE
BEFORE THEY WILL, YOU KNOW,
MAKE THEIR NEIGHBOURHOOD
ATTRACTIVE BECAUSE THEY KNOW
THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE AN
INCREASE IN PROPERTY TAX.

Maureen says LARRY?

Larry says UM, IS IT
DON?

Maureen says JOHN.

John says JOHN.

Larry says JOHN,
SORRY.
IN FACT THE NUMBER OF
ASSESSMENTS IN THE APPEAL
LOSS WAS GREATER PRIOR TO
THIS REASSESSMENT BECAUSE OF
THE OUTDATED AND INEQUITABLE
ASSESSMENT BASE IN TORONTO.
SO THE APPEALS WE WERE
HANDLING IN TORONTO WERE
GREATER, AND THE LOSSES --
AND THE LOSSES WERE MUCH
GREATER.
SO THE FIRST CONTENTION IS
THAT THERE'S MANY MORE
COMPLAINTS, IT'S JUST NOT
TRUE.
THE SECOND ONE IS THE ISSUE
AROUND WHETHER OR NOT THIS
STOPS PEOPLE FROM RENOVATING
AND UPGRADING THEIR HOMES.
WELL WE'VE JUST SPENT THE
LAST THREE YEARS WITH A NEW
REASSESSMENT AND PEOPLE ARE
SPENDING MORE TODAY ON
UPDATING THEIR HOMES THAN
THEY HAVE DONE IN THE PAST.
I UNDERSTAND THAT THEY'RE
GOING TO BE SPENDING IN
EXCESS OF 6 BILLION DOLLARS
RENOVATING THEIR HOMES.
SO I DON'T SEE ANY IMPURICAL
EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT EITHER
ONE OF THOSE CONTENTIONS.

Maureen says BUT IS THAT AN
EVENTUALITY?
IF I PUT SOME NEW SIDING ON
MY HOUSE OR -- YOU KNOW WHAT
DOES IT TAKE FOR THE
ASSESSOR TO COME ALONG --

Larry says I THINK YOU
REALLY HIT THE NAIL ON THE
HEAD.
I MEAN, YOU HAVE TO MAKE
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO YOUR
PROPERTY, AND REALLY THE
MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS THAT
ARE AFFECTING THE PRICE IS
THE LOCATION OF THE PROPERTY
AND THE DEMAND IN THE MARKET
FOR THAT PARTICULAR AREA.
THEN YOU COME TO THE SIZE OF
THE LOT, AND THE SIZE OF THE
HOME, AND THE QUALITY AND
AGE OF THE HOME.
WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT MINOR
CHANGES SUCH AS PUTTING
SOME -- PAINTING OR
UPGRADING AND DECORATING,
REALLY THE ASSESSOR CAN'T
POSSIBLY DO THAT WHEN HE'S
GOT -- OR SHE HAS GOT FOUR
MILLION PROPERTIES TO
REVIEW.
THEY HAVE TO LOOK AT THE
IMPORTANT FACTORS THAT
INFLUENCE PRICE AND THAT'S
REALLY WHAT WE'RE ATTEMPTING
TO DO.

Maureen says DO THEY EVER GO,
WALK THROUGH A HOUSE TO SEE
WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE BEEN
DONE?

Larry says WE TRACK
EVERY BUILDING PERMIT ISSUED
BY MUNICIPALITIES ACROSS
ONTARIO AND WE ATTEMPT TO
GET INTO EVERY ONE OF THEM,
OR AT LEAST MAKE CONTACT
WITH THE PROPERTY OWNER AND
GET THE DETAILS OF WHAT THAT
CHANGE IS ON THE PROPERTY.

Maureen says FOR PEOPLE WHO
DON'T GET PERMITS, THOUGH --

Larry says WELL, PEOPLE
DON'T GET PERMITS, THEN
THERE'S AN ISSUE ABOUT THE
VALUE OF THAT CHANGE THAT
YOU'VE MADE TO THE PROPERTY.
ON SALE YOU SHOULD BE
DISCLOSING THAT YOU DID NOT
TAKE OUT A PERMIT AND THERE
MAY BE AN ISSUE THAT YOU
DIDN'T BUILD TO CODE.
AND IF YOU DIDN'T BUILD TO
CODE WHAT IS THE VALUE OF
THAT IMPROVEMENT?

Maureen says HMM.
OKAY.
ALL RIGHT.
LET'S GO TO DEAN, AND THEN
I'LL DO THE E-MAIL.
DEAN IN WHITBY.
HI DEAN.

Dean says HI.

Maureen says HI.

Dean says I HAVE QUESTION ABOUT -- IT
WOULD APPEAR NOW THAT YOU
ARE -- YOU'RE SELLING, OR
YOU'RE VALUING HOMES ON THE
MARKET VALUE, AND YOU COULD
HAVE A HOME THAT'S MAYBE
WORTH A LITTLE LESS IF YOU
WERE TO SELL IT THAN SOME OF
THE OTHER HOMES BECAUSE IT
HAS MAYBE A FEWER LESS
THINGS IN IT.
IT WOULD APPEAR THAT YOU'RE
MAYBE VALUING THE HOMES IN
AN AREA BY TWO OR THREE THAT
HAVE SOLD RECENTLY, AND THAT
MIGHT NOT BE FAIR TO ONE
THAT'S, MAYBE THE HOME IS A
LITTLE, GOT A LITTLE LESS
THINGS IN IT.
HOW DOES THAT WORK OUT?

Larry says WELL, GORD,
YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT
THIS IS -- GORD, YOU HAVE TO
REALIZE THAT IT'S NOT AN
ABSOLUTE EXACT SCIENCE.
IT IS AN OPINION OF VALUE.
WE DO HAVE TO RELY ON THE
SALES THAT TRANS IN FACT THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD, BUT WE HAVE A
COMPLETE HISTORICAL RECORD
OF EVERY SALE THAT'S
HAPPENED IN ONTARIO.
SO THAT WE DO HAVE ALL THE
INFORMATION NECESSARY, BUT
YOU'RE QUITE RIGHT, THERE
MAY NOT BE AS MANY SALES.
AND WE MAY, AS A RESULT OF
THAT, OUR VALUES MAY IN SOME
INSTANCES BE NOT PERFECT.
AND FOR THAT REASON THERE'S
A REVIEW PROCESS.
THERE'S AN APPEAL PROCESS AS
WELL.

Maureen says ARE BUSINESSES AND
APARTMENT BUILDINGS ASSESSED
DIFFERENT THAN HOME OWNERS?

Larry says THE SAME.
WHAT WOULD THE PROPERTY SELL
FOR?
THERE ARE TECHNIQUES THAT WE
WOULD USE IN THE CASE OF
HOMES.
WE USE WHAT WE CALL A DIRECT
SALES APPROACH.
THERE'S PLENTY OF SALES
TRANSACTIONS OF HOUSES.
WITH APARTMENTS, WE RELY ON
AN INCOME APPROACH BECAUSE
THERE'S PLENTIFUL RENTS,
THERE'S MANY FEWER SALES,
BUT WHEN WE RELATE THE
INCOME, INCOME TO THE
SELLING PRICES, WE'RE THEN
ABLE TO PREDICT IT
EFFECTIVELY AND ACCURATELY,
THE VALUES OF APARTMENT
PROPERTIES BASED ON THEIR
INCOME.
FOR BUSINESSES THAT ARE
INVESTMENT PROPERTIES, WE
USE AN INCOME APPROACH.
BUT IN THE END, WE STILL
HAVE TO COME IT BACK TO NO
MATTER WHAT APPROACH DID WE
ACHIEVE AN ACCURATE ESTIMATE
OF THAT PROPERTY IN AN
EXCHANGE?
WHAT WOULD THE PROPERTY SELL
FOR?

Maureen says MM-HMM.
I GUESS SMARTER BRAINS THAN
MINE WILL HAVE TO DISCUSS
ALL THIS, BUT I WONDER IF
INCOME ISN'T A BETTER WAY TO
FIGURE OUT WHAT PEOPLE
SHOULD PAY FOR THE SERVICES
THAT THEY GET.
IT JUST --

Larry says WELL I THINK FOR MOST
INSTANCES, A LOT OF THE
SERVICES ARE CHANGED ON A
USER -- WHEREVER YOU CAN,
WHEREVER THE MUNICIPALITY
CAN PUT A USER FEE ON A
SERVICE, THEY DO THAT.
BUT THERE ARE MANY THINGS
THAT A MUNICIPALITY DOES
THAT CAN'T BE PUT ON A USER
FEE BASIS.
SO HOW DO YOU DETERMINE
THAT?
WELL, IT JUST SO HAPPENS
PROPERTY IS FIXED IN ITS
LOCATION, AND THE
MUNICIPALITY KNOWS THE BOUND
TREEF ITS LOCATION, THAT'S
THE REASON WHY THE PROPERTY
TAX IS A LOCAL TAX.

Maureen says ALL RIGHT.
OKAY.
NICK WOULD LIKE TO KNOW,
Maureen reads “I
BOUGHT A HOUSE IN OSHAWA A
MONTH AGO AND I'M RENTING
THE BASEMENT.
I HAVE NOT RECEIVED OUR
PROPERTY ASSESSMENT YET.
I NEED TO KNOW WHETHER THE
ASSESSMENT WILL BE HIGHER
THAN THE PRICE THAT I BOUGHT
THE HOUSE FOR OR WOULD IT BE
BASED ON THE 1999 MARKET,
WHICH I ASSUME WILL BE
LOWER.”
IT'LL BE BASED ON THE 1999
MARKET, RIGHT.

Larry says EXACTLY.

Maureen says JUNE '99.

Larry says AND HE
SHOULD CALL THE, HE SHOULD
CALL THE ASSESSMENT OFFICE
TO GET THE VALUE OF HIS
PROPERTY.

Maureen says OKAY.
LET'S GET JOHN IN BARRIE IN
NEXT.
HI JOHN.

John says HI, HOW ARE YOU?

Maureen says FINE, THANKS.

John says GOOD.
MY ASSESSMENT SHOWS AN
INCREASE OF ABOUT 20 percent.
NOW REALISTICALLY, ACCORDING
TO REAL ESTATE AGENTS
RECENTLY IT'S MORE LIKE 10 percent
TO 12 percent.
NOW OBVIOUSLY IT'S GOING TO
REQUIRE A LOT OF FOOTWORK
AND TIME TO SORT OF MAKE ANY
CHAINS TO GET A REASSESSMENT,
AND TO ME THAT SORT OF
SOUNDS A BIT LIKE NEGATIVE
BILLING, AND I THINK THAT'S
ILLEGAL IN SOME JURISDICTION,
MAYBE NOT IN ONTARIO.
WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS ON
THAT?

Larry says JOHN, THE
INCREASE IN BARRIE, I WOULD
AGREE, IS IN THAT 10 percent TO 12 percent
RANGE, BUT THAT'S BROADLY
SPEAKING.
SOME NEIGHBOURHOODS IN
BARRIE HAVE GONE UP AT A
FASTER RATE, AND IN OTHER
AREAS HAVE GONE UP AT A
LOWER RATE.
SO REALLY, WHAT'S IMPORTANT
TO YOU, JOHN, IS WHAT HAVE
VALUES INCREASED IN YOUR
NEIGHBOURHOOD OVER '96 AND
FINALLY, IS THAT VALUE THAT
YOU'RE LOOKING AT, IS IT A
REASONABLE ESTIMATE OF WHAT
YOU COULD HAVE SOLD THAT
PROPERTY FOR ON 30th, '99.

Maureen says I GUESS WHAT
HE'S SAYING IS IT'S ALL ON
THE HOME OWNERS NOW TO FIX
THIS IF IT IS A MISTAKE AND
I THINK BACK IT KAY WHO
CALLED AND SHE JUST DOESN'T
SOUND LIKE THE KIND OF WOMAN
WHO'S GOT THE TIME AND
RESOURCES TO GO AROUND DOING
ALL THIS RESEARCH.

Larry says WELL THAT'S
JUST THE REASON WHY THE
PROVINCE ENACTED LEGISLATION
THAT PROVIDES FOR AN
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW IN
WHICH THE COST AND THE TIME
IS BORNE BY THE ONTARIO
PROPERTY ASSESSMENT
CORPORATION ON A REQUEST FOR
RECONSIDERATION.

Maureen says AFTER ONE PHONE
CALL, THAT KICKS IN?

Larry says SO I MEAN WHAT YOU DO IS
YOU SIMPLY MAKE THE REQUEST.
THERE'S FORMS THAT YOU CAN
GET AT THE ASSESSMENT OFFICE
OR OVER OUR WEBSITE OR JUST
SIMPLY TO WRITE INTO THE
ASSESSMENT OFFICE,
REQUESTING A RECONSIDERATION
OF THAT VALUE.
IT'S ALSO HELPFUL TO CUT
DOWN THE COST OF OPAC TO
CITE THE REASONS WHY YOU
THINK IT'S TOO HIGH.
NOT BECAUSE THE TACKS ARE
TOO HIGH, BUT IS THAT VALUE
TOO HIGH AND WHAT THE
REASONS ARE.
YOU ARE AWARE OF SALE PRICES
OR YOU HAVE AN APPRAISAL ON
THE HOME OR SOME FACTOR THAT
YOU THINK THE ASSESSOR
HASN'T TAKEN INTO
CONSIDERATION.
IF YOU DO THAT, THEN THE
ASSESSOR HAS -- YOU KNOW,
WILL SPEED UP THE PROCESS.
THAT'S DONE AT NO CHARGE.
AND IF THE ASSESSOR AGREES,
THAT RECOMMENDATION IS
PROCESSED, IS TURNED AGAIN
OVER TO THE MUSE NICE PAT
AND YOUR TAXES ARE REDUCED
ACCORDINGLY.

Maureen says OKAY.
ALL RIGHT, GOOD LUCK, JOHN,
AND LARRY, THANK YOU VERY
MUCH FOR DOING THIS.

Larry says YOU'RE
WELCOME, MAUREEN.

Maureen says LAURIE HUMMEL IS
WITH THE ONTARIO PROPERTY
ASSESSMENT CORPORATIOS AND
HERE'S THE NUMBER WE
PROMISED.

A slate pops up that reads “Ontario Property Assessment Corporation. 1-866-296-6722. www.opac.on.ca.”

Maureen continues WELL, TIS THE
CEASE ON TO DECK YOUR
OVER-ASSESSED HALLS, BUT
WHERE TO START, WHERE TO
START?
WELL, “MORE TO LIFE'S.”
RESIDENTS DECORATOR EVA
CHMIELOWIEC CAME TO MY HOUSE
RECENTLY TO HEAL ME WITH THE
HOLLY AND THE IVY.

A clip plays.
(Christmas music plays)

Maureen says OKAY EVA, COME
ON OVER HERE.
THIS IS MY FIREPLACE.
THIS IS KIND OF OLD AND I'D
LIKE TO DO SOMETHING TO THE
BRICK, BUT FOR NOW, WHAT ARE
YOUR IDEAS FOR CHRISTMAS
DECORATING?

Eva Chmielowiec is in her late thirties with short blond hair. She’s wearing glasses, a black jacket, matching trousers, a white shirt and a black spotted tie.

Eva says OKAY.
THE LEAST POSSIBLE OF THE
COLOUR.

Maureen says SO NEUTRALS ARE
IN?

Eva says
NEUTRAL -- ACTUALLY GREENS.
ALL THE GREENS.
FLOWERS ARE OUT, FRUITS ARE
IN.

Maureen says FRUITS ARE IN?

Eva says YES, AND
BECAUSE YOU HAVE SANTA FE
MOTIVE ON YOUR WALL -- YOU
WANT TO CHANGE.

Maureen says YES, I DO WANT
TO CHANGE.

Eva says SO IT'S
A MIXTURE OF COUNTRY AND
MORE OF A TRADITIONAL
VICTORIAN DECORATION.

Maureen says OKAY.
WE'VE GOT SOME THINGS OFF TO
THE SIDE HERE.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO
GET FIRST?

Eva says YOU CAN
PASS ME THE WREATH.

Maureen says PASS YOU THE
WREATH.
OKAY, THAT'S HERE.
THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!

Eva says OH, IT'S
JUST DECORATED WITH
PINECONES AND A LITTLE BIT
OF THE BOW AND WE TRY TO
HANG IT.

Maureen says OKAY.
AND YOU WANT THE BOW CENTRED,
OBVIOUSLY.

Eva says YES, YES.
MAYBE WE SHOULD GO --

Maureen says YOU BOUGHT THIS
ALREADY ASSEMBLED, DIDN'T
YOU?

Eva says YES!

Eva laughs.

Maureen says BUT YOU MADE THE
BOW?

Eva says I MADE
THE BOW.

Maureen says WHAT DO YOU CALL
THIS KIND OF RIBBON?

Eva says UM, WIRE
RIBBON.
IT'S EASY TO ACTUALLY
MANIPULATE AND GET MORE OF A
SCULPTURED LOOK ON THE
RIBBON.
WE ARE GOING TO PUT THAT ONE
IN THE MIDDLE OVER HERE, AND
THE OTHER PART, HANGING TO
THE FLOOR.

Maureen says THIS IS NICE.

They place pine over the fireplace.

Eva says ANOTHER
PINE.
SO WE PUT IT UP HERE.
WE HAVE A LITTLE URN.
I HAVE LOTS OF CANDLES.
ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL.

Maureen says WHAT'S A
FIREPLACE AT CHRISTMAS
WITHOUT A COUPLE OF
STOCKINGS.

Eva says EXACTLY.

Maureen says AND LOOK AT
THESE, THEY'RE ADORABLE
WHERE DID YOU GET THEM?

Eva says HANDMADE
BY EVA.
AND THIS ONE I MADE IT WITH
THE PAINT.

Eva shows a large white stocking.

Maureen says NOW YOU SAID
OVER AT THE FIREPLACE THIS
IS DONE WITH PAINT.

Now, they stand by a table.

Eva says AND THE
PAINT IS FABRIC PAINT, AND
THIS ONE IS GLITTER.

Maureen says MM-HMM.

Eva says I'M
GOING TO MAKE BUTTONS.
OTHER.

Maureen says THERE YOU GO.
YOU LET IT DRY AND --

Eva says LET IT
DRY --

Maureen says HANG IT BACK UP
ON THE FIREPLACE.

Eva says MM-HMM.

Maureen says THAT'S GREAT.
I HAVE TO ADMIT, EVA,
WRAPPING THE GIFTS IS NOT
EXACTLY MY FAVOURITE PART OF
CHRISTMAS PREPARATION, BUT
YOU'VE GOT SOME THINGS HERE
TO GIVE US SOME IDEAS ON HOW
TO DO IT IN A NEW WAY.

Eva says ACTUALLY,
YOU'RE PROBABLY LIKE I AM.
I DON'T KNOW HOW TO WRAP
GIFTS.
Holding a large box wrapped in brown paper, Eva continues YOU CAN SEE THAT RIGHT HERE
SO WHAT I DO, THIS ONE IS
PACKING PAPER.
YOU CAN GET IT AT ANY POST
OFFICE.
THIS IS CUTTING COST ON
CHRISTMAS.
IT'S WHAT'S INSIDE COUNTS.
AND BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW HOW
TO WRAP IT I WILL SHOW YOU
HOW TO COVER UP.

Maureen says DISGUISE YOUR
BAD WRAPPING JOB.

Eva says EXACTLY.
I USE A BEAUTIFUL BOW.

Maureen says MORE LIKE THAT.

Eva says EXACTLY.
PERFECT.
TIE IT UP.
OKAY.
THIS IS PRETTY BY ITSELF BUT
WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO, I
GOT A STENCIL.

Maureen says AND YOU'RE JUST
DABBING AT IT.

Eva says JUST
DABBING.

Maureen says THE KIDS COULD
DO THIS, YOU KNOW.

Eva says EXACTLY,
EXACTLY.
IT'S CHRISTMAS TREE
ORNAMENTS.
YOU CAN PUT THEM IN.
DRIED FLOWERS FROM YOUR
GARDEN, OR SOME OF THE
FAKE --

Maureen says THE FAKE FLOWERS.

Eva says SELL
BEING FLOWERS.

Maureen says TAKE A LOOK AT
THAT!
ISN'T THAT PRETTY?!
WONDERFUL IDEAS!

They go back to the fireplace. While Eva arranges the ornaments Maureen pats her dog.

Maureen says EVA, IT JUST
LOOKS GORGEOUS.

Eva says OH,
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Maureen says THANK YOU SO
MUCH.

Eva says YOU'RE
WELCOME.

Maureen says I CAN'T WAIT TO
SHOW OFF.
WOULD YOU LIKE A GLASS OF
EGGNOG?

Eva says THAT
SOUNDS WONDERFUL.

Maureen says COME ON.

The clip ends.

Back at the studio, Maureen says WELL, NOW THAT
WE'VE GOT YOU IN THE
CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, LET'S TALK
WITH THE EXPERT ON THE
SEASON, GERRY REBOWLER JOINS
ME THIS AFTERNOON.
HE'S THE AUTHOR OF “THE
WORLD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF
CHRISTMAS.”

A red book cover that shows Santa Claus standing by a Christmas tree appears.

Maureen continues HE HAS AN ENPSYCHE PEED DICK
KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CHRISTMAS
AND ALL ITS TRADITIONS AND
THE WAY IT'S PRACTICED
AROUND THE WORLD SO, WHAT
WE'D LIKE TO DO HERE IS OPEN
THE PHONE LINES.
IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT
CHRISTMAS, HOW AND WHY
SOMETHING GOT STARTED, GERRY
CAN TALK ABOUT THAT AS WELL
AND WE'LL GIVE AWAY A COPY
OF THE BOOK WHICH IS JUST
GORGEOUS.

The caption showing the two phone numbers and the e-mail address appears.

Maureen continues GERRY, WELCOME
AND MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Gerry is in his mid-forties, with a blond goatee and blond hair. He’s wearing a dark blue pullover over a black shirt.

Gerry says MERRY
CHRISTMAS TO YOU.

Maureen says WHAT INSPIRED
YOU TO PUT ALL OF THIS
INFORMATION IN AN
ENCYCLOPEDIA.

Gerry says BEGAN TEN
YEARS AGO WHERE EVERYBODY AT
A LITTLE CHRISTMAS PARTY WAS
ASKED TO BRING SOME KIND OF
NON-MATERIAL GIFT.

The caption changes to “Gerry Bowler. ‘Encyclopedia of Christmas.’.”

Gerry says MY WIFE WHO'S A SINGER
BROUGHT A SONG AND SOME
TEACHERS BROUGHT CHILDREN'S
STORIES, AND BEING A
HISTORIAN, I BROUGHT A
LITTLE CHRISTMAS QUIZ.
AND PEOPLE HAD SUCH FUN WITH
IT THAT THEY BEGAN TO SAY
“THERE SHOULD BE A BOOK IN
IT.”
AND I THOUGHT MAYBE THERE
MIGHT BE AND WORKED AT IT
AND PEOPLE KEPT ASKING
QUESTIONS, AND MY DATABASE
GREW, SO AFTER TEN YEARS, I
THOUGHT “BY GOLLY, THERE'S A
BOOK HERE.”

Maureen says NOW YOU ARE A
BOY FROM SASKATCHEWAN IS
YOUR AUDIENCE CANADIAN?
OR IS IT REALLY MEANT --

Gerry says NO, IT IS
THE WORLD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF
CHRISTMAS.
I DID WANT TO MAKE SURE I
GOT AS MUCH CHRISTMAS
KNOWLEDGE IN IT FROM CANADA
AS POSSIBLE, BUT WE'VE GOT
CHRISTMAS IN GREECE AND
CHRISTMAS IN JAPAN, SOUTH
AFRICA AND SO ON AS WELL.

Maureen says WHICH IS ALL
VERY FASCINATING.
I MEAN, EVEN IN CHINA, WHERE
THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO, YOU
KNOW, OFFICIAL ATHEIST --

Gerry says OFFICIAL
ATHEIST AND COMMUNIST
COUNTRY YOU HAVE TO HAVE A
TICKET TO GET INTO THE
CHRISTMAS SERVICES BECAUSE
IT'S SO POPULAR.

Maureen says IN CATHEDRALS.

Gerry says YES!
AND CHRISTMAS CARDS ARE A
WONDERFUL CUSTOM IN CHINA
NOW.

Maureen says NOW WHAT WAS THE
MOST DIFFICULT -- OR ONE OF
THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS TO
RESEARCH?
I WOULD IMAGINE THE DATE OF
CHRISTMAS, BECAUSE I READ
THAT THIS MORNING.
THAT'S A REAL CANUNDRUM.

Gerry says IT IS A
PROBLEM AND I HAVEN'T SOLVED
IT, BUT I'VE AT LEAST PUT
THE PIECES TOGETHER.
YOU HAVE CONTRADICTORY
HISTORICAL SOURCES IN THE
GOSPELS -- OR WHAT SEEM TO
BE CONTRADICTIONS.
THERE MAY BE A WAY TO
RECONCILE THEM.
WE'VE GOT SOME KNOWLEDGE OF
THE TIME OF YEAR FROM
SHEPHERDS BEING IN THE FIELD,
BUT AGAIN THAT MIGHT
DECEIVE.
AND THEN WE'VE GOT LAST
LOGICAL AND ASTRONOMICAL
DATA.
WE HAVE THE STAR OF
BETHLEHEM.
SO IF YOU PUT THEM ALL
TOGETHER YOU CAN COME UP
WITH A NUMBER OF DATES.
I KIND OF LIKE 2 B.C.,
DECEMBER 25th, 2 B.C. WHEN
THE PLANET JUPITER, WHICH
GOVERNS KINGSHIP SEEMS TO BE
IN A STANDSTILL POSITION
OVER BETHLEHEM.

Maureen says AND DO YOU THINK
THAT THAT WAS WHAT THE
WISEMEN SAW?

Gerry says THAT'S ONE GUESS.
COULD HAVE BEEN A COMET,
COULD HAVE BEEN A NOVA, LAST
LOGICAL SYMBOLS WE DON'T
UNDERSTAND ANYMORE, BUT
THAT'S A GOOD GUESS.

Maureen says WELL GO TO MARY.
WHAT GREAT NAME FOR
CHRISTMAS, BUT TELL US ABOUT
THIS DARK SIDE OF CHRISTMAS.
WHAT IS HOMING?

Gerry says HOMING IS A
NASTY LITTLE CUSTOM IN WHICH
YOU TAKE PIECES OF HOLLY AND
YOU BEAT PEOPLE WITH THEM,
PARTICULARLY SERVANTS UNTIL
THEY BLEED.

Maureen says WHY?

Gerry says IT'S
CONSIDERED GOOD LUCK BUT
I'VE GOT MY DOUBTS.

Maureen says YES, YOU'VE GOT
A WHOLE SECTION HERE CALLED
“BEATINGS AT CHRISTMAS.”
I'M GOING TO TELL MY
CHILDREN ABOUT THAT TONIGHT
WHEN GUY HOME.
She laughs and continues MARY IS IN MISSISSAUGA.
HI MARY?

Mary says HI.
I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT
MISTLETOE.
WHERE DID THIS IDEA OF
KISSING UNDER THE MIST
SELLTOE COME FROM AND WHY
MIST SELLTOE?

Gerry says RIGHT.
TWO PARTS TO THAT.
THE MISTLETOE SEEMS TO COME
FROM THE ANCIENT CELTIC
PEOPLES.
IT'S A PARASITE LARGELY ON
OAK TREE, SO THEY GATHER
DURING THE WINTER SEASON,
AND ACCORDING TO THOSE THAT
STUDY CELTIC HISTORY, THEY
SAY THAT IT WAS A SYMBOL OF
PEACE.
SO THE KISS OF PEACE MIGHT
HAVE STARTED UNDER THE
MISTLETOE.
MORE LIKELY, MISTLETOE CAME
INTO HOUSES AND CHURCHES
JUST AS ANY OTHER GREENERY
WOULD AT CHRISTMAS.
YOU LIKE TO HAVE GREEN STUFF
IN THE HOUSE AT WINTERTIME
TO REMIND YOU THAT SPRING IS
COMING, AND IN THE MIDDLE
AGES THEY USED TO HANG UP
LITTLE IMAGES OF JOSEPH AND
MARY SUR ROUNDED BY GREENERY
AND KISS UNDER THAT.
SO THAT'S PROBABLY WHERE THE
CUSTOM STARTED.
THERE'S A LITTLE-KNOWN
ASPECTS OF IT.
MAYBE YOU OBSERVE IT, THAT
THAT WHEN YOU KISS UNDER
REAL MISTLETOE YOU HAVE TO
PLUCK A BERRY AND WHEN ALL
THE BERRIES ARE GONE THE
KISSING HAS TO STOP.

Maureen says WHEN YOU A THE
BERRIES ARE GONE.
OKAY, BUT IF YOU FIND
YOURSELF UNDER THE MISTLETOE
YOU'RE FREE GAME.

Gerry says FAIR GAME,
SO MOVE QUICKLY.

Maureen says YEAH.
THANK YOU, MARY.
ALEX IS IN TORONTO.
HELLO, ALEX.

Alex says HELLO?

Maureen says HI.

Alex says HE HAVE A NEW
FRIEND WHO'S RECENTLY
EMIGRATED TO CANADA FROM
MEXICO, AND WE WERE
WONDERING WHAT KIND OF
TRADITIONAL GIFTS OR FOODS
MIGHT WE GIVE HIM AT
CHRISTMAS TO MAKE HIM FEEL A
BIT MORE, SAY, LESS
HOMESICK.

Maureen says HMM.

Gerry says MEXICO DOES
CHRISTMAS WONDERFULLY.
THEY'RE ONE OF THE TWO OR
THREE PLACES I'D LIKE TO BE
DURING CHRISTMAS.
SEE IF YOU CAN GO TO A STORE
AND BUY HIM A PINATA.
THERE'S PINATAS FOR SALE OUT
THERE AND THAT'S A VERY
POPULAR THING TO DO AT
CHRISTMAS, AND YOU CAN BLIND
FOLD HIM AND HAVE HIM TAKE A
FEW WHACKS AT THIS PINATA IN
WHATEVER SHAPE YOU MANAGE TO
KIND IT AND HE'LL FEEL RIGHT
AT HOLE.
OR TAKE HIM TO A CATHOLIC
CHURCH THAT HAS A NICE CREC
HEMD DISPLAY.
MEXICANS ARE VERY BIG ON THE
NATIVITY SCENES.
THEY HAVE A LOT OF WONDERFUL
STREET DAM MA THAT WE JUST
CAN'T HAVE BECAUSE IT'S COLD
HERE.
OR HERE'S A TICHLT BUY HIM A
HUGE RADISH AND ASK HIM TO
DECORATE IT.

He laughs.

Maureen says DECORATE A
RADISH?

Maureen looks sceptical.

Gerry says I'M AFRAID SO IN THE CITY
OF JUACA IN THE CITY OF
MEXICO THEY CELEBRATE “NIGHT
OF THE RADISHES.”
AND THE RADISHES GROW THERE
BIG AND CONVOLUTED AND IT'S
A CUSTOM FOR ARTISANS TO
DESIGN NATIVITY SCENES AND
AZTEC GODS SO, IF HE'S FROM
SOUTHERN MEXICO HE MIGHT
APPRECIATE A BIG RADISH.

Maureen says THOSE ARE
WONDERFUL IDEAS!
THANKS, ALEX.
DINELLO IN THUNDER BAY.
HI.

Dinello says YES, GOOD DAY,
HOW ARE YOU?

Maureen says FINE THANK YOU.

Dinello says MERRY CHRISTMAS
TO ALL OF YOU.
WHEN I WAS TRAVELLING A FEW
YEARS BACK IN JAMAICA, IT
WAS AMAZING THAT WE HEARD
THAT THERE ARE JAMAICANS
THERE CALLED MAROONS THAT
FOLLOW THE OLD ORTHODOX
CEREMONIES, SUCH AS THE
UKRAINIAN GREEK ORTHODOX OR
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX AND WE HAD
TO GET OURSELVES INVITED
INTO THEIR LITTLE COMMUNITY
AND CELEBRATED THE MOST
WONDERFUL THING THAT I'VE
EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE.
AND I'M JUST WONDER PHYSICAL
YOU KNOW HOW AND WHY THE
MAROONS CELEBRATE ON THE
EPIPHANY OF THE 6th OR 7th
IF YOU'D KNOWN ABOUT THAT.

Gerry says ARE YOU
SURE IT'S ORTHODOX?
THERE'S A LOT OF STUFF THAT
GOES ON ON EPIPHANY.

Dinello says MY BACKGROUND IS
UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC AND WE
HAVE THE SAME, WEARING THE
SAME ALMOST COSTUMES.

Gerry says THIS IS
FASCINATING!
I'VE NEVER RUN ACROSS THAT
YOU HAVE STUMPED ME.
CONGRATULATIONS.
I WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO YOU
MORE LATER AND GET
INFORMATION ON THAT.

Maureen says NOW YOU DO,
THOUGH, TALK ABOUT WHY SOME
CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS ON
EPIPHANY.

Gerry says OH, SURE.

Maureen says WHY DON'T YOU
TALK ABOUT THAT.

Gerry says IF WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT THE CALENDAR
MOST OF THE WORLD USES NOW,
WHICH IS THE GREGORIAN
CALENDAR, THERE IS A LOT IN
THE CHRISTMAS SEASON WHICH
HAPPEN ON JANUARY 5th AND
6th.
THAT IS THE EPIPHANY, THAT'S
WHEN WE CELEBRATE THE
ARRIVAL OF THE WISEMEN.
THAT'S WHEN THE THREE KINGS
COME AND DELIVER THE
PRESENCE.
THAT'S WHEN THE KINGS GET
EXCITED IN THE SPANISH WORLD,
LEAVE OUT LITTLE GIFTS OF
TOBACCO AND COFFEE FOR THE
THREE KINGS AND STRAW FOR
THE CAMELS.
BIG STREET PARADES, A GREAT
TIME HAD BY ALL.
NOW IN EASTERN EUROPE, THEY
REFUSE TO ADOPT THE
GREGORIAN CALENDAR AND THEY
STALKED TO THE JULIAN
CALENDAR WHICH IS KNACK
SCOMPRAT IT SLIPPED IT.
SLIPPED ABOUT ELEVEN OR 12
DAYS SO WHEN THEY CELEBRATE
KISS MASS ON JANUARY 6th,
THEY'RE REALLY CELEBRATING
IT ON THEIR CALENDAR,
ACCORDING TO DECEMBER 25th.

Maureen says I SEE.

Gerry says ON THE OTHER HAND YOU'VE
GOT PEOPLE LIKE THE
ARMENIANS WHO WILL CELEBRATE
CHRISTMAS ONLY ON JANUARY
6th AND YOU'VE COT COPTS AND
EAST YOPIANS WHO CELEBRATE
IT LATER IN JANUARY, USUALLY
JANUARY 17th.
SO ALL KIND OF CALENDARS
AROUND THE WORLD.

Maureen says AND THAT’S WHAT
THEY THINK IS THE BIRTHDAY?

Gerry says YEAH.

Maureen says THEY JUST DON'T
BUY THE DECEMBER 25th THING.

Gerry says THAT'S
RIGHT.

Maureen says WE'VE GOT
JENNIFER IN HANOVER ASKING

She turns to look at the computer and reads
“I SAW ON THE TV SHOW THAT
COCA COLA CAME UP WITH THE
IMAGE OF SANTA CLAUS AS WE
KNOW HIM TODAY, RED OUTFIT,
LONG WHITE BEARD, FAT BELLY
AND SO ON.”
IS THIS TRUE?

Gerry says NO, THAT'S ONE OF THE
GREAT MYTHS THAT'S OUT
THERE.
SANTA LOOKED LIKE THAT
BEFORE COKE GOT AT HIM.
COKE, IN THE LATE '20s,
EARLY '30s WANTED TO PROMOTE
SOFT DRINKS AS A WINTER --

Maureen says A WINTER BEVERAGE.

Gerry says YEAH, SO
THEY GOT AN ARTIST NAMED
HAYDEN SUNBLOOM TO DESIGN
THIS WONDERFULLY FAT,
RICH-LOOKING OPULENT SANTA
AND IN A SERIES OF ADS FROM
THE EARLY '30s TO THE
MID-'60s, COKE PUT THE FINAL
TOUCHES ON THE DEVELOPMENT
OF SANTA.
HE LOOKED LIKE THAT BEFORE
COKE, BUT AFTER COKE GOT AT
HIM, YOU COULDN'T THINK OF
HIM IN ANY OTHER WAY.
THEY TRULY SORT OF DEFINED
THAT NORTH AMERICAN LOOKING
SANTA.
SANTA LOOKS DIFFERENT IN
OTHER COUNTRIES, BUT IN
NORTH AMERICA THAT'S HOW HE
LOOKS.

Maureen says WELL, I KNOW
THERE'S A OF SAINT NICHOLAS
AND FATHER CHRISTMAS BUT
WHEN DID HE BECOME SANTA
CLAUS?

Gerry says GOOD
QUESTION.
SAINT NICHOLAS WAS ABOLISHED
FROM PROTESTANT COUNTRIES
WHEN THE REFMATION CAME IN
THE EARLY 1500s AND SO HE
WAS REPLACED BY THE CHRIST
CHILD AND THE CHRIST CHILD
HAD A LOT OF HELPERS WITH
HIM.
AND SO THE WAY SANTA LOOKS
NOW IS HOW THOSE HOPERS --
HELPERS LOOKED.
BUT THE NAME SANTA CLAUS
COMES FROM THE DUTCH NAME
SINTER KLAUS, WHICH MEANS
SAINT NICHOLAS.
SO IT'S A KIND OF A BLEND OF
SAINT NICHOLAS AND HIS HELPERS
TO MAKE THE NAME AND THE
IMAGE THAT WE NOW HAVE.

Maureen says OKAY, COOL.
JOYCE IS IN MARKHAM.
HI JOYCE?

Joyce says HI.

Maureen says HI.

Joyce says I'M ORIGINALLY
BRITISH AND I HAVE GROWN UP
WITH THE IDEA THAT MISTLETOE
GROWS ON OAK TREES BUT WE
WENT TO FRANCE SOME YEARS
AGO WITHIN THE LAST TEN
YEARS CAN THERE WERE TREES
THAT DEFINITELY WEREN'T THE
SHAPE OF OPD AK, AND WE WERE
TOLD BY OUR ESCORT THAT THEY
WERE POPULAR, AND THE HUGE
GROWTH ON THE TOP OF THEM
WAS MISTLETOE ASK THAT IT
WAS PROTECTED, AND IT COULD
ONLY PICKED AND SOLD
COMMERCIALLY.
DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT
THAT?

Gerry says YEAH,
THAT'S QUITE TRUE.
MISTLETOE DOES GROW ON A LOT
OF DIFFERENT TREES.
OAK IS THE TRADITIONAL ONE
IN THE BRITISH-SPEAKING
WORLD -- SORRY,
ENGLISH-SPEAKING WORLD.
IT EVEN GROSS ON ITS OWN IN
VARIOUS FORMS IN AUSTRALIA
AND ACTUALLY BECOMES QUITE A
BIG PLANT THAT'S MORE
FREE-STANDING THAN NOT.
AND IT IS PROTECTED IN MANY
COUNTRIES.

Maureen says YOU MENTIONED
EARLIER THE CRECHE.
HOW DID THAT EVOLVE AND WHAT
DID IT HAVE TO DO WITH
SAINT FRANCIS?

Gerry says SAINT FRANCIS
DOESN'T INVENT THE CRECHE,
THE NOTION WE SHOULD PUT A
LITTLE VERSION OF THE
NATIVITY SCENE IN CHURCH OR
IN A HOME, BUT HE POPULAR
RISES IT.
HE IS THE ONE TO FIRST USE
LIVE PEOPLE, AND LIVE
ANIMALS TO RE-STAGE THE
NATIVITY SCENE OF THE AND
SAINT FRANCIS AND THE
FRANCISCAN MONKS GREATLY
HELPED CHRISTMAS BY MAKING
IT A MUCH MORE HUMAN
CELEBRATION.
IF WE LOOK AT CHRISTMAS
SONGS BEFORE St. FRANCIS,
THEY TEND TO BE VERY
THEOLOGICALLY ELEVATED.
TALKING ABOUT GOD IN
ABSTRACTS.
BUT WHEN St. FRANCIS
CELEBRATES THE NATIVITY
SCENE WITH REAL SCOMPEEM
REAL ANIMALS, AND HIS MONKS
ADOPT THE POPULAR MUSIC OF
THE TIME, THE DANCE MUSIC
CALLED CAROL, AND STARTED
PUTTING NATIVITY WORDS TO IT
IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE LOCAL
PEOPLE, THEN THE WHOLE
NOTION OF CHRISTMAS CAROLS
EXPLODES SO WE REALLY HAVE
TO THANK St. FRANCIS FOR
QUITE A BIT AROUND THE
CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.

Maureen says AROUND WHAT
YEAR?

Gerry says AROUND THE
YEAR 1200.

Maureen says WOW!
OKAY, KEVIN ANNE IS IN
KITCHENER.
HELLO KEVIN ANNE?

Kevin Anne says HELLO.
MY QUESTION IS AT CHRISTMAS
TIME IN OUR FAMILY TRADITION
WE HAVE A LARGE CHRISTMAS
DINNER AND ALL AROUND THE
TABLE ARE CHRISTMAS CRACKERS
WHICH WE PULL OPEN WITH A
LOUD BANG AND PUT THE FUNNY
PAPER HATS ON OUR HEADS AND
LOOK FOR THE TOYS INSIDE.
AND I'M JUST WONDERING IF
YOUR GUEST CAN TELL US ABOUT
THE ORIGIN OF THE CHRISTMAS
CRACKER.

Gerry says YEAH,
CHRISTMAS CRACKERS GO BACK
TO THE 1840s.
THEY WERE INVENTED BY AN
ENGLISH MAN NAMED TOM SMITH
WHO WAS A CONFECTIONER,
CANDY-MAKER AND HE HAD GONE
TO FRANCE AND WAS INTERESTED
IN THE WAY THE FRENCH WRAP
CANDY, RATHER LIKE THE WAY
THE CHRISTMAS CRACKER NOW
LOOKS.
AND WHEN HE GOT BACK TO I
THINK LANT HE EXPERIMENTED
WITH VARIOUS CHEMICALLY I AM
PREG NATURED STRIPS YOU
COULD USE FRICTION AND ON IT
WOULD EXPLODE SO HE COMES UP
WITH WHAT'S KNOWN SOMETIMES
IN FRENCH AS “THE COSSACK.”
BECAUSE IT MAKES THE SOUND
OF THE COSSACK'S WHIP.
AND WE CALL THEM CRACKERS
BECAUSE IT MAKES THE SOUND
OF A CRACKLING FIRE.
THE PAPER HATS MAY OR MAY
NOT GO BACK QUITE A WAYS.
THEY CERTAINLY GO BACK TO
THE NOTION OF A KING AND
QUEEN AT EPIPHANY WHERE
PEOPLE WORE CROWNS ON THAT
DATE, KIND OF THE END OF THE
CHRISTMAS SEASON OR SOME
PEOPLE SAY IT GOES BACK ALL
THE WAY TO THE ROMAN
SATURNALIA IN WHICH PEOPLE
WORE PAPER HATS IN THE 19th
CENTURY THEY'RE JUST FULL OF
WONDERFUL PRIZES, INCLUDING
SOME VERY EXPENSIVE JULIRY.
YOU CAN GET VERY EXPENSE
SCOMPIVE EXCLUSIVE LINES OF
CHRISTMAS CRACKERS, EVEN
TODAY.
BUT MOST OF US HAVE THE BAD
JOKE AND THE LITTLE NOVELTY
WHISTLE OR SOMETHING AND THE
HUMILIATING PAPER HAT.
I DON'T KNOW WHY WE DO IT.

Maureen laughs and says IS THERE A
PROPER WAY TO OPEN THEM TOO?
SOME PEOPLE CROSS ARMS AND
PULL --

Gerry says ALL AT THE
SAME TIME.
THAT'S A NICE HABIT.

Maureen says THAT'S JUST A
KIND OF THING WE'VE ADDED TO
OVER THE YEARS, THAT'S NICE
I SUPPOSE, EH?
LET ME DO THIS ONE FROM
DIANE IN MILTON?
She reads WHO DECIDED SANTA SHOULD
COME DOWN THROUGH THE
CHIMNEY?
WHAT A NASTY THING TO DO TO
SOMEONE BEARING GIFTS.

Gerry says HE DOESN'T
ALWAYS COME DOWN THE
CHIMNEY.
IN THE NETHERLANDS WE WILL
FLY TO THE ROOFTOP BUT HIS
ASSISTANT SUARTA PETE, OR
BLACK PETER GOES DOWN THE
CHIMNEY SO HE DOESN'T GET
DIRTY.
A LOT OF COUNTRY THE OF
COURSE DON'T HAVE CHIMNEYS
AND SANTA WILL COME TO THE
DOOR OR COME THROUGH THE
WINDOW AND VERY OFTEN HE'LL
RING A LITTLE BELL BUT THE
CHIMNEY IDEA COMES IN
THROUGH THE OLD STORY THAT
St. NICHOLAS THREW GIFTS
INTO THE HOUSE -- SOME SAY
THROUGH A CHIMNEY.

Maureen says OKAY.
BUT TODAY IT'S MOSTLY A
NORTH AMERICAN THING?

Gerry says IT'S TEMPORA
CLIMATE THING SO IN
BRAZIL HE COMES BY
HELICOPTER AND NO CHIMNEY.

Maureen laughs.

Maureen says OKAY, MARY IS IN
OMEEMEE.
HI MARY?

Mary says HI.
I WAS WONDERING WHERE THE
LUMP OF COAL IN THE STOCKING
COMES FROM?

Gerry says THAT'S A
GOOD QUESTION AND SINCE MY
WIFE IS NOT WATCHING THIS I
CAN TELL HER I'M GETTING HER
A LUMP OF COAL.

Maureen laughs.

Gerry continues IT'S ACTUALLY A CANDLE IN
THE SHAPE OF A LUMP OF COAL.
SO I'LL PUT THAT IN HER
STOCKING.
IT COMES FROM THE HABIT OF
THREATENING CHILDREN WITH
BAD THINGS IF THEY'RE NOT
GOOD.
IT STARTS OFF NOT WITH COAL
BUT WITH SWITCHES OR RODS TO
BEAT THE CHILD WITH.
AND THEN I THINK IT TURNS
INTO ASHES FROM THE FIRE,
AND THEN THE FARTEST BACK I
CAN TRACE THE COLE IS TO THE
19th CENTURY.
YOU HAVE TO BE FAIRLY
WEALTHY AS A CULTURE TO BE
ABLE TO THROW AWAY COAL SO
PUTTING IT IN KIDS'
STOCKINGS COMES RATHER LATE
IN CHRISTMAS HISTORY.

Maureen says YOU KNOW WHO THE
MODERN DAY VERSION OF THAT
IS?
SOCKS AND UNDERWEAR.

They laugh.

Maureen continues IF A KID GETS SOCKS AND
UNDERWEAR FOR CHRISTMAS THEY
THINK OUR A REAL MEANIE.
OKAY, THANK YOU, MARY.
VIOLET IS IN BRAMPTON.
HI VIOLET.

Violet says HI.

Maureen says HI.

Violet says WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT
SOCKS.
I JUST WONDERED WHERE THAT
ORIGINATED AND IS IT
CANADIAN OR --

Gerry says NO, THAT'S
ACTUALLY VERY OLD.
IT GOES BACK TO THE MIDDLE
AGES.
GIFTS FOR CHILDREN WERE
PROBABLY FIRST PUT IN THEIR
SHOES.
WE KNOW THAT IN THE 1200s,
ITALIAN NUNS WOULD PUT
LITTLE GIFTS ON St. NICHOLAS
DAY IN SHOES.
AND BY THE 1500s, WE HAVE
THE NOTION OF STOCKINGS
HANGING UP.
MARTIN LUTHER TALKS ABOUT
LEAVING STOCKINGS OUT FOR
St. THICK HAS SO CERTAINLY
BY 1520 IT'S A WIDESPREAD
CUSTOM IN EUROPE.

Maureen says WHAT ABOUT
EATING TURKEY AT CHRISTMAS?

Gerry says THAT'S
OLDER THAN YOU THINK.
THE TURKEY IS AN AZTEC BIRD,
DOMESTICATED BY THE
INHABITANTS OF MEXICO AND
WHEN THEY WERE CONQUERED BY
SPAIN, THE SPANISH BROUGHT
IT BACK TO EUROPE.
THE NAME IS A BIT BIZARRE
BECAUSE IT HAS NOTHING TO DO
WITH TURKEY, BUT IT GOT
CONFUSED WITH ANOTHER BIRD
THAT MERCHANTS FROM TURKEY,
OR THE TURKEY MERCHANTS WERE
BRINGING TO EUROPE SO, IT
GOT CALLED THE TURKEY, AND
IT'S, IT DATES IN MOST OF
EUROPE FROM THE 1530s TO THE
1550s.
IN FACT THE FIRST GUY TO
BRING IT TO ENGLAND GOT TO
ADD A TURKEY CREST TO HIS
FAMILY COAT OF ARMS.

Maureen says REALLY?!

Gerry says YEAH.

Maureen says WHAT ABOUT IN
BRAZIL AND PORTUGAL?
WHAT DO THEY DO WITH THE
TURKEY IN THOSE COUNTRIES?

Gerry says THEY LOVE
TO MAKE THEM DRUNK.

Maureen says THEY LET THE
TURKEY DRUNK AND THEN KILL
IT?

Gerry says FIRST OF
ALL IT MAKES -- THEY SAY IT
LET'S THEM DIE HAPPY, AND
SECONDLY THEY THINK IT KIND
OF MARINATES THE BIRD FROM
THE INSIDE.
SO THEY'LL FORCE ALCOHOL
DOWN ITS THROAT AND THEN
DISPATCH THE POOR BIRD AFTER
A SUITABLE PERIOD.

Maureen says OKAY,
WE'LL BE GETTING CALLS FROM
THE ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS.
IRENE IS NEXT.
HI IRENE.

Irene says HI.
MY FATHER WAS HUNGARIAN AND
I WONDER PUCK TELL ME THE
SIGNIFICANCE OF WHAT WE DID
CHRISTMAS AS A CHRISTMAS
MEAL.
WE HAD FOUR THING, GARLIC,
HONEY, AN AND HE WILL
WALLNUCHLT HE CUT THE APPLE
INTO THE SAME NUMBER OF
PIECES AS THERE WERE FAMILY
MEMBERS AND THE SAME WITH
THE WALNUT GARLIC AND HONEY
AND THEN WE ALL HAD IT AS A
SYMBOL OF SOMETHING BUT I
NEVER KNEW WHAT.
I WAS TOO YOUNG TO ASK.

Gerry says THERE'S A
NUMBER OF SYMBOLS ATTACHED
TO THAT.
LONG LIFE IS ONE, PROSPERITY
IS ANOTHER, FAMILY
TOGETHERNESS IS ANOTHER.
THAT'S A LOVELY HABIT.
I'M GLAD HE DID THAT.
DID YOU ALL RISE FROM THE
TABLE AT THE SAME TIME AT
THE END OF THE MEAL?

Irene says I CAN'T RECALL
THAT.

Gerry says IN SOME
EASTERN EUROPEAN FAMILIES
THEY DO THAT, AGAIN AS A
SYMBOL OF FAMILY UNITY, AND
IT'S SAID IF YOU STAND UP
BEFORE ANYBODY ELSE IS
FINISHED YOU'RE DOOMED FOR
SOME TIME THIS THAT YEAR.

Maureen says OH WHAT A NICE
TRADITION.
GOOD.
I HOPE IRENE CARRIES IT ON.
THANKS VERY MUCH.
DIANE IS IN NARK.
HI DIANE?

Diane says HI.

Maureen says HI.

Diane says I WAS WONDERING
WHERE THE WHOLE TRADITION OF
DRINKING EGGNOG COMES FROM
AT CHRISTMAS TIME?

Gerry says EGGNOG
BEGINS ITS LIFE AS A FRENCH
DRINK.
IT'S CALLED LES DE POULE, WE
STILL HAVE THAT ON THE
CARTONS.
CHICKEN MILK.

Maureen says BECAUSE WE'RE IN
CANADA!

Gerry says YES, BUT IT
REACHES NEW ORLEANS FROM
FRANCE AND THERE THEY ADD
ALCOHOL TO IT.
NOW THE ENGLISH WORD FOR ALE
AND THUS ALL ALCOHOLIC
DRINKS IS NOG.
SO IT BECOMES EGGNOG.
THERE'S A FAMOUS OCCURRENCE
IN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS
HISTORY CALLED THE EGGNOG
RIOT.
IN WEST POINT MILITARY
ACADEMY, WHERE ALL THE ARMY
OFFICERS GO TO TRAIN, THE
CADETS FROM THE SOUTH OF THE
STATES WERE USED TO A VERY
RACOUS OUTDOORSY,
ALCOHOL-FILLED CHRISTMAS,
AND WEST POINT IS IN NEW
YORK, WHICH HAD A MUCH MORE
STAYED AND TEATOTAL ATTITUDE
TO IT SO WHEN THE SOUTHERN
STUDENTS FOUND OUT THEY
WEREN'T GOING TO HAVE EGGNOG
OR DRINK THEY RIOTED AND
BURNT A BIT OF THE ACADEMY
DOWN.

Maureen says SO THERE'S THE
BOSTON TEA PARTY AND THEN
THE EGGNOG RIOT.
NOW WE KNOW.
THANKS VERY MUCH, DIANE.
MAX WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHERE
THE WORD “HOGMONAY” COMES
FROM AND WHY IT IS GOOD LUCK
TO HAVE A FIRST FOOTER WHO
IS TALL AND DARK --

Gerry says AH, YES.
I CAN'T GIVEN YOU A
DEFINITIVE ANSWER ON
HOGMONAY.
THERE'S TOO MANY VARIATIONS.
OLD CELTIC VARIATIONS, THE
OTHER THAT SUGGESTS IT'S
HOMME ANNE, “THE MAN IS
BORN.”
NOBODY COMES DOWN ON ANY
PARTICULAR IDEA SO THAT
THERE'S NO DEFINITIVE
NOTION.
THE NOTION OF THE FIRST
FOOTER THOUGH IS ONE THE
GREAT SCOTTISH CUSTOMS THAT
APPEARS -- APPEARS IN A FEW
OTHER EUROPEAN AREAS.
IT'S BASED ON THE NOTION
THAT AS YOU WANT THE YEAR TO
GO, SO YOU MUST BEGIN IT.
SO IN ORDER TO GET GOOD LUCK
IN THE HOUSE, YOU HAVE
SOMETHING HAPPENING RIGHT AT
MIDNIGHT OR A CLOSE TO
MIDNIGHT AS POSSIBLE THAT IS
GOOD LUCK AND SO THE FIRST
PERSON WHO COMES IN SHOULD
BE LUCKY.
NOW, NOW THIS VARIES, BUT
I'LL JUST GIVE YOU A VERY
CRUDE DIAGNOSIS OF WHAT'S
LUCKY AND WHAT ISN'T LUCKY.
MEN ARE LUCKY, WOMEN ARE
UNLUCKY.

Maureen says HUH!

Gerry says SORRY.
DARK HAIRED PEOPLE ARE LUCKY,
FAIR-HAIRED, AND
PARTICULARLY RED HAIRED,
VERY UNLUCKY.
THIS GETS WORSE AND WORSE, I
KNOW.

Maureen says WE'RE BOOTING
YOU OUT OF HERE VERY SOON.

Gerry laughs and continues PEOPLE WITH
A HIGH ARCH ARE LUCKY,
PEOPLE WITH FLAT FEET ARE
UNLUCKY.
SO IF A DARK HAIRED MAN
ENTERS YOUR HOUSE AT
MIDNIGHT BEARS A LITTLE GIFT,
A SCIENCE OF, YOU KNOW, A
DRINK OR SOME GRAIN OR
SOMETHING AS A SYMBOL OF --
SYMBOL OF PROSPERITY IN THE
HOUSE FOR A YEAR, THEN
THAT'S VERY GOOD.
IN FACT IF YOU WERE A DARK
HAIRED KID, YOU COULD MAKE A
LIVING IN SCOTLAND AND EVEN
PARTS OF THE MARITIMES GOING
DOOR TO DOOR TO SORT OF RHEN
YOURSELF AS A DARK-HAIRED
PERSON TO LET THE NEW YEAR
IN.

Maureen says MY ROOTS ARE
DARK.
She laughs and continues ANYWAY, WE ONLY HAVE A
COUPLE MINUTES LEFT AND I
WANT TO GO BACK TO SOMETHING
YOU SAID.
MEXICO IS ONE OF THE TWO
PLACES YOU'D MOST LIKE TO
SPEND CHRISTMAS IN.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER TWO?

Gerry says THE TOP ONE
WOULD BE GERMANY AND
AUSTRIA.
THEY JUST HAVE SO MANY
WONDERFUL CUSTOM, WONDERFUL
MUSIC, GREAT FOOD, A LOT OF
STREET DRAMA.
THEY'VE GOT PEOPLE OUT IN
MASKS BEATING UP ON DEEM
MORNINGS THEY'VE GOT GUNMEN
FIRING IN CHRISTMAS, THEY'VE
GOT STILLE NACHT, SILENT
NIGHT, THEY HAVE THE SNOW,
SO GERMANY AND AUSTRIA
NUMBER ONE.
MEXICO, NUMBER TWO, BECAUSE
THEY'RE SO ENTHUSIASTIC
ABOUT IT, AND NUMBER THREE,
THE SOUTH OF FRANCE.
WHICH I NEVER THOUGHT OF AS
A CHRISTMAS SEE KIND OF
PLACE.

Maureen says NO, NO.

Gerry says BUT ANY
PLACE THAT HAS THE RITUAL 13
DESERTS, I HAVE TO THINK IS
WORTHY OF MY CONSIDERATION.
AND THEN THEY HAVE WONDERFUL
LITTLE CEREMONIES WHERE THEY
BRING REAL SHEPHERDS DOWN
FROM THE HILLS AND MAKE THEM
THE FOCUS OF CHRISTMAS EVE.
THEY BRING LAMBS INTO THE
CHURCH AND SET THEM UP.
IT'S ALL VERY NICE.

Maureen says SOUNDS LIKE
MEXICO AND SOUTH OF FRANCE,
SPOKEN LIKE A MAN WHO LIVES
IN WINNIPEG MOST OF THE
YEAR.

Gerry chuckles and says I'M AFRAID,
SO.

Maureen says RIGHT.
OKAY.
THAT WAS GREAT!
I REALLY ADMIRE SOMEBODY WHO
CAN DO ALL THAT RESEARCH
HAVE IT UP HERE.

Maureen points to her head.

Gerry says WELL, I'M
GLAD TO LEARN ABOUT THE
MAROONS, TOO.
I WANT TO ADD THAT TO THE
NEXT EDITION.

Maureen says ALL RIGHT, MAYBE
WE CAN HELP YOU JOIN UP WITH
THAT PERSON.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH AGAIN.
GERRY BOWLER'S BOOK THE
WORLD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF
CHRISTMAS IS PUBLISHED
BY MCULLAN AND STUART.
AND THAT’S IT
FOR THIS EDITION
OF MORE TO LIFE.
THANKS FOR
JOINING US TODAY,
I’M MAUREEN TAYLOR
HOPPING YOU’RE
TUNNING AGAIN
MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY
ON TVO AT 1:00.

Watch: Tax Assessment & Encyclopedia Of Christmas, X-Mas Decorating