If you are anything like me or my wife, you have often walked or driven past a beautiful house and thought, ‘I wonder what that place is like inside.’
You begin to imagine what it might be like in there. A grand, sweeping staircase? Chandeliers? Open concept or formal rooms with twelve foot high ceilings? An indoor pool maybe? Perhaps there is a garage full of exotic cars – a Lamborghini and a Porsche, with a Mercedes for every day shopping?
Well, I guess I am lucky for two reasons. Firstly, as a Niagara-on-the-Lake Realtor, I have the pleasure of visiting many nice houses and meeting their owners. Sometimes bringing potential buyers to view the home and sometimes acting as the listing agent on behalf of the home owner.
Over the years, I have seen many beautiful homes in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the surrounding villages of Virgil, St Davids and Queenston.
The other reason I am lucky is due to the fact I am a member of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club and one of our main annual events is the Rotary Holiday House Tour! Rotary have been doing the Holiday House Tour for 16 years and during that time, it has gone from strength to strength. Every year, we sell more and more tickets to members of the public who come along to see inside some of these magnificent homes over a two day period.
So what is the Holiday House Tour? During the year, we approach the owners of some of the most beautiful or historic homes in the area and ask them if they would be prepared to open their doors to the public for two days in December. If they agree, we allow local businesses to sponsor the houses.
Interior designers and home stagers help stage to the homes. Some local retailers may set up displays in the homes, all with a Christmas theme to get you in the Holiday spirit.
All members of the Rotary Club plus around 100 volunteers work very hard to provide information on the houses, to collect tickets, guide the public through and, of course, to ensure the homes are cared for. Let me be clear, we are not talking about 50 or 100 people going through – we are talking about thousands of people. I guess there are a lot of people who want to know what is inside these homes!
The event is now so successful, we are regularly contacted by people from all over, asking when the next one will be, when will tickets be available, what houses will be on the tour next year, etc. Lots of local people, people from Toronto and surrounding GTA, New York State, friends of previous visitors who have been told about the House Tour, the list goes on.
If you would like to see these homes for yourself and satisfy your curiosity, please visit Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary for more information. If you miss it this year, I guarantee we will be doing it all again next year!