February 2016

2016 has arrived and The Imperial is still not finished…..  I dread running into people. Unfortunately the first word they say is ‘WHEN…”  I know the rest of the sentence is “will you be done?”  We are doing the best we can do but there is SO MUCH to do yet.  I have hit my head on the table too many times the past two months when we have come up against unexpected problems.  The problems are solved eventually and life goes on.

Nith Valley Construction brought in some new men to help out:

Mark Soehner owns Mark Soehner Interlock. He specializes in pavestone driveways and walkways.  At The Imperial he is building backing in walls, carrying around a lot of trim and doors and even hanging doors.
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Chuck Bender

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Chuck began work in December.  His first job was to pour curbs under walls in the basement for fire-rating and in case of floods.  This was not an easy job for a tall man to accomplish.  Chuck installed the flag pole brackets on Mill Street, the apron on the windows and currently is hanging doors on the second floor.  He adjusted the solid doors and frames and cased the doors as well.

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The windows are copied from the addition in 1902:

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Aprons under windows:

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Dennis has been installing the window sills, returns and curved window trim. He will construct the curved frames as he goes along. His workshop is temporarily located in the sunroom. Dennis has been smiling so much lately that we don’t recognize him.  He even had the lunch table laughing last week – does this have anything to do with the fact that he is finally doing carpentry work and he sold his house?? 

The best view of the snow whirling around is from the sunroom – that is if you can see through the clouds of sawdust created by Dennis:

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A large tower/shaft in the middle of the building that will be used for the brewery and restaurant, is finally in progress.  It is 41 feet high and roughly 5 foot square in size. Chuck and Eric built the tower on the roof -no more water will leak into the sunroom.

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Scaffolding was then set up inside the shaft.  Great Northern Insulation returned on schedule to insulate the top of the shaft and then Andrew and Rick from Madil drywalled the interior to fire rate it.

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While the weather was somewhat temperate, Eric worked on the trim on the addition.  He installed the wrap-around on the exterior on the sunroom – it is ready for its metal casing.

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Fred Kau Plumbing ran the plumbing and condenser lines from the brewery to the shaft. The duct itself is being manufactured and will be craned in before the end of February. Here are two of their crew:


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Piping in the brewery leading to the shaft:

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The Juliette balconies on the addition were installed this past week by Ed Lau who also manufactured them. They are beautiful.

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Electricomm installed temporary milk-house heaters in the suites to provide heat for the dry wallers, tilers and painters.  The lack of heat has been our biggest problem for months.  We waited from early December until January 16 for Union Gas to hook us up. On January 25th, a few furnaces were turned on.  It was the first time there was heat in the building since May 2014.  Lynn splurged for construction champagne for the guys to celebrate:  root beer and diet coke.

Meanwhile, Todd and his crew have roughed in the wiring for the fire alarms etc. Electrical panels have been installed in all the units.  The light switches and receptacles are ready to go.

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Todd installed a few of the lights above the bathroom vanities:

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and a few lights in the hallways of the suites:

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The newest electrician joining the Imperial team is Josh Knisel:

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Delta Elevator returned and installed the elevator cab – “oh my”  as Lynn says!  Wait until you see it.  Here is a sneak picture of the ceiling in the cab.  We used the original tin ceiling that we found in the lobby and had a replica made by local manufacturer, Brian Greer of Mannheim:


The elevator workers are usually working in small unlit spaces:

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Gary Bender is back pulling more wires:  how many kilometres have you pulled, Gary? He is counting:

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H. Madil Drywall finished taping the second-floor apartments and is now working on the third floor – three more suites to complete.  Andrew and  Rick are working on the corridors and stairwells.  There are a few new Madil guys on site helping speed things up:

Emil Guenette

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Just when I thought we had received our last truckload of drywall, another one was delivered last week.  I was puzzled at first until I remembered that we had to drywall the basement.  This will be another job for some short men.  One cannot stand up in the basement. There will be nothing in the basement but it has to be drywalled for fire rating.

The last drywall delivery:

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Brody Painting set up a paint shop on the main floor. They had LOTS of trim to prime:

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The trim was stacked up after it was dry:

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Placing the wet trim on dryer racks:

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They have been very busy priming the trim, doors, casings and baseboards. Rick Lamarre from Brody Painting is new at The Imperial:

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The doors waiting to be painted:

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Lyndon and Rick have also painted the suites on the second floor and are waiting to do those on the third floor. They are spraying a level-five finish on the walls. It is a heavy-duty primer that hides waves and textures on the wall.

I have hired MacKenzie Jordan, a local artist,  to paint three Edwardian pictures to cover shaft doors on each floor.   He chose three subjects that were popular in the Edwardian era [1901-1910].  I can’t wait to see his work.

Shaft door:

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Adam Pearson from Conestoga Mechanical  is not new to The Imperial – I just missed taking his photo.  I first met him when he was trying to install ducts in some very small places.  After that, he went up to the roof to connect the condenser units.

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The Conestoga crew installed the water lines in each apartment and the plumbing in the basement for the brewery.  Blake had a close call last  month when a van drove into his truck on his side.  Blake’s truck was totalled – but Blake was OK. Everyone felt sorry for him and has been treating him very well. We think that all this has gone to his head as he now wears a tiara on his hardhat.

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Our newest people at The Imperial are two floor installers from downtown Toronto:  Resource Flooring. Tony and Steve have installed the shower bases, the bathroom tile flooring, tiles in the shower, shower benches and the laundry room flooring.  It is a very precise job that requires a lot of measuring and patience.  All our flooring was ordered from Jordy McGowan of McGowan Office Interiors in Brantford. Apparently the hardwood flooring is being delivered on February 16th……

One of the walk-in showers:

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The flooring of the shower, the bench and the marble threshold:

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I began advertising to rent the  suites.  You will see large signs erected on the outside of the building.

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The stud walls in SweeTs have been put up.  Chrissie would like to open her bakery for Easter [of this year].

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Work is continuing on Imagine Travel.  All the pipes have been installed in the ceiling – it is an expressway of conduits.

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The same pipes travel across the lobby:

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We have created a Time Capsule in the lobby for the shoes. We have found five left shoes that were hidden in the building of the hotel:  three children’s shoes were found in the 1872 construction and two men’s shoes were discovered in the 1902 addition. Apparently hiding shoes during a build brings good fortune to the building. The good fortune will continue only if you hide them again.

So we have created a shoe capsule for the shoes in one of the lobby walls.  Rick Haffner built shelves for the shoes and other things that are going into the capsule.  We thought it appropriate that we place former owners’ shoes in the wall.  So we gathered shoes from Mike Weber and his family, Edward Becker, Wayne Brown and Ken Schmidt. A few close friends gave us a left shoe too.  We will close in the wall soon and take some photos of the contents.  We are sure to have good fortune continue with all these shoes.

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We are now in the middle of February. By mid-march, the floors should be installed, bathrooms finished, kitchens installed.  Then we start hanging the crystal chandeliers.  What a feat this will be.  But I can’t wait to see them hanging. We are finally near the finish line.

Here are some recipes that the guys have enjoyed on Wednesdays.

Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup [Gina Nistico Food Editor of tasteofhome.com] serves 10


2 1/2 pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken

1 1/4 t. pepper

1/2 t. salt

1 T. canola oil

1 large onion, chopped [2 c.]

1 garlic clove, minced

10 cups chicken broth

4 celery ribs, chopped [2 c.]

4 medium carrots, chopped [2 c.]

2 bay leaves

1 tsp minced fresh thyme of 1/4 t. dried thyme

3 c. uncooked Polish Kluski noodles or egg noodles [8 oz.]

1 T. fresh parsley, chopped

1 T. lemon juice

4 green onions, sliced

  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle with 1/2 t. pepper and salt. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken in batches, skin side down.  Cook until browned. Remove chicken from pan and discard skin.  Reserve 2T. of the drippings and discard the rest.
  2. Add chopped onion to drippings and cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender.  Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Add broth, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.  Bring to boil.  Return chick to pan,  Add celery, carrots, bay leaves and thyme.  Reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  3. Transfer chicken to a plate.  Remove stockpot from heat.  Add noodles and let stand covered for 20 minutes or until the noodles are just tender.
  4. Meanwhile, when chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and discard bones.  Shred meat into bite-size pieces.  Return meat to stockpot and heat to boiling again. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, green onions and remaining 3/4 t. pepper.  Remove bay leaves and serve.

Wintertime Italian Wedding Soup [Rachel Ray; serves 4]

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For the Parmigiano-Reggiano Fortified Stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large head garlic, halved and cloves left in their skins
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 lemon, sliced into 4 slices
A few stems of parsley, thyme and a large bay leaf
A few white or black peppercorns
1 quart chicken stock plus 3 cups water
1 large chunk of rind from a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat, a turn of the pan. Brown garlic, onion and lemon slices to caramelize surfaces then add herbs, peppercorns, stock, water and, most importantly, the large piece of rind. Simmer 20 minutes then cool and strain.

For the meat balls and soup:

1 bag of sirloin meatballs

5 to 6 cups chopped, stemmed escarole, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4 pound maltagliati (torn egg pasta, Buon Italia brand preferred) or broken egg lasagna sheets or other wide egg pasta

Juice of 1 small lemon, to serve

Bring fortified stock to a low boil, add  meatballs to the stock. Simmer for 10 minutes then add pasta and cook 3-4 minutes more. Wilt greens into soup, add lemon juice and serve in shallow bowls.