National Bank is here to help newcomers get started in Canada

iStockphoto LP
iStockphoto LP

Starting a new in a new country bears its share of challenges… thinking about education matters, finding a place to live and work, and understanding the intricacies of the local customs and language. Between settling in, managing finances and getting to know your new country, it is crucial to make sure that you obtain the right advice for your particular situation so that you can have the chance to accomplish every one of your projects in Canada.

On the financial front, you must also familiarize yourself with the Canadian banking system, such as your credit file, bank accounts, savings plans, taxes and currency. It’s with that perspective in mind that National Bank now offers banking solutions designed especially for newcomers to Canada.

A welcoming offer

In addition to standard services, which include online bank statements and access to our High Interest Savings Account, our newcomers offer affords you an array of benefits to help you transition into your new life with peace of mind, namely thanks to: Continue reading

When exterior and interior blend

The Hobbit house has inspired the imagination because of its close ties with nature: grass on the roof, wood door, stone, dry mud, branches and other materials.

Artisans have reproduced the Hobbit house which, to a certain degree, has existed for a long time, as it is thought that author J.R.R. Tolkien largely based it on Viking houses, whose best preserved prototypes are found in Iceland.

In a decorative world, designers have more or less consciously pushed the concept of the Hobbit house further. It’s as if they invited nature to penetrate inside to create a new style of decoration.

The Earth House article in Wikipedia shows an interior that will make you smile. The contours of the window are astonishing. There’s little room for angles. Everything curves, as angles are rare in nature. If you read the article, you will also see many examples of the exterior of an earth house.

Wikimedia commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike : Archi0780
Wikimedia commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike : Archi0780

The major obstacle: interior layout can be challenging because you have to consider where to place the furniture. Continue reading

Air bubbles for skin

It’s the biggest swimming centre in the world, but that’s not where the interest lies. Rather dull during the day, the building turns into a marvelous blue at night. Seeing the moon reflect off this ice blue is a spectacle in itself. That’s already enough to make the building stand out, but there’s more.

What you have before your eyes belongs to an accelerating revolution in the field of building physics. The American pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, known as the biosphere today, was a first timid step, just like the famous house over the waterfall, the work of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

It’s a revolution of organic architecture. The principle is simple: use organs of animated beings as inspiration to build. This revolution is riding the wave of recent scientific discoveries concerning nanofibers, intelligent textiles, plastic derivatives and other materials.

iStockphoto LP
iStockphoto LP

The national swimming centre in Peking, also called the Water Cube, was built for the 2008 Olympic Games. The outer shell, with its 3000 air bubbles, greatly imitates the way human skin works. Exploiting the sensual side of skin and the way it self-regulates in terms of temperature and pressure is becoming increasingly popular among architects. Continue reading

A summer project: a new patio

iStockphoto LP
iStockphoto LP

The summer season brings a panoply of ideas to improve our outdoor environment. The patio is often at the top of the list, because it’s so practical for meals and for taking a minute to relax.

If you want a patio that will pass the test of time, while maintaining an elegant look, the most important thing is to install a foundation that will support the selected material.

First, outline the perimeter of the patio that you want to build and determine the height.

Then dig to a minimum depth of 18 inches.

Line the bottom and sides of the excavation site with a landscaping cloth that will prevent the crushed stone foundation from mixing with the ground while allowing water to flow through to ensure proper drainage.

Spread about four inches of 0-3/4 crushed stone (which means that the size of the stone varies between zero and three quarters of an inch in diameter), and use a plate compactor to compact it. Repeat both steps until the patio is level, less the thickness of stones used, plus one inch. Continue reading