Rod Janz


Relax, Exhale, Dream with Rick Ropchan

In this episode, we visit Rick Ropchan the owner of Red Sleep Innovations.

  • They have a two-piece blanket that has a patented design that allows you to keep warm no matter what you’re doing called the Diner’s Wrap.
  • We discuss the features and benefits of the blanket. It’s a way to keep covered regardless of what you were doing.
  • Can be used on the patio, while you drive your car, or watching TV.
  • It has two different components that you put together.
  • Rick tells the story of the blanket and the wheel.
  • Made of polar fleece and water-resistant. It has such a tight weave that it keeps the wind away from your body. It’s warm!
  • A travel version is coming out later this summer. This fall they are coming out with a study cuddle.

To find out more about Red Sleep Innovations go to

Brought to you by Mike Wilson
_ _ _ _ _

To be interviewed for our local Fraser Valley business podcast email

Since yet another round of restrictions during the pandemic, many of us are confined to our homes and communities, unable to (legally) go out and explore the Fraser Valley. With the month of May coming up, it still seems unsure whether COVID will calm down. Because of this,  there isn’t a ton of food festivals, concerts, or farmers’ markets to enjoy in the nice pre-summer weather. But not all is lost. There is, however, a small handful of events for Langley and Abbotsford-dwellers to attend this May. So grab out your calendar, and see if any of these events is right for you and your family. 

Please check with the event organizers ahead of time to see if the following events are still on. COVID restrictions are always changing and are impacting events.


Here are a couple of events happening in Abbotsford in May.

Hanging Basket Sale – Back by popular demand!Hanging Baskets
The annual Telecare Hanging Basket Fundraiser is returning for another year. They assure us that they are doing everything possible to practice safe selling and pick-up including social distancing, wearing masks, and wiping things down with a disinfectant. Telecare’s phone lines remain open and are needed more than ever and they appreciate your support.

If you would like a high-quality hanging basket, drop by Trinity Christian Reformed Church, 3215 Trethewey St., Abbotsford on Saturday, May 1 between 9 AM and 2 PM and purchase your hanging basket on-site. To order online see

Food Festival – May 14

Although that seems to be it for our list of Langley events, there’s still a variety of events taking place across the Fraser Valley. This brings us to my personal favourites, The Canadian Brewhouse and Grill are hosting their very own, Lobster Fest 2021. With tickets at 40 bucks apiece, you’ll be sure to get your fill of lobster, baked mac and cheese, and more deliciousness.

Langley Events

Horse show LangleyHorse Shows – May 2, 15, 16, 29  
If anyone here is a fan of English or Western horse shows, Windsum is hosting a small variety of dressage events. Starting with the Summer Classic Dressage Show on May 2, they’re also hosting a Western show on  May 15, an English show on  May 16, and an English/Western on May 29.

More Horses – May 9
Another event for the horse people in the family. Pre Teen Pony Party Night (try saying that ten times fast) is taking place on May 9. It’s a one-hour event (3-4) and includes a mini warm-up lesson, games on horseback, a dance party at the end, and even a place to take selfies with the horses. Wow!

Mothers Day Event – May 9Mothers day
Swing by the Evergreen Cultural Centre at 730pm for a lovely Mother’s Day, and enjoy a show by Ken Lavigne – a tenor singer and composer. If you and your loved one(s) are feeling up for a rather tasteful evening, consider grabbing a table for two at $70, or a table for 4 for $125. If you enjoy a classical music sound, this is worth checking out.

Paintball – May 23
This one is for the Star Wars fans of the family. Blackwatch Paintball is hosting their first Star Wars event, titled “The Beginning” – so keep on the lookout for more of these if you’re into that sort of thing. A less sophisticated choice, but sure to amuse at least one person you know, you really can’t go wrong with Star Wars-themed paint

Classical ConcertClassical Concert – May 30
And that brings us to the last non-conference or certification-related event in Langley. Taking place on May 30, from 3-4 pm, the Aurora Piano Trio is performing their “Concerts Café Classico” at the Langley Community Music School. Yet another one for the classical music lovers.

If you’re planning to check any of these out or have any other events you know of, let us know in the comments below.

Article Author: Josh Lowen

Changes to the stress test for mortgages

The Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) began hinting at changes to the stress test in Jan 2020. Those changes were put on hold as it became clear we were entering uncharted territories with a global pandemic.

Welcome to April 2021. While the pandemic is still a part of our daily lives, the real estate market has been on fire. OFSI has recently announced their new proposal for a change to our qualifying rate. The proposed change is set to come into effect on June 1.

Who will this affect?

Clients who are needing mortgage financing who have 20% (or more) down or who are looking to refinance their mortgage, will now have to qualify at a stress test rate of 5.25%.

This change will NOT affect clients who have less than 20% down. That qualifying rate will stay at 4.79% for now.

What does this mean in terms of dollar figures?

Assuming the following:

  • Combined family income of $130,000
  • Property taxes of $4,500 annually
  • Little to no debts in this scenario
  • 20% down
  • 30-year amortization

Under current rules, I could qualify this family for up to a 900,000 purchase with a 180,000 (20%) down payment.

Under the proposed new stress test of 5.25%, using the same down payment of 180,000 (will end up slightly more than 20%) this same family would only qualify for up to 860,000 purchases.

This is an overall decrease of approx. 4 – 4.5%. If you are currently house hunting, using this % will give you an approximate idea of how the new rules will affect you directly. However, it’s always best to get in touch with your mortgage professional to discuss your specific file.

Who will be the hardest hit?

Clients who will be hit hardest by these changes will be middle-class Canadian families. Those who are looking to upgrade from their starter home, have built up some equity over the last few years, and want to move into something that better suits their needs.

It will be interesting to see how lenders adjust to this new potential change. When the initial stress test rules were put in place, we did see that many lenders were looking for ways to help ease the impact of the new rules. For example, child tax benefits were now allowed to be included in our income qualification.

As well, in the past few years to mitigate this change, we have seen parents co-signing for their adult children in record numbers. We have seen more gifted down payments (early inheritances) to try and balance out the stress test changes. Families have also been selling their individual properties and merging their homes allowing young families to use their parent’s retirement income to help with qualifying power.

Adjusting to the proposed changes

With all the ways the new rules affected Canadians, we persevered and have adjusted. I have no doubt the same will happen this time.

As these changes are still ‘proposed’ there will be a lot more information to come in the upcoming weeks, but it is extremely important that you move forward as if the changes are happening. If you are currently shopping (with 20% or more down) or considering refinancing your home, it’s extremely important to connect with your mortgage broker to see how this will affect you personally.

When it comes to mortgage financing, there is no such thing as being over-prepared.

All the Best!

Sarah Bess Millar
p. 778-278-7816

As the days draw closer to summer, it’s still uncertain whether or not COVID-19 will stay a social barrier. The allowed social gathering numbers have increased to 10 people, but what about those concerned about health and safety? Or maybe you just want to plan a fun, family-friendly outing in the Fraser Valley. There are many fun outdoorsy adventures waiting to be had, and today we’ll take a look at 5.

Hiking at the Community Forest (Chilliwack)

If you live in Chilliwack or don’t mind the drive, the Community Forest is a great spot for a COVID-friendly family adventure. Located off the Annis Road exit of Highway 1, this hike is fun for the whole family. Dogs love it if you have one, and bonus: with a couple of different routes to choose from, you might not even run into anybody else. If you love hiking, or maybe you’re on the prowl for some new spots, the Community Forest won’t disappoint.

Fraser Valley CreekFishing in the Mountain Slough (Agassiz)

Mountain Slough, located beside Highway 7 coming from Agassiz, is a neat little area. I’m not sure if or when it gets busy, but each time I’ve gone I was the only person there. Featuring a nice little fishing spot, as well as a bit of a trail, both the fishermen and hikers and joggers of the family are sure to have a good time. The scenery is incredible as well, both on the trip too, and at the destination.

Fire Creek (Mission)

As the days are getting a little warmer, swimming season is almost upon us. And what could be better than natural rock pools? Fire Creek is personally my favorite place to go in the Fraser Valley. It’s up Stave Lake road, which means you get to do a bit of 4x4ing, plus there’s still a little bit of a hike to get to it. But once you’re there, endless hours of fun for the whole family. If swimming, cliff jumping (please be careful), or even just wading in pools is your thing, I’d recommend checking this one out.

GeocachingFraser Valley Trail

Geocaching is a classic activity. Maybe you know what it is, maybe you don’t (I’m assuming you might), but one of the fun things about geocaching is that it’s not limited to one location. Another adventure for a fun family day, I’d suggest checking this out if you like hiking.

Fishtrap Creek (Abbotsford)
And last but not least, here’s a location for families with younger kids, or even if you just enjoy walking. A good spot for biking too, Fishtrap Creek is a mix of fun. Enjoy the scenery, birds, and more, with the whole family.

So there you have it. The pandemic may be lurking, but there’s still a lot of adventures to be had.

Have you been to any of these places? Have your own suggestion for a COVID-friendly time? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Josh Loewen

Listen on Apple Podcasts

“After a 20-year career in engineering, I was looking for a new challenge. While mulling over a few ideas I took a course on cider making to improve my home cider skills and thought ….hey wait a minute! And so a project was born. We found our 12-acre farm in January 2014, picked out the site of our future cidery, and made an offer.”* ~ Rachel Bolongaro, Fraser Valley Cider Company

In this episode, we visit with Rachel Bolongara, owner of Fraser Valley Cider Company, and discuss:

  • How Fraser Valley Cider Company got its start.
  • Rachel describes the orchard that they have on their property and the challenges of growing apples in the Fraser Valley.
  • How local businesses like the local wineries and Fraser Valley Cider Company are working together.
  • What have Rachel‘s biggest challenges been starting this new venture?
  • What is one of Rachel‘s favourite things about living and doing business in the Fraser Valley?
  • Rachel describes her upcoming opening weekend and the special events that are planned. They now have their lounge license and are able to offer wine, and cider-based cocktails. Expect some great entertainment and food.
  • Rachel talks about where they get their fruit from and the amount they need to make cider.
  • Rachel describes the difference between their traditional craft cider and the cider you might buy in a store.

Fraser Valley Cider Company

Photos and Instagram (used with permission): @fraservalleycider
Location: Fraser Valley Cider Company, 22128 – 16th Avenue, Langley, BC

St. Patrick’s Day 2021: What’s Happening This Year in the Fraser Valley?

One of the first yearly celebrations to be hit by COVID-19 last year was St. Patrick’s Day, so this year we wanted to take a look around the Fraser Valley to see if there is anything that we can do to take part in this annual global celebration of Irish culture.

As you might have guessed, there is very little happening in the way of events. As we contacted the different pubs and event organizers who have done things in the past, the message was almost always the same, “due to COVID we are laying low this year.” But that doesn’t mean that some of the restaurants and pubs, in particular, aren’t attempting to at least give a little nod to remembering St. Patrick.

If you are in the mood for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year, here are several things to consider in the Fraser Valley:


The Canadian Brewhouse – Abbotsford 

Green beer will be available at The Canadian Brewhouse. ON SPECIAL ALL DAY: $8.99 Green Beer Tankards, $8.99 Guinness Tankards

Location: Abbotsford, 3122 Mt. Lehman Rd. Phone: 604-625-5433 Website:


Dead Frog BrewingDead Frog Brewery

From the Dead Frog Brewery Website: “Wednesday, March 17th – Looking for a wee bit o’ fun, good eats, and great beer? Look no further! (On) Wednesday, March 17th we’ll have Bangers & Mash, an all-natural green beer crafted by our Brewmaster Cole, and stouts on Nitro! Green beer (naturally green – NO food colouring) $1 off 12oz glasses of Commander Imperial Stout Bangers & Mash! We’re open from 11 am until 10 pm. See you there!”

For more information about Bangers & Mash see
Location: Dead Frog Brewery #105 8860 201 St. Langley
Photo: Government of BC


Dublin Crossing Dublin Crossin

Normally, Dublin Crossing is the place to go in Surrey on St. Patrick’s Day, but it looks like they won’t be holding a special event this year. They are open, however, so you can always stop by year-round for an Irish pub experience!

Location: 18789 FRASER HIGHWAY, #101-18789 Fraser Highway, Surrey Phone: (604) 575-5470

The Clayton PubThe Clayton Pub

In response to our inquiry to find out what was happening at the Clayton Pub They responded:

“(The Clayton Pub) will have green beer, but with Covid restrictions, it makes it really hard to go further than that. Wednesdays are normally our crab night and we tested an idea to dye our crab legs green in the spirit of St Paddys day, LOL this did not work out, the crab legs looked gross green so we scrapped that idea.”

Location: 5640 188 St, Surrey, BC V3S 4N5 Phone +778-571-1615 Email: Website:

White Hart Public House

Due to covid restrictions in place the White Hart Public House doesn’t have any events going on this year, however, they will have Green $4.50 pints of Red Truck all day long to celebrate, in the safest manner possible. The White Hart Public House was voted Surrey’s Best Pub, Burger, Appetizers, Happy Hour, Breakfast & Brunch, and Patio Dining in The Surrey Leaders Readers Choice Awards 2020!

Location: 8593 132 St., Surrey Phone – (604) 503-5735

Donegal’s Irish House

Donegal’s Irish House has decided to address the challenges we are facing with COVID in a creative way that many of us have become familiar with their “St Paddy’s Day Party (for 2) in a Box.”

Here’s what they have to say:

“With all that’s going on in the world these days, we’ve set up a St Patrick’s Day Party in a Box for you, so you can celebrate Paddy’s Day in style with your significant other, in the comfort and safety of you own home…..there will be no grand parties this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get all the same goodies you would have if your come and partied with us.

“Order yours now, supplies are limited, and when they are sold out, there will be no more! Email us through this page, or via our Facebook page to order, links to both in the contact tab on this site.”

See their website for more information.

There are several ways to potentially lower your tax bill when you understand all of the deductions, credits, and strategies that are available to you.

Increase Retirement Contributions
• Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions are tax-deductible, so contribute before March 1, 2021, to write it off your 2020 taxes.
• Maximize tax savings by deferring your RRSP deduction if you anticipate moving up a tax bracket next year.

Deduct Child Care Costs
• For families who paid someone to watch the kids while they worked.
• Deduct up to $8,000 per child under age seven, and $5,000 for kids aged seven to 16.

taxes fraser valley real estate mike wilson

Credits for Student Loan Interest
• Applies federally and provincially.
• To determine your credit amount, multiply the lowest tax rate by the loan interest amount.
• This interest credit can be applied on any return for the next five years, so claim it when it works best for you.

Claiming Medical Expenses
• Eligible medical expenses include contact lenses, hearing aids, hospital care, travel costs for medical care, and many more.
• If you’re filing with your spouse, it could be better for the partner with the lower net income to claim the expenses.

Home office fraser valley mike wilson

Home Office Deduction
• Designed for the self-employed, so salaried employees who worked remotely in 2020 should check the Canada Revenue Service’s website for details on what they
may claim.
• Always double-check your claims to make sure everything is accurate and eligible.

Take care,

Mike Wilson
Remax Treeland

Want more ways to save come tax time? Call me for a referral to a trusted tax professional!

SOURCE: Canada Revenue Service
© 2021 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. RMMK JANUARY EREPORT C. Used with permission.

Photos: Unsplash

We are always looking for blog writers to write about the Fraser Valley.

You can write up to four blog posts per month that highlight a Fraser Valley park, neighborhood, shopping mall, event, restaurant, business, or recreation center. During COVID you could spotlight businesses that have an online presence or promotion.

Each post should be approximately 500 words and include:

  • 1 – 3 original photos or posted with permission of the photographer/business owner. (Name the photo file with keywords and alt text before you upload it to the website.)
  • A link to the website of the business, government page, or wherever the reader can get more information.
    Additional contact information in the footer for businesses including web address, business owner or PR contact info, physical address, phone number, email address, and social media profile links.
  • A link to the neighborhood page on the real estate website, if there is one.
  • Collaborate with the editor on a content schedule.


  • Keywords include the name of the business, park, or event, and the relevant city/neighborhood.
  • Fraser Valley should be mentioned at least once and twice when it flows naturally.
  • “Things to do” and “things to do in X” X=the city/neighborhood and/or “Fraser Valley”.
    If relevant, include “real estate” or “land” or “property”.

Social Media Support

Facebook and Posts (6-8)

  • Three posts should be scheduled for the first three weeks after the blog is posted. Each post should include a unique blog take away plus “click here (or on the link or on the image below) for X, Y, Z). Make it interesting and compelling!
  • Schedule three more posts for the three months following publishing. All posts should be scheduled for different times of day and days of the week so we can hit different audiences and split test the best times for views and engagement. 
  • If the topic is seasonal, add another two scheduled posts for the same time next year. 

Instagram – 2 posts and 2 stories

Notify editor when Social Media posts go out.

– – – – –

  • Send your resume and links to one or two blog posts that you have written to
  • If you don’t have any current blog posts write a 500-word blog post about an event or business in the Fraser Valley using the above criteria. If we post it, we will pay you $75.
  • No phone calls, please.
  • We will only respond to suitable candidates.

JANUARY 2021 UPDATE: Fraser Valley real estate market full steam ahead in January; another record-setter for property sales*

SURREY, BC – In a month that is usually one of the quietest in real estate, Fraser Valley’s market continued at a breakneck pace, producing the strongest January sales on record as well as a modest uptick in new listings.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed a total of 1,718 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January 2021, an increase of 76 percent compared to January 2020 and 18 percent fewer than were processed in December 2020. Sales in January set a new, record high for the month; 72 percent above the 10-year average, and 28 percent higher than the previous record of 1,338 sales set in January 2016.

“Buyers are very motivated right now,” said Chris Shields, President of the Board, “Lending rates are the lowest they’ve ever been, your housing dollar goes further in the Fraser Valley and we’ve seen a societal shift in the last year in how people value their homes. People are asking us to find them more space.

From Mike

The market continues to be very active even with COVID-19. Two factors that I like to point out about the market are:
1_ Interest rates are very low, so if you have a secure job there’s never been a cheaper time to borrow money.
2_ There is not a lot of supply right now so you need to have a solid plan in place for both selling and buying your next home. Of course, this is where my experience can help.

I’m here to help you in any way I can during these tough times. If there is anything I can do to help you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Take care,

Mike Wilson
Remax Treeland

Oh, by the way…if you know of someone who would appreciate the level of service I provide,
please call me with their name and contact information. I’ll be happy to follow up and take
great care of them in a way that is healthy and safe.

_ _ _ _ _

*Source: Fraser Valley Real Estate Board

If you live in the Fraser Valley you may think that you will have to travel for hours to Nahatlatch Canyon, Thompson, Coquihalla, or Green Canyon (Whistler / Pemberton) to go river rafting, but excellent rafting is closer than you think.

River rafting is available just an hour away from Vancouver on the Chilliwack River. You can have a variety of adventures on the river from heart-pumping rapids to a bit more of a scenery family-oriented ride.

River rafting is available year-round. We happened to see the good folks from Chilliwack River Rafting several weeks ago when we went fishing and snapped a few pics and this video.

Chilliwack River Rafting offers*

  • Year-round rafting adventures
  • Stunning Cascade mountain scenery and wildlife
  • Professional, friendly guides

*For more on Chilliwack River Rafting see: