Got a list of things you need to fix, change, upgrade? But don't know where to start, or how to sort the experts from the charlatans? We've done the dirty work for you. We looked far and wide, asked customers and competitors, and tried out many of these enterprises ourselves. Here's the inside track to the city's miracle workers.
Don't know a pharoah ant from a bedbug? A roof rat from a house mouse? You only know you've got pests and need help? Canadian Pest Control is the local outfit that even its competitors say nice things about. They're big enough-some three dozen people-to take on any job, and employees are certified, bonded, and insured. The only time you might have had a problem getting instant action was the recent weekend when the entire staff took off to attend a pest-management conference in Victoria. Canadian Pest Control, 84 North Bend St., Coquitlam, 604-873-2813. Canadianpest.com
Training a dog full of pent-up energy takes time and commitment. And the fact is, much destructive canine behaviour can be traced to lack of exercise. Which is why you need Candace and Ryan Herrod, dog walkers extraordinaire. Their motto is "Your way"—they interview you first, wanting to know your pet's quirks, health concerns, and exactly how you're training it. They conduct most walks one-on-one. They're insured and bonded, and offer training and pet-sitting services as well, including live-in-a godsend when you've exhausted the goodwill of family and friends. West Coast Tails, 778-241-2287. Westcoasttails.com
There's no trouble like car trouble, and no drive as dispiriting as a schlep to some godforsaken auto mall. Which is why Tremblay Motors, under the Granville Bridge, is great for repairs, servicing, and Air Care work. Chief Tremblay opened the original shop in 1934 at Fourth and MacDonald, site of the first Chevron station in Canada; son Sam and grandson Brad carry on the tradition. They'll fix any make or model, have a mechanic under the hood within a day or two, and speak in language you get. You'll only end up on that auto mall schlep if your car has a recall or needs a repair under warranty. Tremblay Motors, 1505 W. Third Ave., 604-682-0044. Tremblaymotors.com
Let's face it: generally speaking, cab companies suck in this city. The one exception is MacLure's, the favourite of virtually everyone we polled. Their dispatchers are sunny, and they call personally (no robo-voice) when your cab draws near. The drivers are seasoned but not bitter, and they won't punish you for not carrying cash. Best of all, they usually arrive within five or 10 minutes of your call. MacLure's Cabs,604-683-6666. Maclurescabs.ca
You're screwed. 2 a.m., nobody's home, your keys are gone. Terry Whin-Yates is your man. Here's why: 1) you get a human being on the phone, not a message; 2) he shows up pronto; 3) he'll give you a quote before coming over; 4) he's a third-generation locksmith; 5) he had a key machine in his room when he was nine; 6) his sons work for him; 7) he has a BA in criminology from SFU and does forensic locksmithing; 8) he's seen it all, from a priest locked out in his underwear to women in chastity belts. Mr. ProLock , 236-6540 E. Hastings St., 604-773-5625. Mrprolock.com
GOT (CAMERA) SKILLS?
Want to outgrow your cameraphone? Take the excellent digital-SLR (single lens reflex) course at Langara College. Program coordinator Greg Blue took the course himself in 1983 and has been teaching there since 1992 (plus freelancing extensively). One-day free intensives run throughout the year; or join a Langara/Holland America cruise to Alaska (May) or the Med (September) for a practical-and tax-free-course. Langara College Photography, 604-644-7991. Langara.bc.ca
Other Rolodex-worthy experts who specialize in: