Michael Holmes: Reputation building

Michael Holmes, in his latest television series Holmes Family Effect, stars alongside his dad Mike and sister Sherry in working together to transform people, communities and make dreams come true.

The Holmes family has become Canada’s best-known family of builders, with its patriarch Mike Holmes now one of the world’s most notable builders, contractors and renovators through his many successful television series shown globally. So, it is interesting to note that their new series, Holmes Family Effect, does not include the words “building,” “renovation” or “construction” in its title. “Family” is the key word, as it’s a testament to how family is the real foundation of their life, not bricks and mortar, and even more appropriate, given this new series also stars his children, Michael and Sherry, themselves both television veterans.

“Family is extremely important to all of us,” says Michael, 31. “Growing up with my parents divorced, I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Dad, but the fact that we’re working together now means the world to me. I started to work for him when I was just 14, and we sort of disagree on our remembering of that. My dad says he had to con me into working for him, but I remember it as Dad offering me a job, and I took it. I was in high school at age 14 and making money.” Michael started out working with his dad on the widely acclaimed Holmes on Homes and has since come into his own in the skilled trades industry, proudly advocating its merit and worth through his love of woodworking and through many other television series, and he is preparing for an even bigger role in this highly anticipated new series.

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Holmes Family Effect will be inspirational in that it shows the Holmes family tackling their most important projects to date by working with deserving people who are making important and positive impacts in their local communities. Each episode will follow the Holmes family as they surprise these people by pitching in and improving community spaces. From a neglected school building to a rundown youth centre, the show illustrates how Michael, Sherry and Mike transform these spaces and help these community heroes, so they can continue to make a positive difference and make dreams come true.

In this way, “Effect” in the show title was also carefully chosen as denoting the impact Holmes Family Effect will have on local communities, which is also a core belief of Michael and the Holmes family.

“Our goal is to have a lasting positive impact,” says Michael. “We want to inspire communities and for our efforts to have a ripple effect and spread some love. That’s what we’re trying to do: shine a light on important organizations and to give them love and support. I wanted to grow up and be a superhero, and here I am, helping communities.”

Reflective of the promise of Holmes Family Effect, Bell Media, owners of CTV, selected to premiere the show immediately following the Super Bowl on February 7. This is the coveted spot of the yearly television schedule and is usually reserved for programs with immense possibilities for success. The show will then move to its regular Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT time slot, and, in March, will begin streaming on Crave. With Bell Media’s expanded partnership with FOX Entertainment, FOX has also acquired Holmes Family Effect, with the series airing on FOX as part of the network’s 2020–21 midseason schedule.

While they are both already successful in the business, Michael and Sherry fully realize and appreciate their father’s legendary career, which began when he was 19 and started a contracting company with 13 employees, then founded his own renovation company when he was just 21. His first starring television series, Holmes on Homes, premiered in 2003.

In 2006, Mike Holmes started The Holmes Foundation after seeing a renovation that was so poorly done, he felt it necessary for him to tear the house down and start again, rather than try to repair the damage. The purpose of The Holmes Foundation is to encourage young people to enter the building trades, as well as to assist those who have been impoverished by bad renovations. His personal motto “Make It Right” became the title of another television series in 2012.

He has been recognized in the House of Commons for his promotion of skilled trades and for his advocacy for improving building standards. If there is one thing Mike Holmes cannot stand, it is shoddy workmanship and the negative perception it has on his chosen profession, which is the reason he went into television in the first place: to expose the bad workmanship.

“When I started, any house I went to was contaminated by a lousy contractor, and I thought by now this would all be solved, and that government regulations would have changed,” says Mike on his personal battle against bad building practices. “In the construction world, there is the good, the bad and the ugly. The good is maybe 20 per cent, the bad about 70 per cent and the ugly 10 per cent. We need to raise the good people to about 40 per cent. The bad contractors just don’t want to learn and do things properly. Today, homeowners just don’t know enough, and contractors can get away with it. We need to be living in healthier homes — especially during COVID-19 times.”

Michael and Sherry were obviously influenced growing up watching their father work with his hands and applying his trade, and Michael fondly remembers watching his dad as a youngster and the wonder he felt in building things.

“My dad was always my hero, as he can build anything, and he’d always tell me the horror stories of renovations,” recalls Michael. “And, when the TV show came along, all of a sudden it all became very real, and people were stopping him on the street for renovations advice. I thought it was very cool.”

Daughter Sherry grew up as a young girl who not only wanted to play with Barbie’s DreamHouse, but also probably build it. She began behind the scenes on Holmes on Homes and has co-hosted Holmes: Next Generation and Holmes 911 on CTV Life Channel.

“I actually did like Barbie and wanted her DreamHouse,” says Sherry, 33. “But my dad said he’d build it for me, instead. He did, and it was the ugliest thing I ever saw, but it was structurally very strong.”

She is a big advocate for youth who want to get into the trades and supports Skills Canada and World Skills. She also mentors and encourages young women to consider a career in skilled trades through Conestoga College’s “Jill of All Trades” workshops and acts as an ambassador for Habitat for Humanity’s annual Women Build event, a program that calls on women to help build stronger, safer communities. She is excited to be back in front of the camera and hopes she can influence more women to enter the field and reduce the stereotypes of the skilled trades industry.

“We want to inspire communities and for our efforts to have a ripple effect and spread some love” — Michael Holmes

“Everyone needs to see someone in the same career path they’re considering,” observes Sherry. “I think it’s important for youth to keep their options open, step out of your comfort box and give it a try. I’ve met so many more women now in the trades and was so happy that our first episode features an 18-year-old girl who wants a career in the trades.”

Holmes Family Effect promises to be a heartwarming and uplifting series by telling the story of the Holmes family helping four deserving Canadian organizations to better the communities of which they are a part. In the series premiere, the family takes on a project that’s close to their heart when 18-year-old Riley asks for their help to save her school’s skilled trades program.

With the help of one of the world’s best-known stand-up comedians, Russell Peters of Brampton, Ont., also a school alumnus, the family transforms three rundown classrooms, not only impacting the current students, but also improving the learning for future classes of trade professionals. Michael says this is the type of lasting impact they want Holmes Family Effect to have.

“For years, the Holmes family were helping individual families, but we wanted that to grow and get bigger, and now we are helping entire communities,” says Michael. “I remember our first show and the first reveal of what we did, and it was just so important to those people, and therefore, it just became very important to me.”

Mike Holmes has built many things during his illustrious career and created a successful global brand through trust, authenticity and dependability. However, despite all of the accolades, there is no question that his proudest accomplishments remain to this day Sherry and Michael.

“Working with my kids is just great, and I’m just so proud of what they have both accomplished,” says the proud father and long-time resident of Halton Hills, Ont. “I’m so happy they both decided to enter the trades as a career, and it means the world to me.”

Illustrating the power of family while having a positive effect on their community, Holmes Family Effect will be inspirational, optimistic and have much-needed storytelling of what is possible when people work together for the betterment of their surroundings. The show will be a guide of ideals, ideas and respect, from a family using their influence and skills to create a powerful force for positive change.


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Rick Muller

Rick Muller