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In conversation with David Bunston, president of Georgian International Land Corp.

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In conversation with David Bunston, president of Georgian International Land Corp.

By Gale Beeby

Georgian International started as a small aeronautics company, founded in part by Jamie Massie and David Bunston. The company has grown since it was founded in 1984 and now Air Georgian operates 19 aircrafts on scheduled passenger and charter flights, is a partner with Air Canada Express and also performs aircraft maintenance, management and training services. Based at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, it is now ranked as its fourth largest user by traffic frequency.

That’s a success story.

And from that storied beginning, Georgian International has taken off with automotive and real estate businesses, as well.

Bunston — who is executive vice president, real estate, for Georgian International, as well as president of Georgian International Land Corporation — has been friends with Massie since they were kids. He also carries a pedigree as a third-generation member of a real estate family.

He’s also a really nice guy.

Georgian’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship — as well as unique designs — has landed Georgian numerous awards, including being awarded the Best New Home Community in Canada by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association for Braestone Estates in Horseshoe Valley in 2016.

Georgian International took a very holistic approach when developing Braestone and the result is a unique. What Georgian calls Remarkables are amenities that have grown naturally out of the community’s own landscape. That includes a 566-acre working farm that includes a fruit orchard, berry patch and Christmas tree farm. Other Remarkables include are horseback riding, Nordic skiing, a maple sugar bush, beehives, a pond that is used for ice skating in the winter, a toboggan hill, a treehouse and a hilltop observatory called Starfall.

Also in development are Windfall at Blue and Mountain House at Windfall, both located in the Town of Blue Mountains.

Q: How did Georgian International move from the aviation industry to real estate?

A: We were well positioned to add real estate development to what we do — there is still a lot of runway left. Aviation is, obviously, a large part of what we do, but real estate is becoming a bigger part of our focus. Jamie Massie and I were childhood friends and over the last 30 years our friendship has evolved into a partnership.

Although I grew up in the GTA, I had a lot of connection to the area of Collingwood and Blue Mountains, where as a family we spent a lot of time. It’s an area that is close to my heart.

Q: Whose idea was the holistic approach to the development of Braestone?

A: It really was a team vision. In the early days we knew we had a unique property and that we could create something remarkable and do something different and capture the imagination of buyers.

Braestone is unique in that it appeals not just to the 705 area, but also the 905. It’s close to the GTA but still remote and we embraced the architectural style of the farmhouses, barns and sheds that are common in Oro-Medonte. Each of the lots are 3/4 to 1 1/4 acres lots.

As exciting as Braestone is, I’m excited by all three of our current projects — Windfall and Mountain House condos, as well.

Q: Who are your buyers?

A: Geographically, most of our buyers don’t see themselves living in this area until they come and see it. It’s a great place and once they experience it, they want to spend the rest of their lives here, and that includes parents, kids and grandparents. The multi-generational aspect of our buyers is quite unique.

There is a great sense of community here and we appeal to those who embrace an active lifestyle. Georgian has continued to keep the management under their banner, and we organize a number of social functions to get residents involved and connected.

We are committed to Simcoe County and Collingwood and the Town of Blue Mountains are our backyard. It is more accessible to the GTA than other resort areas, and there is so much to do — it’s an interesting place to be during all four season.

Q: Do you think that the real estate market is going to slow down?

A: We haven’t seen any pull back in market activity, but here we are still benefitting from the high prices of homes in the GTA, where many people are feeling disenfranchised. Plus the traffic congestion and other issues facing large urban areas and sending people out of the GTA in search of community.

I believe in Simcoe County, its got lots of growth potential and we are well positioned to take advantage and create other remarkable communities.

Q: Georgian is known for its philanthropic endeavours. How does that align with the company’s philosophy?

A: We believe we should invest in the community and the people who support it and not just by writing a cheque. The executive team and our employees are encouraged — and do — volunteer hundreds of hours to community initiatives. We embrace the importance of community and philanthropy.

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