Cover Story: Editor’s Choice: Georgian International
Creating remarkable communities
Gas-fired lanterns. A pumpkin patch. A Christmas tree farm. A baseball diamond encircled by corn stalks à la Field of Dreams. These idyllic features complement the farmhouse-style homes that make up the Braestone estate community, two hours north of the GTA in Horseshoe Valley.
Developed by multi-faceted company Georgian International, the 229 homes sit on 556 acres in the Township of Oro-Medonte where these ingredients, known as “remarkables,” further entice prospective buyers.
Mike Parker, vice president, sales and marketing for Georgian International’s real estate division, says they release homes in phases and, after selling out in the initial first two releases, another 22 properties will be available this fall.
Bringing a unique approach to Ontario real estate is a hallmark of the company’s mission. “What we’re doing is not what other developers are doing,” says Parker. “In the planning process, we came up with community features that will enhance people’s lives, which will be part of their active lifestyles.”
For example, a toboggan hill is a family-friendly add-on, and a sugar shack can teach residents about the age-old practice of tapping maple trees.
“Braestone buyers are typically nature lovers and enjoy being outdoors,” Parker notes, “and that’s why we created remarkables like a skating pond and a berry patch.”
Parker adds that they are holding events for the community with the intention that the traditions will continue long after the development is built out. Summer corn roasts with live music, a pancake breakfast fundraiser and horse-drawn sleigh rides are just of few of the happenings planned for Braestone.
Besides successful sales, Braestone’s eye-catching offerings and impressive amenities are getting noticed by the industry. It was recognized as Best New Home Community of the Year in 2016 by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), and its Discovery Centre (aka sales HQ) was named 2016 Best Lowrise Homes Sales Office in Canada by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA).
Interior flourishes make the Braestone homes visually appealing, to say the least: floors come complete with tongue-and-groove maple or oak and porcelain tile is found in the bathrooms, foyers and mudrooms. Master bathrooms showcase an island-style soaker tub.
But Braestone is not the only development Georgian International is known for in Ontario. Windfall, project of the year as recognized by the Simcoe County Home Builder’s Association, is a 609-home project at the base of Blue Mountain, which attracts buyers who want “comfort, character, culture and community with a relaxed way of life,” says Parker.
He notes the “it’s a place where nature and neighbourhood are in perfect balance, with community trails, Georgian Bay on one side and the Niagara Escarpment on the other, the beauty of the natural landscape is simply amazing.”
In the heart of the community will be The Shed, a barn-inspired gathering place that will form the hub for residents to network, socialize and relax. Cold-and-hot-water outdoor pools are planned to further promote relaxed living.
The semis and detached homes differ from the look of Braestone units with more mountain-like colours and shades, Parker remarks.
But both will feature a trademark flourish for Georgian International developments: gas-powered lanterns.
“There’s a romantic feel, an ambiance, to lanterns that is special and not done by anyone else,” Parker says.
Buyers can select from well-appointed standard features or upgrade interior design packages that co-ordinate interior finishes, including flooring, cabinetry, countertops, lighting and other fixtures.
Plans are also underway to release the first units of the highly-anticipated Mountain House, adjacent to Windfall. The 230-unit Mountain House will be built in two-, three-, and four-story buildings. The terrace suites will boast a chalet-style and are complemented by a community building, a bike repair station, a sauna and relaxation room, hot and cold pools and an idyllic setting.
“We will be releasing our initial units this year and, like all our projects, the standard features — such as full, glass-walled showers and exterior gas lanterns — go above and beyond expectations,” says Parker.
Huddled close to Windfall and Mountain House are the historic areas of Collingwood, Blue Mountain Resort and Wasaga Beach, as all three regions are “remarkables” onto themselves.
Nearby activities include boating on Georgian Bay, fishing, snowboarding, ATV trail tours, water parks, golfing, sleigh rides and guided snowshoe hikes.
Georgian International is not just carving its own path in the real-estate business, which began in 1985. The diverse company’s divisions include Georgian Chevrolet Buick GMC and Air Georgian, which operates as an Air Canada Express partner where it carries upwards of one million passengers annually.
With Toronto home prices continuing to rise and other communities such as Hamilton seeing similar increases, you can imagine why some Ontarians might look at living in pastoral communities such as Georgian Bay or Oro-Medonte. To be closer to nature, and farther from the concrete jungles, can harken us back to a simpler time. And for a company like Georgian International, they want to give people that sense of a home ensconced among mountains, lakes, Christmas tree parks and skating ponds.
And if that isn’t being Canadian at its most grassroots, we don’t know what is.
Located at 3288 Line 9 North, Oro-Medonte, the Discover Centre and Model Homes are open Monday to Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Located at 104 Yellow Birch Crescent, Blue Mountains, the Sales Centre and Model Homes are open Monday to Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Mountain House at Windfall
Go online to register for information.