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All the best, The Editorial Team We will keep adding business units that enhance our offering and separate us from our competition. “ ” Editor From The Dear Reader, Welcome to the latest issue of Construction Source Canada, the magazine that highlights the best in building and building products across the country. In this edition, we’ve cast our gaze all across the country, and we’ve looked at some of the builders and architects that are leading the way in their respective regions. On our cover, for instance, is Beljan Development. They are an Edmonton developer behind some of the city’s most interesting and unique adaptive re-use projects. We spoke to some of their leaders – including Chris Dulaba, Placemaker and Dave Hennessey, Asset Management – about their love for the city, about their most impactful projects to date, and about their vision for the future. Also in this issue is LEMAYMICHAUD – one of the most renowned design and architecture firms in Quebec. They have been operating in the province for over 40 years, and have been involved in a long list of high-profile, highly-impactful projects. In recent years, in particular, they have been a key member of the team behind the planning and design of Montreal’s up-andcoming, highly-sustainable Pointe-Nord Community. To tell the story of Pointe-Nord, we spoke with Pierre Mierski, Senior Partner. We talked about the company’s history in the community and their successful long-term relationship with developer Proment Corporation. We also talked in-depth about the Evolo series of high-rises in the community, and the “insideout” design philosophy that has made them so unique. Meanwhile, other companies featured in this edition include Manitoba-based Jilmark Construction and B.C.-based Billard Architecture. They are also contemporary leaders in their field, and they are also involved in projects in projects are shaping their communities. We spoke to their leaders about some of those projects. To read those stories – and more like them, about other industry leaders from across the country – just keep flipping the pages.
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NOVEMBER 2021 BILLARD ARCHITECTURE Inclusion, Community and Quality BELJAN DEVELOPMENT Building a better Edmonton JILMARK CONSTRUCTION Building through Teamwork LEMAYMICHAUD ARCHITECTURE DESIGN The perfect balance BRIDGE & QUARRY Building homes and relationships CREATION HOMES Quality, value, energy efficiency WESMONT GROUP Building, Family, Loyalty TRINITY PLACE FOUNDATION OF ALBERTA Homes for Senior INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS INCINERATING TOILETS CREATION HOMES IN THIS ISSUE NOVEMBER 2021 TRINITY PLACE FOUNDATION OF ALBERTA WESTMONT GROUP
THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA JILMARK CONSTRUCTION
NOVEMBER 2021 Industry INNOVATIONS MODERN & ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY TOILET SOLUTIONS
THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA Water connection not required Requires little space No odour Easy installation No frost protection needed Secure for children ash to be emptied No waste handling, only and more Bunkies, For Home, Cottages, Shops, 3 - 4 visits per hour High capacity Propane&Electric models ABOUT CINDERELLA ECO GROUP Cinderella Eco Group is a family-owned company located in the north-western coastal community of Midsund in Romsdal, with deep roots in the beautiful Norwegian fjord-landscape. We have more than 20 years’ experience with the Cinderella Incineration Toilet, a water-free, ecological solution for the management of toilet waste. Cinderella, the natural first choice for those who place high demands on quality and functionality. HIGHLIGHTS OF INCINERATION TOILETS:
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Inclusion, Community, and Quality
Billard Architecture Inc. is a full-service architectural firm situated in NewWestminster. Billard Architecture always has a focus on the community and delivering projects that are both contemporary and relevant. They offer quality services and pride themselves on delivering thoughtful projects that match client needs.
The company was founded by Robert Billard in 2010. Billard began his career in architecture, but he had a few career deviations in the past thirty-six years. When working as a chef did not pay the bills, Billard decided to begin his own company. “I set up Billard Architecture in December 2010, and it didn’t go well until 2016,” reflects Billard. “I spent the first five years making connections and getting my name out there and building relationships. I was calling every week and being intrusive. Then one project led to another project, and I ended up working with the right people.” Billard spent considerable time in his early career working on federal, provincial, and municipal projects. These projects included schools, airports, hospitals, recreational centers, and treatment plants. Prior experience allowed Billard to establish the culture and vision of his company. “One of the things I learned over the years in working with other firms is that I wasn’t happy with how the business of architecture is done. I don’t look like or talk like an architect, and our clients like that. From our billing structure to how we make decisions, we base on deliverables and deadlines. We don’t charge for all the little things. We don’t waste time on additional meetings” outlines THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA “The clients we like to work with are ones that are clear and honest in their objectives. Most are smaller developers or developers on the rise. They are getting there by being straightforward and knowing what they need.”
NOVEMBER 2021 Billard. Part of working efficiently is fostering a culture that celebrates teamwork. Billard Architecture boasts a teamcentered staff who can adapt to any project. Teamwork allows the company to communicate and collaborate on projects to deliver quality products within expected timelines. Rochelle Potter, Project Coordinator at Billard, notes the value of the team’s efforts. “We work as a team. Everybody is involved in some aspect of the project, which makes us flexible. In turn, we are able to shift accordingly to those deadlines and ever-changing priorities. We are not left with big gaps. I get a sense that our clients know who everyone in the firm in. It is more holistic that way as well,” says Potter. Having a human- and teamcentered approach reinforces the core values of Billard Architecture—which is to promote positive communities through inclusion, diversity, and accessibility. They note that their firm is situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Qay’qayt and Musqueam First Nations, as well as all Coast Salish peoples. The firm is also proud of its diverse and inclusive staff. “We have a moral base. We support diversity and inclusion in our office. We work hard to create a good work environment. Nobody works more than their eight hours a day. Nobody works on weekends. I think that it is important so when people come to work, they get things done. That is why we are able to meet our deadlines” states Billard. This kind of care and honesty extends to the architecture and design undertaken and delivered by Billard. Billard describes a kind of architecture that is relevant in that it reflects a concern for both aesthetics and finances. “From a design perspective, we try to be contemporary and relevant form an aesthetic
THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA perspective” describes Billard. “We have no illusions or desires to be Frank Gehry or Daniel Libeskind. There is no point to that form of architecture and there is no point in spending that kind of money on architecture. You can make things architecturally relevant, but within the budget you have.” The kind of honesty that Billard strives to achieve in design he also strives to achieve with clients. Billard also hopes for honesty in return. This kind of mutual respect through honesty and communication allows for projects to be successful. “We don’t take every job,” notes Billard. “The clients we like to work with are ones that are clear and honest in their objectives. Most are smaller developers or developers on the rise. They are getting there by being straightforward and knowing what they need.” Billard’s ability to pair vision with need is made clear across the firm’s portfolio. The AVA, which is a multi-family residential building, is one project that stands as a testament to the firm’s dedication to inclusivity and contextuality. The 35 homes at The AVA replaced three single-family homes. In replacing those homes, Billard managed to increase density in the neighborhood. The amenity spaces are age-friendly, and the location is within ten minutes of major retails, healthcare offices, and community service centers. It is also easily accessible to
NOVEMBER 2021 public transportation. “It is right across the street from Langara College and a brandnew addition to the college across the street. I like those kinds of contextual responses. It was a very contemporary building across the street. It is a corner location, so it is pretty prominent. The AVA is also taking up where three single family houses are. It’s not obliterating a whole block or creating a wall on the street. It’s creating ‘surgical density’— where you create lots of quality homes where very few were before” tells Billard. While the firm deeply considered the larger architectural context in which the building is situated, they did not forget the needs and comforts of its habitants. The AVA includes multiple roof decks and a children’s play area. The existing trees were not disturbed, and their preservation allows for a visual transition from private to public. Potter stresses the importance of the outdoor amenities. “Outdoor spaces foster community wellness,” adds Potter. “They provide opportunity for residents to interact with one another. During pandemic outdoor spaces became really important and highlighted the need for your own personal outdoor space. This project is mindful of outdoor spaces. It is an opportunity for neighbors to talk and get together in a casual setting.” With each project, Billard Architecture tries to design for
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the community in a way that is moral, inclusive, considerate, and honest. Their focus on multifamily residential buildings works towards more equitable options and inclusionary housing for all. When looking towards the future, Billard projects that the company will grow to respond to needs in communities. “I don’t think we have a prescribed goal” proposes Billard. “We like to respond to what needs are. We grow based on work, so we are looking for people now. We grow to meet a need.” As needs change, Billard Architecture Inc. will be sure to meet those needs with realistic expectations and honest communication in a way which always demonstrates their goals of inclusivity and diversity. NOVEMBER 2021
THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA If you would like to know more about Billard Architecture Inc., its projects, or its team visit -- https://billardarchitectureinc.com/
Building a better Edmonton Beljan Developments is a development company that is passionate about the city of Edmonton, and dedicated to making it better.
Over the years, they have developed projects of various shapes and sizes, with a primary focus on infill development and the adaptive re-use of underutilized buildings. They target neighborhoods that are on the verge of change and they seek out buildings or sites that others have overlooked. Beljan’s goal is to deliver projects that “breathe new life” into those places – that means projects that “connect people, homes and businesses,” and that help make communities “lively, social, and walkable,” according to Chris Dulaba, Placemaker. “At Beljan we strive to build architecturally prominent buildings that highlight the best of Edmonton, buildings that are creatively designed while still holding true the fabric of the communities they are a part of,” Chris says. “We believe that buildings should interact with the built environment and that streets lined with cafés, shops and galleries create a valuable social experience that contributes greatly to a city’s identity and culture.” Chris is a veteran of Edmonton’s development industry – for many years, he has been directly involved in the acquisition, planning, design and development of various projects from small scale mixed use developments to the adaptive reuse of existing buildings. He joined Beljan Developments almost 10 years ago, not long after the company was founded by ‘visioneer’ Ivan Beljan. Ivan is also an experienced developer, with nearly twenty years’ experience in project and development management. He started Beljan Developments with the intention of “reimagining an Edmonton that is something greater than it is today.” “Our company’s always taken an unconventional approach,” Chris says. “We gravitate towards heritage buildings and the adaptive reuse of THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA
those buildings. We try to find interesting buildings, buildings that have a story to them, in neighborhoods and areas that had some really strong fundamentals. We look diamonds in the rough,’ so to speak, and we’ve tried to turn them into special places for people to live, shop, entertain and socialize.” “That’s why Ivan started Beljan,” Chris continues. “He felt that Edmonton was a city that lacked development of that type. He wanted to do projects that would have a meaningful impact on the community. And he didn’t think it was necessary to build large 30-plus storey buildings to have that impact.” Chris agreed with Ivan’s vision, and that’s what drew him to Beljan Developments in those early days. He stuck around because the company started living up to their ideals almost immediately – they started delivering modestly-scaled but highly-impactful projects, and they quickly built a reputation in the city. Dave Hennessey, Asset Management, is a more recent addition to the Beljan team. He used to work for one of Canada’s largest publicly-traded REITs, and he recalls witnessing the rise of the company as an outsider: “Living in Edmonton, I started to notice the quality of development that the Beljan team was doing,” Dave recalls. “They were going deep into urban communities, finding underutilized buildings, and repositioning them. They were working with some of the coolest and most unique restaurants, coffee shops, and retailers. They were working in spaces that were one-tenth the size of what the big REITs were working with, and I would argue that they were making more of a cultural impact.” “I was a fan first,” he adds. “I watched as Beljan went from one to three to five projects. Each step of the way, I was always really impressed with the creativity and innovation they brought to the table. When NOVEMBER 2021
the opportunity came up to join the team, I jumped on it. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.” Over the last decade, Beljan has delivered a variety of boutique projects; each of them in line with the company’s founding vision. Chris says that the Beljan team has invested a lot of time and energy into every one of them – and they have all required that investment, he explains, because “they are usually very difficult projects to take on,” and “the margins are usually tight.” “There’s not a lot of room for error,” he says. “That’s because we want to make sure that the end product we’re delivering is meaningful and really executes the vision that we originally set out when we acquired the property. We don’t want to stray from the vision because of budget constraints or for the sake of improving the margins.” Beljan Developments can stay so committed, Chris says, because their investors are likeminded. They recognize that the company is trying to do something different. That’s what they signed on for. “Our partners that invest with us, they come in with the same mindset,” Chris says. “They understand that we’re not about creating high-velocity, highreturn projects. They are more meaningful projects. In the words of some our investors, they’re ‘legacy projects.’” “Our investors understand that if they wanted to make the big margins they’d be doing something different,” he continues. “They’d be investing THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA
in suburban strip malls, and projects that are relatively lower risk. There are plenty of those projects out there and there’s nothing wrong with them – but what we try to deliver is something different.” All that said, Beljan’s projects do provide value and generate revenue. Chris credits that commercial success to the buyin of their whole team, both internally and externally: “That includes our architects, our contractors, all the designers, our leasing agents – you name it,” he explains. “A good project doesn’t stop and start with a couple people in our board room. It really starts with collaboration. It starts with getting everyone on the team to buy in to the vision.” Again, Chris says, Beljan tends to work with people and companies who have the same motivations and goals. “Our partners share our vision,” he says. “They also want to improve the city.” Even the company’s tenants tend to buy in, Chris says. That buy-in enables Beljan to charge the rates they need to make their projects viable, even if they are a little higher than comparably-scaled projects. “We have tenants who understand that what we offer is not just a space for leasing. We’re offering them the chance to be a part of something that’s contributing to the identity and culture of the neighborhood, of the block, of the city. That’s what we’re able to do. That’s our brand.” NOVEMBER 2021
Over the years, Beljan has developed an exceptionally strong reputation in Edmonton. According to Dave, the company has even gotten to a point where communities are reaching out to them. “They are seeking us out to say ‘Hey, we’d love to see one of your projects in our community here. Can we have a conversation?’ I’ve never really seen anything like that before. That’s been fun to be a part of,”Dave says. Chris, meanwhile, credits that reputation to Beljan’s history of “execution” – of “walking the walk, not just talking the talk.” “I remember early on, Ivan saying that the only way we’re going to be able to get any type of recognition is through execution,” Chris recalls. “It didn’t matter how many pretty pictures and renderings we Building a brand THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA
NOVEMBER 2021 came up with. All that mattered was our ability to actually develop these projects. So that’s what we did. We actually developed projects.” With every project they have successfully delivered, Beljan Developments has added to their credibility and elevated their brand. In particular, however, Chris says two projects have been especially impactful: “These two in particular, I think, really solidified our reputation,” he says. “They showed that we’re the real deal. They showed that we could take an underperforming building, one that has real significance to the city, and give it new life.” ‘Oliver Exchange’ is the first example – that was the redevelopment of the historic West End Telephone Exchange building on into a collaborative mixed-use office, retail and workshop hub. There, Beljan Developments incorporate modern aesthetics and amenities into the new development while still preserving historical elements. Their goal was to highlight the century old character of the building and safeguard its prominence in the neighborhood, while at the same time promoting interbusiness activity and commerce in the district. “The community hub that we created there really took us to the next level,” Chris says. The other project that solidified Beljan’s reputation, Chris believes, was ‘The Strathcona’ – there they took the Edmonton Hotel building on Whyte
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NOVEMBER 2021 Avenue, originally built in 1891, and reimagined it as cutting edge retail and office space. The Strathcona includes four unique levels. On the first level, through the front entrance, there’s an open concept café and bar area, where natural light follows in through the skylight of the annex, and the staggered open concept offers views of the upper level businesses. Up the elevator, or the stairs, there are collaborative office spaces, beauty salons, and specialty boutiques. On the next level, there are wellness-based businesses and an outdoor patio and bar. Beljan is particularly proud of what they accomplished there, Chris says, because of the significance the original building had to the city – the Strathcona Hotel was one of the oldest buildings in the province of Alberta and had been a wellknown landmark for over 100 years. “To take that on, reposition it, and give it hopefully another 100 years of life, that’s a big achievement for us,” Chris says. Adding to the achievement was the fact that they had to navigate a serious fire over the course of the development. “For so many years, that building has operated as a dive bar and a low budget motel, and it never burned down,” Chris recalls. “I thought that was so amazing. I’ll never forget the day I went walking through there prior to purchasing it, I kept saying to myself ‘I’m surprised this is still standing.’ After that many years of people probably drinking too much at the bar on the main floor, coming up to their room,
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NOVEMBER 2021 passing out cigarette in their hands – I was just absolutely shocked that it hadn’t been burned down.” “So we acquired it and we were in the process of renovating it, and I’ll be damned if a fire didn’t start under our watch,” he says. In spite of the fire – and despite some cynical comments on social media – Beljan continued their restoration of the historic Edmonton landmark, and they ensured that the legacy of one of the oldest buildings in the province lived on. One of the Beljan’s most recent projects is called ‘Substation.’ Chris says that project has only just started operating, but he expects it to be just as impactful as the previous examples. “That’s an exciting project, and we hope it will become this great little community hub for the district,” he says. “We hope it will raise the stature of the street.” On that project, Beljan is significantly transforming the historic electrical Substation #600 building on 124 Street. They are restoring and retaining the existing two-storey building for commercial use while developing a three-storey addition at the back of the site. Both buildings are connected by a pedestrian walkway on the second floor. There, Chris says, Beljan has once again cultivated investment partners that “believe in the vision, and that want to do something unique and different.” “They could put their money anywhere, but they chose to invest their dollars with us because they want to be part of something,” Chris says. “It’s humbling to receive that kind of attention from the investment community. That keeps us motivated to keep going.” To ‘keep going,’ Dave adds, means continuing to find identify and acquire interesting buildings communities on the verge of revitalization. Like they did with Oliver Exchange, The Strathcona, and most recently Substation, they want to reposition those buildings and transform them into community hubs. In the longer term, Beljan is also interested in doing some larger projects. The company has historically focused on small-tomedium sized developments, and they firmly believe that projects of that size can have large impacts, but they also believe they can apply the “Beljan touch” on a larger piece of property. They hope to show what that looks like soon. “The company is well positioned for growth, and we intend to approach that growth very strategically,” Dave says. “We’re going to get bigger and better while still maintaining the attention to detail that the market has come to expect from us. We’re pretty excited for the next few years here.”
THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA For more on Beljan Developments, their vision, their team, and their projects-to-date, visit https://beljandevelopment.com/
Building through Teamwork Jilmark Construction Ltd. is a commercial general contractor with experience in a variety of projects, including apartments, heritage restorations, condominiums, warehouses, offices, churches, and schools. No matter the project type or size, Jilmark uses a team approach to ensure that the needs and expectations of each project are met with a high-quality service.
Jilmark Construction Ltd. was founded in 2001 by John Froese. John had worked in the commercial construction industry for twenty six years prior to starting his own company. With his experience, Froese established Jilmark to provide cost-effective construction management services for new construction and renovation projects for commercial and industrial industries. Jilmark has grown steadily in its twenty years of operation, and current President David Regehr-Wiens has worked at the company for thirteen of those years. When asked why he has remained at Jilmark for more than half its lifespan, RegehrWiens attributed his loyalty to the culture established by founder Froese. “It was the atmosphere that John had created. While there were guidelines and deliverable outcomes that were in place, how those outcomes were met would be up to the site supervisor or project manager. John would allow the individual the creativity to ‘own the project.’ He would encourage you to think outside of the box and view each issue or task in a different light or view. There were multiple ways to complete a project and ensuring that the customer’s primary needs were met would result in a project’s success. We were charged to make sure the job was a THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA “Jilmark Construction is a COR certified company. Safety is integrated into all our construction planning and scheduling. We collaborate with our trades and consultants to ensure all work is completed in a safe and efficient manner.”
NOVEMBER 2021 success. That was the biggest appeal,” reflects Regehr-Wiens. In his thirteen years at Jilmark, Regehr-Wiens has seen the company grow in its capacity, in not only the quantity but also size of projects. The company has also been able to adapt to technological changes, which have allowed staff and clients to work more efficiently and seamlessly. “We have always mainted our core values and principals, even as we’ve grown,” says RegehrWiens. “Over the years, we have taken on larger projects and have had opportunities to work with more and more developers. The diversity of projects and customers allows us to continue to grow and become even more effective as a General Contractor. We have continued to improve on our in house estimating and project management organizational tools. These changes were made to allow for efficiency and ease of use for both our estimators and project managers.” Despite technological upgrades and the expansion of business, the company has managed to maintain a culture focused on honesty and open opportunities for learning or growing. This openness has allowed Jilmark to take on unique projects and to learn skills or processes that can be integrated into the business. One way that Jilmark assures clients that they are being treated fairly is through their estimating process. “We do things differently. We do open book estimating. We show the owner how we achieve our pricing by showing them how each dollar is accounted for with competitive quotes. We also look at the drawings and project scope to help owners determine if there is a more efficient and cost-effective way to complete their project.” “We also select experienced subtrades that have knowledge on the specific scope that can aid with design and feasibility,” adds Regehr-Wiens. This honesty has built a
THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA strong trust between Jilmark and its clients. The company has always been open and transparent. They communicate and encouraging clients to ask questions to establish understanding. “Our honesty and our pricing make us different,” outlines Regehr-Wiens. “We talk to owners, and we talk to them about why we do certain things. We listen to them as well. We listen to how they want us to proceed and their understanding of the project. We are open and honest. We make sure we are listening, and we make sure to hit the marks they ask of us.” It is not just openness and honesty that make appeals to clients – it’s also quality. Jilmark offers cost-effective solutions that do not compromise quality. The team’s consistent high standards always meet clients’ expectations. “We have a high standard for ourselves, and we constantly gauge what the owner wants too. It is being critical and finding the right subtrades. Getting a good group of subtrades we can lean on is important. We have a good core of subtrades that work with us and share the same goals,” says RegehrWiens. Some of the trades and subtrades have longestablished relationships with Jilmark. Therefore, Jilmark’s team are always on the same page regarding high standards of quality and delivery. In fact, some of the trades have
NOVEMBER 2021 been working with Jilmark for generations. However, at Jilmark they are always open to building new relationships with great tradespeople who share a vision for quality and service. That openness has also helped Jilmark to diversify and expand their portfolio as well. Projects undertaken by the company range from the residential to commercial and retail. They have also taken on heritage projects, particularly the Immigrant Centre Manitoba, Penthouse Furniture Apartments, and the Fortune & MacDonald Building. Regehr-Wiens remarks, “We have been taking on all kinds of project. Recently, we have been able to start our largest construction project to date, which we are all excited about. We have also done projects from heritage projects, school renovations, strip mall renovations, to new builds for apartments. We’ve maintained a big range. That is one of the things that makes us different. We aren’t geared up to just do one project.” Regardless of the project’s size or scope, Jilmark always gives great care and consideration to the needs of the client. That care is highlighted by their 2020 ConservationAward for Excellence for theFortune&MacDonald Building .Thatproject camewitha lotof challenges, as it involved restoring an 1882 building, but the company’s consideration and respect of its history allowed them to recreate the original building successfully. This project is representative of the kind of challenges that Jilmark likes to spearhead. Each project calls for different solutions and different objectives. Taking on a variety of challenges has allowed Jilmark to continue its joy of learning and evolving so that they may retain their adaptability.
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NOVEMBER 2021 “We enjoy the challenge of it,” adds RegehrWiens. “We like the willingness to try new things. Construction is a fun industry. Why not have fun and challenge yourself?” As Jilmark moves forward into another ten years of business, they will surely take on more challenges and continue to adapt to the needs of each project. When looking towards the future, David Regehr-Wiens, along with his two business partners, Gilles Comte and Josh Penner, want to continue to deliver quality service. “We are comfortable right now with where we are,” notes Regehr-Wiens. “We want to do projects that we can be proud of, and we can do well. We want to work with clients that can see that. We always want to be able to learn and be challenged, and we want to provide good work for our contractors too. We always look for those projects and unique projects that come to us.” Whether it is a heritage building, a daycare centre, apartment or condominiums, Jilmark Construction will always deliver honesty and quality to clients through their team approach.
THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA For more on about Jilmark Construction Ltd., their services, and their past and present projects, visit jilmark.com/
Finding the perfect solution LEMAYMICHAUD is a Quebec-based design and architecture firm that has been operating in the province for over 40 years. Their team – made up of nearly 100 highly-experienced and inspired designers, architects, and technologists – work in a collective and collaborative spirit with clients, always with the goal of creating environments that are unique, aesthetically-pleasing, and that enhance the lives of the people using them.
Photo: Marc Cramer
Over their many years in business, their firm has been involved in a long list of highprofile, highly-impactful project – mostly in their home province, but also some in the rest of Canada and more recently, even some in United States. With their work, their intention is always to “leave a strong impression and touch people,” according to Pierre Mierski, Senior Partner. They believe they have done that on almost every project, but they especially believe they have done it with their work on Montreal’s Pointe-Nord Community. Pointe-Nord is an urban and residential “mega project” that encompasses all of the northern point of IÎle-desSoeurs. It’s presently one of the largest residential developments in Quebec. It started with a multi-functional linear park surrounding the tip of the island, and continued to include a series of townhouses, single-family houses, and residential towers. Overall, it comprises over 5,000 residential units. It was envisioned and developed by Proment Corporation, a long-time partner of LEMAYMICHAUD, and LEMAYMICHAUD has been the architect behind many of its component projects. Historically, one of LEMAYMICHAUD’s specialties has been hospitality. They built such a strong reputation in the hotel sector over the years through their work with the Hotels Le Germain, the Marriott Residence Inn Calgary and the Dakota Dunes Resort. In fact, some of those hospitality clients started approaching the company hoping they could bring the same elegance and quality to their residential towers. Such was the case with Proment, who first approached LEMAYMICHAUD in the early 2000’s, seeking their help creating a new lobby for their luxurious ‘Les Sommets’ highrise project. Pierre, personally, has been working with LEMAYMICHAUD for over 23 years, which is essentially his entire professional life. He was Photo: David Boyer THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA
there when the relationship with Proment began, and he remembers the two companies getting off to a very strong start. “Right away, the vibe was good,” he recalls. “We started working with them on that project and we’ve never really stopped.” Proment and LEMAYMICHAUD have been working together on successive projects for over 15 years now. Pierre says the team at Proment is now “like family to me.” He gives them a lot of credit for their dedication to getting their designs right. “They really put the effort into finding the best design for a building possible,” he says. “The people at Proment are so genuine. They take whatever time they need their time to develop a project to its potential. They’ll re-do a design over and over again to make it the best it can be. They invest so much time, energy into finding the perfect solution.” “Working with this team has been a treat,” he adds, “and I’ve learned a lot.” So that’s why LEMAYMICHAUD likes working with Proment. On the other side of the coin, Pierre believes that Proment likes working with LEMAYMICHAUD because of their honesty and straightforwardness. Pierre remembers an early conversation he had with Samuel Gewerz, President of Proment. There was another architect involved in the project they were working on, and Samuel called Pierre and asked him what he thought of the site plan. “The easy answer would have been ‘I like it. It’s very good. Thank you for having us involved in it,’” Pierre says. “But I didn’t give that answer. I knew that it was risky, but I told the truth. I told him that I thought there were things that weren’t right about the plan, and I explained why. He said ‘Thank you for your honesty, I respect that,’ and he asked me to come up with another proposition.” “Ever since, that’s been the basis of our relationship with NOVEMBER 2021
Proment,” Pierre continues. “We’re very respectful of each other, and we’re very honest and truthful with each other. I think that’s been the key to our success together.” In Pointe-Nord, specifically, Proment and LEMAYMICHAUD have worked together from the beginning. LEMAYMICHAUD hasn’t been the only architect there, but Pierre says what’s been remarkable about the development is how collaborative it’s been. LEMAYMICHAUD has been able to give their input on elements of the community they weren’t in charge of, and they have also happily taken suggestions from other project stakeholders when it came to the parts they were. “There are a lot of people involved, and the interesting thing is that everybody has a say on everything,” Pierre says. “We as architects were very involved in the landscape design, and when the landscape architects had a good idea about a building we were doing, they would say it and we would listen to them. It’s been a huge team effort. That’s been very important.” The first thing LEMAYMICHAUD worked on in Pointe-Nord was the masterplan. Proment assembled an all-star team of urban planners to handle the bulk of the work, but LEMAYMICHAUD was able to contribute some models and give their input throughout the process. In particular, they helped decide where the residential towers should be positioned, as they wanted to THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA
make sure that every tower in every phase would be able to take advantage of the downtown view. They didn’t want any future tower to impede the view of an existing one. Once they settled on a plan that accomplished that objective, Pierre says that “Proment stuck to it very strongly.” Again, he gives them a lot of credit for their dedication: “They are very respectful developers,” he says “They’re very respectful to their clients. They wanted to make sure that people could buy their units knowing that their view was never going to be blocked. They wanted to make sure that would never happen.” Following the completion of the Pointe-Nord masterplan, LEMAYMICHAUD was involved in the design of every residential tower, with just one exception. Those towers shared the brand name ‘Evolo.’ The first tower, called ‘Evolo 1,’ was a 30-storey building of 266 units, offering impressive views of the river and downtown Montreal. Amenities included an indoor pool, gym, sauna, lounge, magnificent gardens on the river, and guest suites. The building also included geothermal heating, a solar wall, and higher insulation – for its eco-friendliness, it was awarded ‘Green Project of the Year’ by APCHQ, as well a LEED Gold Certification from the Canadian Green Building Council. The next tower, ‘Evolo 2,’ was another 30-storey building. It included condos ranging from NOVEMBER 2021
625 to over 2,000 square feet. It also boasted “spectacular views” and offered “innovative living spaces.” Like Evolo 1, it was designed with energyefficiency in mind, and it was similarly rewarded with a ‘Green Project of the Year’ prize aswell as a LEED Gold Certificate. LEMAYMICHAUD also worked on ‘Pavillon Evolo’ – an intimate five-storey, 430 condominium building. That was the first waterfront mid-rise of PointeNord. It’s on a pedestrian plaza that leads to a huge waterfront park. An acclaimed restaurant is on the ground level of the building. The most recent tower is called ‘Evolo X’. That project is a 36-storey condo tower, which also includes a gym, an outdoor and indoor pool, and a spa, among other amenities. The interior design combines luxury materials and warm colors, and the huge floor-to-ceiling windows let in a lot of natural light. The design of the common areas was greatly inspired by the nearby river – different shades of blue, chic materials such as marble or metal symbolize the sun’s reflection on the water. Once again, that building was designed to limit ecological impact – it includes highenergy-efficiency windows, low VOC emitting materials, energy efficient LED lighting, and more. Each of the above projects was received very positively by the market. According to Pierre, sales have been strong, and feedback from buyers has been glowing. He credits that success, one more time, to Proment’s commitment to never compromising on quality, no matter how much time or money they had to invest. Photo: Ingrid Misner THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA
Photo: Marc Cramer NOVEMBER 2021 As an example, Pierre cites how much effort went into designing the pedestrian plaza between the towers: “It took us two years to figure out the proper scale of that plaza,” he says. “We had to consider everything extremely carefully. We had to take into account the proportions of the nearby buildings. We had to decide what should be in it. ‘Should there be a fountain? Should there be a tree? Or should it be empty?’” To find the answer, Proment travelled around Canada and the United States, visiting other plazas and studying what worked and what didn’t and why. Their search brought them to Toronto, Vancouver, D.C., Seattle, and beyond. “We went everywhere, and we studied everything in detail,” Pierre says. “We made a lot of models. We don’t usually do that here in Quebec, but in this case it paid off. The plaza really works. It’s very lively. People love to gather there. There are a lot of shows there. It’s a huge success.” Pierre also credits the project’s success to their other project partners – especially Reliance Construction Group, who successfully delivered every ‘Evolo’ tower, from ‘1’ to ‘2’ to ‘Pavillon’ and ‘X’. They are one of the larger privately-owned construction companies in North America, and their track record in Quebec is particularly strong. On Evolo, Pierre says they have lived up to their quality reputation. Another contributor to the Evolo series was Candussi, the concrete floor contractor.
Photo: Stéphane Groleau THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA
Photo: Raphaël Thibodeau NOVEMBER 2021 They have been working with Reliance Construction Group for over 30 years, and their family has been serving the industry in Quebec for twice as long. They are a hands-on company that takes pride in delivering difficult projects and verifying every little detail, so they fit in seamlessly with the detailobsessed teams at Proment, Reliance, and LEMAYMICHAUD. Moving forward, Pierre hopes to continue collaborating with team members of that calibre as they complete the next and final phase of the Evolo series – a project called ‘Evolo Nex,’ which they are working on now. Pierre is not looking forward to the finish line, however. He says the team at LEMAYMICHAUD is very proud of what they have accomplished on the Evolo series, to the point that they would love to keep working on them forever. “They’re such great buildings,” he says. “They are really well thought out from the interiors to the exteriors and that’s something we care for at LEMAYMICHAUD. We strive to create fully integrated projects, combining architecture, interior design and graphic design.” “On these Evolo projects, every single unit has to be liveable,” he adds. “You have to make the most out of every bit of space.” “That can make it harder as a designer,” he concludes. “That usually means you have less regularity on the façade than you’d have on any other tower. But I think that’s the way towers should be. They should be designed from the inside to the outside. That’s what I love about these Evolo projects, and that’s what I love about working with Proment.” Of course, LEMAYMICHAUD doesn’t only work with Proment, and they don’t only work on residential projects. Over the years, the firm has also built a reputation for their work on corporate offices, spas, and retail spaces – for example, they have a relation with La Maison Simons that goes back four decades. Moving forward, LEMAYMICHAUD’s goal is to continue building strong and lasting relationships like that, with clients in a variety of sectors. Their vision is to take on a diverse array of projects in Quebec and beyond, and to deliver them all to the same extremely high quality standards.
Photo: Raphaël Thibodeau THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA For more on LEMAYMICHAUD, their 40-year history, their team, and their many award-winning projects – including the Evolo towers – visit https://www.lemaymichaud.com/ For more on Evolo X in particular, visit https://evolox.ca/en/
Building homes and relationships
Bridge & Quarry is a licensed homebuilder situated in the Niagara Region. Bridge & Quarry has a clear mission of building both homes and relationships through honesty and mutual trust. They are also dedicated to creating custom homes that are new, innovative, and unique without compromising quality.
In2016, JeffCollinsandDanCook founded Bridge & Quarry. Their collaboration seemed natural, as Collins had experience in real estate and Cook had experience in construction through contracting. The two met when Collins needed to build a front porch. “I ended up finding Dan cook through my neighbor,” recounts Collins. “He was a young, unidentified talented carpenter. After working back and forth for a year and half, I knew that we had the same philosophy where you don’t let people down. We align and take it upon ourselves not to let anyone down.” More importantly, the two had skillsets and experiences that met the needs and requirements of their projects. With the combined real estate experience of Collins and the contracting experience of Cook, each project taken is given careful and professional consideration from all angles. “I have experience in both facets of the business. Dan is good at making sure everything is done and built perfectly. Between the two of us we have strengths and weaknesses that offset each other,” reflects Collins. After two years of working together, the two decided they could begin their own business. The company’s first project was a build in Port Colborne. This build was across the street THE CONSTRUC T I ON SOURCE CANADA “In 2016, Jeff Collins and Dan Cook founded Bridge & Quarry. Their collaboration seemed natural, as Collins had experience in real estate and Cook had experience in construction through contracting. The two met when Collins needed to build a front porch.”
NOVEMBER 2021 from a quarry. The build sold successfully within two weeks, and this success set the tone for future of Bridge & Quarry. “We started at one house and moved onto two houses. Now we are probably doing fifteen to twenty houses a year. We keep growing and we keep the philosophy to not let customers down,” notes Collins. Bridge & Quarry’s growing portfolio and project successes demonstrate that the team take their philosophy seriously. Regardless of the project, the team at Bridge & Quarry deliver high quality products that exceed customer expectations. Collins attributes that high quality adherence to Cook. Collins notes, “Dan has themost meticulous eye I have seen in the business. He is trainingmost of the trades we work with in how we need projects done. It all goes back to Dan. He doesn’t miss anything. The customer service and communication come through me, but he has the final stamp on quality.” High expectations of quality and communication are held across all team members, including the company’s tradespeople. Bridge & Quarry assures that all team members are working towards the same goal and hold the same customer-oriented philosophies. This assures that all projects are delivered to the highest standards. Collins notes, “We both have the philosophy that you should be proud enough to put your name on it. We expect the same thing from our crew and trade. We’ve hired good guys too. It comes down to people. Hire the right people.” Bridge & Quarry strives to build trust and relationships by maintaining a standard of communication and quality that customers expect in every step of the building process. More importantly, the team at Bridge & Quarry continue to build relationships through constant openness and willingness to adapt. “We are always learning,” Collins outlines. “If we find a better way
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NOVEMBER 2021 to do something, then we will change it. We can give clients options. Clients might not know these options, so we want to make sure we communicate with people and give them options. Dan makes sure those are done meticulously.” Aside from high standards and clear communication, Bridge & Quarry sets itself apart by accepting projects that require innovative solutions. A great example is a series of projects in Dain City, where they built 20 houses. There, they demonstrated the kind of hard work the company is willing to undertake, as well as the positive effect their work can have on a community. “We took on twenty houses in Dain City, and it was in an area of Niagara that had some bad reputation from previous builders. It was one of our big opportunities. We resurrected that whole neighborhood. This was a neighborhood that was pretty much abandoned. A lot of the foundations were falling. There were extra precautions. We said we would take it on. Nobody else wanted to do it. We revived it,” says Collins. While Bridge & Quarry work to be trailblazers, they will never compromise quality and communication. Customer service and satisfaction will always be at the heart of the company’s philosophy. Collins points to excellent customer service as the key factor in the company’s success, even during the difficult times of global pandemic.