66Canadians' love affair with home ownership isrooted in our national personality. Not only areCanadians known to be hard-working --andinterested in sure and steady investments --wealso have a deep attachment to the land. It's thesetting in which our families are nurtured andcan be passed on to them. With about 70 percentof Canadians owning their home, real estate hasbecome a subject that nears obsession.hat's less known about real estate, particularly in theGreater Toronto Area, is the influence that entrepreneursand individual families have wielded on its physical growth in thepast three decades. Geranium Homes is one such company.Adapting to a changing building environment, it has emerged tobecome one of the few fully integrated land development and homebuilding companies in Ontario. Just 15 years after its beginnings in1977 as a modest start-up partnership between Earl Rumm andBarry Feiner, Geranium Homes was identified by Stats Can in 1992as the fourth largest homebuilder in the country.Early in Toronto's suburban growth, land development was separateand distinct from home building. But as demand for housing grewand government planning policies reflected widespread respect forthe environment --and increased in complexity --land developmentbecame highly specialized and more costly. Just as Geraniumreached its peak building years, it became clear to Rumm and FeinerWGERANIUM HOMES' PATH TO THE FUTUREThe ChangingLandscapePlease visit GeraniumHomes.com or call 905.477.1177 for more information.
67that continuing as they were --a home builder --would be foolhardyunless they also got into land ownership and development. Unlike many of their industry colleagues, who turned their attentionto carving out a niche in high-rise development in Toronto'sdowntown core, Geranium remained true to its roots in low-risehousing. And so the partners made a difficult corporate decision --wind down their prodigious output in building and take the time toreorganize. Meanwhile, Feiner's youngest son, Boaz, had beenlearning the business from the ground up. They turned over thehome building arm of the company to him, while Rumm and FeinerSr. launched into large-scale community development. They laterset their sights on settlement areas identified in the province'sPlaces To Grow legislation.By 2007, nearly 10 years had gone by, and Geranium Homes waswell-positioned for re-entry into the low-rise housing market. Ratherthan a subdivision tract, though, the company launched a full-fledged master-planned community --its first --on landsdeveloped by parent company Geranium Corporation. Today over500 families call this community in Stouffville home, and Geraniumcontinues to build there.On the strength of a three-decade long track record, Boaz Feinerbrought a new energy and fresh approach to creating communitiesand garnered Geranium national recognition in 2011 as a nomineefor the Grand Sam award that honours the top builder by theCanadian Home Builders' Association. Each year, Geranium's new projects have established theirreputation for creating livable communities, thoughtful design andquality construction. Those are values that will be evident in everynew community the Geranium name will be associated with, startingwith a major resort development on Lake Simcoe; large scalemaster-planned communities in Midhurst, near Barrie, and alongHighway 400 in Bond Head.Creating sustainable neighbourhoods may take more time, expertise,money and patience than it used to, say Rumm and Feiner, but it'swhat Canadians expect, and the company wants to deliver.