Like so many truly great neighbourhood projects, Canoe Bay didn’t begin with grandiose plans for a development. It began as a conversation between friends; a conversation between seniors’ housing expert Gary Harper and project manager & designer Justin Chubaty. Having played soccer together for years on the Ottawa Falcons team, the two were only vaguely aware of each other’s occupations until the day they shared a post-game beer and began to talk of housing options available to them and their parents as they age. That conversation became a game-changer.
From Justin’s perspective, he saw that his parents were ready to downsize to a smaller home with less maintenance; a place where they could lock the door, go on vacation and not worry that their house was safe and sound. From Gary’s perspective, industry experience had shown him that many seniors needed retirement residences or assisted living, but many others wanted a more independent apartment and there were few choices available in the Ottawa area. Added to which the cost of retirement living in many residences was beyond the means of a good portion of seniors. An idea was born – why not build a village of several living options for people from mid-life through to elderhood? A leading-edge community that would be an integral part of the existing neighbourhood and encompass services, living options of various prices, recreation and the opportunity to stay in the community but change accommodation to meet evolving needs.
With the addition of finance expert and previous Falcon teammate Jim Fullarton to the group, the initial concept began to solidify and the ideas haven’t stopped since. The group could not have dreamed of a better location for the Canoe Bay project than the Riverside property, located in a vibrant neighbourhood and with room to accommodate several housing options plus provide parkland and community space for all neighbours.
Many a great idea falls by the wayside without the financial backing to make a dream into a reality. For this vital component, the original Canoe Bay team has partnered with retirement industry leader Suske Capital Inc. which has been instrumental in securing the necessary financing through the arrangement of mortgages, equity investment and capital fundraising. Suske Capital is owned by Steve Suske, founder of several of Canada’s most successful seniors’ housing companies including Chartwell Retirement Residences, Regal Lifestyle Communities and Spectrum Seniors Housing Development, as well as providing counsel to many Canadian operators. Both Suske Capital and Suske Capital Managing Director Sarah Cathrae, with her own local connections to the Canoe Bay project, have become partners in Canoe Bay.
Inspired idea, committed team, unparalleled location . . . hello Canoe Bay!