Since 1991, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) Awards of Distinction (AoD) has recognized the creativity, innovation and talent of land developers, builders, renovators and designers throughout the province. The annual ceremony is judged by a panel of industry professionals from across Canada and consists of 42 categories ranging from excellence in building and professional renovations, to sales and marketing.

This year, the AoDs will be held virtually on November 10th with winners announced during a live broadcast hosted by comedian and TV personality James Cunningham. Participants who register will also have the opportunity to participate by voting live for their favourite project in the 2020 People’s Choice Award. These contenders are the top finalists in the Prestige category for Project of the Year for Low-Rise developments and High or Mid-Rise developments.


One of the finalists is Toronto-based, boutique developer Acorn Developments, honoured for its Lookout on the Knoll project in Richmond Hill. Despite a challenging year for the new home industry, Acorn Developments achieved a series of accomplishments including winning five BILD Awards, three EnerQuality Awards and a combined 22 nominations (11 BILD, 4 EQ and 7 OHBA). More recently, the company opened the doors to the stunning Winslow model home in Limerick Point, which itself is an AoD finalist for Best New Home Kitchen and New Home Bathroom.


Acorn’s latest nomination for Lookout on the Knoll is a reflection of the developer’s attention to detail with regards to architectural design, promotion and advertising — all of which helped the project sell out in less than two months.

“The fact that Lookout is a finalist is great because it is a relatively small project and at the time of launch, the submarket was just recovering from a downturn so we had to be wise about spending,” said Zsuzsanna Deák, Marketing Director at Acorn Developments. “There were no impulse decisions throughout the process and we had to get creative in order to maximize marketing dollars. The team really made a difference on doing something unique that resonated with homebuyers.”


While many competitors within the region focused on selling an ‘urban brand,’ Acorn approached the community as one that is truly rooted in nature. Tucked within the pristine forests, rolling hills and valleys of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Lookout on the Knoll invites residents to embrace the great outdoors. The area is home to 75 acres of reserved greenspaces, natural parks and woodlands, including Wilcox Lake, Briar Nine Park and Reserve, and Sheppard’s Bush Conservation Area.

“The name ‘Lookout’ comes from the site’s advantageous location surrounded with treetop views overlooking the land below,” explained Deák. “The addition of ‘on the Knoll’ connected the property back to the brand equity of the Oak Knoll project as a whole, while offering a slight spin on the first three phases of the development.”


As a preview of the verdant greenspaces that await, Acorn used an image of a forest green door perched atop emerald hills with a backdrop of pine trees and endless foliage. Digital ads showing the door slightly ajar, alongside gently blowing grass, helped create an aura of intrigue, while encouraging audiences to interact with the brand and develop their own interpretations.


Consisting of 38 units, Lookout on the Knoll offered two distinct collections of contemporary-designed homes. The recurring nature theme was used to showcase the two home types. The Reserve Collection utilized an owl as its mascot, a reference to the home’s location high above the forest. Meanwhile, an elk was used for the Ravine Collection to represent the community’s proximity to the trees and forest floor.


The Reserve Collection was aimed at first-time and move-up buyers with its spacious floorplans boasting up to 3,200 square feet of living space, rooftop terraces and private gardens. In contrast, the Ravine Collection catered to downsizers and empty nesters who wanted a smaller space but weren’t ready to move into a condo or apartment. This series featured 18 townhomes starting from 2,200 square feet with large kitchens for entertaining and open-concept layouts that could easily accommodate a homebuyer’s existing furniture.

To learn more about Acorn Developments, visit acorndevelopments.com.

For more information on the OHBA Awards, visit ohbaaod.ca.

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