Rendering: The Heights of Harmony spans 90 acres and brings a brand-new range of designs in the Modern Farmhouse style, a unique design inspired by country living (pictured).
One of Canada’s most notable developers was recently recognized for its new home design and production prowess within the Greater Toronto Area’s Durham Region.
At the Durham Region Home Builders Association (DRHBA) 2022 Awards of Excellence, Minto Communities GTA took home eight awards in the home production and marketing categories. One of Minto’s newest Durham Region projects, the master-planned Heights of Harmony community in North Oshawa, received four of the awards.
Minto’s collection of 2022 DRHBA awards include Excellence in Production Built Home 3,001 – 4,000 Square foot Design; Excellence in Production Built Home under 2,000 square feet; Excellence in Production Built Kitchen Design; Excellence in Production Built Bathroom Design; Excellence in Website Design; Excellence in Logo Design; Excellence in Sales Brochure Design and Excellence in Signage.
The North American developer has been expanding its footprint in the popular and fast-growing Durham Region as of late. In February, Minto Communities GTA unveiled its acquisition of four new GTA sites, including two located in Brooklin and Courtice. Later this year, the developer will release its second phase of The Heights of Harmony, bringing more award-winning single-family residences and townhomes to the expanding Durham Region.
Livabl spoke with Mike LaPlante, vice president of land development for Minto Communities, about the developer’s recent award wins and its plans for Durham Region.
Parts of this interview have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Minto Communities GTA received eight awards at the DRHBA 2022 Awards of Excellence this year. Tell us about the awards that Minto received. Why was the company given this recognition?
I think a part of it is our success at Kingmeadow in Oshawa and our continued success at Ivy Ridge in Whitby. That set us up for these awards and the success that we’re seeing in our Heights of Harmony project.
Looking at the awards, there were four awards that were really design-based and based on the design of our homes and features within our homes. We’re especially proud of those awards. It’s really important [to have] features like innovative design, great use of space, great use of material, functionally and overall appeal. We know that these qualities are really important to future homeowners, and so they’re important for us as well.
We’re also always trying to keep elevating our designs, so it’s really great to receive the recognition from DRHBA.
Image: From left to right – Calum Thompson (development associate), Tiago Do Couto (director of land development), Biren Shah (director of contract operations), Ben Mulroney (event MC) and Mark Jin (director of sales and research).
Tell us more about The Heights of Harmony. What is this community all about?
The Heights of Harmony is a 90-acre master-planned community in Oshawa’s Kedron neighbourhood. Within that, there’s a 28-acre community park that is going to include football fields and a few kilometres worth of trails. As far as putting our best foot forward in that area with our first phase and the award that we won there, it’s just a great way to make sure that everybody understands what Minto is doing there, and what we will continue with future phases within that master-planned community.
One of the things that I really love [about this community] is our Modern Farmhouse elevation, but we have other styles like Canadiana, the Craftsman, Period Revival, Tudor and French Country. What we do with our different varieties of exterior elevations is we provide the buyer with something that should meet their needs.
Why is Durham Region an area of interest? What other areas in this region is Minto Communities GTA expanding into?
We see the Durham Region as an area of opportunity. The success of our past communities in the Durham Region shows us that there’s an appetite for more homes in the region, so we’re thrilled to help contribute to the growth of the region with homes that fit a variety of budgets and lifestyles in a premier location.
Actually, I once lived in the Durham Region and I loved my time there. The two sites that we have coming up there are a site in Brooklin and a site in Courtice. The Brooklin site is about 27 acres and will have around 190 new residences, and the Courtice site is approximately 100 acres and will have somewhere around 140 new residences.
What design and development choices has Minto Communities made to ensure its Durham Region communities are both pedestrian-friendly and sustainable?
First of all, it’s part of our overall ESG strategy on all of our new communities. We’re assessing them for walkability, energy efficiency and those types of things. We’ve committed, as a company and to ourselves, to make sure that we’re assessing any of the new technologies that are available. In addition to that, sustainability has been a core part of our work, and we are always pursuing best-in-class solutions and emerging technologies to reduce our carbon footprint.
At The Heights of Harmony, we offer net-zero upgrades for certain models and as an example, we’re taking strides to offer sustainable homes. In Courtice and in Brooklin, as part of the initial design phases, we’re taking a look at transportation plans which includes walkability, biking and those types of things.
We’ve been fortunate to win past awards like Green Builder of the year for low-rise in 2021 at the BILD awards for instance because of the many different, sustainable features incorporated into our homes. In addition, we’ve received Energy Star certification for over 8,500 homes and certification on over 6,500 suites in our condos buildings.
Durham Region is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Greater Toronto Area. What are your thoughts on this expanding region when it comes to new construction homes? Why is this area a hotspot for development?
The Durham Region is a really wonderful place in the GTA. We’re so excited to be a part of its growth. It’s hard to say what the future looks like with a crystal ball, but we know that there is a housing supply shortage in Durham and there are families who need homes to live in.
Durham is fast-growing and is poised to continue this trend over the foreseeable future. The Durham Region is working on a municipal comprehensive review which they call Envision Durham. It facilitates future growth and develops master-planned communities to make Durham a desirable location for people looking to live in the GTA. This is keeping with Minto’s vision of building better places to live, work and play and is a big part of the reason we have sought out projects in Durham Region.
To register for the next phase of The Heights of Harmony, sign up today at minto.com.