Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Doors Open Toronto – Humber College Arboretum

Doors Open Toronto – Humber College Arboretum, wobuilt.comPhotos: Doors Open Toronto – Humber Arboretum
May 28, 2011 @

Humber Arboretum Centre for Urban Ecology
205 Humber College Blvd, Toronto, ON M9W 5L7
Event information: Visit the Humber Arboretum & Centre for Urban Ecology - a favorite location for photographers interested in modern architecture and nature alike. This site is where many Humber College photography, landscape, design, and media arts students learn their craft. Accordingly, student and staff work will be on display in the Centre with building and landscape tours scheduled throughout the day.
Architect and year: Taylor/Hazell Architects, 2007

This was a bit of a busman’s holiday, personally my first Doors Open Toronto. We had heard a lot about the Arboretum, LEED award winner, so we were interested. Granted it is a bit off the beaten path (427 and Finch), but once we found it, well worth the visit. Tucked behind the main college building, the Arboretum is located in the middle of a lovely garden park, nestling within the terrain. We were told that the park had oodles of wildlife (we saw geese and ducks), and we did enjoy sitting outside and talking to some of the visitors.

The building makes use of the slightly hilly terrain, a part of the energy efficient set-up. A teaching and research facility it packed almost all the known “green” systems into a small space and expressing them architecturally. The most visible systems of course are the sun shading slats on the south facing wall, reducing the high sun angles and the ventilation shaft in the center of the building, that extends 1 storey above the main floor and that facilitates the natural ventilation. Form follows function, making for interesting architecture. Rain water tanks for plant watering are buried into the hillside; behind the building are grey water recycling tanks, also used for plant irrigation. Other elements include green roofs, daylight and motion sensors, triple gazing, radiant heating, dual flush toilets and more. My favorite: large amount of daylight in the space.

The most interesting aspect of the building for me was the natural cooling system. Outside air is drawn into the building, directed into the basement which is several degrees cooler and then distributed to the warmer spaces where the air differential will have a cooling effect.

We were given an informative tour around the building and were assured that the environmental conditions are great and working there is a pleasure. As it is a small building all these systems are bound to be very effective as they can be finely tuned. They also would work very well for any other centrally controlled building (residential or non residential) provided there is enough space available to implement the measures. In multi-unit dwellings the implementation would become more complicated. Some measure such as green roofs, triple glazing, radiant heating, grey and rain water recycling, sun shading will all work as they are not part of individual choice. Ventilation and cooling is however a more personal matter. How much control would the individual units have to relinquish to make the natural ventilation and cooling work?

The Arboretum is an example and showcase on how any of these systems work. We need more examples accessible to the public to increase awareness of what can be done. We are committed to incorporate as many of these systems as possible in all our buildings. It is not necessary to incorporate all systems in each building. Even just one or two measures will make an impact over time. Going “green” is a valid way to reduce our footprint on the environment we live in, and we encourage anyone to take baby steps.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build
Doors Open Toronto 2011 Featuring City in Focus: Architecture + Photography

Thursday, 26 May 2011

We Are Looking for Adventurous Building Owners

dream house architecture, the ranch, the tower, by wobuilt.comCollage: The Ranch and the Tower Projects:
Interesting Additions with Architectural Merit.
Credit: MS Office ClipArt: Silhouettes

Adventure is not something usually associated with construction at least not in a positive way. But it should be. When owners embark on a building project there should be the sense of adventure – for the design, the materials used, the innovations for the building. Buildings can be so much more than just boxes. And of course this applies for both residential and non residential.

The term "adventure" here is defined as the willingness to undertake risk. Not of course in the sense of using a cowboy builder and skimping on the permits and the choice of appropriate materials – not that kind of risk. But the risk to be daring, bold and enterprising, of looking at alternative innovative designs and materials, of being in the forefront of green construction, of considering architectural features different from the norm - that kind of risk should be considered.

We are looking for adventurous building owners, who have the vision of looking at a building project in an innovative way. In the past, we had the good fortune to work on residential buildings where our clients looked at a different aesthetics, different layouts and green considerations. In past postings we called two of them the "Ranch" and the "Tower". Both projects started out as bungalows and ended up with interesting additions and with architectural merit.

We like to be adventurous as well and push the envelope further. We like to think outside the box. In our dream house competition ideas we explored different concepts for living and even though they were hypothetical, they looked at possibilities outside the norm. We do not suggest that "adventurous" building owners have to go as far, but just allow yourselves to dream.

Part of the adventure is to incorporate the green design aspects. Green design does not only consist of using the appropriate materials, but also using the space and its environment to achieve energy and water savings and reduce our environmental footprint.

Our designs of spaces will include the consideration of living walls to cleanse the air and supplement the HVAC. Heat sinks in conjunction with heat recovery units to reduce heating. Rain and grey water recovery systems to reduce water usage, solar and wind power to reduce electricity and many more. But the key is balance between the need to reduce the ecological foot print, the wow factor that will make the space special and also the consideration for human comfort. Right from the start of the design we will take these conflicting requirements and design for the best possible balance.

Let’s be adventurous together.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: let's be adventurous together.
by murphluv

Wo-Built: What Do These Three Renovation Projects Have In Common?

Wo-Built's Dream House Ideas:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Building a Company around a Social Mission

Clarifying Social Mission, collage

Collage: Clarifying Our Social Mission
Credit: MS Office ClipArt MP900407401

Building a company around a social mission – does it make sense? Our new way forward.

Over the last four years we have written extensively about the need for mentoring and helping women succeed in the Construction Industry and our commitment to play a significant part, but we never really talked about the impact that adopting this particular social mission as our core had on our business.

When we started the company we believed unfailingly that companies need to have a social mission at their cores to make a difference in their communities. However, most companies that follow that model are not-for-profit entities, and so eligible for third party funding. In contrast, we are a for-profit company, mainly to keep self determination, so we are ineligible for almost all grants available to not-for-profits.

Some for-profit organizations have aligned their social mission with their primary product or service. A solar panel company that wants to provide green energy to everyone for example has aligned the green mission with their product. In contrast, our social mission to help women succeed in the building industry is only tangentially connected to our bread and butter activity: designing and building home renovations, additions and custom houses. Hence publishing our social message often distracted from our building message making a coherent marketing effort difficult.

Our business model is to finance our social mission through building revenue, meaning if we dilute our message for getting work we are less successful in obtaining new projects, therefore our women’s site mentoring will suffer. Also, since we are a start-up company, staff time is scarce and we could not do as many workshops, introduction to students, training initiatives etc as we had wanted. We are very proud of our anime WoBinna who is helping to increase awareness about the mission.

On the benefit side we had a lot of interests, publicity in our social mission and it certainly was a talking point. It also showed our sincerity and community spirit. And over the last 4 years we have encouraged a few women to make the trades their career. It was a great feeling seeing that our efforts were successful.

So, why are we continuing to be committed to the cause of helping women in construction? Why haven’t we abandoned it to concentrate on our bread and butter message? After all, a for-profit organization’s goal and only goal is to make money for its shareholders. Otherwise we are talking about a hobby.

Well, we have made a decision. We are 100% committed to helping women succeed in the building trades, but we cannot do this under the Wo-Built Inc, the contractor, umbrella any more. We have other community and green initiatives which are more in line with our building message and which will continue the social missions within the company and making a stronger brand for the design and build construction.

Our core social mission has gained a lot of recognition, and hence we are going to bring more prominence to it and establish a Wo-Built owned not-for-profit foundation specifically established to help women in construction. This will bring more attention and resource optimization to the table and help push the mission to its next level.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

The EDGE Group: Turning "For-Profit" to Focus on Mission
Posted by Shannon D. Barnes, Sep 16, 2010

The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Does Nonprofit Status Offer the Best Way to Achieve Your Mission?
By Kristin Giantris, Sept 14, 2010

wobuilt: Wo-Built Inc's Commitment to the Community

That's Women's Work: Social values a basis for our company
by Martina Ernst, August 12, 2010

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A Year of Change and Development

A Year of Change and Development, Wo-Built progress and achievements, Corso Italia Toronto
Photo-Collage: A Year of Change and Development
2011 @
What a difference a space makes!?

This week, one year ago, we moved from the Lakeshore to Corso Italia. The physical relocation also marked a year of growth, of rethinking the core of the business and to manifest many of our ideas.

A year in Corso Italia brought us closer to many of our business neighbours and we feel very much at home here. The sense and maintenance of community is an important part of our company, either by helping to preserve it or by building it. We are taking an active part within the local BIA to help promote the area and throughout the last year we have written and tweeted about our neighbours, Corso Italia events (such as the annual Festival which will be held this year on July 2-4) on our Forum, Facebook and Twitter.

Being here also strengthen our believe that amending homes to the growing needs of families is much better than moving, especially if the family is already integrated in their neighbourhood. So after months of development we have just launched our idea of the standardized approach to design and build of a 2nd storey, making the idea more affordable.

Our office also influenced some of our design ideas. We have three windows and we just love the great amount of daylight and sun shine in the space. As I wanted to see the windows from every place in the office, all our dividers are designed transparent and are hung from the ceiling to give maximum flexibility and visibility, but break up the space into distinct areas. We are now promoting the same space planning idea to corporate clients.

Some of our posts in the past year dealt with our design philosophies, especially my love for conservatories and glass houses. I think the daylight in the office inspired us and we are now developing a new idea with glass houses in mind which we will unveil soon. It will also include green and food elements. I also blame the daylight in our office for another change. My background is lighting design and I was inspired to go back to some of my roots. Check out some of our lighting posts.

The move to Corso Italia has been good for us. It confirmed and inspired ideas. We feel at home and we look forward to a prosperous second year.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A Second Storey Addition - New Construction Approach

home addition standardized layout, by
A Home Addition Standardized Layout
2011 @

Value proposition – a standardized but unique approach to 2nd storey additions.

Over the last few years we have noticed that there are great similarities in the existing bungalow buildings in Toronto. The typical bungalow (approx 800 to 1000sft) consists of two bedrooms at the back of the house, bathroom and basement stairs on the side in the middle, followed by a kitchen and living dining on the other side. We also noticed that many inquiries from potential clients were very similar. The classic wish list for 2nd floor additions seems to be 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms to create more space for the family who elected to stay in their community rather than to move to a new house.

We are all about space – creating wow factors with architectural component. But we are also about value for money and in the face of having so many similarities we came up with our new Value-exceptional Classic 2nd Floor Model (tentative name) initiative – a second floor structure with architectural and design features such as master bedroom with either cathedral or coffered ceiling, an en-suite bathroom with large shower area, skylights and light pipe and where possible green construction. Design and Build to finishing stage affordable at a starting price of $167,000 due to our fast track processes.

Even though the basic layout of the addition is standard, individuality in the design is provided by customizing storage, window aesthetics and of course the position and style of stairs and railings. Any further customization is possible, but of course the more changes to the standard the more time consuming the design period will be and the more costly the addition. Any improvement work for the first floor and basement such as window replacements in the rest of the house, new kitchen or open concept will be an option for the clients.

Finishing for this model is up to prime painting. Doors, trims, baseboards, flooring, painting, any bathroom fixtures and tiling and other finishes are not included in the package. For this three different finishes packages, basic, lush and royal, are available and are dealt with under a separate finishes contract, so that different tastes and pocket books can be accommodated. The external appearance and finish is also subject to various options available. Again a very personal choice and best dealt with under the finishes.

So if you are thinking of adding a second storey to your bungalow and are interested to talk to us about our new initiative please contact us. Meanwhile look out for our detailed description on our Website which will be posted soon.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build
(416) 402 - 2679


Home Addition Plus: Helping Homeowners Every Day
Building a Second Floor Addition versus a Room Addition
Deciding on Whether to Build Up or Out on a Home Addition Project

By: Mark J. Donovan Second floor addition project Another Addition Renovation We Are Proud Of What Do These Three Renovation Projects Have In Common?
1. The Classic - Design and Build Project
A second floor was added on a one storey bungalow and over the garage. The first floor was gutted and rearranged into open plan concept.
2. The Ranch - Design and Build Project
Second storey was added to one storey bungalow. The client wanted a ranch style house with large overhangs. We were able to achieve this without compromising the daylight in the interior spaces.
3. The Tower - Design and Build Project
Tiny one storey bungalow was transformed effectively into a three storey building with a large loft studio overlooking the floor below. The walls and the foundation of the existing building could not support the new structure and a large steel structure had to be built to take the load. The Development of Our Addition Project: 3 Parts

Friday, 13 May 2011

Medical Facilities - Building Image and Branding of Your Spaces

Naturopathic  Office Wo-Built’s  Commercial Renovation Project, by wobuilt.comWo-Built’s Commercial Renovation Project
Naturopathic Office: New treatment spaces
and reception area before and after renovation
2011 @
We first got interested in medical/alternative health care facilities when we were involved in designing and building a new Naturopathic office. We had lengthy discussions on what kind of image our client wanted for his practice and much of the discussions revolved around the possible growth of the practice and its implications on the design.

In the age of an alternative medicine or natural health care treatments which are not or only limitedly covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) it is important for those practitioners not only to be good at helping people but also to develop a brand and image. After all, patients can choose who they want to pay for the services.

Usually visits to a clinic are combined with a certain amount of anxiety, sometimes pain and often trepidation. From my own experience, I like to be made comfortable when I visit a health practitioner. So the reception area is key to making the first impressions: comfortable, efficient, warm and inviting, balance of prosperity and modesty and through the image should inspire confidence in the abilities of the practitioner. It should convey a sense of what the clinic has to offer and its philosophies and believes.

The reception area should be an essential part of the marketing message. Lighting and colours play a key role in conveying these emotions and impressions. So does the use of daylight. If possible, all non-treatment areas, such as waiting rooms, play areas and kid zones, and reception areas should be around the perimeter of the building to take advantage of any daylight and outside views to increase comfort.

The examination areas and their associated circulation should be designed to promote efficiency, privacy and comfort. The spaces should be inviting, but functional. In contrast to the reception area’s function of attracting patients the treatment areas reflect the expertise of the health practitioner. An important aspect of today’s health care is that treatment methods can be changed. Hence flexibility and the ability to adapt the spaces easily are key to allow for growth and multi-functionality.

Some elements which would ensure flexibility:
  • Heating and Air-conditioning: the climatic environment in a clinic is important and may need several control zones to accommodate the different function in the clinic.
  • Lighting and Electrical: The placement and effect of light fixtures has to be considered carefully so that patients are not subjected to glare. Electrical wiring has to be hospital grade for the examination areas and ample electrical outlets should be considered in the design phase.
  • Water Requirements: Rather than having to undergo expensive renovation at a later date it may be advisable to plan for possible plumbing in treatment areas which at the start do not need any.
  • Sound and Visual Privacy: It might be necessary to provide good sound insulation between treatment rooms as much as a visual barrier. But rather than using fixed drywall construction good movable sound proof partitions would allow for more flexibility. Partitions can also create interesting patterns and allow for daylight design.
Returning to the notion of brand and image for alternative medicine practitioners. The treatment environment is a reflection on the processes and practices and an integral part of the marketing to attract customers. It is important to plan and design the image and functionality of the space in great detail prior to implementation.

In our experience we look at the current requirements and the possible business growth and we design the spaces accordingly. The key is to plan for adaptability without increasing the initial capital costs. Our team of business and design consultants and qualified trades can help to develop the brand and image and then bring the project to a successful conclusion.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Adding Value to Your House – How About Adding Value to Your Life?!

Add value to your house – add value to your life, clip art: Family under a roofCollage: Add a Value Your Life
Illustration: Family under a roof
Credit: MS Office ClipArt MC910216993

"The key factor is to ensure that renovations increase at least two of three elements: comfort, convenience, luxury. Both aesthetics and function should also be improved with the work."
Top Renovations That Increase Home Value
by Sheila Doris
Over the years we have mentioned that certain renovations will increase the value of your house. In the Toronto Housing Market renovating your kitchen or adding another bathroom to the house are top of the list. Best return on investment is painting and other cosmetic home improvements. Even some ‘green’ measures, such as solar panels are becoming popular for added value. So, if you want to treat your home as an investment you are best served to do those renovations.

But a home is so much more than an investment. It’s were you feel comfortable, where your family lives and where you will make memories. You have a lot of emotions invested in your home, how it felt when you bought it, the improvements you made to make it your own. But suddenly there is more space required or you want to implement something that you always wanted to have, like a conservatory, another bedroom, an open concept or just more space. But you like your house and you don’t want to move. Often the choice of doing an extensive renovation like a basement or adding a second storey or rear extension is due to wanting to stay in the same house and area. Also even if you moved house you still would have to renovate to your taste.

Large renovations are costly. A typical 800-1000 sq.ft. basement renovation will cost around $50,000 to $100,000 depending on if you need a bathroom, have to raise the floor to ceiling height and the type of finishes required. A 800-1000 sq.ft. second storey finished addition depending on the work done on other floors can cost anywhere between $250,000 to $400,000. A 2-storey rear addition will be in the region of $150,000 to $250,000 depending on scope. Unless you acquired the existing house and land well under market price it is unlikely that the costs could be recovered immediately.

These renovations are all about adding to your life. Enjoying the renovation you have done, using the space as you want to. In these cases you are adding to the benefit of your lifestyle and comfort. They represent the fulfillment of your dream.

We specialize in additions and larger renovations because we feel we want to add value to people’s lives. Not only because we want to fulfill dreams of a more beautiful house or added space, but we also believe in keeping families in communities they lived in for a while. There is a lot to be said about staying in one area for a long period of time. Families can integrate into communities which in turn can enrich life. Communities often mean stability, prosperity, safety and security.

We can work with you to add value to your life and value to your house.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build
wobuilt: Renovations and Recession

wobuilt: Turning Your Dream Home Into a Reality (Again !!!!): 10 sizzling ideas to get you exploring the possibilities of your house.

Creating A Dream Home: Putting Down Roots … Winnipeg Reno Blog Home improvements a waste of money
A new kitchen or extension could be a costly mistake as house prices slump

Elizabeth Colman
From Times Online July 22, 2008

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Doors Open Toronto 2011 Featuring City in Focus: Architecture + Photography

Doors Open Toronto 2011, May 28-29, 2011, photo-collage by wobuilt

Photo-Collage: Doors Open Toronto 2011
Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29, 2011
Get Advice on Architectural Photography
Credit: City of Toronto: 2011 Doors Open Toronto

"Never underestimate the power of architecture. Though Toronto doesn’t possess the architectural depth of some cities, what we have we love. That has been demonstrated again and again by Doors Open ..."
Christopher Hume Urban Issues, Architecture Doors Open: When private spaces become public

One of the must-see events in May is Doors Open Toronto. This inspiring urban exploration is our busman's holiday and it's a brilliant occasion to see some of the great architecture and buildings Toronto has to offer.

This year's 12th edition of Doors Open will be held on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29 and will focus on photography in order to capture the multifaceted panoramas within Toronto's history.

There are close to 150 buildings to choose from, but the following ones are on the top of our list, either for design or environmental reasons or just personal interest:

AGATHOM Co. - The Formerly Building - NEW!
3 Gilead Place, Toronto, ON M5A 3C8
Event information: A street level art and architecture studio & workshop within an industrial warehouse. Oversized doors open interior to narrow alley setting. Aspects of the original building's wide range of uses are evident throughout the spaces. Even vintage Land-Rovers adorn the rooms. Architects will be present for lively discussions on both days. On display will be a wide range of architectural models, photographs, drawings and illustrations. Children are welcome.

ARIDO/IDC (The Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario ), Toy Factory Lofts - NEW!
43 Hanna Ave, Toronto, ON M6K 1X1
Event information: Tour ARIDO and IDC's new home in the Toy Factory Lofts, Liberty Village. Designed by modo, the space features beautiful sightlines, exposed beams, sleek touches of steel and glass as well as furnishings by design icons. Visitors can speak with interior designers who will be on hand to answer questions about the space and view 75 years of interior design photo archives.

Cannon Design - NEW!
200 University Ave 1200, Toronto, ON M5H 3C6
Event information: Cannon Design will mount an exhibit of photography specially curated for Doors Open that explores how architects view the city entitled: “Toronto: City in Focus.” The large scale photographs will be displayed throughout the studio for visitors to view as they experience Cannon Design’s studio space. Models and images of completed projects as well as projects at every stage of design and construction will be displayed.

Central Neighbourhood House - NEW!
349 Ontario St, Toronto, ON M5A 2V8
Event information: Come experience an archival photo exhibit showcasing the first four decades of the 100 year old Central Neighbourhood House, as well as a short documentary that celebrates the campaign theme 100 Years of Neighbours. Historians and local photographers will be on hand to offer insight into the organization’s rich history. A visit to the Rooftop Garden and Playground, as well as tours of the building, will be available.

Corkin Gallery - NEW!
55 Mill St 61 , Toronto, ON M5A 3C4
Event information: Guided tours Sunday at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Brigitte Shim, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects will lead two guided tour of both front of house and back of house spaces. Current exhibition at the Corkin Gallery during Doors Open 2011 - "Kertesz in Toronto – Photographs from 1978 to 1981" from April 28 – June 12, 2011.

Distillery Historic District Denaturing Room (Building 47) - NEW!
55 Mill Street 47 , Toronto, ON. M5A 3C4
Event information: For the first time, the Distillery District invites visitors to explore the Denaturing Room and three new displays of industrial heritage artifacts. “Denaturing” explains the process of creating industrial alcohol from pure alcohol. “Coppersmithing” examines the tools and practices adopted by Gooderham & Worts’ own artisans, who turned out everything from ladles and buckets to huge storage tanks. “Maintenance” celebrates the underappreciated carpenters, plumbers and other workers, who kept the distillery functioning for over 150 years.

Empress Building - NEW!
124 Merton St, Toronto, ON M4S 2Z2
Event information: Vivian Reiss is an internationally renowned painter, designer and pioneer in urban farming, who specializes in combining the visual beauty of gardens with their applications on the dining table. She will be on hand to explain how to transform the workplace through landscape, architecture, and art. Visitors can tour the rooftop and courtyard green roof vegetable gardens where 37 varieties of heritage tomatoes are grown as well as organic lettuce.

Humber Arboretum Centre for Urban Ecology
205 Humber College Blvd, Toronto, ON M9W 5L7
Event information: Visit the Humber Arboretum & Centre for Urban Ecology -a favorite location for photographers interested in modern architecture and nature alike. This site is where many Humber College photography, landscape, design, and media arts students learn their craft. Accordingly, student and staff work will be on display in the Centre with building and landscape tours scheduled throughout the day.

In addition to the photography programming, Doors Open Toronto is launching a new program initiative called "Ask A Photographer". At select venues throughout the city, expert photographers will be available to offer advice on architectural photography.

2011 Doors Open Toronto will officially launch on Friday, May 27 when the Royal Ontario Museum opens its doors to the public for free from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Oh, and by the way, when you attend the event, be sure to take your camera with you and do not forget to upload your best photos to the Doors Open Ontario 2011 Digital Photo Contest online and to the Doors Open Toronto Photography Contest "City in Focus 2011".

Good luck!

Doors Open Toronto 2011 open data can be downloaded from the City's Open Data web site.
Download a variety of Doors Open Toronto apps for the DOT Adventure 2011.

wobuilt: Our Busman's Holiday: Doors Open Toronto
wobuilt: Explore the George Brown House: Restored and Well-Preserved Residential Heritage
wobuilt: Architecture: Combining New and Old building a city that thinks like a web @Doors_OpenTO #doors_opento
facebook: Doors Open Toronto

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Sunnyville Grill: Home-style Meal Cooked by Mom with Love

Where on Corso Italia would you go to find good home-style cooking and good value for breakfast or lunch - just the way your mom would have made it for you? Well, when we first moved to the area I read a number of restaurant reviews on Toronto's food pages online and what tops the list there is Sunnyville Grill at 1218 St. Clair Avenue West.

Working in the area, I eat out a lot. So reading the praise of the Internet foodies doesn't make me a believer. I need to go and check it out myself. And, to my surprise, it was a better eating experience than I read about or even expected.

On weekdays or weekends, when you are looking for a good breakfast or lunch and you want to enjoy the hot cooked love of mom, you have to go to Sunnyville Grill. First you will notice a cast of characters up front. The owner, Louie Reppas - a really big guy with an equally big heart who makes you feel welcome. And then you will find two very attractive and talented servers, Angeline and Daisy. (If you have ever been to His Majesty's Feast you may have seen Daisy serving up food there where the horses and knights put on a good evening show.) But over at Sunnyville Grill, in the back, where the bacon meets the grill is where you find the engine of this restaurant - Mom, Vivian Reppas. She is a power in the kitchen and a woman who REALLY knows about good flavours!

The day I came by for my first visit, I really didn't know what I wanted to eat. It was late for breakfast but early for lunch and despite having a large menu with great options for both, I couldn't decide what I should have. So, sensing my dilemma, Vivian made for me a wonderful combination burger. This burger had everything I was looking for even though I wasn't aware I was looking for it. The meat was light but cooked to a caramelized brownness. The bacon was crispy and added a tangy salty twist. Condiments included a sweet Videla onion slice and home grown garden tomato that tasted like summer. My appetite went from undecided to overwhelmed.

After I inhaled the burger, fries and salad, a desert arrived unexpected to my table, one that Vivian had been working on for her husband for later that night. It was a cross between a cake and a pudding, drizzled with chocolate. That pastry just finished me off. I was fed, happy and ready to go back to work.

Since that day, I've been back to Sunnyville Grill often and have even used their services to cater office meetings. They bring their wonderful menu (and even things not on the menu) to our office for our lunch meetings and right after lunch, the dishes and trays disappear without a trace. We have come to really enjoy the food and the folks at Sunnyville Grill.

And, in closing, let me issue a special note of congratulations to Louie and his wife Marijana on the birth of a beautiful baby girl Liana. Like any good dad, Louie has lots of baby pictures on his iPhone to show you. Just ask him to see his baby pics.
This article was contributed by Ari Berman, a Management Consultant from Toronto, Canada, with a specialization in operations and process change. He has helped companies spanning aircraft builders to soda drink manufacturers to increase their value - finding and improving important details that never got attended to in past. His work in the construction industry includes overseeing commercial construction projects in retail shopping malls across Canada. He can be reached at 647-235-8181 or via e-mail on

wobuilt: A Little Culinary Gem in Corso Italia: Sunnyville Grill
wobuilt: Building the Friendship of Neighbours in Business
wobuilt: Agio’s New Brunch: Community Starts at Home Reviews on Sunnyville Grill Sunnyville Grill - All Day Breakfast Hidden gems on St. Clair W?