The Town that Boychuk Built
Saskatoon of the 1940s was a far less developed town than the Saskatoon of today, a city experiencing a tremendous housing boom, expansion and growth.
With no exaggeration one can credit a major influence of the look and direction of Saskatoon’s development since the 1940s to Boychuk homes, the family-owned, Saskatoon-based land developer and construction business.
Boychuk started out in 1945 by the eponymous, late Mike Boychuk, with construction of the company’s first home on Lansdowne Avenue in Toronto. The fact that the original owners are still in residence is an amazing testament to the quality that would soon become the trademark of every Boychuk home.
The company grew to the point that Boychuk Companies Ltd. was formed in 1953 to help deal with the growing concerns of post-war Saskatoon. This allowed the distinctive construction, land development and commercial development divisions to operate independently and in conjunction with the framework of Boychuk Companies Ltd.
Boychuk construction continues to be a development company, building thousands of Saskatoon’s single- and multi-family projects, creating over 7,000 homes for Saskatoon residents. Mike Boychuk’s vision and prescience has helped define the growth of Saskatoon’s beloved neighbourhoods, the company being the major developer in College Park, River Heights, Confederation Park, Fairhaven, Avalon, Wildwood, Silverwood North, Lakeridge, Erindale and Arbor Creek.
In fact, Boychuk Companies Ltd. has the distinct honour of holding the record of the oldest company continuously in business in Saskatoon, and quite possibly the entire province of Saskatchewan. It is a stalwart dedication to quality and service that has garnered the company’s reputation as a premiere company in the Saskatchewan business landscape.
General Manager Ron Olson, Boychuk’s son-in-law, and the rest of the team conscientiously build, literally and figuratively, on the Boychuk legacy, evolving and progressing Saskatoon’s real estate. Olson has been with the company as Managing Director for Boychuk construction and Boychuk investments for 31 years, and over that time has built thousands of single and multi-family homes, been involved in many subdivisions in terms of land development, and continued to be very involved in all aspects of development in the city.
“Mike set the stage for this company to be what is it today,” says Olson. “We have land holdings surrounding the city…the vast majority were acquired by Mike in the 1960s and 1970s. Mike was a key player in development for Saskatoon for nearly 45 years of his life.”
Contribution to Saskatchewan
Olson himself is intricately involved in development in Saskatoon. He currently sits on the City of Saskatoon Developers Liasons Group, is Vice President of the National Canadian Home Builders, Director of the Local Homebuilders Association in Saskatoon, is past-President of the Saskatoon Homebuilders Association, has worked with the Saskatoon Real Estate Board, Saskatchewan New Home Warrantee Board and a number of organizations that are involved in construction and development.
Olson oversees an extensive amount of development conducted by Boychuk, primary in land development. The company is the major developer on the recently finished residential neighbourhood of Briarwood, an upscale subdivision in the southeast part of Saskatoon. The land where Briarwood now exists was originally farmland that Mike Boychuk has the prescience to purchase. The streer bears his name in recognition of his efforts in Saskatchewan.
“We are building the last units that we have in Briarwood,” says Olson. Next, Boychuk is moving into a subdivision in southern Saskatoon by the name of called Rosewood, where Olson led the planning process on behalf of a number of owners, including the City of Saskatoon.
“Boychuk started developing in Rosewood two years ago with single family and multi-family sites,” says Olson. The neighbourhood will be one of the largest subdivisions ever brought into the city and will be home to, 11,000 people when it is done. we are just developing those lands and bringing them through the process. The company acquires raw land and develops it through to the planning process, which is a “very lengthy and detailed process,” according to Olson, a process the team’s expertise is amply qualified to take on. “We are full lined development in that we acquire raw land, and then we go though to putting services in the ground such as infrastructure, pipelines, hydro, road work, etc.”
Boychuk then contracts out the remaining land, retain the development of the entire subdivision. Typically, Boychuk retains 20 to 30 per cent of the land for its own construction and sells the balance to builders. With construction underway at present, the company will be developing 120 lots in that area in a number of multi sites this year.
Set for completion in 2012, Rosewood will boast some unique attributes. For example, Rosewood has 65 acres of green space within or adjacent to the subdivions, much of which will remain natural. Olson adds that there will be a number of parks and paths, so that residents may access amenities without the use of a car. “We designed the neighbourhood so that you can live there without a vehicle. Everything is within walking vicinity. To continue in this direction of an environmentally friendly undertaking, we also encourage other builders to build green and work with us with the Inner guild system of green building.” All in all, the entire team is “quite excited about the subdivision as moving forward.”
Success for the long run
You’ll remember the statement “with no exaggeration one can credit a major influence of the look and direction of Saskatoon’s development to Boychuk homes.” On top of the projects already described in this article, Boychuck’s has its biggest sources of pride—its dedicated and accomplished team of employees. “Boychuk has had tremendous success from long-term employees, a number of whom have been with the company for longer than 30 years. It is because of their dedication and support as well that the company has maintained its position in the industry within the city.”