By Francie Healy

If you create it, they will come.

And they did! More than 250 Ottawa homeowners and others visited outstanding homes in the area to witness the beauty and craftsmanship of professional, state-of-the-art renovation.

Ottawa Renovates magazine was proud to help organize, promote and sponsor the first-ever Ottawa Renotour, held last October to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Ottawa (GO) and showcase the Ottawa renovation industry. The tour raised $3,000.

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“We couldn’t believe how many people showed up,” says Kristin Harold of Habitat for Humanity GO. “We got to see beautiful kitchens and bathrooms and basements and back yards or the whole house. Having the renovators there made it really special because you could ask them questions. They could give insight into the decisions they made. It was a lot different than looking through pictures.”

Carolyn Munro Designs, Capital Cellars, Just Basements Ottawa, Home Inc. Design Build Renovations, RND Construction, Carleton Kitchen and Bath, and Amsted Design-Build were the stars of the first Renotour.

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It was hosted by the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) and the Ottawa RenoMark™ program. In addition to Ottawa Renovates, it was sponsored by well known businesses in the area, including Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, Tego Bathroom Solutions, Financially Sound Life Planning, and Metroland Media.

Habitat for Humanity GO volunteers greeted people at each home. Myrna Beattie, Director of Retail Operations for Habitat GO’s two ReStores, was on hand at a home by Carolyn Munro Designs to tell visitors about Restore and its benefits. A beautiful French door in the home came from Restore.

Carolyn Munro was pleased with the turnout. She was ready with two volunteers who were former clients, so they were able to answer some of the questions. Carolyn estimated that about 70 per cent of the visitors were serious about renovating their homes, and they were keen to talk to her.

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“It was very effective as a means of connecting with people,” she says. “Before the tour started, I was able to say to existing potential clients, why don’t you come and see what I do?”

She enjoyed watching people’s reactions.

“They were amazed,” she says. “They were surprised by how nice the home was, and I had ‘Before’ pictures to show them, so they could really see the possibilities.”

She was especially pleased because the tour gave recognition to Habitat for Humanity GO and to the Renomark™ program. All the participating renovators are members of the program. Carolyn was able to explain it to her visitors and why it is so important to hire committed professionals.

“The GOHBA Renovators are such great partners,” says Kristin. “We love working with them.”

And of course, they are true friends to Habitat for Humanity GO as well as partners.

“It’s so good of them to think of us,” she adds. “We’re looking forward to doing the next one with them.