BonaVista Pools: Building Dream Pools and Relationships to Last

BonaVista Pools (BVP) is a second-generation company started by Bob Brown, who founded the company on a philosophy of exacting standards, innovative designs and unwavering client focus. Bob used his background in professional engineering to advance the art of custom pools, never ignoring the importance of aesthetic beauty along with cutting edge materials and techniques. Assembling a team of engineers and designers, Bob established BVP as a one-stop shop for impressive custom pools, spas, outdoor kitchens and water features.

The Markham, Ontario-based company is now run by Bob's children, who continue the tradition of crafting memorable artscapes in the most professional, unpretentious manner. Melissa Brown provides over 20 years of experience and dedication to BVP. “I’ve been working here since 1985, when I would work summers at the company until I graduated from university,” says Melissa. Today, the company focuses equally on designing and building high-end swimming pools and spas for both residential and commercial clients throughout Ontario and other provinces.

BVP does not only work with landscape architects and homeowners to design the perfect pool or spa, but the firm also operates an Outdoor Living Retail Boutique in Toronto. This location allows BVP to provide all of the essentials, from sunshades, outdoor grills and lighting to patio furniture, fire pits and pool toys, for both fitness and fun. The stores’ selection of high-end European outdoor furnishings recently landed BVP on the cover of Pool & Spa Marketing Magazine to celebrate the company’s receipt of a Gold Award in the industry Design and Construction Awards and to introduce the store’s new line of outdoor furnishings from Grupo Kettal, a Spanish company based out of Barcelona.

Working Hard to Establish Long-term Relationships

Though the company has certainly expanded since its founding in 1969, its corporate identity remains unchanged. “We have been around for 44 years and we’re still very much a family-owned business,” asserts Melissa. “In practical terms, it means that if a customer has questions and needs answers, we can address them personally. We’re not a big company in any way, shape or form, which allows us to have greater attention to detail because we know exactly what is going on at each and every one of our sites.

“Our business these days is split pretty evenly between high-end residential and smaller-scale commercial swimming pools for hotels and spas,” continues Melissa. “We have worked on many swimming pools built for the Marriott Hotel Group in Ontario and it has been a really great niche for us to come into, but at the end of the day we still appreciate the residential pools, because they are unique in their own right. Every site is different and interesting, and because we consider ourselves a high-end concrete builder first and foremost we take pride in being able to be a part of constructing and designing truly beautiful spaces.”

Among the multiple reasons behind the company’s success is its deeply rooted commitment to keeping the customer satisfied and at the heart of the process, which means any and all people who have contact with the client and the job site must uphold an exactly level of behavior and quality. “We work only with subcontractors that we have well-established relationships,” asserts Brown. “We have been using the same electrical trade for over 30 years and those relationships are very important not just to our company’s success, but also to the success of every project.” The company also offers a 10-year guarantee on every pool shell it constructs, in addition to a one-year “bumper-to-bumper” warranty on all other parts and labor.

In pursuit of uncompromising quality, BVP now only constructs pools using wet shotcrete after 25 years of dry gunite concrete process. In the company’s experience, the wet shotcrete offers the reliability, stability and convenience of being premixed while meeting the required sand-to-cement-to-water ratio, which ensures that the concrete structure holds up for years to come.

Building for New Tastes

Throughout the years BVP has applied its capabilities to bespoke, contemporary focus to all manner of watershape design and construction for both residential and commercial clients. In recent years, however, the firm has been very active in the construction of Scandinavian-style pools for various spas. “We have built a number of Scandinavian-style spas with multiple soaking pools,” explains Melissa. “[These include] hot pools, cool pools, pools with special water fixtures. We are currently working with the folks from LeNordic and hope to be a part of their expansion efforts.” Scandinave Spa is a modern Scandinavian-style health spa that offers a variety of soaking pools and steam spas for therapeutic purposes, currently with four locations throughout Canada.

“The new pools at the Red Leaves Resort on Lake Joseph were also quite beautiful and quite large,” reflects Melissa. In total, BVP constructed four swimming pools, three whirlpools and a children’s wading pool for the resort.

Though the company has had these large-scale, showcase projects, and it has expanded its retail operations, business has been affected by the global economic climate. However, BVP is diversified and management is optimistic. “It’s hard to say what the economy will do next. The commercial sector that completely died off two years ago is now back online,” explains Melissa. “We do equal amounts of residential and commercial work, so even though residential is lagging behind a bit, our commercial side is doing really well and I don’t think we will be hurting at all this year. We should have a very smooth time.”

With a proven commitment to a customer-minded, fully integrated design/build/finish experience, BonaVista Pools will continue putting a lot of thought and plenty of heart into every dream built throughout the Greater Toronto Area.