BCA – The story behind the association’s 25th anniversary


There is no better time than now to touch on the history and some of the highlights of the BCA over its 25-year history.

Thanks to Bryony Buchanan for diligently searching through the many volumes of BCA meeting minutes and photo albums to help with this compilation.


• The Barrie Construction Association evolved from the Barrie Bid Depository and Plan room, which had been operating since the early 1950’s.

• In the spring of 1987, an idea was put into motion to open a construction association, which would address the needs of the ICI sector in the area.

• By August of 1991, the Barrie Construction Association, a not-forprofit mixed trade organization, had been incorporated.

• Offices were shared with the Barrie Chamber of Commerce and were located at 80 Bradford St.

• The association’s first president was Bill Thompson, the vice president was Jeff Ough and the vice chair was Paul Marley.

• Staff members were Barb Rousseau and Carol Wilson. Membership fees were $200 and the general consensus was that an ‘Electronic Plan Room’ was at least five years in the future.

• Board and staff quickly became involved in addressing member issues and formed a campaign against the Development Charges Act in Barrie. They were successful in attaining a zero industrial/commercial levy.

• The BCA was also a key player in the ‘Destination Barrie’ campaign through the erection of a sign along Highway 400 at Anne St. and Sunnidale Rd.


• The first BCA golf tournament was held at Shanty Bay Golf Course in June of 1992. Dinner meetings were held at the Civitan Club.

• In 1993 Scott Elliot became the association’s president. The industry was in a depression and the saying of the day was “Survive until 1995.”

• In February of ‘93 the BCA moved to its own premises at 35 Anne St. Membership had grown to 162 members and the idea of a prequalification system to owners was introduced by Paul Marley and Jordan Abercrombie.

• A contest was begun for a new logo:

Remember this!?!

It was designed by BCA’s own Lisa Bertram!

• In December of 1993 Don Eagles put forth a motion to purchase a plans copier and duplexing photocopier, forever changing the way BCA did business.

• The price of plan copying was .25 cents per sq. ft. You’ll recognize that because the price remains the same today!

• With that great thinking it was a no-brainer to elect him as president in 1994.

• In 1995 Chris Yanch became president.

• A Heavy Construction Division was added that year and opened up one more seat on the Board of Directors – chaired by Tony DiPede.

• Due to financial constraints, a letter was sent out to the membership asking for a one-time donation of $50 to help cover the association’s financial short fall.

• The BCA lent its name and help to build the Ice Castle for the Barrie Winter Carnival at the request of Ken Winter.

• Peter Archer was president for the 1996-1997 term.

• In 1997 the membership had dropped to 125 members. 1998-2004

• The BCA joined the Council of Ontario Construction Associations in 1998 and the Canadian Construction Association in 1999.

• Doug Gullett was president for the 97-98 term.

• A subcommittee was formed to review the education and apprenticeship programs in the province –organized by Jordan Abercrombie.

• Ralph DeGroot took the helm as president for 1999.

• In 2000, Charlotte Brethour and Charlene Verkiak join the team of staff.

• Lisa Bertram became president in 2000.

• In 2001 the BCA website was launched and a committee was formed to address improper tendering and improper construction practices.

• In January of 2002 Lee Wylie was hired to manage the plan room and website.

• Frank Gerrits took over as president in 2002.

• The first baseball tournament was held in 2002.

• In 2003 BCA attended meetings at City Hall regarding the development of Park Place.

• In February of that year BCA hosted its first annual hockey tournament.

• In 2004 the association participated in the Dragon Boat Festival – finishing in 11th place. I think there were only 12 teams!

• A board member joined the Georgian College Advisory Committee.

• BCA withdrew its membership with the Canadian Construction Association.

• Russ Kerr took the lead position as president in 2004.

• PrintNet was launched – Barrie was the first construction association in Ontario to launch an on-line electronic plan room!


• BCA hosted a curling bonspiel, raised money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters at the bowling tournament and contributed to Barrie’s ‘Adopt a School Program.’

• The association rejoined the Canadian Construction Association.

• In 2006 the rest of the province caught up to Barrie and joined PrintNet, which meant plans across Ontario could now be viewed online.

• Kate McConney was hired in April of 2007 and I joined the team in November of 2007.

• The BCA offices were relocated down the road to 156 Victoria St. in February of 2006.

• Scott Ward became president in 2006.

• The Bid Depository closed in Ontario in January of ’08.

• In April of 2008 I took the helm as the BCA’s new director and Tracey Branch was hired.

• Take one memorable weekend, add countless hours of organization and hundreds of selfless members, and what do you get? A house built in a weekend! The BCA partnered with the Greater Barrie Home Builders Association to build and sell a house with the proceeds going to Gilda’s Club Barrie. In October of 2008 BCA president Scott Ward and GBHBA president James Bazely were able to present a cheque for $300,000 on behalf of all of the members.

• Sue Thomson was hired to work part-time in the plan room.

• The first female president was taking care of business at the BCA

• Anita Stacey steps in as president in 2008. Membership numbers increased to 375

• In 2009 BCA became a sponsor for the WSIB’s Safety Group Program.


• BCA’s Anita Stacey set in motion a plan to organize a marathon race held at Base Borden to raise monies for military families and Scott Ward spearheaded the annual Motorcycle Ride for Cancer.

• A decision was reached (resulting from a member vote) to once again withdraw from the membership of the Canadian Construction Association.

• Board members worked closely with City of Barrie Purchasing to review prequalification process and tendering practices.

• Tom Thomason was elected president in 2010.

• In January 2010 BCA hired Bryony Buchanan who quickly became adept at all things BCA.

• In 2011 BCA hosted a Mayoral Luncheon for Jeff Lehman.

• PrintNet, the BCA online plan room went national with Link2Build.

• BCA, along with 11 other local construction associations, entered into a strategic alliance with Reed Construction Data to share tender information.

• In April 2012 we once again partnered up with the Home Builders to build a house in a weekend. This time it was a complete renovation of a home for a local family dealing who required a wheelchair accessible dwelling.

• Sue Thomson took charge in the plan room in July of 2012.

• In 2012 BCA president Tom Thomason competed in Dancing with the Stars to raise funds and awareness for Easter Seals.

• The McGuinty government formed the Ontario College of Trades and imposed membership fees on tradespeople.

• As industry unease grew, BCA met with Garfield Dunlop and the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition was formed to challenge the College and its mandates.

• BCA Focus Group met with City of Barrie Purchasing Staff to discuss By-Law revisions.

• In July of 2012 the new look and branding of the BCA began:

• PrintNet, the BCA online plan room also had a makeover…as bestbidz was launched in Ontario.

• As a member of the Council of Ontario Construction Associations, BCA board and staff met with MPP’s at Queen’s Park to bring member issues before Ontario decision makers.

• BCA members hit the road to Toronto to take in an Argonauts game in October of 2012 and also had a great time at the fall golf tournament, BBQ Pig Roast and Base Borden run.

• City of Barrie consulted with BCA members on upcoming changes to its purchasing by laws.

• Alicia Blow was hired in August of 2012 and quickly becomes adept at managing all of our safety training. The TEAM you know and love today is complete!

• Katherine Van Leeuwen joined the distinguished list of presidents in 2012.

• BCA purchased a mobile stage – a way to give back to our community. The stage was available for charity groups for use at local events.

• Fall prevention awareness is at an all-time high.

• Following the swing-stage tragedy in Toronto, Tony Dean reviewed the Occupational Health & Safety Act and recommended sweeping changes to training.

• BCA cohosted a Fall Prevention Trade Show to highlight the need for training.

• In March of 2013 the staff packed their bags, and computers, and files…and headed over to our current location at 200 Brock St. We have parking!!

• A house warming celebration is held as we present the new premises and stage to members, joined by local dignitaries including Mayor Lehman’s band, The Coalition.

• Other highlights of the year include the hockey tournament, another Argo’s game and a dinner meeting with Rock 95.


• New Working at Heights training legislates that workers who use fall protection equipment must be trained under the new standard. BCA has trained more than 400 workers to date.

• The local Ontario construction associations expect future tendering to include online bid submissions and in March 2014 signed with a new online plan room provider: Infinite Source. Former BCA president Anita Stacey was elected to the Council of Ontario Construction Association Executive Board.

• Bill 69 Prompt Payment Act is set aside in the Ontario legislature and a review of the Construction Lien Act began.

• BCA hosted a first of its kind event which brought members and local public buyers together for roundtable discussions. Constructing Relations…Constructing Solutions was extremely well-received and discussions continued throughout the year at seminars based on topics of interest to both groups.

• Board, staff and members united to help the less fortunate in our community with donations to the Barrie District Cheer Campaign.

• Russ Kerr was once again elected president and began another tour of duty in 2014.

• BCA submitted a letter to Tony Dean, who was reviewing the College of Trades, detailing issues that the industry had with legislation.

• BCA member Dooley Lucenti Barristers & Solicitors joined COCA’s task force on the review.

• BCA’s Anita Stacey and Gary Van Bolderen were sworn in as vice chair and chair of COCA in March of 2015.

• Once again, the City of Barrie consulted with the BCA for its review of procurement processes.

• In April ’15 we finally said goodbye to the PINK…as the newly branded BCA website was launched to rave reviews!

• In the fall of 2015 BCA partnered with the Simcoe County Heavy Construction Association for a golf tournament, which paired members and municipal staff at National Pines – once again building relationships!

• In December of 2015, BCA partnered with the Downtown Barrie Business Improvement Association to build the West-End Festive Tree Lot – raising monies for Barrie’s Out of the Cold program.

• In January 2016, Georgian College’s Request for Supplier Qualifications included an award of points to candidates for being members of the BCA.

• In April of 2016 we once again hosted a Constructing Relations… Constructing Solutions event at Tangle Creek. Members joined municipal purchasers for roundtable discussions led by speaker Stuart Knight.

• Past president Scott “Twinkle-toes” Ward participated in the Dancing with the Easter Seals Stars, raising funds and awareness.

• A busy spring ensued with board, staff and members participating in the Construction Bowling Challenge to raise funds for Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, a fantastic pub night at Wickies, the spring golf tournament which raised money for the Women and Childrens’ Centre, and rounded out activities with the annual motorcycle Ride for Cancer.

• With members reporting that they are working further afield, the plan room was expanded to include many tenders from the Greater Toronto Area in May of 2016.

• While wildfires raged in Alberta, the board unanimously decided to donate $4000 to the relief efforts on behalf of the membership.

• In June the board participated in a day-long strategic planning session. This brings us up to date on all of the efforts made on your behalf to bring the Barrie Construction Association to what it is today. I would like to thank the board, staff and all of the members for their contributions over the years.

Alison Smith