Early Bird Builder
4:45 a.m. and Mario Di Pede's eyes pop open as
if they were on a timer.
They've been doing that most of the 63 years they've
been steering Di Pede through life, particularly
the 45 years he's been building homes.
Homes' Mario Di Pede is on the site before 6a.m.
a young bricklayer fresh from Italy in 1053, his work
day started at 5:30 a.m., not because the boss demanded
it, but because you were paid by the brick and laying
bricks sun up to sun down was the hard road to success.
And DiPede is a success. He has built more than 5,000
homes and has more then 400 tenants spread throughout
his array of commercial and industrial buildings in
the Toronto area.
Still he is on the job site before 6 a.m., long before
any of the construction trades arrive, so his eyes can
roam on every detail of what they did before and what
has to be done for this day.
build more than 300 homes this year and every one of
them would have been very closely inspected by my father.
No other builder in the city can say that," said
Tony DiPede who arrives at the office by 6:45 a.m. and
is often teased by his father for sleeping in. But Tony
gets to rub his younger brother David who doesn't show
'til 7. Neither of the boys apologize for not adhering
to their fathers schedule.
The three DiPede's run Springtown Homes, the home building
firm Mario launched with his sons in 1983 after 24 years
as a partner in Ideal Homes with the late Albert Kartavicius.
an immigrant brick layer from Lithuania, and Mario started
working together in '53 and soon noticed that their
personal standards for quality workmanship weren't matched
by other bricklayers on the job. So the two immigrants
married their talents and created Ideal Construction.
By 1959 they decided to build homes for themselves and
became Ideal Homes. For a period in the '70s they were
partners with the founders of Greenpark Homes and the
firm was called Ideal Greenpark.
When the next generation was ready to build homes, Albert
created Eden Oak Homes with his nephew Romas and Mario
launched Springtown. Albert drowned while boating in
Florida last year.
DiPede said his demand for good workmanship hasn't diminished
over the years and that's what he checks for.
"One thing I am looking for is that proper procedure
is being followed. Building a house well requires a
schedule and a system. Some things shouldn't be done
before other things are complete," said the senior
"If the scheduling is off, a joist might be sealed
off before a heating duct goes in and then the furnace
installer has to put the elbow in to go under the joist.
That elbow creates a heat loss similar to adding 10
feet of duct. That means he house will cost more each
year than an identical house without the elbow,"
have the last site in Vaughan with new homes backing
on to a provincial park'
It's the kind of precise management that makes home
building trades like Rocco Palumbo, who owns Eastgate
Plumbing, and George Gronwall of Applewood Heating and
Air Conditioning, enjoy dealing with Springtown.
"You know that when you send a crew out to install
a furnace in a Springtown Home that it'll be ready for
it", said Gronwall. "When I have to reschedule
installers because a house isn't ready, it creates problems
all along the supply chain and we'll loose money or
have to charge the builder more money. With Springtown,
that does not happen".
Springtowns latest project is Ravines on the Humber,
an elclave of 170 single-family homes backing on to
the heavily-treed Humber River Valley and the Kortright
Conservation Area on the north fringe of Woodbridge.
"We have the last site in Vaughan with new homes
backing on to a provincial park," Tony DiPede said
in an interview with The Star early one morning around