Ridin' Shotgun with Chris Bratty
As a kid, Sundays meant two things for Chris Bratty: a big, traditional Italian family dinner and a long drive to the suburbs with Dad to scope out land prospects. Three decades later, Chris and his three brothers run The Remington Group along with dad Rudy, who at 82 is still top banana.
Chris, the second eldest and president of land development and investments, helped expand his dad’s land development company into a builder; first homes, then condos, and finally commercial. Today, Remington is behind the sprawling Downtown Markham mixed-use project north of Toronto, creating a downtown core where there were just muddy fields a few years ago. (Everyone's happy except the shoe shine business.)
Here’s Chris with Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Rudy, who we hear can still kill an adult elk with his hands. Chris tells us he’s inspired by his dad, a charming, old-school businessman who makes deals on handshakes. (If that elk story is true, imagine the grip on that handshake.) Rudy’s father started it all, post-Depression, building a few houses on the outskirts of Toronto, and Rudy built his first home as a teenager. He then went to law school and expanded the biz, just as Chris and his brothers would later do by launching The Remington Group. (Fun fact: Chris’ brother Matthew, “the cowboy,” picked the name in reference to the popular handgun.)
We told you Matthew was a cowboy. Above, he and Chris discuss the condos, office towers, theatres, shopping, and even plans for an NHL-sized arena in Markham in hopes of possibly landing a pro team. Chris tells us that insurance giant Aviva will be anchor tenant for one of Downtown Markham’s big office towers, and a hotel/condo hybrid, under the Marriott flag, is now 65% sold and breaking ground.
Here’s the Bratty clan (brother Mark is top left and Michael is second from right, in the back) with the mayor and a bunch of scissor-wielding Markham city councilors (who look like they’re about to make a mess of a perfectly good ribbon). The brothers and Dad still meet at the end of each day, but the camaraderie doesn’t end at work: The boys play hockey together at least once a week, and Sunday dinner is still part of the routine, with 24 family members gathering around the table each week.
Here’s what Downtown Markham will look like upon its 2025 completion. (Parked cars in renderings are always straighter than reality.) Now the fourth generation is starting to dream about the future. Chris says at least three of his five kids are showing interest in the family biz, sorta: One wants to be a landscape architect, the other is interested in building, and the third, he says, wants to be a pro hockey player. (So get that arena built!)