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About Tartan I Ottawa New Home Builder

Tartan is an Ottawa new home builder that has been building new communities across Canada’s capital for over 50 years. Founded by Wes Nicol in 1966, Tartan rapidly became an Ottawa leader in community development and new home construction. The company’s first projects, The Faircrest and The Highlands, are still regarded as the region’s most successful apartment dwelling developments. It was followed by the company’s leadership in turning Barrhaven into one of the region’s most popular family communities. The company also undertook prestigious developments in Florida, while continuing to build homes – and a stellar reputation – here at home. Today, Tartan is under the direction of the next generation of Nicols, Wes’ son Bruce. And it is more active building superior new homes and developing popular communities than at any time in its history. If you’re looking for new homes for sale in Ottawa, look to Tartan.


Greater Ottawa Home Builder Association’s Sales & Marketing Awards – 2018

At the recent Ontario Home Builder Association’s Sales and Marketing Awards Tartan won Best Bungalow for the Tweed model home in Russell and our Design Centre Online won the award for Best Marketing Innovation. For more information on our award winning online design centre website visit: DC ONLINE

Ontario Home Builder Association’s Award of Distinction 2018

Tartan was honoured to be a finalist in the Ontario Home Builder Association’s Awards of Distinction for our Design Centre in Findlay Creek and its online companion!

Greater Ottawa Home Builder Association Awards

Tartan was a double winner at the 2018 Greater Ottawa Housing Awards.  Both of our new Russell Trails’ model homes were honoured.  The Summerhill model home won for the best production home, single detached, 2,001-2,600 sq. ft., $500,000 and under and the Tweed model home won for best production kitchen in its 160 sq ft or less category.

Tartan is proud that the only category that they entered in the 2017 awards was a winner.  The Kawartha model home in Findlay Creek, was awarded GOHBA’s Green Production Home of the Year!

Tartan won two awards at the 2016 Greater Ottawa Builders Association SAMMY Awards.  Our Findlay Creek model home, the Cambridge won as best home over 3,000 sq ft.  Our Design Centre also won as the Best Builder Design Centre.

Tartan won three awards at the 2015 Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association Gala.  Our single family model, the Parkhill, won in its category, our Marigold ensuite in Russell won for best production bathroom & we also were honoured with the Fred Nielsen Award which is presented annually to a company that has made outstanding and lasting contributions to the association and to the housing industry.

Tartan was also very successful at the 2015 Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association SAMMY Awards (Sales and Marketing), taking home 7 awards including the Grand Sammy!  Our Marigold semi-bungalows in Russell won for best attached model, the Red Oak model won for best semi-detached model over 1,500 sq ft and the Parkhill model in Poole Creek won for best single family model between 2,000 & 2,499 sq ft.  Tartan also won the award for Most Environmentally Friendly Builder.

Tartan Homes won an impressive four awards at the 2013 Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association Gala. Our very popular semi-detached model, the Red Oak won in its category. Our  Ashton and Amherst single family models won in their categories and the Mansfield kitchen won its category. We did not enter the awards in 2014. At the 2013 Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association SAMMY Awards (Sales and Marketing), Tartan won three awards: Best Builder Website, Best Marketing Innovation:Hottest Auction Ever presented by Tartan Homes and the New Hot 89.9 in support of D.I.F.D. at The Royal where we raised almost $50,000 for the charity in September 2012. Best Semi-Detached Home 1500 sq. ft. and Over: The former Red Oak model home in Findlay Creek.

Houzz Awards

  • 2018 Best of Houzz – Canada – Home Office – The Cambridge
  • 2015, 2016, 2017 Best of Houzz – Ottawa – Home Office – The Cambridge
  • 2018 Best of Houzz – Ottawa – Kitchen – The Cambridge & The Bancroft (now the Sutton)
  • 2015 Best of Houzz – Ottawa – Dining Room – The White Cedar

Canada’s National ENERGY STAR® New Home Builder Of The Year.

Tartan has been building ENERGY STAR® qualified communities longer than any builder in Canada. In 2013, we were recognized for our commitment to energy efficiency by being named Canada’s national ENERGY STAR® HIGH EFFICIENCY New Home Builder of the Year. Tartan, we’re committed to corporate social responsibility, and we regard building homes to the most current ENERGY STAR®  standard as an important and tangible demonstration of that commitment. Minimizing the environmental footprint of the homes we build benefits not only those who purchase them, but the broader community as well. Energy efficient construction likewise aligns with our twin corporate pillars of innovation and quality, and is a key differentiator for Tartan in the marketplace. It’s a win-win-win for our customers, our company and our community.

Tarion 2018 Homeowners’ Choice Award Finalist…again!

Tartan was a Large Volume category finalist in the 2017 Homeowners’ Choice Awards and we are a finalist again this year.  Presented by Tarion, the awards recognize a builder’s outstanding customer service in four categories: Small, Medium, Large Volume and High-Rise.”The Homeowners’ Choice Awards are an important opportunity for customers to tell us about their new home buying experience and their level of satisfaction with their builder,” said Howard Bogach, Tarion President and CEO. “Each and every home buyer can have a say in whether their builder is worthy of recognition for excellent customer service.”

Tartan in the community

Like our customers, the Tartan team are proud residents of the Ottawa community. We have a long history of supporting a wide variety of worthy causes both at home and abroad.

Tartan’s founder, the late Wes Nicol, served as Board Chair of his Alma Mater, Carleton University, and his family continues to be a generous donor to that institution as he had for many years. Up until 2015, his annual National Entrepreneurial Awards were a highlight here in Ottawa, and together with his wife Mary he has made innumerable financial contributions to a variety of local organization and causes spanning the arts, health care, and social causes. More recently, the Nicol family have become a founding investor in a Canadian-based micro-credit fund (

Wes’s sons Ian and Bruce now manage Tartan Homes, and they are maintaining the family tradition of giving back to our community. Current contributions are being directed to the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, the NAC, the Shepherds of Good Hope, The Great Canadian Theatre Company, Algonquin College’s Construction School of Excellence and numerous soccer and hockey teams.

Tartan also supports Ride the Rideau, which has become the most successful single-day cancer fundraiser in Eastern Ontario. With more than $4.4 million raised since its inception, riders have helped fund new therapies and the opening of the Centre for Innovative Cancer Research (CICR), and have enabled patients to benefit from clinical trials faster than ever before.

Another exciting initiative, the Hottest Auction Ever presented by Tartan Homes and the New Hot 89.9 in support of D.I.F.D. at The Royal raised almost $50,000 for the charity in September 2012. The event won the Best Marketing Innovation award at the annual GOHBA’s Sammy Awards in 2013.  We also held a ‘next-level’ garage sale in September 2016 at our former Havencrest community in Barrhaven.  This event raised an additional $40,000 for D.I.F.D.


Tartan has always been a leader in looking for ways to reduce the energy requirements of the homes we build and the environmental footprint of those who live in them.So it should come as no surprise that we built Canada’s first 100% ENERGY STAR® qualified community – Ottawa’s Jackson Trails – and we now meet and exceed ENERGY STAR® standards in all of the homes we build. We were also the first Ottawa builder to offer a solar-ready upgrade on many of our homes. Furthermore, we recently launched our Passive Solar Initiative which offers further energy conservation features included in select homes. Now we’re leading the way again, where every new home will meet the most current ENERGY STAR® New Home standards—which exceed the Ontario Building Code by 20% for insulation, air tightness and indoor air quality. These features reduce energy use and emissions while saving you money.And we take it one important step further: as a firm, we are also vigilant stewards of the natural environments that surround the communities we build, working with and supporting conservation and environmental groups including Wildlife Habitat Canada and South Nation Conservation.From airlines to hotels, restaurants to personal hygiene products, and everything in between, everyone seems to be promoting themselves as “green” these days. But how can you cut through the green “noise”, and know that there is real substance behind the message?Tartan invites you to look at our record as an industry leader in building practices that are good for the environment, good for indoor air quality, and good for you, the resident, as you move in to a home that is durable, healthy, and more affordable to operate.
Energy Star Environment

For decades, Tartan Homes has been an industry leader in the following areas:

  • HRVs and dehumidifiers as standard items in every home.
  • Highest insulation standards in the industry
  • Low E argon windows as standard
  • Innovative exterior wall assembly to reduce thermal bridging and increase R-value
  • R10 insulation under the basement floor for superior comfort
  • Solar Ready options, making homes ready for solar panel installation
  • A founding builder in Canada’s first Energy Star community
  • All homes ENERGY STAR® as standard

We continue to work to stay ahead of the curve. Our green building committee follows developments in building science around the world, and we lobby for changes to the zoning and approvals processes to foster environmentally responsible practices.

This is important to us because we believe it is important to our customers.

Wes Nicol

Wes Nicol

WESLEY M. NICOL 1931 – 2016

Wesley M. Nicol, an entrepreneur, lawyer, philanthropist, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully in Ottawa. An Ottawan by birth, Wes obtained his BA at Carleton University before graduating from Osgoode Law School and being called to the Bar of Ontario in 1958. In 1966, Wes founded Tartan Homes, one of Ottawa’s most successful homebuilders that is today managed by his sons. In 1997, Wes launched the Nicol Award to foster entrepreneurship across the country. He and his wife also established the Wesley and Mary Nicol Charitable Foundation, which focuses on addressing issues in our community. Wes himself won numerous honours, including Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Carleton University. He was likewise appointed to the Order of Canada for his role in fostering entrepreneurship, and was most recently honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Ottawa Business Journal.