Strengthening the Foundation of Ottawa with Action Restoration
Feature photo by Andre Gagne
Patrick Despatie likes to get down to the foundation of things. In fact, you can say he’s made a career out of it and is probably somewhere underneath the city as you read this.
If you have cracked or bowed walls, sloping floors, a basement full of water or feel your house might be sinking, Despatie and Action Restoration is there to repair. They'll prop you up and ensure your home is stable no matter what the season.
Despatie doesn’t seem to mind the winter chill as he works in the frigid basement of a Glebe home, proudly showcasing the tools of his trade and pointing out interesting pieces of the house’s foundation that look like they might date back decades.
As Ottawa’s specialist in foundation repairs, Despatie follows in the footsteps of his great uncles; people he says were the inspiration for starting his business back in 1996.
He recognized then that there was a strong need for his kind of profession when working on some of the city’s most well-known landmarks.
“I was working in the union restoring buildings like the Supreme Court and the Museum of Nature,” he told Ottawa Life, adding that such projects didn’t provide enough work for his taste so he took matters – and bricks and trowels – into his own hands.
His mandate when founding Action Restoration was a simple one. He wanted to come up with the most cost-effective way for his customers while ensuring the job was done right. You can’t miss the wit implied in his logo. Here’s a hint: it’s a certain leaning tower in Italy!
A typical job, like his current project in the Glebe, provides numerous challenges with each building he works on needing a different course of action.
“It all depends on the nature of the work,” he said. “I will either fix the problems or restore something to its original state so no one can tell it was a repair. That is fun to achieve”.
These are just the kind of challenges Despatie and his crew relish. To them, if they are told it can’t be done they make it happen! Looking underneath the city is a passion for him because each job unveils new surprises and, despite his years of working in the trade, the old buildings in Ottawa continue to provide new learning experiences. Looking at them, he can see back into the past, at the way things worked then and how former craftspeople applied their trade.
It’s not easy work though. His toughest job was digging 13 feet below the British High Commission building on Elgin Street. That one took a while. Sometimes, however, he comes back up from these jobs with interesting finds like a 1930 bottle of Pepsi or a beer bottle made out of clay!
To Despatie, the most rewarding aspect of his work is coming up with an idea that no one else thought of — he has no problem thinking outside of the box (or the basement) to get the work done.
“It’s just another way to show our customers what to expect from Action Restoration,” he said.
Check out Actionrest.ca for more information on the services Action Restoration provides or call 613-294-9239 for a free appraisal.