Large panes of glass, framed by thin, minimalist black frames are everywhere these days.
These types of stylish windows can be found on custom-built homes springing up in Forest Hill, on luxurious lakefront cottages in Ontario’s cottage country and even replacing beige casement windows in older Toronto bungalows. Architects, designers and homeowners are drawn to the style’s clean lines and simplicity, but for the companies that manufacture and install these windows, they are anything but simple. “These massive panels are super heavy,” says Norm Shubat of EuroStar Windows and Doors. “It takes a lot of effort by a lot of very skilled people to get them installed.”
It’s that kind of challenge that excites Shubat and keeps him interested after many years in the industry. “It’s the satisfaction of completion—going from a piece of paper, a project that’s in drawings, and bringing the client’s imagination and dreams to reality,” he says. Shubat has been in the window and door industry since he was 21. In 2005, he started EuroStar Windows and Doors with his brother, David, and partner, Igor Gersh. Jim Elhadad, who was the company’s long-time service manager, later joined them as managing partner of the Burlington, Ont., location.
EuroStar was founded because of problems that the partners—all industry veterans—were
facing in the Canadian window industry. “We were manufacturing Canadian-made European windows at the time, but we had issues with products being on backorder and customer lead times were increasing.” The answer to their problems? They decided to start importing windows directly from Europe.
They haven’t looked back since. Today, EuroStar imports from across Europe—wood windows from Italy, PVC doors from Germany, aluminum sliding systems from Belgium—wherever they find high-quality producers. “Everything is custom made. We go to the job sites and we measure the windows and doors. Everything is made to order. Nothing in Europe is standard sizing—everything is made to the millimetre,” Shubat says, adding his customers have become much more sophisticated over the last decade. The availability of information online has led more and more people to seek out features like triple glazing and metal-reinforced frames for better efficiency and added security.
Shubat thrives off of meeting his clients’ diverse needs. He mentions one customer who lives at the corner of a busy intersection and searched for two years for windows that
would block out the sound of the cars driving by. “We were able to provide him with something no one else offered. I get inspired and excited working with clients that have high expectations and challenging needs, and we work hard to make their vision into reality. It brings me satisfaction to do projects that never would’ve been able to get done in the past.”