They all remember sharing a final meal in the large open field in St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba. The Braun and Boonstra families call this a harvest supper. The meal is enjoyed from the tailgate of a truck during harvest, the farm families' busiest season.
"I just love the open spaces and the colour of the fields," said Brenda Braun.
"There's nobody around. You can just hear the crickets," said Kristy Boonstra.
The Boonstras and the Brauns are partners in the farming business. On that day, roughly a year ago, the families knew the golden ocean of crops on this plot of land would soon be replaced by a stunning and modern residential development called White Horse Estates.
"The RM had approached us about the possibility of building houses. They talked to all the land owners surrounding St. Francois Xavier," said Albert Boonstra.
Boonstra said the Rural Municipality hoped to draw new people to the community. The local government believed St. Francois would be a great location for commuters who work in the City of Winnipeg, just minutes away. Drawing new families to the area would help the community thrive, support local businesses and add to the tax base.
"Just looking at this piece of property it seemed like a really natural fit for houses," said Albert Boonstra.
The plot of land in question is right next to the community school and daycare.
After working with an engineer, the Boonstras and the Brauns decided to abandon their comfort zone and enter into some new territory. There would be no turning back.
Soon, the heavy equipment arrived and broke ground at White Horse Estates.
"We had this vision of creating something and adding to the community and here we are today." said Kristy Boonstra.
Dozens of elegant homes have been built at White Horse Estates. Already, there are families living at White Horse Estates and enjoying the country lifestyle so close to the city.
"The people that have moved in there, they like the open spaces and the fields in the background," said Sean Braun.
The Braun and Boonstra families hired Mindscape Studios to craft a couple of films about the new development. Over the summer, our crews created three corporate videos about the stunning new community that was named after the large White Horse statue that is the community's landmark.
In hearing and then telling their story, it was clear that this development was a labour of love.
"We took a lot of risks and chances but it's been enjoyable. I think it has a lot of potential to grow and be even better than it is," said Sean Braun.