Case Study

Orillia Rama Regional Airport (ORRA), Ramara ON

ORRA is Central Ontario’s primary hub for the province’s aviation community and outdoor adventure enthusiasts alike. Located on the doorstep of Ontario’s cottage country, the airport serves as the ultimate gateway to adventure, relaxation and unforgettable memories within Simcoe County, Muskoka and beyond.


When Clayton Smith and his real estate development firm, The Commercial Realty Group, purchased Lake St. John Airport and Float Plane Base (CNJ4), the property was in considerable disrepair. The majority of the airport’s facilities were in serious need of an upgrade simply to get the property back up to code, while the enormous potential of this priceless community asset had simply never been realized.


Upon taking possession in 2016, substantial capital improvements were made immediately to existing infrastructure followed by an impressive capital building program. Improvements were made to the buildings, runways, ramp, taxiways and aprons to improve the flow of the airport while substantially improving safety and the separation of the local community from airport operations. These improvements included expanded rental hangars, maintenance facilities, float plane docking, a refuelling station, and building the award-winning Tailwinds Bar & Grill restaurant.


After investing millions of dollars of capital to repair, restore and grow the operation, ORRA is finally reaching its true potential. Existing staff members have been retained and promoted to ever-expanding roles, with payroll growing from about $200,000/year to over $2.5 million/year. Clayton has been widely recognized within the community for his innovation and the economic impact his vision affords, including recognition through involvement with local schools and apprenticeship programs, as well as a variety of municipal awards.


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