August 30, 2022
Celebrating Nelly Vile’s career
Nelly Vile and her husband Wim were married on March 2, 1954, and on that very same day left by boat from the Netherlands for a new life in Canada. Along with a business partner, they established Shawnee Pre-Cast in 1963, producing pre-cast steps and patio slabs. Nelly and Wim lived in a two-storey, red brick house on an acre of land on the outskirts of Bells Corners in Nepean, Ont. This is where Shawnee Pre-Cast was located.
The office was set up in what should have been the living room of the house and the shop was at the back of the property. Product was displayed at the front of the house and inventory was kept around the perimeter of the circular driveway, and anywhere else there was space. Nelly worked in the office while simultaneously juggling her responsibilities as the mother of four young children.
Customers would come to browse at all hours of the day and evening during the week and weekends, and the children would answer the business phone when it rang if Nelly and Wim were unavailable or serving customers in the yard.
Interlocking pavers were always very popular in Europe. When Unilock opened a manufacturing facility in 1972 for interlock pavers in Georgetown, Ont., Wim and Nelly were keen to become a distributor. It was then that Shawnee Pre-Cast was rebranded as Canlok Stone.
Wim and Nelly loved working together and made a great team. Nelly never hesitated to help homeowners load patio stones into the back of their vehicle or trailer if there was no one else available.
Wim was into his mid- to late-60s when his body was no longer able to keep up with the physical demands of landscaping. As a result, Nelly and Wim sold Canlok Stone to Bob Moran in 1987, and the business was relocated to 950 Moodie Dr. in Nepean. Nelly continued to run the operation, and Wim continued to provide landscaping advice and offered installation seminars to homeowners for the next several years, until he fully retired in the mid-’90s. Wim passed away in 2005.
Nelly continued to work long hours at Canlok Stone, first with Bob Moran and then with Bob’s son David Moran. Jeff Vile, Nelly’s son, joined the company in 1992 and became team lead for design and installation, a role he still performs today.
Nelly maintained a strong relationship with hundreds of landscape contractors and homeowners over the years, and always did her best to serve them within the constraints of supply and demand. Working closely with Unilock and other suppliers to coordinate orders was also part of her daily routine.
Nelly constantly maintained a close eye on the inventory in order to manage the flow of deliveries and installations. She always got plenty of exercise walking the five acre stone yard to serve customers and to monitor inventory.
Nelly has always been very passionate and committed to the success of Canlok Stone, and it has been the focus of her life for six decades. She is extremely proud of Canlok Stone and leaves with high hopes for its ongoing success. Nelly Vile retired on May 27, 2022, at the age of 91. The Canlok Stone team thanks Nelly for her dedication, perseverance, and everything she has taught us!