We live in one of the world's greatest cities, but due to current market conditions, affordable and livable housing options are becoming more and more scarce. Residents like the Zhang-Min family, who immigrated from China to make a better life for themselves, spent their first years in Canada struggling to make ends meet while living in a basement apartment that lacked privacy, fresh air and sunlight. That all changed recently though, when The Daniels Corporation and Habitat for Humanity Toronto held a dedication ceremony that marked a life-changing event for the Zhang-Min family.

Cinema Tower, The Daniels Corporation, Habitat for Humanity, Toronto(L-R) Sean Gadon, Frank Zhang, Ene Underwood, Ping Min, daughter Alice, Niall Haggart, image courtesy of The Daniels Corporation

Home-ownership is a very difficult achievement to accomplish for low-income families in Downtown Toronto, so Daniels and Habitat for Humanity arranged for the contribution of two condominium suites in the now-completed Cinema Tower at Widmer and Adelaide in the Entertainment District.

Families hoping to acquire a Habitat home must met a strict set of criteria, and that includes sweat equity from them: 500 hours of work has to be volunteered on a Habitat for Humanity build site. As condominium towers are unique builds, the families obtaining new Habitat homes at Cinema Tower have put in the time at other Habitat hose-building sites. Beyond that, Habitat homes are not free: families still have a mortgage to pay off, but at rates that they can afford.

At this celebration, the Zhang-Min family was the first of two families to receive a key to their new home, followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Ward 20 Councillor Adam Vaughan.

Cinema Tower, The Daniels Corporation, Habitat for Humanity, TorontoCutting the ribbon at the Zhang-Min family's new home with Councillor Adam Vaughan, image courtesy of the Daniels Corporation

According to Ene Underwood, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Toronto, “Habitat for Humanity is deeply appreciative of our ongoing partnership with Daniels. The Cinema Tower project is a great example of how innovative partnerships can push the boundaries of affordable housing and further our mission of mobilizing community partners, like Daniels, to make the dream of homeownership a reality for low-income families.”

Daniels is a longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity and among many other supporting initiatives, the company donated land in 2008 for the construction of 10 Habitat homes in Etobicoke—the largest donation of land by a private company in Habitat Canada’s history. The Cinema Tower key ceremony marked yet another step forward in the relationship between The Daniels Corporation and Habitat for Humanity. Daniels Executive Vice President, Niall Haggart, said, “For us, successful business and social responsibility go hand in hand. Together with Habitat, we are demonstrating that affordable housing can be achieved, and we are thrilled to welcome the Zhang-Min Family home to Cinema Tower!”

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity, click here. You can learn more about the Cinema Tower by visiting the dataBase listing, posted below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the project's associated Forum threads, or voice your opinion in the comments section provided at the bottom of this page.