Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd, Brokerage
HELEN BRAITHWAITE - SALES REPRESENTATIVE
CHESTNUT PARK REAL ESTATE LTD., BROKERAGE
1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100 Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X3
416-925-9191 helenbraithwaite@chestnutpark.com

Toronto Real Estate and Life: Uncertain Times

What a difference even one week has made to how all of our lives are affected by coronavirus and COVID-19. What used to seem like a problem on the other side of the world has reached Toronto. It is a new reality we all have to face. Yes social distancing is a shock to people used to all the activities urban life provides but we all need to listen to medical experts and lay low at home. I personally am in hibernation watching the real estate market and will make myself available to clients on a need-to basis. Chestnut Park has advised us all to work remotely unless we absolutely need to go to the office. All offers are now to be done through email rather than a formal offer presentation at our office. Our clients’ health and safety and that of Chestnut Park’s staff is of utmost importance. Despite this new reality, homes are still selling and many with offer dates. In fact, there were multiple deals that took place over this past weekend at Chestnut Park.  Below is a message from our Chris Kapches, our president and CEO.

MARCH 17, 2020
Dear Clients and Friends,

COVID-19 has created exceptional challenges for our friends, families, communities and businesses. The Chestnut Park team is working together to mitigate these challenges, to the extent possible.Over the past week, the Chestnut Park team has rallied together to assist one another, and to support our agents and clients by implementing various protocols to reduce risk to our employees, agents and communities. We believe that we have implemented the necessary protocols that will enable us to continue to provide our clients with the up-to-date market insights, service and guidance that they have grown to expect. We will make necessary adjustments to our practices and protocols as more information becomes available.

As difficult decisions are being made, and as people will invariably be affected, I am confident that our communities, our businesses and our friendships will grow stronger and thrive. I encourage everyone to stay supportive of one another, and we will continue to provide services to our clients, agents, and the community that we serve during this difficult and trying time.

Respectfully,
Chris Kapches
LLB, President and CEO, Broker of Record

I keep thinking about what it would have been like during the Spanish Flu, sequestered in homes, frightened but without the same level of communication that we have in 2020. As terrible as this COVID-19 disease appears to be, we are in a better situation than 1918. We at least have the comforts of home and a very strong food supply chain (despite what those flocking the grocery stores feel).  We have computers, Netflix, and can embrace family time whether they are with you or on FaceTime or a phone call away.

Staying at home can feel a bit boring but actually it is a great practise for all of us to slow down a bit and enjoy the comfort of our homes. It is a very anxious time for all of us and exercise is a great way to clear your mind. Those that know me know I love my Peleton for a quick at- home workout. What many may not know is that there is a great app that has a variety of workouts including Yoga, Meditation and Running, Boot Camp and Cycling (if you have a different stationary bike).

A free meditation podcast is available at Power Yoga Canada

Online classes are available at Misfit Studio

Here is a list of the best online classes for further ideas

I feel for parents with young kids trying to occupy them at home, limiting play dates and honouring social distancing. This is the time to dust off the board games, pull out a deck of cards, bake some cookies, watch an old classic, start that puzzle you received as a present a few years ago.

Frozen 2 is being released tomorrow to help parents in entertaining little ones. Universal has announced it will release to streaming its current movie releases to keep people home.  It is also still ok to get outside for some fresh air as long as you keep a safe distance from others. A ravine walk certainly clears the mind.

Also think of all the odd jobs were are behind on at home, the tax paperwork need to organize, all those home projects we procrastinate. It is a perfect time to settle into a good book.

Please, I urge you to enjoy life as a homebody as everyone who stays home can slow the spread of infection and actually help to save lives!

If you have coronavirus symptoms there is an online Ontario website to self-screen. Please don’t rush to testing centres until you do this self screen. There are COVID-19 testing centres that are separate from hospital emergency rooms to get tested. If you want to call a health professional for advice 811 is the number to call not 911. Telehealth Ontario’s number is 1-866-797-0000

As we all think of ourselves and our loved ones’ health, we also need to think of those in need who may not have the resources we do to ride this wave out. Consider donating to your local food bank. I donated to The Stop , Daily Bread  Food Bank  and Parry Sound Harvest Share  to support a Muskoka area food bank as well. I want to wish everyone well as we ride out this pandemic. This too shall pass and life will return to a new normal. Be safe, be well and be smart.

Helen

xo


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: John B. Parkin a Toronto Mid-Century Architect

Now that I’ve shared a bit of information about Mies van der Rohe, I wanted to highlight a significant mid-century Canadian architect, John B. Parkin, who collaborated with Mies on the TD Centre design. John B. Parkin was the largest Architectural firm in Canada in the mid-century.

John B. Parkin Designed Headquarters to the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)

John B. Parkin received his degree in Architecture from the University of Toronto but headed over to England for a few years to establish his career. He returned to Toronto in 1947 to begin his own practice, then partnered with John C. Parkin (no relation, just a fellow architect) and then brought his brother, a landscape architect, on board to create John B. Parkin Associates. The company continues today, but there are no Parkins working there any more. In the 1950s through 1960s John B. Parkin was involved in the design of many Toronto landmarks, including Toronto City Hall, the Ontario Association of Architects Headquarters, the Toronto-Dominion Centre and an assortment of public schools, TTC bus exchanges, and a gas station.

Bata Shoe headquarters demolished in 2007 and currently the site of the Aga Khan Museum

The Bata Headquarters was a fine example of John B. Parkin’s work but the building and land around it was acquired by Aga Kahn and the building was demolished to build the Aga Khan Museum.

Blog TO wrote a fabulous article highlighting John B. Parkin, touting him as The Architect that Changed Everything in Toronto, that is worth the read.

John B. Parkin is also known for a North Rosedale home located at 3 Old George Place. It was an iconic mid-century home that overlooked the Rosedale ravine on two levels. There was a lovely lower-level living room that featured a stone wall and glass with views out to the circular swimming pool and yard that gently sloped to the ravine. It was rated a Heritage A home, but due to a series of unfortunate events has been completely transformed into a new home that doesn’t really resemble a John B. Parkin design in any way. The now-demolished home at 75 Bridle Path was another fine example of his residential work the home of John C. Parkin the principal designer of John B Parkin and associates. I do feel Toronto has lagged in terms of protecting mid-century properties as demonstrated by two bungalows in South Rosedale slated for demolition for condos and townhomes.

Photo Courtesy of Jacquie Jensen-Roy

Fun fact: John B Parkin designed the Rosedale Subway Station.

 

 


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Toronto Ritz Carlton Residences: Luxury Living at its finest

Just Listed!

The Ritz-Carlton Residences. Luxury at its finest.
183 Wellington Street West, Suite 4404

This light-filled corner suite offers breathtaking south and west views of the lake and the city that are truly living art from sunrise to sunset! Daydream as you watch the sailboats in the Toronto Harbour and lose yourself in the vast lake views towards Niagara. In the evening, the west views steal the show with twinkling cityscape lights that can be seen to the horizon.
This spacious suite offers approximately 3300 square feet of living space with an exceptional split plan layout featuring three bedrooms plus a den, a rarity in the Toronto condominium market! Direct elevator access to the suite and top-quality finishes throughout.
You’ll be enchanted from the moment you walk off the elevator.
For further details or a private showing call Helen Braithwaite 416-925-9191 or email helenbraithwaite@chestnutpark.com


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Chestnut Park Real Estate Chairman’s Award 2019

I started down the Toronto real estate path over 15 years ago given my passion for homes, architecture and design coupled with the desire to help people. It is alway a nice feeling to achieve success.  Thank you to my clients and colleagues for my third year attaining Chairman’s Award.  I am truly appreciative all the assistance I receive at Chestnut Park. It certainly helps to have top notch management and a fabulous support system at the firm to be able to achieve results. Thank you to my lovely clients who I am blessed to work with. I am proud to be a part of an amazing brokerage firm that is a Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate.


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: January 2020 Market Report

January 2020 showed a jump in the of 7.725%  year over year in the average sales price and a sharp rise in the number of sales up 14% year over year. The days on market is under one month as there is a shortage of inventory in central Toronto. The lack of listings is causing upward pressure on prices and we are back to the bidding war environment. The Stress test and basic affordability does help curb the price increases. Under $1 million properties are the most frenzied as you can qualify of an insured high ratio mortgage under $1 million.

For full details on the Toronto Real Estate Market please see Chris Kapches, CEO of Chestnut Park Real Estate Market report in the video below.

Please know I have buyers for quality properties in Summerhill, Forest Hill, Annex and Rosedale. Some of my buyers are willing to renovate and others are looking for a turn key opportunity. Should you wish to quietly sell your property please do not hesitate to contact me. We can easily do a property appraisal for you and decide what a fair value would be for you home.

Best,

Helen Braithwaite

Sales Representative, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited

Chairman’s  Award 2017,2018,2019


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

I thought it was important to highlight this mid-century architect, a German-born pioneer of modernist architecture and the final director of  the Bauhaus School, a critical mid-century architecture school. Mies left Germany for the United States in the wake of the Nazi rise to power. They did not condone this modern movement and the school was closed. In the United States Mies headed up the school of architecture at the Armour Institute of Technology (later renamed the Illinois Institute of Technology) in Chicago.

The reason I wanted to share a bit of information about Mies is because of downtown Toronto’s spectacular TD Centre, a stunning example of his work. Mies van der Rohe was the design consultant for John B. Parkin and Bregman + Hamann, the architects, and Fairview Corporation, the developer. The towers were built between 1967 and 1991. The design integrity has been maintained right down to his iconic Barcelona chairs in the lobbies. I always enjoy heading up to Canoe restaurant to take in the architecture and I had the pleasure of working in one of these towers in my first job out of university.

Mies’ style of architecture was similar to other avant-garde architects of the day. He  worked to assemble his structures using modern materials as efficiently as possible, featuring clean lines and shapes and minimal colour to incorporate the outside into the interior as best he could. 

Mies is also famous for Farnsworth House, a commission for a country retreat outside Chicago. This glass house is raised six feet above the flood plain of the Fox River and is supported by eight simple posts. With this home he played with the relationship between people, shelter and nature. The most unique feature of this home is that no interior wall touches the floor, and walls of glass the create an exoskeleton around the home.  It certainly was advanced for the time it was built, 1947-1957. The house became so famous it was purchased in 2004 for $7.5 million, including the 60 acre property, and turned into a museum that is managed by National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Farnsworth House is said to have been a strong influence for Philip Johnson’s Glass House located near New York City.

Other buildings of significance that Mies van der Rohe designed include the National Gallery in Berlin, the Seagram Building in New York (which is very similar to the TD Centre towers), the Chicago Federal Complex and the Houston Art Gallery.

The Bauhaus movement was all about providing well-designed buildings and furniture for the common man.  So Mies was much like Charles and Ray Eames in his design pursuit. I think many of us have or dream of having a Barcelona chair! Unfortunately, in 2020, this iconic chair has become rather cost-prohibitive.

In his 1981 book about modern architecture, From Bauhaus to Our House, Tom Wolfe called the Barcelona chair “the Platonic ideal of chair”, and wrote that, despite its high price, owning one had become a necessity for young architects. “When you saw the holy object on the sisal rug, you knew you were in a household where a fledgeling architect and his young wife had sacrificed everything to bring the symbol of the godly mission into their home.”

Fun Fact: Ludwig Mies was his original name  but he changed his name to Mies van der Rohe as he made the transformation from tradesman to architect. Mies in German means lousy so by adding his mother’s maiden name to his name it appeased the German elite.

Ludwig Mies van Der Rohe 1927 chrome-plated tubular steel and cane chair currently on display at the MOMA in NYC.


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: December 2019 Real Estate Market Report

The Toronto Real Estate Market finished up the years with a surprising number of sales for a normally quiet month. This has actually gobbled up some of the much needed inventory we require to accommodate demand. What is quite interesting is this lower inventory we are experiencing is only having a slight effect average sales price as affordability remains a real concern coupled with the stress test requirements limit what buyers can pay for homes and condos. It is tricky as sellers do not want to list their homes until they find an new property which is difficult with no listings available.  My Infographic is for the 416 Area of Toronto. Chris Kapches speaks to the entire GTA.

Real Estate Market Dec 2019

Please watch Chris Kapches, President and CEO of Chestnut Park Market Report for full details.

From Chris Kapches:

In December 4,399 properties were reported sold. This is not a record high for the month, but these sales represented more than a 17 percent increase compared to the 3,746 properties reported sold last December. Past Decembers have seen more properties sold during the month, but the 4,399 properties that were sold was a very healthy recovery from last year’s dismal results.

 

The average sale price for all properties sold in the Greater Toronto Area came in at $837,788, almost 12 percent higher than the average sale price of $749,014 achieved last year. Homeowners will no doubt be happy with this increase, but the rapidly rising prices, once again approaching record levels, put a strain on affordability and their longer-term sustainability, especially with salaries and wages increasing by about 3 percent annually.

 

The average sale price in the City of Toronto was even higher coming in at $885,132, an exceptionally high number for the month of December when sales of higher-priced properties decline. This increase was driven by the sale of 465 detached properties sales having an average sale price of $1,363,477, a 19.5 percent increase compared to the number of detached properties that were reported sold in December of 2018.

On a yearly basis, 87,825 residential resale properties were reported sold. This represents a strong 12 percent recovery compared to the 78,015 properties reported sold for 2018. Compared to recent resale history, 2019’s results are still weak. In 2014, 92,782 properties were reported sold. That number jumped to 101,213 in 2015 and then to 113,040 in 2016, before dropping to 92,335 in 2017. The 113,040 properties sold in 2016 remains the record high for Toronto and area sales.

Notwithstanding rising resale prices, 2019 sales results might have been higher had there been more inventory for consumers to buy. Housing data related to inventory at the end of December is seriously concerning.

In December 3,531 new properties came to market. That compares poorly with the 4,309 that came to the market last December. Unfortunately, we witnessed inventory declines throughout 2019. As a result, at the end of the year, there were only 7,406 properties available to potential buyers, a stunning 35 percent decline compared to the 11,431 properties available at the end of 2018. In some trading areas the situation has gone beyond critical. For example: in all of Toronto’s eastern trading areas 49 semi-detached properties were reported sold. At the end of December and heading into 2020 here were only 7 detached properties available to potential buyers. These are unprecedented low numbers. At the end of the year, there were no semi-detached properties available in Toronto’s popular eastern trading areas: Riverdale, Leslieville, and the Beaches.

The inventory shortage has also spread to Toronto’s condominium apartment sector. In December 844 condominium apartments were sold in the City of Toronto. During the same period, only 779 new condominium apartment listings came to market, clearly far less than the overwhelming demand. As for the end of December, there were only 1,148 condominium apartments for sale in the City of Toronto – based on December’s sales that is just 1.2 months of inventory.

Year-end numbers indicate that inventory will play a crucial role in the success of the Toronto area residential resale market in 2020. If sellers decide to take advantage of the near-record sale prices and bring their properties to market, Toronto’s residential resale market will be strong and produce year-end sales that exceed the 87,825 properties that were reported sold this year. Price appreciation should be muted by the fact the average prices are at record highs and restrained from further growth by affordability.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, President and CEO

 


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Charles and Ray Eames

Happy New Year!  Most people who know me know that I love design and architecture. This year, I will be writing about various architects and designers who have made an impact in the design world over the years.

My first designers to highlight are Charles and Ray Eames. The inspiration to write about them was a gift from my daughter, a book called From A to Eames: A visual guide to Mid-Century Modern Design. This book is a great resource for those that want to hone their knowledge of all things mid-century.

I have had the privilege of visiting their iconic Eames House (Case Study House  no. 8) in the Pacific Palisades. Art and Architecture magazine commissioned several architects and designers to create progressive modest homes in the Southern California area from the 1940s through the 1960s. Charles and Ray used the building as both their home and studio space. I was surprised how set back this home was, given it is a full ocean view lot, and at how shaded it was. It shows us how design has evolved, but the home itself is brilliant in its simplicity. I find the home reminiscent of the well-known plywood shelving they designed.

Probably the most recognizable pieces of furniture that Charles and Ray Eames designed were the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. A timeless, classic pair that blends form and function together seamlessly.

Charles worked collaboratively with Eero Saarinen to mold a single piece of plywood into a chair creating the Organic Chair. It won an award but could never be mass-produced at that time. Recent improvements in manufacturing have allowed for the chair to be mass-produced and it is available once again. 

Another signature creation is the Molded Fiberglass/Plastic Chair, part of a line that now includes bar stools and rocking chairs. They come in a variety of colours and again blend form with comfort. Perfect for kitchen tables and children’s desk chairs! They were originally manufactured in fibreglass but Herman Miller and Charles discovered that fibreglass was a hazardous, non-recyclable material so they switched to plastic in 1989. They have just now started manufacturing on a limited scale and higher price point in a fibreglass that is more sustainable than the previous fibreglass of over 75 years ago.

Office furniture was a big part of their furniture collection. There is a large selection of plywood storage units to fit any space with both open shelving as well as compartments to stow the clutter away. They also created a simple plywood and wire desk that complements the storage units.

The soft back office chair is one of my favourites. I have one at our kitchen desk as well as in my office and they are extremely comfortable.

The couple also created some fabulous accesories. The Eames Elephant is great for a child’s room. The elegant design of the Eames House Bird looks great on a shelf.  Another favourite piece of mine is the Walnut Stool that looks like a spool of thread.

The Eames Molded Plywood screen was created so long ago; Charles and Ray were ahead of their time in thinking of dividing open space into cubicle areas.

I am a strong advocate for buying original designs. Please be mindful as there are many knock-off companies that are creating pieces that look identical to Eames originals but are not authentic. I am all about quality over quantity. When searching for any Eames product, be sure you are buying from an authorized dealer. There are many Toronto stores that carry Eames products: Quasi Modo, Hollace Cluny, Design Within Reach, just to name a few. For the real purists out there who want only vintage pieces, there are quite a few local stores that carry them, such as Studio Pazo, Vintage Home Boutique, Decade Five Furniture, Vintage Furniture Hut and Mid Century Modern Toronto

Stay tuned for more highlights of exceptional designers and architects and happy 2020!


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Toronto Luxury Lease Listing: 29 Draper Street


Draper Street is one of Toronto’s best kept secrets!
Tucked away in the heart of downtown in the King and Spadina area known as the Garment District, Draper Street is a protected heritage community lined with Victorian cottages that were built in the late 18oos. The street exudes charm and many homes boast historic plaques. Draper Street is unique as it managed to survive the industrial revolution intact when much of the area was taken over by factories and warehouses. Hence the City of Toronto has taken action to protect this unique street and its history by declaring the street a  heritage conservation district.

29 Draper has it own unique history. The home was built by Richard Humphries in 1881, and the first resident was Charles Clothe, a machinist. This home was also the birthplace of Lincoln M. Alexander in 1922. 

It isn’t often a unique rental home comes to market in downtown!

  • Fully renovated
  • High ceilings
  • Coveted two car parking
  • Three bedrooms and one washroom on the second floor
  • One bedroom and washroom on the lower level in addition to a laundry room and lower living room
  • The backyard is nicely tucked away with space for backyard summer entertaining and has a potting shed that could be converted into an office or workshop

Offered for Lease at $5500.

29 Draper Floor Plans

For a private showing please do not hesitate to contact us. mphillips@chestnutpark.com  or helenbraithwaite@chestnutpark.com


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: The Season of Giving

As we are coming into this holiday season I thought I would share with you the charities that are dear to me and that I have chosen to support. I will be making a donation to each of these charities to honour this season of giving.

 

Camp Ooch

I have seen Camp Ooch in action during my many years as a cottager on Lake Rosseau. They provide a camp environment for those who are fighting or have overcome childhood cancer. Cancer robs kids of a lot of their childhood when they are burdened with hospitalization, chemotherapy and dealing with their own mortality. To witness a boat full of Camp Ooch kids heading off to waterski and wakeboard is a wonderful thing. The camp used to occupy Lake Rosseau College grounds but soon outgrew that space and required an exclusive camp so the former Camp Hollyburn grounds were purchased and renovated to accommodate their needs. Every summer I run the Muskoka Rocks 10k and all money raised goes to this camp. This fall it was announced that Camp Oochigeas and Camp Trillium are merging to create efficiencies. I will continue to support this worthy cause.

Mind over miles

Mental health is dear to my heart and it seems to strike so many families. I have decided this charity appeals to the runner in me as well as the need to raise awareness about mental health.

Mind Over Miles (MOM) is a Toronto-based run club raising funds and awareness for mental health.  It was founded by Virginia McKinnell and inspired by her own journey with bipolar disorder. The run club is all about fostering a community dedicated to understanding mental health, and creating a positive space where anyone can share their story and ask for help. On Facebook, MOM releases videos of people sharing their stories. Each video ends with a screen that reads, “Join the Conversation.” The hope is that as more people talk about it, the easier it becomes to continue the conversation about mental health.

All of MOM’s fundraising goes towards the construction of the new Murphy Family Centre for Mental Health at Sunnybrook Hospital. This is a new, state-of-the-art 27,000 square foot space within the Garry Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre where mental illnesses will be treated with the same dignity, respect and understanding as other brain disorders like stroke or dementia.

Oceana logo

We are all inundated with worries over climate change and I do feel everyone should donate money to try to tackle these issues. Having grown up on the west coast by the Pacific Ocean I have a love of the sea. Oceana is a great initiative to protect the oceans from both over-fishing and pollution.

Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Canada has the world’s longest coastline, with an ocean surface of 7.1 million square kilometres, or 70 per cent of its landmass. Oceana believes that Canada has a national and global obligation to manage our natural resources responsibly and to help ensure a sustainable source of protein for the world’s growing population.

Oceana Canada has successfully campaigned to end the shark fin trade, make rebuilding depleted fish populations the law, improve the way fisheries are managed and protect marine habitat. They work with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal government to return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada’s oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional benefits and protect our future.

Oceana Canada’s current campaigns are: Rebuild Ocean Abundance, Break Free from Plastic, Stop Seafood Fraud, Protect Marine Habitat and Save North Atlantic Right Whales. Join Oceana Canada by becoming a Wavemaker and stay up-to-date on their campaigns. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share your love for the oceans with friends and family.

Those that know me know how much I love of animals. We are currently raising our 5th Golden Retriever, Stanley. I chose to support Coveted Canines as they look after dogs that are not as fortunate as the dogs we have had.  Coveted Canines  believes that there is the right home out there for all the dogs in their organization and they take pride in matching  rescue dogs to the right people who can provide them “furever” homes. Coveted Canines is a not-for-profit organization that is wholly run by unpaid volunteers. Everyone on their team donates their time and expertise, all for the love of dogs! Coveted Canine dogs are placed in loving foster homes where they feel safe to bloom and can learn important socialization skills before being adopted.

Dalhousie University Faculty of Architecture and Planning: Kirsty Bruce Bursary

A few years ago an aspiring young architect named Kirsty Bruce passed away in the prime of her life.  Kirsty had helped me on a number of projects and I was so impressed with her capabilities; she truly had a gift. To honour this talented young woman I worked with Dalhousie university to establish a bursary in her name that has now become an endowment. Each year an architecture student within the faculty receives this award and I receive a thank you letter from the recipient. I have been very impressed with the talent from this school and feel this is the perfect way to honour an incredible woman.

Habitat for HumanityHabitat for Humanity is a fabulous organization that helps those who need assistance to achieve home ownership. I have helped on build sites in both Scarborough and Brampton and also donate money each year to this cause. Affordability in Toronto is a huge issue so to be able to help a few families gain home ownership is a great feeling.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season, how ever you may celebrate.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukhah, Happy Kwanzaa to all!

Helen Braithwaite* and Michelle Phillips, Sales Representatives

Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited

*Chairman’s Award 2017,2018

               

                                                                                                                                                                   


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