Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd, Brokerage
1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100 Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X3

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