Supporting the social fabric of our communities
At Daniels, we have a powerful vision to lead by leveraging real estate development as a platform for social impact and city-building.
We aim to achieve this through social procurement, creating affordable housing options, leveraging our commercial portfolio to create economic opportunity and building community capacity. We believe building inclusive, complete communities in which everyone belongs, feels welcome and at home is about more than bricks and mortar; it is about integrating building excellence with opportunities for social, cultural and economic well-being.
Our experience has demonstrated that our communities create opportunities for people to come together over common interests like food and urban agriculture, arts and culture and health & wellness, as well as support local economies to foster more vibrant, inclusive and resilient communities.
We are committed to leading by example, listening to and learning from the communities in which we build. Every resident in our communities is central to our ability to create positive impact through our work, and we are grateful to each and every one of them for supporting our unique approach to development.
SOCIAL PROCUREMENT IS A POWERFUL TOOL TO GENERATE ECONOMIC IMPACT
We recognize our opportunity to leverage our business as a tool for inclusive local economic growth. That’s why we purchase with intentionality and with a lens sharply focused on making a positive impact on local economies.
From catering to security and groundskeeping services, to artwork and welcome gifts, we look for ways to allocate funds to support businesses in every community we build. In fact, all artwork procured for display in the common area amenities of Daniels communities is sourced from local emerging and mid-career artists. We also work with social enterprises such as Artscape Atelier to procure welcome gifts for new homeowners created by artists with roots in each of our new home communities.
In 2020, over $500,000 in local artwork and artisan created welcome gifts was socially procured by Daniels. Over 85% of those local artists and artisans belonged to equity deserving groups.
LILY and ELISE
by Benny Bing
Regent Park: “A Love Poem”
by Sakina Sewing Circle
ANCHORS, BALLAST AND BALANCE
by Silvia Taylor
PARTNERSHIP IS KEY TO THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTION
There are many financial barriers that can separate individuals and families from a safe and affordable place to call home. At Daniels, we’ve created pathways to affordable homeownership for hundreds of families through partnerships, innovation and financial assistance programs.
Daniels is proud to have built more affordable homes than any other private sector company in Canada. For over 25 years, Daniels has partnered with Habitat for Humanity GTA and local affiliates to empower families in need of a safe and affordable place to call home. In 2008, Daniels donated land to Habitat for Humanity for the construction of 10 townhomes in Lakeshore Village in Etobicoke — the single largest donation of land by a private company in Habitat Canada’s history. To date, Daniels has contributed over $6 million to Habitat for Humanity, which has resulted in safe, affordable and healthy homes for 96 Habitat partner families across the GTA.
COMPLETE COMMUNITIES INCLUDE SPACES FOR ENTREPRENEURS, SMALL BUSINESSES, SOCIAL ENTERPRISES AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS TO THRIVE
Over the last 39 years, we have expanded opportunities for small businesses, local entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations to access affordable commercial spaces in our communities. As community builders, we strive to leverage our business to help break down barriers faced by artists and entrepreneurs and provide them with access to spaces where they can work and thrive.
Operated by Daniels in collaboration with BNI (Black North Initiative), Work-Live studios at DuEast Condominiums and Artworks Tower will create opportunities for Black-identifying artists and creatives to access the space at approximately 50 per cent of the market rate. The collaboration will support artists to help develop their practice, showcase their work, and build relationships in the local community, while also addressing systemic barriers faced by Black artists in accessing housing, workspaces, and economic opportunities. The initiative includes a Social Impact Exchange for artists in the Work-Live studios to participate in community initiatives and activations to meaningfully contribute to the Regent Park neighbourhood. We recognize that these types of initiatives create economic opportunities and promote diversity, equity and inclusion which ultimately result in vibrant communities.
OUR “LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE” PROMISE EXTENDS BEYOND EACH DANIELS HOME TO OUR COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE GREATER TORONTO AREA
For Daniels, our work building communities doesn’t end when construction does. Throughout our history, we have developed partnerships with not-for-profit organizations, collaborated with grassroots groups and supported community initiatives demonstrating that our approach to city-building puts people at the centre.
For Daniels, urban agriculture is truly a natural expression of the company. Always thinking outside the box, Daniels has worked hard to incorporate urban agriculture opportunities, such as balcony container gardening, community gardening plots, greenhouses, edible landscaping, and farmers’ markets, into our new home communities wherever possible. Our resident gardening plots invite green thumbs to come together, establish a deeper sense of community, and feel connected to the earth and to each other.
Creating Employment & Training Opportunities
Creating Real Apprenticeships For Toronto (CRAFT)
This 14-week, fully paid, pre-apprenticeship program offers participants three weeks of training at The College of Carpenters and Allied Trades’ followed by 10-week placements working on Daniels sites, and the eligibility to pursue apprenticeship agreements with Carpenters’ Local 27.
MOVING TOWARDS OPPORTUNITY (MTO)
This youth employment initiative, in partnership with community agencies for 16-18-year-olds residing in Regent Park and surroundings, better prepares youth for lifelong employment. The 14-week employment readiness program is followed by an eight-week, full-time paid work opportunity during their summer break.
HIGHER LEARNING INITIATIVE (HLI)
To help Regent Park residents unable to utilize their internationally-attained post-secondary credentials to find meaningful employment in Canada, Daniels partnered with the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Education and Toronto Employment and Social Service to support these foreign-trained professionals.
United Way Greater Toronto Inclusive Local Employment Opportunity (ILEO) Initiative
Daniels has signed on to the United Way of Greater Toronto ILEO Charter to help bring together the private, public, community sectors and labour to find innovative ways to enhance economic prosperity in the Greater Toronto Region and create lasting inclusive economic vitality at the neighbourhood level.
Organizations that we support
Daniels Spectrum is a 60,000 sq. ft. community cultural hub in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. This innovative space represents an important part of the social fabric that continues to be woven through the Regent Park revitalization. Daniels Spectrum is named in recognition of a generous lead gift from The Daniels Corporation and The John and Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation. It is also a joint venture between Artscape, Toronto Community Housing, The Daniels Corporation and the Regent Park community. Daniels Spectrum hosts a range of culturally diverse programming and is home to seven innovative organizations: ArtHeart Community Art Centre, Centre for Social Innovation, Native Earth Performing Arts, Pathways to Education, Regent Park Film Festival, Centennial College Performing Arts Commons, and Regent Park School of Music.
Artscape Daniels Launchpad
Located at Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts community, Artscape Daniels Launchpad is Toronto’s one-stop hub for creative entrepreneurship offering not only an amazing space where artists can create, but also experiment with innovative techniques and learn new skills. With 30,000 square feet of space, it exists to empower all artists, designers and creators to prosper from their creative practice. Artscape Daniels Launchpad is named in recognition of the financial support of The Daniels Corporation and the John and Myrna Daniels Foundation, whose leadership gift of $5.75 million includes $625,000 in support from Daniels’ City of the Arts development partner WJ Properties.
Second Harvest is an organization that rescues and prepares excess fresh food, which it then delivers daily to social service agencies in Toronto. Daniels has played an ongoing role as Presenting Sponsor of Toronto Taste for 25 years, Second Harvest’s annual gala fundraising event, as well as helping build a major extension on the organization’s warehouse in 2009. Members of the Daniels’ team enjoy participating in Second Harvest’s annual campaigns including Lunch Money Days, Hero Day and the holiday turkey drive.
Habitat for Humanity GTA
Giving a hand up, not a hand out, Habitat for Humanity GTA partners with working, low-income families to provide safe and affordable homes. For over 24 years, Daniels has partnered with Habitat for Humanity GTA and local affiliates to empower families in need of a place to call home. Daniels has contributed over $6 million to Habitat, which has resulted in safe, affordable and healthy homes for 96 Habitat partner families across the GTA.
Friends of Ruby
In late 2020, Daniels celebrated the opening of Friends of Ruby Home, Canada’s first residence providing transitional housing and in-house counselling for homeless LGBTQI2S youth in Toronto. More than a place to sleep, Friends of Ruby welcomes young people into a supportive community that helps them move toward independent living. Friends of Ruby is a response to the LGBTQI2S youth homelessness crisis resulting from disproportionately high rates of family rejection, violence and trauma. Daniels’ contribution of over $4 million as well as our teams work aligns with our mandate of using development as a platform for social change, as Friends of Ruby will have a significant positive impact on thousands of young lives for decades to come.
Community Music Schools of Toronto
Community Music Schools of Toronto is a community music school that provides youth in need with a rich and rewarding music and social education by removing the financial obstacle. Through fundraising sponsorships and events with the Community Music Schools of Toronto, Daniels supports high-quality, affordable music education and mentoring to help kids flourish through music.
For over seven years, Daniels has been supporting Covenant House Toronto, Canada’s largest homeless youth agency, by providing deeply subsidized rental apartments for a transitional housing program. This ongoing program, integrated within a Daniels condominium building, provides youth aged 18 to 24 with access to stable housing, which has a positive effect on mental health by removing the day-to-day worry of survival. Covenant House Toronto changes lives, helping vulnerable young people learn life skills, access job training, and gain confidence to live independently.
Visions of Science
Visions of Science Network for Learning is a charitable organization that empowers youth from low-income communities through meaningful engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). As Visions of Science was keen to deepen their impact in communities, developing their operational capacity became a priority. In order to support this growth, Visions of Science have relocated their headquarters to 71 Regent Park Blvd. Catalyzed with seed funding from The Daniels Corporation, this move will enrich Visions of Science’s impact in communities.
Erin Mills Farmers Market
To expand access to healthy food, in 2013 the Daniels team transformed land awaiting development in Erin Mills into a farmers’ market and urban farm. In 2016, the Erin Mills Farmers’ Market was established as a not-for-profit organization. In 2020, the market moved to its new permanent home within the courtyard of Arc Condominiums at the Daniels Erin Mills community. Food and urban agriculture Initiatives expand access to healthy food choices. They also demonstrate sustainability, well-being and education around food security and provide a platform to develop and nurture a spirit of community within residents of all ages and backgrounds.
Akin is a Toronto-based arts organization that offers arts-based programming and studio space where artists can work on creative endeavours and entrepreneurial undertakings. Akin builds community through monthly art critique, workshops, open studio events, gallery tours and exhibitions, as well as various other projects. Daniels’ donation to the Akin Studio Rent Relief Fund provided Akin artists and creatives with an anonymous, one-time emergency grants toward rent for their studios.
University of Toronto John. H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design
John and Myrna Daniels have made historic gifts totalling $30 million to the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. The gifts established an endowment for financial aid to students in perpetuity, and also launched the implementation of the expansion and renovation of the Faculty’s building. In recognition of the gifts, the Faculty’s name has been changed to the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. In 2017, the Faculty celebrated the opening of its new home, the Daniels Building at One Spadina Crescent. The Daniels Corporation has also contributed $1 million, evenly divided between Daniels Faculty capital campaign and The John and Myrna Daniels Scholar Award program.
Daniels has partnered with L’Arche Toronto to custom build an eight-bedroom condominium within the Artworks Tower in Regent Park. Designed to meet the assisted-living needs of L’Arche clients, this new home will provide a fully-accessible, barrier-free and inclusiveenvironment for people with intellectual disabilities.