Building Ottawa one gift at a time

 Ottawa’s homebuilders build more than 5,000 homes a year in the national capital region, employing 25,000 people and contributing $1.5 billion dollars to the Ottawa economy. While these facts may be known to many, the contributions of Ottawa’s homebuilders to our city’s health and well-being are not. At this festive time of year, we would like to highlight how homebuilders are making a difference in Ottawa, and offer some suggestions about how Ottawans can help.

Healthy and vibrant communities have places where people can come together to play, to learn and to socialize. Ottawa’s homebuilders have been longstanding supporters of our community and recreation centres and our sports teams and leagues. In 2014, Ottawa’s Richcraft Homes served as the lead sponsor of the Richcraft Sensplex in Orleans, providing residents of that community and from all over Ottawa with a state-of-the-art sports facility. Another giving highlight was the Taggart Parkes Foundation and Tamarack Homes’ $500,000 donation to the Carleton Ravens football club.

Great cities provide young people with world-class learning opportunities. Ottawa is fortunate to have three universities and two community colleges offering a range of learning and training opportunities to Ottawans as well as to students from across Canada and around the world.

Today, many of our colleges and universities are challenged to keep up with the growing demands of education for the 21st century. In response to these challenges, Ottawa’s homebuilders have become important benefactors to our colleges and universities. Homebuilders have donated generously to the Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence at Algonquin College. In 2014, the Wesley and Mary Nicol Charitable Foundation donated $10 million dollars to theSprott School of Business at Carleton University.

Dynamic cities provide residents with opportunities to enjoy the arts and participate in cultural events and festivals. In Ottawa, these events also attract thousands of visitors, generating business for our hotels, restaurants and tourism businesses. Homebuilders can always be counted on to support arts and culture, whether it’s Tartan Homes sponsoring Jazzfest, Claridge Homes sponsoring Bluesfest or the Minto Foundation Community Fund supporting the Ottawa School of Art.

Healthy communities have state-of-the-art hospitals that provide patients with quality care and physicians with the opportunity to conduct leading-edge research. When it comes to Ottawa’s hospitals and medical research facilities, it’s safe to say that homebuilders are playing a vital role in supporting these institutions and in helping with their fundraising campaigns. The Malhotra Family Foundation hosts an annual golf fundraiser for the Ottawa Women’s Breast Health Centre, located at the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital. This year’s event attended by many members of the homebuilding community generated $250,000 in support.

Ride the Rideau, the annual fundraiser for cancer research at the Ottawa Hospital has raised over $7 million dollars since its inception. Event founder, Robert Merkley of Merkley Supply, has been a tireless champion of the fundraiser. This past summer, the Ottawa Hospital honoured Robert by unveiling the Merkley Supply Ltd. Research Bay at Dr. John Bell’s Oncolytic Virus Lab.

In 2014, Ottawa’s homebuilding community came together to build a home in three days for Habitat for Humanity. Major Jim Watson launched the Blitz Build on a very cold windy morning in early April. The cold was with them followed by a driving rain that started on Friday evening and did not let up until Sunday morning. Through this all, trades people, designers, suppliers and project managers donated their time to build a home for hard-working Ottawa families. It was a remarkable to experience. You can see a short video about the Blitz Build here. After it all, the home was sold raising over $180,000 for Habitat for Humanity.

As governments continue to tighten their belts and reign in their debts, the agencies, organizations and groups that care for us, that entertain us and that educate us, will look to Ottawans for more support. Homebuilders will continue to play a vital role in contributing to these organizations and in mobilizing support around worthwhile causes. But we need your help to keep up the good work. In 2015, homebuilders will build subdivisions in the suburbs, tall buildings in the urban core and infill homes in our older established neighbourhoods. This building and development activity may cause disruptions in your life – traffic, noise, dirt will happen. You may not like what is being built.

But, we ask you to appreciate the good that will come once the work is done. Contact the homebuilder to share your concerns. Working together, we can find solutions to the challenges facing us, our communities and our great city.

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