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His Royal Highness, the Earl of Wessex, Visits Habitat Build Site in Toronto

Toronto, Canada, June 25, 2003–A historic event occurred today in Toronto as Habitat for Humanity hosted the first-ever Royal visit to a Habitat build site.

During the visit, hundreds of spectators and school children waved the Union Jack and Canadian flags as HRH The Earl of Wessex toured Habitat for Humanity Toronto’s site on Volk Way (at 4277 Lawrence Avenue East). A nine day building blitz began construction of the 14 homes on May 3, 2003, and over 1700 volunteers have come out to lend a hand since. HRH The Earl of Wessex himself volunteered his landscaping services by planting a maple tree with the help of several of the children who will soon call Volk Way “home”.

Torontonians Colin Mochrie (Whose Line is it Anyway) and Mag Ruffman (Road to Avonlea, A Repair to Remember) were on site to lend their support to the organization. John McKay, MP Scarborough East and Steve Gilchrist, MPP Scarborough East and together with their constituents welcomed the 14 families to the Volk Way community.

“This visit by a member of the Royal family highlights the international work of Habitat for Humanity. Regrettably, there is a worldwide need for basic shelter. Habitat for Humanity is responding to that need and we are so pleased that His Royal Highness is joining us on one site that will see the beginning of a new life for 61 men, women and children,” says Neil Hetherington, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Toronto.

The construction of these homes would not be possible without the generous contributions of house sponsors: Cadillac Fairview, CoreNET (Corporate Real Estate Network) Global, Dufferin Custom Concrete, Dundee Realty, GE Canada, Ivanhoe Cambridge, The Greater Toronto Home Builders’ Association, Nexfor Norbord, State Street and TD Securities. Each of these corporations has made a minimum of $60,000 in monetary or product contribution to the organization.

 Habitat for Humanity Toronto also gratefully acknowledges its tool sponsor DeWalt. DeWalt is contributing $50,000 in tools over three years to Habitat for Humanity Toronto, allowing the organization to build more homes than ever before.

On July 20th at 2:00p.m. the keys to their new home will be handed to each of the 14 partner families. Occupancy of the homes will commence on August 1, 2003.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, Christian organization dedicated to the eradication of substandard housing. Together with partner families, volunteers, donors and corporate sponsors, Habitat for Humanity builds one new home every 26 minutes somewhere in the world. To date, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 150,000 homes in 89 countries.

For further information: Neil Hetherington, Habitat for Humanity Toronto, please call (416) 755-7353 ext. 23, Cell: (416) 587-4023