Bringing Impact to Life: A redeveloper’s report on the world-renowned revitalization of Toronto’s Regent Park neighborhood

On January 12, 2023, the Daniels Corporation, a Canadian builder and developer that focuses on community-building and city-building, released its second annual impact report entitled, “Bringing Impact to Life: 2021-2022 Impact Report.”

The report describes Daniels’ approach to impact and outlines key impact initiatives over the past two years across three focus areas: people, the planet, and partnerships.

Included in this year’s report is Daniels’ account of its 16-year involvement in the world-renowned revitalization of Toronto’s Regent Park neighborhood through a spotlight on building inclusive communities.

Positive Impact Across People, Planet, and Partnerships

Daniels says they have spent nearly 40 years building a legacy of impact through real estate redevelopment with intentionality and investments in community revitalization.

That includes affordable housing, food security, arts, culture, accessibility and sustainable building practices that put people first.

The 2021-2022 Impact Report outlines the positive impact Daniels has created across three specific areas that are central to its work: people, the planet, and partnerships.

Putting People First

Over the past two years, Daniels has strengthened its commitment to social procurement and created more inclusive economic opportunities. Daniels made significant strides in engaging with emerging and mid-career local artists representing equity-deserving communities.

By leveraging purchasing power, Daniels supported Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities in a tangible way, paving a path toward a more equitable economy. In 2021-2022, Daniels invested $903,000 in social procurement including $638,000 in local art procurement.

Daniels’ commitment to inclusion extends to breaking down barriers to accessibility, by releasing 33 accessible homes for sale or lease through the Daniels’ Accessibility Designed Program. In addition, Daniels invested $197,000 to support initiatives that accelerate accessibility.

Sustainable Building Practices Contributing to a Healthier Planet

Daniels’ environmentally sustainable practices and long-term thinking are driven by a vision to build a healthy future for all. As a full-service builder and developer, Daniels is committed to drastically decarbonizing its new communities in both upfront emissions and operating emissions.

Daniels leverages opportunities for reducing whole-life carbon from the design phases, execution on-site, and long-term operations and has initiated carbon reductions in two primary ways:

  • Developing internal processes for data collection and analysis; and
  • Leveraging the data gathered to improve performance and reduce the carbon footprint of Daniels’ new communities.

In 2023, Daniels will launch its decarbonization roadmap, which will disclose a baseline level of performance, establish emission reduction targets and start the process of reporting on its progress towards meeting them.

Powerful Partnerships that Create Pathways for Opportunities

Throughout 2021-2022, Daniels collaborated with several not-for-profit, institutional, private, and public sector partners to create pathways to affordable housing, employment and economic and social development opportunities across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

This emphasis on partnerships to deliver impact is demonstrated by 34 mother-led families successfully moving into affordable homes at Evolv Rentals in Regent Park which was made possible through a partnership with Sun Life, Woodgreen Community Services and the City of Toronto.

Through partnership-based economic development programs, Daniels facilitated paid training and job placements for 41 young people in the last two years and $158,000 was generated for the local economy through youth employment initiatives like the CRAFT pre-apprenticeship programs.

Our driving philosophy at Daniels includes an ongoing commitment to supporting our local communities in tangible ways,” said Heela Omarkhail, Vice President of Social Impact, The Daniels Corporation.

At Daniels, we are always striving to be a ‘people-first’ developer and expand our positive impact through inclusive practices, sustainability initiatives and strategic partnerships,” she added.

Supporting the World-Renowned Regent Park Revitalization

Regent Park today.

In 2006, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) selected Daniels as its development partner to initiate the revitalization of 53 of the 69 acres of Regent Park in Toronto’s downtown east.

Today, the Regent Park revitalization is being looked at around the world as the gold standard by which highly stigmatized urban neighborhoods can be re-imagined and re-developed as healthy, sustainable, mixed-income, and inclusive communities.

Over the course of the past 16 years, Daniels has taken a lead role in working hand in hand with local stakeholders on community initiatives and the creation of new social and physical infrastructure to deliver of the goals of the revitalization.

During Phases 1, 2 and 3 of the revitalization, Daniels completed construction on 3,063 market condominium homes, 346 market rentals, 1,261 rent-geared-to-income TCHC replacement homes and 403 new TCHC affordable rental homes.

Additionally, Daniels has committed $5 million to create affordable homeownership opportunities through Daniels’ Partnership for Affordable Homeownership program.

The 2021-2022 Impact Report includes a focused Spotlight Report on Daniels’ involvement in Regent Park.

In the Spotlight Report, Daniels shares its six key building blocks for creating inclusive communities based on 39 years of experience as a developer and builder in the GTA and 16 years working in Regent Park. The six building blocks are:

  • A “Whole of Community” Approach
  • Mixed-Use Development
  • Affordable Housing
  • Community Engagement
  • Spaces that Build Social Fabric
  • Local Economic Development

At Daniels, we are committed to finding new and innovative ways to ensure we create inclusive and resilient communities that go beyond the buildings,” said Jake Cohen, Chief Operating Officer, The Daniels Corporation.

It is our duty as a responsible developer and builder to create opportunities for social impact and real change, and we look forward to continuing to do so for many years to come,” he concluded.

Featured rendering courtesy of Toronto Community Housing. All other images courtesy of Daniels Corporation.

Read the Daniels’ 2021-2022 Impact Report.

See the Daniels Corporation website.

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