Thursday, 24 December 2015

Happy Holidays from Options!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Options!

Wish wish you a safe and warm season with loved ones,

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Options Development: Cranbrooke Vilage

Options most recently completed development, Cranbrooke Village is located at Bathurst Street and Lawrence Avenue west.  The condo has 341 units ranging from one to three bedrooms.

Located in one of Toronto's most established neighbourhoods, Cranbrooke Village is a 15 minute walk from Lawrence West subway station and is serviced by multiple bus roots.

Amenities include a rooftop garden and multipurpose room with kitchen.  Green features are prominent at this development and include individual heating/cooling, car sharing and hear recovery ventilation.

Check out the video below to hear from Mike Labbé and learn what residents at our most recently completed building had to say about their new home.

Check out the blog next week to learn the latest on Options two up and coming development The Village by Main Station and Danforth Village Estates.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Bathurst and Lawrence community gets a new local car share

The Options for Cars location at Cranbrooke Village is now available to the whole community!   

Located in the parking complex at 35 Saranac, a Prius C Hybrid is ready to drive for all Options for Cars members in the Bathurst and Lawrence area. 

The car is parked in Cranbrooke Village's underground parking (no shoveling!) and is easily accessible through the rear entrance of the Asbury and West United Church.  Car share members will be given a code to access the lot in their booking confirmation email. The vehicle lives in space CS3

We would like to extend thanks to the Asbury and West United Church and Cranbrooke Village Property Management for helping to make the car available to the Bathurst and Lawrence community!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Options Toronto office is building a Toy Tower!

The Holidays are all about giving.  Options is proud to help give back to the children in our community by being a drop-off location for the CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish!

We are partnering with the One Fire Movement, a local non-profit organization that raising funds for charity through the arts, that is participating in the drive by providing three drop-off locations, including Options.  On Thursday, December 17th, all the toys will be brought to the One Fire Movement Presents Holiday Magic Christmas concert to be held at the Music Gallery; a benefit concert featuring local Toronto music artists with proceeds going to the CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish and War Child Canada.

Help us build our Toy Tower!

Visit the Options office at 468 Queen Street East Suite 310 to make your donation of a new unwrapped toy by December 16th.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

New Options for Cars carshare car in the Junction!

Options for Cars now has a brand new location! 

There is now a Mazda 2 parked in the Green P lot at 351 Keele St. just south of Dundas for all Options for Cars carsharing members to use.

The space is specially marked, and is in the south-east corner of the lot.

Whether you are a Junction resident looking for a vehicle on a busy weekend or just looking for fast trip around the neighbourhood, our new location is perfect!

We’d like to thank the Toronto Parking authority for helping us arrange parking in such an ideal spot.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Top 5 Reasons I’m hopeful that we’re making progress on affordable housing in Toronto

This is a guest post written by Heather Tremain, CEO of Options for Homes.

Earlier in my career I worked in green building – at a time when there were many cynics and I heard a lot of ‘it’s not possible.’ I crossed over into another area where there is much skepticism and at times resignation. From green building I learned how to spot signs of possible change and glimmers of hope. Here is where I see some light in the affordable housing ‘space’:

1. Mayor John Tory has been removing red tape and increasing funding

In just the past week, Mayor Tory made a big announcement about a new City Building fund, a 0.5% increase in property taxes to fund housing and transit. No details yet but it points to a desire to take action. I applaud this. The announcement comes on the heels of the City’s Open Door report that proposes to fast-track approvals for new affordable ownership and rental as well as providing additional financing incentives and access to land.

2. The collaborative nature of our city builders

Canadian Urban Institute’s Leadership Day forum last week included a panel discussion with a diverse group of individuals weighing in. Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief of Police Mark Saunders, Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown, and City Librarian Vickery Bowles were panelists, and engaged in spirited dialogue between normally “siloed” organizations. What I heard was a growing understanding that the complex challenges our city faces will be solved through collaboration and ultimately everyone owns a piece of that solution.

3. The quality of our urban leaders

We have some strong leadership in housing in Councillor Ana Bailao (a tireless champion for affordable housing), Mayor Tory and the staff in the Affordable Housing office are working to create the tools to enable more housing – across the continuum.

I’m also energized by the work of the GTA Housing Action Lab, led by Evergreen that is bringing together housing sector leaders, both non-profit and for profit, homebuilders associations, policy makers, financiers, and researchers, to develop programs and policies that support the affordability of housing and ensure residents of all incomes have the best chance to live in a suitable home and have a choice in their housing.

4. The alignment of governments

This is the first time in my lifetime that I can recall such a convergence of interest across Municipal, Provincial, and Federal governments around affordable housing in our cities and an appetite for making progress quickly. We eagerly await the release of the Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, (due out shortly) and the unveiling of the Federal government who were elected with a strong urban mandate to see how this convergence will play out.

5. The conversation is shifting

At Options. we kicked off National Housing Week with other affordable home ownership providers at a Habitat for Humanity build swinging hammers and mastering the use of screw guns. Our morning kicked off with Minister McMeekin talking about ‘housing as infrastructure’. This was music to my ears… it’s something I have been saying for quite some time. Like pipes in the ground and transit, housing is part of what makes a city work– and needs to work for the people who live there. And it’s something we need to invest in.

It does feel like the moment for housing is now. I am both confident and hopeful that, after many years of stagnation on this issue, there are good things to come in affordable housing. 2016 promises to be an exciting year on this file!

Heather Tremain is CEO of Options for Homes, Canada’s largest delivery agent of affordable home ownership. Now in its 21st year, Options creates ownership opportunities for households with incomes as low as $25,000.00 per year. From the first development in Toronto’s Distillery District, to a new development under construction in Cameroon, Africa, Options organizations have created homes for over 6500 households using a unique housing model. Options Toronto is about to break ground on two new projects that together will enable 525 families to own their own homes.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Founder and President of Canada’s Largest Private Affordable Housing Provider wins City Builder award from the Canadian Urban Institute

TORONTO, December 3, 2015 – Social entrepreneur and founder of Options for Homes (“Options”), Mike Labbé, has won the 2015 City Builder award from the Canadian Urban Institute.  This Urban Leadership award, along with several other awards will be presented at the Urban + Leadership Day to be held Friday, December 4th at Artscape Sandbox.

The award recognizes an individual's ability to translate a bold vision into actions that have a long-term impact on city building.  “I am deeply grateful to be recognized by the Canadian Urban Institute as a City Builder,” says Labbé.  “Options’ work has only just begun.  Toronto is our base, and we plan to continue to strengthen and grow our work here while taking the model abroad to providing housing in places where it’s badly needed.  We believe now more than ever it’s critical to work collaboratively to address our affordability crisis.”

This award will be accepted by Options for Homes’ newly appointed CEO, Heather Tremain who joined the company earlier in 2015 to support growth plans in Toronto and beyond.  Tremain will sit on a panel of award winners following the presentation to speak on behalf of Labbé who is presently in Africa furthering Options’ work in affordable housing globally.

Urban + Leadership Day and the 12th Annual Urban Leadership Awards will also feature a morning panel with the City of Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief of Police Mark Saunders, Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown, City Librarian Vickery Bowles, and will be facilitated by CBC Metro Morning’s Mary Wiens.

Date:                           Friday, December 4th at 8:00 am
Location:                    Artscape Sandbox, 301 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON
Award Ceremony:     11:00 a.m.

Media Contact:
Jessica Speziale
Marketing Coordinator
Options for Homes
416-867-1501 ext. 224

Options for Homes is a non-profit organization and Canada’s largest delivery agent of affordable home ownership.  Now in its 21st year, it creates ownership opportunities for households with incomes as low as $25,000.00 per year.  From the first development in Toronto’s Distillery District, to a new development under construction in Cameroon, Africa, Options organizations have created homes for over 6500 households using a unique housing model. Options Toronto is about to break ground on two new projects that, together, will enable 525 families the opportunity to own their own homes in the next few years.

Options President and Founder, Mike Labbé, won the Canadian Urban Institute's Local Hero Award in 2008.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Win $250 off your car sharing bill this month!

Options for Cars, the Options Group carshare service, is giving you a chance to win a break on your bill this holiday season.

Each trip you take during the month of December will enter you into the draw to win $250 off your December bill.  Just in time for all those holiday errands and daytrips to the skating rink!

The contest runs from December 1st until December 31st.  Visit for details.