Sometimes making a better life for you and your family involves more than just building a house; it means creating a place to call home.
For more than 30 years, the Times Group Corporation has been designing and building residential and commercial and buildings in the Greater Toronto Area, starting with custom homes before slowly expanding over time into luxury high-rise condos and award winning LEED projects around the city. With notable dwellings like Majestic Court I & II, the first LEED Gold building in York Region, to The 500 in downtown Toronto, to the upcoming Riverview Condominiums in uptown Markham, Times Group has continually made its impressive mark on the city for decades. One of its most recent achievements, however, involved something a little different: embracing their roots and giving back.
Officially opened in November 2019, Toronto’s first city-run refugee shelter, housed in the former Toronto Hydro building, welcomes single adult refugees for up to 120 females and 80 male residents. The Iranian-Canadian Ghadaki family of the Times Group Corporation are spearheading this worthwhile venture because they are well aware of the trials and tribulations that face those who find themselves strangers in a new country.
This two-storey building encompassing 80,000-square-feet is run by Homes First Society and is staffed by workers who can speak numerous languages while providing assistance in housing support, asylum and settlement programs for those attempting to navigate often tricky legal pathways.
Hamid Ghadaki and cousin Hessam Ghadaki, members of four families who fled Iran in the 1980s and founded the Times Group Corporation along Saeid Aghaei, Ali Mesgarzadeh and Mohammed Ghadaki, paid $122.5 million in 2018 for the former Toronto Hydro building on Yonge Street to bring their vision to life and help those in need, much as others helped them when they needed it most.
Whether arriving in a new country as an adult or child, assimilating to a completely new culture where language presents a barrier can be a huge and daunting shock. Hamid was in Grade 3 when he arrived with his family and now, decades later, he’s giving back to those entering the country under similar circumstances.
The large, family-run company found inspiration for their shelter idea upon seeing a notice from the city that space was needed for refugees and newcomers to Canada. The massive building was retrofit for the mission and after meeting requirements and specifications from the City of Toronto, the deal was made with the Times Group.
The building now has multiple rooms for use, including sleeping quarters, dining hall, prayer room, health clinic, social area and computer rooms, and is expected to be full with more than 200 people who are looking to begin a new chapter in their lives. Homes First Society will handle the shelter’s daily operations.
With the number of refugee and asylum seekers rising in Canada and the United States, and approximately 36 percent of shelter users in the city being refugees, buildings like this are essential.
The Ghadaki’s newest venture can help those, like they themselves were helped years ago, and the building itself still has room for expansion in the coming years, with more beds and rooms to be added. Toronto currently has a two-year lease on the building and the family is open to extending that.
In the meantime, Times Group Corporation has plenty of other projects to keep it and VP Shadi Aghaei busy as it generates modern and sustainable dwellings in communities across the GTA. This leading, Canadian-owned and operated real estate development firm takes every opportunity to design and build structures reflective of the company’s rich history of experience and expertise.
Embracing its mission statement of “creating modern, sustainable, and quality communities where beautiful homes, successful businesses and thriving economies can prosper and grow,” the company continues to create a reputation of valuing quality and integrity while giving back to the community, and this shelter project is certainly included in that endeavour.
The company employs 56 and has so far constructed more than 6,133 high-rise buildings in and around Toronto, focusing on quality materials, diligence and single-minded attention to detail as they work with the best architects, engineers and trades in the business. The environment also takes a front seat with attention to sustainability and conservation on every project.
Other notable past projects include a host of beautiful dwellings such as the five-storey Bank of East Asia Building in Richmond Hill, the Parkview Towers & Townhomes consisting of two, 12-storey high-rise buildings and 56 townhomes in Thornhill, Etobicoke’s 343-unit Key West Condos, Toronto’s Hycrest Residential Project, the Valleymede Towers & Towns in Richmond Hill, Times Square in Richmond Hill, a luxury high-rise condominium on King Street, and the Whole Foods Shopping Centre in Unionville. Some truly impressive upcoming buildings include an approved residential development in Toronto at 55 & 65 Broadway and 41 Chatsworth in 2023, and The Millwood and 5800 Yonge St., a mix of residential high-rise and condos and rental/office dwellings, both slated for 2024.
Times Group has received numerous accolades over its impressive years of service, whether in terms of awards or words of praise from satisfied clients, praising after sales service, ongoing commitment to the well-being of the building and upholding high ethical standards in a competitive industry. Times Group continually recognizes the importance of creating and celebrating unique events and celebrating opportunities in the culturally diverse neighbourhoods it serves and enhances.
In the end, Times Group clearly understands that change is inevitable, but planning for that change can make a huge, positive difference in every community, be it for roads, parks, schools or businesses that will shape the communities their clients live and work in for generations to come.
Whether it’s demonstrating a commitment to customer service or a keen eye to every detail, Times Group Corporation promises to serve to community whether through glamorous high-rise structures or assisting with the assimilation of new refugees to the city as they begin their new lives.