Groundbreaking on Garafraxa

Nov 15, 2023 |

Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington breaks ground on 32-unit development in Fergus alongside community partners and housing leaders

Fergus, Ontario – After years of hard work and planning, Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington is excited to celebrate breaking ground on Garafraxa Village, a 32-unit townhouse
development at 465 Garafraxa Street West in Fergus, Ontario.

Speakers and attendees at the November 10 groundbreaking ceremony included:

  • Lloyd Longfield, MP Guelph, Ontario – On behalf of CMHC
  • The Honourable Michael D. Chong, MP Wellington—Halton Hills, Ontario
  • The Honourable Rob Flack, Associate Minister of Housing, MPP Elgin-Middlesex-London
  • Township of Centre Wellington Deputy Mayor, Bronwynne Wilton
  • Jason Ashdown, Co-Founder & Chief Sustainability Officer, Skyline Group of Companies
  • Tony Irwin, President, FRPO
  • Murray Costello, Director, Southeast Region Operations at Enbridge Gas Inc.
  • Austin Cardinell, Community Leader and Habitat Family Partner
  • Ryan Deska, Director Community Engagement and Development, Habitat for Humanity GW

This event also saw attendance from a wide range of community leaders and organizations connected to housing and community building. Garafraxa Village is a shining example of community organizations, businesses, and government aligning to achieve affordable housing solutions in the Township of Centre Wellington, a community with some of the most ambitious growth targets for housing in Southern Ontario.

“This groundbreaking event has been an opportunity to come together and acknowledge how far we’ve come, and what’s possible for future projects when we’re all working together at the local level,” said Habitat GW’s Ryan Deska. “There are too many partners and supporters to name them all, but we will be taking time in the coming months to acknowledge the depth of support we have received, and more importantly, the community-wide belief in the work we do.”

Fundamental to Habitat for Humanity’s ability to make housing affordable and to move forward on projects like this, is support from funders like the Government of Canada.

“The Government of Canada is proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity in strengthening our
commitment to provide safe, affordable homes for all Canadians,” said the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities. “This investment of over $1.2 million through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund will directly support families in Fergus with secure homes they can proudly call their own. I am pleased to see our joint efforts bringing us one step closer to our goal of ensuring every Canadian has a safe place to call home.”

“Today’s announcement is a true example of the strong partnership between our government and Habitat for Humanity Guelph-Wellington,” said Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, Ontario. “Together we are dedicated to providing safe, affordable housing to all Canadians and are proud to invest in projects like Garafaxa Village, where families can thrive in safe, stable homes within their community. Affordable housing remains a challenge across the country, but through the National Housing Strategy we will continue to find solutions.”

In March 2023, the Government of Canada and Habitat for Humanity Canada announced an additional $25 million investment to build 500 new affordable homes across Canada over the next three years. This brings the total federal investment in Habitat for Humanity to $80.8 million through the Government of Canada’s National Housing Co-Investment Fund.

Following the launch of Habitat GW’s Community Bonds program a little over one year ago, the level of community investment and support in Habitat GW projects has also been overwhelmingly positive and promises to play an important role in future projects throughout Wellington County.

With its recent $1.5 million investment in a Community Bond, Guelph-based Skyline Group of
Companies has become the largest single investor in Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington and the Garafraxa Village project has overcome one of its final hurdles in moving forward with construction.

“At Skyline, we recognize that all types of housing are needed to meet demand and solve Canada’s housing crisis,” said Jason Ashdown. “Our roots may be in rental housing, but we have always sought creative and innovative ways to make a positive impact, and Habitat for Humanity’s affordable townhouse project checks off all the boxes for us. It is an effective solution to housing more families in Fergus, and we are proud to be investing directly in our own backyard to create new homes where they are badly needed.”

“It is really encouraging to see local housing providers like Skyline working together to help move much needed projects like this forward. It speaks to their leadership in the sector, and their commitment to their local community, said Deska.”

At the end of the day, Habitat GW is looking forward to the moment when keys will be turned over to deserving local families – families who will find stability, security, and affordability in their new homes.

But the work is just beginning. Over the coming weeks and months, Habitat GW will be building homes again, and looking to connect with other local businesses, organizations, and volunteers who want to support these efforts. To learn more about how you can get engaged with the build, visit