Media Release

Ground-breaking transitional home for LGBTQI2S youth to open December 2020

Friends of Ruby (previously Egale Youth Services), the registered charity dedicated to LGBTQI2S youth well-being, is thrilled to announce the Friends of Ruby Home, an innovative custom-built transitional house for LGBTQI2S young people, will open its doors in December 2020. More than five years in the making, Friends of Ruby is deeply appreciative of the partners, donors, supporters and community members who turned this dream into a reality.

The project began in 2012, when Egale Canada published “Not Under My Roof”, a study that identified the crisis of LGBTQI2S youth homelessness and made clear the urgent need for services specifically for LGBTQI2S youth in the shelter system. Moved to action, Egale Canada started the construction of the Friends of Ruby Home and founded Egale Youth Services (now the Friends of Ruby Youth Centre) to better support and understand the needs of youth while the house was under construction.

“The opening of Friends of Ruby Home is a proud moment for Egale Canada”, says Jacki Lewis, Chair of the Egale Canada Board, “and we are incredibly thankful to everyone who has played a role in making this possible. From our donors and partners to the leadership of our Housing Advisory Board Members, the building of this home for LGBTQI2S young people has truly taken a village. When we come together, we have the power to change lives and because of the dedication and generosity of our community, countless LGBTQI2S youth will have a chance at a better future.”

Indeed, the project counted on the support of major donors such as The Daniels Corporation, The Clark Family Foundation, Martha LA McCain, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and the City of Toronto and many other dedicated individuals, foundations and corporations who together provided the funds needed to build the Home. Community Partners such as Toronto Community Housing, Dixon Hall, Fife House and the Garden District Residents Association were also essential to put the transitional facility in motion.

Together with a substantial fund investment, The Daniels Corporation was responsible for bringing the facility to reality, committing endless hours of construction expertise to ensure the project was delivered despite historical building challenges. “The Daniels Corporation is proud to be the lead supporter of the Friends of Ruby Home”, says Don Pugh, Partner at The Daniels Corporation. “As an organization committed to social justice, we use the power of our business platform to lead, to create and to build inclusive, sustainable and resilient communities. It was incredibly gratifying to collaborate with such a passionate and dedicated group of professionals to build a safe place for vulnerable youth to call ‘Home’.”

The project also counted on the oversight of David Handley, Senior Vice President, Special Projects, at Cadillac Fairview, and the innovative design created by Yabu Pushelberg (interiors) and Sustainable. Design that grew from a comprehensive consultation process with LGBTQI2S youth and community partners. Youth noted the facility should feel warm and welcoming with plenty of natural light, windows that opened and the power to adjust individual room temperatures themselves – details that would make the space feel like their own. The result is an energy-efficient and pet-friendly space that feels like a Home, rather than an institution. A pet washing station, sponsored by PetSmart Charities of Canada, and a rooftop garden, made possible by the Home Depot Canada Foundation, complete the unique building.

A purposeful design is not the only special feature of the Friends of Ruby Home. “The Friends of Ruby Home is uniquely suited to help LGBTQI2S youth during these times due to its one of-a-kind mental health approach, including in-house programs and services tailored to their specific needs,” said Carol Osler, Friends of Ruby Executive Director. “From immediate crisis support to long-term life goal planning, everything at the facility will be geared towards helping youth achieve healthier, independent lives.”

The Friends of Ruby Home will open its doors to residents in December 2020, with staggered move ins to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

Our heartfelt thank-you goes out to everyone who supported the Friends of Ruby Home, including:

$3,000,000+ donors

$1,000,000 – $2,999,999 donors

$200,000 – $999,999 donors

$100,000 – $199,999 donors

$50,000 – $99,999 donors

$10,000 – $49,999 donors

$5,000 – $9,999 donors

$1,000 – $4,999 donors

Under $999 donors

Capital Campaign Champions

Community Partners

We are grateful for our founder