2022 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENT: STEPHEN DIAMOND
About Stephen Diamond
Stephen Diamond is the chief executive officer of DiamondCorp, a Toronto-based real estate development company that manages in excess of $2 billion in real estate assets in the GTA. He has established a reputation for creating value for investors, while delivering well-designed, innovative residential and mixed-use developments.
He received an LLB from Western University in 1976 and was called to the bar in 1978. Prior to the creation of DiamondCorp, he was partner at the law firm McCarthy Tétrault, where he was head of the municipal law and planning group and served on the firm’s board of directors.
Mr. Diamond was appointed jointly by all three levels of government as Chair of Waterfront Toronto in 2019. In addition to overseeing the Quayside Project, he also has the responsibility to oversee the $1.5 billion Port Lands Flood Protection Project, the largest infrastructure project underway in North America. Waterfront Toronto recently purchased the Parliament Slip in downtown Toronto and plans to transform this under-utilized, post-industrial shipping berth into a world-class public destination for aquatic activities, entertainment and dining.
Stephen Diamond has generously served with many community organizations, including Sunnybrook Hospital, The Partnership to Advance Youth Employment, Save a Child’s Heart, United Jewish Appeal Federation, Baycrest, Vice-Chair of Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Toronto Region Board of Trade, Mount Sinai, Black North Housing Committee & Toronto Metropolitan University.
Mr. Diamond is a visionary industry leader. Currently a member of BILD’s principals’ committee, he has been an invaluable resource for BILD and the City of Toronto in countless discussions about how we continue to build the greatest city in the world. He has stepped forward and invested his time, resources and intellect to ensure that decisions are informed by facts and that solutions are in everyone’s best interest.
Our industry and our city owe Stephen Diamond a debt of gratitude for the passion he brings to each conversation, driven by doing the right thing for the greater good.
PAST LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS
2019 - EDWARD SORBARA
Edward Sorbara is a Principal with Sorbara Group of Companies, an integrated real estate, planning, development, construction, investment and management firm with a history of 75 years of growth in Ontario. Sorbara is involved in all phases of the real estate industry including residential, industrial and commercial land development, industrial construction, residential construction and property management.
Over the years, Edward has been active in various industry associations, including The Urban Development Institute of Ontario, where he served a term as President; The Urban Development Institute of Canada, where he also served a term as President; the Founding Steering Committee of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, where he co-chaired the Affordable Housing Coalition. In addition, he was a long standing member of The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors and The National Association of Industrial and Office Parks.
Edward continues to also play an active role in supporting our communities; Edward was a United Way of Greater Toronto Board Member, sits on the Board of the Villa Charities Foundation and The Archdiocese of Toronto Finance Council and related Catholic Cemeteries’ Board. He is a member of the Literary Circle of The Toronto Public Library Foundation. He also founded the Vaughan Breakfast for Prostate Cancer Canada.
2018 - HUGH HERON
For the past 50 years, Hugh Heron has been a builder in the province of Ontario. Today, he is one of the most active and influential professionals in the new home industry, as well as an avid media spokespersons for the building and land development industry in the Greater Toronto Area.
In 1967, at the age of 29, Mr. Heron immigrated to Canada and got a job with Costain, an international construction company that he’d worked for in Scotland. In 1979 he went on to found the Heron Group of Homes.
Currently, Hugh is the President of Heathwood Homes, Vice President of The Heron Group of Companies, Vice President of the Heron Capital Corporation, President of Heron Homes Construction, Chairman of Proshred Security and Chairman of Two Men and a Truck.
As the owner of a Heathwood Homes, Hugh has always made the journey of new home ownership a positive experience. When someone buys a home from Hugh and moves in they have the feeling of being “Home at Last”.
Hugh’s goal has always been to make the new home buyer comfortable not only in their choice of location but, just as importantly, comfort during the building experience. His reputation has been constructed brick by brick over the past five decades, enjoying a level of success derived directly from the skills of the people he surrounded himself with.
Hugh Heron has given back to the industry that gave so much to him and his family. For over 40 years, he has served in leadership positions at some of the industry’s most important institutions. He has served as the former chair of the Ontario New Home Warranty Program, past president of both the BILD and Ontario Home Builders’ Associations.
Mr. Heron is also known for his community and charity work. He is well known for establishing the Mikey Network in memory of Michael Salem, a partner in the Heron Group of Companies who died of cardiac arrest on a golf course in June 2002. The charity places “Mikeys” (public access defibrillators) in schools, workplaces and public access areas across Canada that are responsible for saving hundreds of lives.
2017 - AL LIBFELD
Al Libfeld is the principal and a co-founder of Tribute Communities. As the company's president, he brings a wealth of knowledge garnered from years of experience in residential, commercial and industrial development.
He began his career in 1974 with the start of his acoustics and drywall business. His projects included more than 20,000 homes, shopping malls, high-rise apartments, and industrial buildings. In 1983, he moved on to pursue a career building Tribute Communities.
Al is very active in the new home and land development industry. He is the former Chairman of the Tarion Warranty Corporation and served on its Board of Directors for 11 years. He is also a past president of the Ontario New Homebuilders' Association which has more than 4,000 members.
Giving back to the community in which he works and builds is fundamental for both Al and Tribute Communities. Al belongs to many community charities including Reena, an Ontario-based organization that helps those with developmental disabilities realize their full potential. Tribute has also supported organizations such as the Ajax-Pickering Hospital by donating funds towards the building of a new Birthing Centre and dedicating the Concert Recital Hall at York University. Al also volunteers his time and lends his reputation to BIDD (Building Industry for Durham Deeds), a Durham based organization he co-founded and operates, which has raised over $1.7 million dollars for local Durham Region charities.
When asked about Tribute’s success he responds "Of all the factors contributing to the success of Tribute Communities, I have no hesitation in putting teamwork at the top of the list.” He is proud to say that Tribute Communities has the finest team in the industry. "I owe our success and achievements to the vibrant synergy of minds and hearts - working together as a team to take Tribute Communities to even greater heights of excellence." Over the years this teamwork has resulted in impressive achievements in all sectors of the company - from land development and design to building and sales/ marketing. He does not believe in rigid hierarchies. Instead, he encourages the free flowing exchange of ideas and policies.
Tribute Communities was the 2005 inaugural winner of the J.D. Power and Associates Award among builders in Toronto for Highest in Customer Satisfaction and won this award for a second time in 2010. Tribute has also always been ranked in the top three since J.D. Power launched the new home buyers' satisfaction survey. In addition, the company won multiple Tarion "Builder of the Year" awards of excellence, affirming them as the name to trust when choosing a new home builder. Most recently in 2016 Tribute won The Tarion Home Owner's Choice Award for Large Volume Builder. In 2010, along with De Beers, the world’s leading diamond company, Tribute received the coveted Ontario Business Achievement Award in the category of Desjardins Award for Large Business given out by The Ontario Chamber of Commerce. This followed after winning at the Ajax Pickering Board of Trade.
Al Libfeld's leadership, his management team and all of his team members are passionate about building great communities and embody the core values that define the company.
2016 - IGNAT "IGGY" KANEFF
Ignat "Iggy" Kaneff
A strong believer in building communities and a generous philanthropist, Ignat “Iggy” Kaneff has helped to improve the lives of many around the world over the last 65 years.
For this and much more, Mr. Kaneff received the Building Industry and Land Development Association’s (BILD) highest honour this year – the Lifetime Achievement Award. Builder and land developer Mr. Kaneff received the accolade at the 36th annual BILD Awards surrounded by his family, friends and more than 1,100 industry colleagues.
“It is my privilege to present Mr. Kaneff with this award recognizing his lifetime of achievement,” said BILD President and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “He has made an immense contribution to the lives of people in the GTA and in his hometown in Bulgaria by building places where people can live, work and play.”
Born in Gorno Ablanovo, Bulgaria in 1926, Mr. Kaneff came to Canada in 1951 and founded Kaneff Properties Limited in 1956. He has been a BILD member since 1959 and is currently CEO and Chairman of the Kanefff Group of Companies. He has built thousands of family homes, high-rise residential apartment units, as well as retail commercial plazas and office buildings in the GTA.
An avid golfer, Mr. Kaneff has also created six golf course properties, including the first-class Lionhead, Royal Ontario and Royal Niagara Golf Clubs. For 45 years, he has been hosting an annual golf tournament that has raised more than $1.5 million for Community Living, an organization supporting children with intellectual disabilities in Peel Region.
Mr. Kaneff has also generously donated to other charitable organizations and campaigns, both through personal contributions and the I. Kaneff Charitable Foundation, established by his wife, Dimitriana, in 1986. His philanthropic efforts have benefitted educational, health, social services and arts causes at home and in his home village where he has built a new kindergarten, a community centre and a university facility.
In recognition of his business achievement and philanthropic initiatives, Mr. Kaneff was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2011. He has also received three honourary Doctor of Laws degrees and numerous awards for his commitment and dedication to improving communities both here in the GTA and in his hometown.
2015 - COLIN J. PARSONS
Colin J. Parsons
A past President of Monarch Developments and BILD, Colin J. Parsons was honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on April 24, 2015.
Colin Parsons served as the Association's President 35 years ago, in 1978.
"I'm not absolutely sure I was entitled to this, maybe there was nobody else," joked Parsons before thanking his wife for her support on their 55th wedding anniversary. "I would like to thank my family, who are here with me tonight, as well as my Monarch family. I couldn't have done all the things I have done without the people working for me. It's been a wonderful career with wonderful people. Thank you all very much."
Parsons arrived in Canada from Wales in 1957 after serving in the British army. The young accountant joined Monarch two years later in the accounts department and controlled the keys to the petty cash box. He climbed the corporate ladder, going from Chief Accountant to Secretary, to Treasurer and Vice President. In 1976, he became President.
During his tenure as President, from 1976 to 1991, the company's assets grew from $66 million to over $227 million and expanded beyond building in Toronto into Ottawa, Kitchener, London, St. Catharines, Burlington and Montreal. Monarch also built communities south of the border in Florida, Texas, Georgia and California.
In 1978, he served at President of the Toronto Home Builders' Association (now BILD) and that year, he hosted a weekly television program that promoted the local housing industry. He would watch it with his wife, Alice, and two sons, Mark and Adam.
BILD inducted him into the Hall of Fame in 1995 and in 2009, the Ontario Home Builders' Association (OHBA) presented him with its Lifetime Award.
"Colin Parsons is a trailblazer and an industry champion and I am privileged to present him with this award recognizing his lifetime of achievement," said BILD President and CEO Bryan Tuckey.
2014 - CARLO BALDASSARRA
Greenpark Homes Chairman and CEO Carlo Baldassarra was honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by BILD on April 25, 2014.
The award was presented at the 34th annual BILD Awards, which recognizes and celebrates excellence within the building and development industry. The Lifetime Achievement Award is the Association’s highest honour, and was presented to Baldassarra in front of 1,100 of his colleagues.
“This honour from BILD is very humbling to me,” he said. “I never dreamed that my life would be filled with such accomplishments.”
Arriving to Canada from his native Italy in 1958, it did not take long for the 19-year-old Baldassarra to start making a name for himself. Less than a decade later, he and his partners, Jack Wine and Philip Rechtsman, created Greenpark Homes, which soon grew to become Canada’s largest home builder.
To date, Greenpark Homes and its affiliated companies have built and sold nearly 70,000 homes and condominiums throughout the GTA.
“Today, I look back on my career and I am so grateful for all the people I have worked with to achieve so many incredible milestones,” Baldassarra said. “I look forward to creating even more opportunities through Greenpark with my sons and my growing family of grandchildren.”
Well known for outstanding generosity in his community, Baldassarra provides ongoing support to numerous charities. Of particular interest to him and his family are health-care institutions where the Baldassarra family and businesses have donated millions of dollars to help support and create new health-care infrastructure in the GTA.
“It is a privilege to present Carlo with this prestigious award,” said BILD President and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “He is an industry champion who has given so much to our Association and to communities throughout the GTA.”
2013 - JOSEPH LEBOVIC
Quality builder, community leader and dedicated philanthropist Joseph Lebovic of Lebovic Enterprises Limited was honoured with the prestigious BILD Lifetime Achievement Award at the 33rd annual BILD Awards.
“Joseph Lebovic has dedicated his life to building quality complete communities across the GTA,” said BILD President and CEO Bryan Tuckey.
“He is a champion of the industry and founded Joseph Lebovic Charitable Foundation so that he could give back to the communities he has built for many years to come.”
Born in Czechoslovakia, Lebovic studied Theology and Economics at London University before immigrating to Canada with his family in 1949. With his father, who was a sawmill operator, and his brother, Wolf, he established Lebovic Enterprises Limited in 1953.
For 60 years, Lebovic Enterprises has been building neighbourhoods with condominium residences and single family homes, as well as commercial and industrial employment spaces across the GTA with uncompromising workmanship, outstanding value and a commitment to make the community a better place.
A long-time member of BILD, Lebovic has served as the national and provincial president of the Urban Development Institute and has been on the Institute’s Board of Directors for 20 years.
He is a humanitarian and a philanthropist. He serves on numerous hospital Boards and on the executive at Mount Sinai Hospital. In 2009, he received the Beth Sholom Synagogue Humanitarian Award. He is also the founder and Chairman of the Stouffville Cultural Foundation and is a member of the Board of Governors for B’nai Brith Canada.
Recently, the Lebovic brothers pledged $20.5 million to the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Community Campus, which is currently under construction in York Region and is a legacy that will live on for generations.
2012 - RUDOLPH P. BRATTY
Rudolph P. Bratty
Renowned real estate developer and philanthropist, Chairman and CEO of The Remington Group Inc. Rudolph P. Bratty was honoured with the prestigious BILD Lifetime Achievement Award at the 32nd annual BILD Awards.
“Rudy has a lifetime of achievements in this industry and the Association is so proud to recognize and congratulate him for all of his accomplishments,” said BILD Chair Paul Golini Jr.
Born in Toronto to Italian immigrants Donato and Carolina, who insisted their son obtain an education, Bratty completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Law Degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was called to the Bar in 1957 and was appointed Queens Counsel in 1970.
The law firm Gambin & Bratty was co-founded in 1957 and upon its dissolution in 1985, Bratty went on to create Bratty and Partners LLP, specializing in real estate and land development law, planning and municipal law and corporate and commercial law.
A long-time member of BILD, the real estate developer and Chairman and CEO of The Remington Group Inc., has been involved in a wide range of business ventures in a myriad of fields including residential and commercial developments, publishing, construction and finance. Most notably, his award-winning Downtown Markham project is underway and will bring 10,000 residents and 16,000 employees to the revitalized area.
His business accomplishments are matched by his humanitarian and civic roles as he serves as a director on numerous boards and is devoted to a number of charitable causes, foundations and organizations. For his outstanding service, Bratty has been recognized by several notable institutions and the Rudolph P. Bratty Exhibition Hall in the Canadian Museum of Immigration Pier 21 in Halifax, is an example of his devotion to Canadian charitable causes as he was one of the original board members of Pier 21.
“I very much appreciate this Award,” Bratty remarked. “It means a lot to me and to the Remington family, and your generosity will not go unremembered.”
Bratty has been married to his wife, Catherine for 44 years and they have four sons, one daughter and 12 grandchildren.
2011 - ANGELO, ELVIO AND LEO DEL ZOTTO
Angelo, Elvio and Leo Del Zotto
The DelZotto family at the helm of Tridel has devoted more than eight decades to building homes across the GTA. For that and so much more, the DelZotto brothers Angelo, Elvio and Leo were honoured with the prestigious BILD Lifetime Achievement Award at the 31st annual BILD Awards.
“We are so complimented to receive this very special award,” said Leo DelZotto, who was flanked by his brothers on stage after accepting the award in front of nearly 1,000 professionals in the industry.
The patriarch, Jack DelZotto, was a stonemason who came to Canada from Italy in 1927. After a few years in northern Ontario, he moved to Toronto and started crafting single-family homes. By the 1950s, Tridel was formed and Jack’s three sons had joined him in the business and became involved in developing housing subdivisions and small apartment buildings.
In 1961, the company built its first apartment complex featuring twin towers with 520 units and a recreation centre with a pool, fountains and landscaped grounds. It marked the beginning of a new era in luxury condominium living and remains the hallmark of Tridel’s building philosophy today.
Leo and his brothers credit their father with instilling the values of integrity, quality and customer service in every one of the 70,000 homes the company has built across the GTA.
Tridel has been a regular finalist and past winner of BILD Home Builder of the Year award and practically owns BILD’s Green Builder of the Year Award, winning it four years out of the five since its inception.
“This is an award that has been more than 80 years and 70,000 units in the making and this is truly a lifetime of achievement,” said BILD Chair Paul Golini Jr.
2009 - ALFREDO DEGASPERIS
Even before a video describing the work of Alfredo DeGasperis, head of Metrus Properties and Con-Drain Construction was finished, the audience of 800 builders and developers attending the 29th annual BILD Awards stood to give him a stirring ovation.
DeGasperis, who came to Canada as a young boy in 1952, was recognized for his immense impact on the region as a contractor, developer, builder and philanthropist. As soon as DeGasperis came to Canada he gravitated toward the constrction trades and seized on the opportunities available to anybody willing to work very hard, take risks, create jobs and give back to the community every step of the way.
Some of the giving back is seen in the DeGasperis’ $7 million gift to the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation.
“Fred is so passionate about the industry, about what he does and certainly about his family and I share that passion,” said BILD chair Leith Moore.
DeGasperis was honoured for starting a small concrete and drain company with his two brothers in 1954, modestly operating out of a small bungalow north of Highway 201. A post-war, southern Pntario was going through an era of tremendous growth and expansion and the countryside was opened up to development. As a result, DeGasperis was able to build Con-Drain into one of the largest sewer and watermain installation companies in Canada.