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Donor Profile: Dave Brown Building Homes

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Dave Brown, proprietor of Fearless Meat in the Beaches community of Toronto and long-time Fred Victor champion, knows what it is like to do without.

Dave was born in Kincardine, Ontario, in a family of modest means. He and his brother and sister had to help financially, and Dave remembers the feeling of disappointment when they heard the music-box sound of the ice cream truck ring through the neighbourhood, because their parents couldn’t afford to buy them cones like the other kids.

Dave worked as a butcher to pay his way through university, earning a BSc from the University of Toronto and an MBA from McMaster University. He then moved to Montreal for a job where he ended up traveling back to Toronto sometimes four or five days a week and staying in a hotel, which could be isolating. But he got to know the staff of the hotel so well that they became like family to him. He was invited to join in staff events and has kept in touch to this day.

“It felt like I was part of a community – a real home away from home.”

After permanently relocating to Toronto Dave needed a place to live. He found a house in need of repair and a bank willing to lend him the money and so he bought his first property. He lived in part of the house and created a few apartments to help cover the mortgage. After reaching steadier footing, Dave took on other properties, renovating them and renting them out. But as time went on, he saw the growing number of people in Toronto who were homeless and in need of support.

Dave approached Fred Victor and together we repurposed Dave’s old Victorian houses on Dundas St. East into a home for women leaving the shelter system.

“I always sensed my Dundas Street buildings were destined for a higher purpose, and I want to continue turning opportunities like these into realities.”

Dave led the renovations himself and in 2014 a new Fred Victor location opened. Now 37 women live here. A special transitional program helps them get back on their feet and supports them to transition into permanent housing. Dave is especially proud of the many success stories that have come from his partnership with Fred Victor.

“Each resident having things like private bathrooms and strong sound insulation for their rooms was important to me. It’s hard to consider a place home and feel safe, comfortable, and secure enough to take your next steps when you can’t call the space your own.”

Maintaining a sense of personal dignity and being part of a community where people support one another are values Dave holds dear. He lives these values in his Kingston Road restaurant, Fearless Meat.

“I want everyone who walks through the doors to feel welcome and respected. We offer free burgers to those in need, and I’m proud to provide free ice cream cones to kids in the neighbourhood.”

This generosity and community leadership earned Dave the Beaches Citizen of the Year in 2022.

Join supporters like Dave and make a donation today!

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