Daniele celebrates the impact of his community.

Community Living Toronto (CLTO) is celebrating 75 Years of Belonging by sharing stories from people who are part of our community. Since 1959, we have been a partner agency of United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT). Daniele Zanotti is UWGT’s President and CEO, and this is his story of belonging.

Hello, my name is Daniele.

There is something incredible that happens when a community comes together to solve a problem.

When we work together to find solutions, we are more powerful than we would be acting alone.

Community Living Toronto is a testament to this.

I remember a hot, sticky morning last September when I drove along side streets to a CLTO location hosting a “Great Community Lemonade Stand” to raise awareness and funds for the United Way. What did I see? Residents, staff, volunteers, and neighbours bustling on the driveway with rows of fold-out tables, cans of beans, and bags of rice – filling trunks of awaiting vehicles with bags and boxes of food to be distributed to nearby families in need.

For Daniele, belonging is neighbours helping neighbours.

Everything that CLTO does is about community. It’s been that way since the start.

It was 1948 when Victoria Glover, the grandmother of a young boy with an intellectual disability, penned a letter to the Toronto Star.

“I think it is time something was done for parents who, from a sense of faith and hope in a merciful providence, want to keep (their children) at home, living a normal life,” she wrote. “These are real parents only asking for a little aid and encouragement to shoulder their own heavy burden.”

Just six weeks after her letter was published, more than 70 people met at the Carlton Street United Church and formed what would become Community Living Toronto. 

The roots of United Way of Greater Toronto are similar. 

Since then, Community Living Toronto and United Way Greater Toronto have had an amazing partnership. This is because CLTO understands what it means to be a community.

And it means that CLTO and its community of supporters have a powerful impact.

CLTO understands what it means to be a community. 

In the success of rebuilding and renovating housing at Dan Leckie Way and the West Don Lands, Community Living Toronto has found solutions to affordable and accessible housing that is essential to independence and inclusion. The latest example is the Lawson Redevelopment Project, which is already being cited as a global standard on inclusive communities.

CLTO and Tridel are partnering on the Lawson Redevelopment at 1710 – 1712 Ellesmere Road in Scarborough. The goal of this partnership is to deliver an inclusive community that sets the standard for how organisations and home builders can partner to meet housing demand for all people. Creating a society with vibrant neighbourhoods where people with intellectual disabilities are included from the beginning is the guiding vision of this initiative and partnership to transform the Lawson site.

Community Living Toronto has also piloted innovative digital programs like MyCommunityHub, MyDirectPlan, and MyJobMatch that build connection and community while helping people with intellectual disabilities and their families to access activities, jobs, and budget management tools.

When I think of Community Living Toronto, I think of a group of incredible people with a singular belief in and commitment to the power of community. That’s the reason CLTO has been going strong for 75 Years of Belonging. Just imagine what can be accomplished in the next 75!

We are celebrating 75 Years of Belonging and invite you to be part of creating 75 more! Add your name now to show your support.



75 more years of belonging.
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