Craig Haney is excited about a built-in automatic home clothing steamer.

The high-end specialty appliance is the only one in North America, and it’s in the 2015 Kitchener-Conestoga Rotary Dream Home.

Haney, President of the Kitchener-Conestoga Rotary Club and tech worker, glows when he talks about the stunning 3,300-square-foot luxury home for sale through the Rotary Dream Home contest.

It’s the 30th anniversary of the Kitchener Conestoga Rotary Dream Home draw, but the event is about more than just someone winning a nice house. Since the contest began, the Rotary Club has given $8 million back to the community. That money is split between three local charities: Grand River Hospital Foundation, St Mary’s Hospital Foundation and HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre.

Nov. 29 is the last day to buy tickets for a chance to win this year’s $1-million house at 261 Sundrops Court, in Waterloo’s Vista Hills neighbourhood. This year 20,000 tickets will be available for the draw.

One ticket costs $100, two cost $175 and four can be had for $250. Proceeds go directly to the foundations as the Kitchener-Conestoga Rotary Club works with builders, trades and designers to donate their labour and keep the house costs low.

Why should you buy a ticket or four?

“It’s an easy way to get involved,” Haney said.

Haney has been a part of the Rotary Club since he owned a business in the early 2000’s, and was most recently the activator of Canadian Tire Innovation Lab based at the Communitech Hub. He believes the Waterloo Region tech community has a reputation for being uninvolved in the community.

“Sun Life, Manulife etc. do get involved,” he said. “But where is tech? This is an easy way to get involved.”

Service clubs like Rotary play an important part in giving back to local charities and the larger community, Haney said.

For Haney, Rotary was a way to get involved and network in the community when he became an entrepreneur.

“If you’re new to the community, or younger, it’s an easy way to learn [about the community],” he said.

Haney joined Rotary 11 years ago because his friend was president. He wanted to get his name out in the community and thought it would be an easy way to meet people.

He didn’t realize how important service clubs are to a community. For Haney, it’s the reason he has stayed involved in Rotary beyond owning his own business, and acting as chair for the dream home in past years, which was the most stressful volunteer job he’s ever had.

“There are five Rotary Clubs in K-W,” Haney said. “The Kitchener-Conestoga Rotary Club is one of the largest in Canada on a fundraising basis.”

The 50-person club is on the small side, but raises an average of $700,000 a year for the community.

For Haney, the beautiful dream home is a fantastic place for anyone to live – he’s still drooling over the automatic steamer that only requires the push of a button to make clothes fresh and wearable – but for him the larger symbol is the full community effort behind the house.

“The more tickets sold equals more community benefit,” he said.

Haney is humbled every year when he watches trades and designers volunteer their time and materials to build a house that would make anyone happy to call home, just so the money raised from ticket sales can go directly to the hospital foundations.


I’m hunkering down and celebrating a big birthday this weekend (next time you see me, please tell me I don’t look a day over 29) but there are some amazing events for you to get out to and attend… Santa Claus rolls into Waterloo Region, up King Street, for the Lions Club of Kitchener Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, Nov. 21. The parade starts at 10:30 a.m., and runs for half an hour. Check out the club’s website for updated route information… One of my favourite art galleries in Waterloo, Art by Munzy, is holding an exhibition at the Button Factory (25 Regina St. S., Waterloo) on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The exhibition will feature over 50 original oil art paintings, hors d’oeuvres from Proof Lounge and live music by Blue Lobelia… if you are a fan of urban theorist Richard Florida, you may want to get to Canada’s Technology Triangle’s 7th annual International Reception and Dinner to hear Florida speak at Bingemans (425 Bingemans Centre Drive, Kitchener). Tickets are $210 for the dinner and talk.