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2021 Co-op Housing Champion Eileen Leishman, “a dreamer, a driver and a doer”

Published September 15, 2021

Eileen Leishman, a founding member of Toronto’s Muriel Collins Co-op, is the 2021 recipient of our Co-op Housing Champion Award.

The Co-op Housing Champion Award is presented every two years and celebrates a remarkable individual whose presence, efforts and community spirit have helped make their co-op and neighbourhood a better place to live.

Eileen has been involved with Muriel Collins Co-op since before its opening in 1994. She worked closely with the CUPE founders on early members’ meetings, and establishing the co-op as a domestic-violence-free community.

Over the past 27 years, Eileen has served on the board, serving terms as director, vice-president, and president.

She has organised many fundraising events over the years in the co-op to support causes like the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Breast Cancer Month and the Toronto Toy Drive.

Her neighbour Debbie Cornwall describes Eileen as tenacious and determined, with an amazing sense of humour and as someone who is always there for others.

Here’s how Adam Vaughan, outgoing Member of Parliament for Spadina–Fort York , describes Eileen:

She is the person who brings people together:  not on the battleground, not on the common ground but on the highest ground she can find.

Looking back on her decades of involvement with her co-op, Eileen reflects,

I am grateful for the time I’ve put in. It keeps me busy, it’s kept me young. It’s just what I like to do.

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