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Ignat KANEFF
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IGNAT KANEFF 'IGGY' It is with profound sorrow that the family of Ignat "Iggy" Kaneff announces his passing on 12 July at the age of 93. The Bulgarian-born real estate development and construction leader whose philanthropic and civic contributions earned him his country's highest honours died peacefully of natural causes at his home, surrounded by his family. He will be missed deeply by his wife, best friend and the love of his life, Dimitrina (Didi), his children, Anna-Maria (Michael) and Kristina (Jean) and his granddaughters, Ignatia and Emmanuelle as well as his daughter Heidi, his son, Daniel, who predeceased him, their children, Jessica (Marco) and Katarina, respectively, and three great grandchildren. He also leaves his brother, Simeon, along with many nieces and nephews, all residing in Bulgaria.Iggy's life story was an extraordinary one but was, at its core, a quintessential Canadian immigrant success story. Born in 1926 in the agrarian village of Gorno Ablanovo in northeastern Bulgaria, the middle son of seven children, he was sent to Austria at 14 to work in a vegetable market garden to support his family during the Second World War when Bulgaria was politically aligned with Germany. During his ten years in Austria (then, Germany), despite supporting his family financially, he succeeded in starting his own market gardening business. He left for Canada in 1951 after learning that the Bulgarian Communist regime was repatriating expatriates. Unable to leave Austria with the proceeds of the sale of his business, he sold it to the Bulgarian anti-communist government in exile, expecting payment upon arrival in Canada. Instead, circumstances forced him start his new life penniless. He supported himself by washing cars, dishes and floors while living in a garage during the first few months after his arrival to Canada. He soon found construction work in the Lakeview area of Mississauga with the Shipp Corporation. While he lacked a formal education and English language skills, he fondly relayed later that neither was needed to push a broom or lift blocks weighing 140 pounds (a feat for a man weighing 130 pounds and standing tall at less than five and a half feet). He was exceptionally hard working and as a result, within a year of arriving to Canada, managed to save enough money to quit his job, buy a lot and build his first house. He founded Kaneff Construction in 1956, capitalizing on the post-war suburban housing boom, later expanding into high-rise tower construction and eventually into commercial property developments. He is credited with shaping Mississauga and Brampton's downtown skylines through his signature iconic tall white towers built at breakneck speed in the 70s and 80s. His name is also widely recognized in the golf industry for having raised the standard of publicly available golf in the 90s with the opening of Lionhead Golf Club & Conference Centre. Iggy Kaneff's real estate development legacy is matched only by his vast philanthropic deeds. His $2,000 gift to the future Mississauga hospital in 1955, the then-largest by an individual, sparked 65 years of a genuine and sustained commitment to philanthropy. Personally, and later through the I. Kaneff Charitable Organization, founded by his wife in 1986 in honour of his 60th birthday, he and his family donated what would now amount to tens of millions to various educational, civic, sports and health organizations. On account of his involuntarily curtailed education, he had a strong attachment to universities, and also to organizations helping individuals with intellectual disabilities, most notably Community Living. The University of Toronto, York University, Osgoode Hall Law School and Ruse University in Bulgaria were among the countless recipient organizations. In recognition of his many business achievements and philanthropic contributions, he was awarded the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. He received three Doctor of Laws degrees (University of Toronto, York University and Ruse University in Bulgaria) and an honorary degree from Sheridan College, Mississauga. Among many awards, he was named Businessman of the Year for Mississauga and Brampton, Mississauga Citizen of the Year and received numerous others in Canada and Bulgaria, including Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Canada 125 Medal, the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Order of Stara Planina, Bulgaria's highest civilian honour. A special quality was Iggy's ability to inspire, support, push and encourage those around him to reach higher and accomplish more. He genuinely cared about people's life journeys, having been a self-taught, lifelong student of history and geopolitics. He was a voracious reader, an avid golfer, a lifelong optimist, and he credited working hard, having integrity and helping others along his journey as his secrets to success. He was as proud a Canadian as can be, a man of God, passionate about Bulgaria and a deeply devoted family man. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trillium Health Partners (formerly Mississauga Hospital) where Iggy made his first important charitable gift. Iggy will be buried in a private funeral service at Glen Oaks cemetery. Public visitations will be held on Wednesday 15 July and Thursday 16 July from 4-9pm at Lionhead Golf Course & Conference Centre in Brampton.

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Published in The Globe and Mail from Jul. 15 to Jul. 19, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
JUL
15
Visitation
04:00 - 09:00 PM
Lionhead Golf Course & Conference Centre
JUL
16
Visitation
04:00 - 09:00 PM
Lionhead Golf Course & Conference Centre
Memories & Condolences
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21 entries
September 1, 2020
Condolences to the entire family.

Mr. Kaneff was a gentle sole and had the warmest smile.

He leaves behind a great legacy.
Ann Singh
Coworker
August 4, 2020
My friend Iggy
Johnathan Vrozos
July 27, 2020
Iggie was a real gentleman. It was a pleasure knowing him.
Sincerely, Jim Kavanagh
Jim Kavanagh
July 25, 2020
Iggi, thank you for being a wonderful neighbour, a genuine friend,
and a beautiful caring person. It has been an honour to know you.
Our heart felt condolences to your loving family.
Dan and Anna Ruggiero
July 23, 2020
The Ontario General Contractors Association wishes to express its sincere condolences to the family of Mr Kaneff.
July 18, 2020
We will always remember our Krastnik with love! My sons, Aleko, Vitan, Yoan and I were blessed to have this exceptional, loving, devoted, hardworking, generous, wise man Iggy Kaneff as Godfather of my sons. We and all who knew Iggy feel blessed to have know him. His smile, his energy, his love for Bulgarian culture and community, his spontaneity, his sense of humor will be always remembered.
Rest In Peace, Iggy!
Didi, Ana-Maria and Kristina, our deepest sympathy for your loss!

MARIA N. ANGELOVA
Friend
July 18, 2020
Dear Didi and family, Im so very sorry for your loss. Iggy was an outstanding community leader. He has left such an incredible legacy. Im grateful that I had the opportunity to golf with him in Hazels golf tournament one year. I enjoyed all of his great stories. I hope that your memories of him provide you with comfort during this difficult time.
Shelley White
Acquaintance
July 18, 2020
Dear Didi and family, Im so very sorry for your loss. Iggy was an outstanding community leader. He has left such an incredible legacy. Im grateful that I had the opportunity to golf with him in Hazels golf tournament one year. I enjoyed all of his great stories. I hope that your memories of him provide you with comfort during this difficult time.
Shelley White
Acquaintance
July 18, 2020
Dear Didi and family, Im so very sorry for your loss. Iggy was an outstanding community leader. He has left such an incredible legacy. Im grateful that I had the opportunity to golf with him in Hazels golf tournament one year. I enjoyed all of his great stories. I hope that your memories of him provide you with comfort during this difficult time.
Shelley White
Acquaintance
July 18, 2020
Dear Didi and family, Im so very sorry for your loss. Iggy was an outstanding community leader. He has left such an incredible legacy. Im grateful that I had the opportunity to golf with him in Hazels golf tournament one year. I enjoyed all of his great stories. I hope that your memories of him provide you with comfort during this difficult time. Take care, Shelley White xo
Shelley White
Acquaintance
July 18, 2020
Dear Didi and family, Im so very sorry for your loss. Iggy was an outstanding community leader. He has left such an incredible legacy. Im have such a wonderful memory and Im grateful for having the opportunity to golf with him in Hazels golf tournament one year. I enjoyed all of his great stories. I hope that your memories of him provide you with comfort during this difficult time. Take care, Shelley White xo
Shelley White
Acquaintance
July 17, 2020
I am saddened to receive the news of Iggy's passing. He was a remarkable man who made a tremendous and lasting mark on his community and his beloved countries of Canada and Bulgaria. We all mourn with his dear family and hope the comfort of family and friends will bring comfort to them during this difficult time.
Jeremy Freedman
July 17, 2020
Jeremy Freedman
July 16, 2020
My heart felt condolences to his family. He was truly a great man.
Robert Reynolds
July 16, 2020
I met Mr. Kaneff several times when his head office was in his building on Central Parkway West and I was working there. Then again on the day of my daughter Christina's graduation from UofT we managed to get a picture of her with Mr. Kaneff, which was rather special. He was very sweet about it. We should all be grateful to Mr. Kaneff for the wonderful buildings he's created and endowed in Brampton and Mississauga. I just wanted to offer my condolences to his family. Mr. Kaneff was a true gentleman and I'm sure he'll be sorely missed by many.
Marian Palumbo
July 16, 2020
Our deepest condolences to the family of Iggy Kaneff. He was a good friend of my father Kiril Glavanov, and I recall a number of visits while my father was alive. In particular, a ski vacation our two families took together has provided lasting fond memories. Iggy will be missed by the many people he touched.

Robert Glavanov
Robert Glavanov
July 16, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
July 16, 2020
I am saddened to hear of Iggy's passing. I knew him in the 1970's both professionally and personally and knew him to be a kind, generous and excellent business man. Sincere sympathy to his family.
Victoria Sarne
July 15, 2020
Very sorry to hear of Mr. Kaneff's passing, RIP sir. I had never met Mr. Kaneff however in his autobiography my Dad (Dragan Raeff, Jackson Michigan USA) was one of the 4 boys recruited with him (they were 14 yr old pals/travelers/coworkers together on their odyssey together). My Dad always spoke highly of him and visited him late 70's early 80's. Together they journeyed side by side, and witnessed so much. Such a story of this almost cannot be repeated in our modern world. Thank you and God Bless his family/friends/associates.
ricky raeff
Friend
July 14, 2020
My deepest condolences to the Kaneff family, Rest In Eternal Peace Mr. Kaneff.....
Julie Serpa
Coworker
July 14, 2020
My deepest condolences on the passing of a great man. I've known Mr. Kaneff since I was 5 years old. A life long friend of my dad. He always had time for me as a child and as an adult. The year he opened Carlysle Golf Club, I flew the plane that took the aerial photos, which were on display in the front hall at the club for years. He was so appreciative for the pictures, I played there on his ticket for a few years. He always made sure to come over and say hi to me at Credit Valley when I was growing up. My dad always spoke so highly of him. Rest in peace Mr. Kaneff. You will be profoundly missed.
Michael Bongelli
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