OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 18, 2011) - Ottawa area bakers and builders brought their creative skills to the Rideau Centre Friday afternoon to participate in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)'s 10th annual Gingerbread House Competition, a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region (NCR).

Some competitors took home monetary prizes, but the main winners were local families whose dreams of homeownership came a bit closer to reality with the help of donations garnered from the competition. Over the past nine years, CMHC's Gingerbread Fundraising Initiative has raised close to $75,000 in support of Habitat's valuable work building homes in the National Capital area.

"The Government of Canada is dedicated to working in partnership with organizations like Habitat for Humanity to build the sort of safe, appropriate, affordable housing necessary for healthy, sustainable communities," said Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. "I am delighted that CMHC is working with the local organization again this year to help raise money to build homes for families in the National Capital Region."

"Habitat for Humanity NCR is proud to partner with CMHC again this year for another excellent community event," said Ken Merkley, Vice-President of the Board of Directors. "Everyone is a winner in this event, especially the local families who will be helped by your generosity."

In the professional gingerbread competition, bakers and pastry chefs from local restaurants, hotels and bakeries competed to design and decorate gingerbread houses that evoke the holiday spirit. Catherine Beddall earned the top prize of $1,000 with a stunning creation. Delta Ottawa City Centre won the second place prize of $500, and Valecraft Homes / Rideau Bakery earned third place and a $250 prize.

The amateur category, which saw teams of families, friends and other 'rookies' compete to come up with the most tantalizing creation. The first prize of $500 went to Weefolk Playhouse; second prize ($250) was awarded to Barry J. Hobin; and third prize ($100) went to Norr Limited.

A highlight of the competition was the media contest, in which local media personalities competed in a one-hour live gingerbread house build. This year, teams from 24 Hours Ottawa, Boom 99.7, The Bear 106.9, CTV Ottawa, HOT 89.9, Majic 100, Ottawa Business Journal, Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun participated. Kimothy Walker of CTV News hosted the competition, and Parliamentary Secretary Kellie Leitch presented each team with a certificate of appreciation.

Judges for the competition were Ken Merkley, Vice-President of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity, National Capital Region and Anita Murray, Homes Editor at the Ottawa Citizen and Peter De Barros, Executive Director, Communications at CMHC.

The gingerbread homes will be on display at the West Bay Bridge in the Rideau Centre (near Grand & Toy) from Friday, November 18 to Sunday, November 20. Visitors are invited to tour the gingerbread village, bid on their favourite homes in a silent auction or buy a raffle ticket to win one of the houses. All proceeds from the silent auction will support home building programs of Habitat for Humanity NCR.

Habitat for Humanity NCR works to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting home ownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty. Since 1994, Habitat has built 36 homes in the National Capital Region.

CMHC has been Canada's national housing agency for more than 65 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, environmentally sustainable, affordable housing solutions, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country.

Contact Information:

Alyson Queen
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Finley

Kate Munroe
Media Relations
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Una Folkson Singh
Fundraising and Special Events Coordinator
Habitat for Humanity NCR
613-749-9950 x223