Becoming a Somebody


The fascinating life story of Ignat Kaneff, one of Canada’s leading residential and commercial builders.

When Ignat Kaneff arrived in Canada in 1951, he had a mere five dollars to his name, no proficiency in English, and very little education. Yet, this was the beginning of one of Canada’s great immigrant success stories. Having left his native Bulgaria at just fourteen, Kaneff’s journey to Canada was long. It even included a stint in wartime Germany, working as a market gardener, but his plans in Canada were much, much bigger.

Kaneff began working in Toronto’s construction industry, where he showed tremendous drive, quickly founding a company and breaking ground on his first subdivision in 1956. He continued on a trajectory toward success, and by the 1970s was ranked among Canada’s top businessmen. Considered a pioneering citizen of the City of Mississauga, in 2017 he was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. Becoming a Somebody recounts his stunning rise to prominence.

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