Help Ella Shi End Her Nightmare - Ask Minto President to return her $ 66K deposit for a new home

The Issue:

In February 2011, I, Ella Shi, a single mother with three children had a dream to purchase a new home in Ottawa from Minto Communities Inc. I put a $66K deposit on the Yorkville C model but kept asking why the kitchen nook and bedroom looked smaller than the plan. I was assured the Yorkville C was 3331 sq ft which was on the colour brochure, confirmed by Minto through emails and verbally by sales staff during tours of the construction.

On April 21st I received the final Agreement to Purchase (APS) from Minto but it was an incomplete contract and did NOT have the original elevation drawing or floor plan which I (Ella Shi) signed in front of the Minto sales representative April 13th.

On May 18th, a week before the closing, I,(Ella) received an email from Minto with a digital copy of a reduced floor plan for my house. I went to Ottawa City Hall and found that the reduced floor plan for Yorkville C was accepted in July 2010 a year before.(I have a copy of this permit). This was an amendment to the contact not agreed or signed by both parties. It was just a digital document with no signatures. 

On May 19th, we had the pre-delivery inspection. I indicated that the reduced nook and master bedroom plan was unacceptable. 

I(Ella Shi) signed the purchase under protest. Minto refused to sell this house to me unless I removed the protest letter. Minto sold the house for 5K more to someone else and kept my (Ella Shi's) $66,306 deposit. 

The Minto web site changed on June 2, 2011 from: 

Yorkville C

1023 Winterspring Ridge         3,331 sq.ft.      $530,450 May 2011

To this: 

Yorkville C 

1023 Winterspring Ridge  3,253 sq.ft.   $535,450         June 2011

The breakfast nook and the master bedroom were reduced 25%. Minto only revealed this a week before the closing date May 26th, 2011. The   reduced nook did not have room to put a dining table and four chairs. This was unacceptable.

Update Feb. 10th, 2012

The Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 9th posted a Story on Ella Shi "  Taking the measure of a dream home deal gone awry "
Below is my response in the comments portion of the article. I invite you to read the article and my comments. To know more you can view the links to the video, petition and Citizen article.

Ottawa Citizen article: Feb. 9th, 2012

Your comments below the Citizen article are welcome. I copied mine below...

If you support this injustice, please comment on the article, sign the petition and/or write to Minto. The Minto address is posted below the Youtube article. It would help Ella immensely.
Thank you....Kensky


12:17 AM on 2/10/2012

I support and am trying to help Ella Shi to get her money back. I have seen all the evidence and it speaks for itself. The article glosses over most of the evidence for fear of retribution. Please help fight this injustice. If you want to know more, or sign the petition or write to Minto you would be helping to right a wrong and help a woman with the tenacity to fight for her rights and not back away from a bully.
Thank you....Kensky

Please view the related link:

Please support at


I have tried to resolve the issue reasonably since June 2011. I have approached staff at Minto Communities Inc at all levels, including the President of Minto, Roger Greenburg with the request to please return my full deposit since Minto would not provide me the house I agreed to purchase.

Minto sent me an email saying "We will not return your deposit and this matter is at the end".

This has caused untold suffering to my whole family. This is not only a money issue. I have been physically ill, mentally drained and spiritually disheartened. Myself, my three teenage children and my extended family have been left with a great deal of anxiety as to what kind of future we will have in Canada if any, if we don't get this deposit back.

Minto knows that I don't have the resources to fight them and I don't know why they are not more empathetic. What kind of company would treat a customer (mother) like this?

We the undersigned are asking Minto to come to their senses and return all of  Ella Shi's $66,306 deposit so that her family can get on with their lives.


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