In its second year, the Children’s Aid Foundation’s Gingerbread By Design climbed to new heights with stunning gingerbread homes and top Canadian designers from across the creative spectrum. From birdhouses to victorian homes and a First Nations-inspired tipi, each gingery design was crafted and baked by a selection of Toronto’s top pastry artists before being auctioned-off in support of the Foundation. While the holidays are long gone, the lasting impression and money raised by these sweet structures remains.

Gingerbread-er and top design expert Amanda Forrest, a frequent guest on CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show and style personality on The Loop.ca, has built her own dynamic, national brand. But, her talents are not only limited to brick-and-mortar. As a mother and advocate for child welfare, Amanda joined the Foundation’s annual holiday campaign to help raise funds for kids across Canada’s child welfare system. Using her design expertise and flare for innovative architecture, Amanda created a beautiful, stately gingerbread home by joining forces with Toronto chefs George Adamo and Vanessa Abate. The house, along with seven others, was then sold with all proceeds going towards our Home Base Fund which supports youth who are transitioning out of the care system.

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We caught-up briefly with Amanda to chat about design and her Gingerbread experience:

CHILDREN’S AID FOUNDATION: What was the Gingerbread by Design experience like for you?

AMANDA FORREST: It was such an honour and a pleasure to be included in last year’s Gingerbread by Design fundraiser. Not only did I get to use my creativity in a new and exciting way, but as a mother of five it was an amazing opportunity to support a cause near to my heart, helping young adults leaving the care of the child welfare system with housing.

CAF: What distinguishes Canadian design?

AF: The wonderful thing about design in Canada is that it is ever-changing. People often say that Canada is a melting pot of cultures, races, and religions and the design scene is no different. The design landscape is as varied as the population and clients, whether they realize it or not, often gravitate towards design elements that are rooted in steep family history, finding inspiration in vintage details and treasured family memories.

“Not only did I get to use my creativity in a new and exciting way, but as a mother of five it was an amazing opportunity to support a cause near to my heart, helping young adults leaving the care of the child welfare system with housing.”

CAF: What do you love most about interior designing/decorating?

AF: To say that I am passionate about design would be an understatement. I live and breathe it every day, finding inspiration in everything I do. What I love most about working in the design industry is that every day is different and the trends and aesthetics are always changing; you’re never finished learning and challenging yourself.

CAF: Why is it important for Canadians to invest in vulnerable kids within Canada?

AF: I consider myself so blessed to have been given all the opportunities I have in life and to be able to give those same opportunities to my own children. I think it’s important for not only Canadians but people around the word to start looking past their front doors and into the community to see what it is they can do to give back. Children at this age have their entire lives ahead of them and it’s important that we help them in getting started out on the right track.

Click here to find out more about Gingerbread by Design.

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