I am proud to say that Mel
Dancy has been a friend for over 25 years. He's a remarkable guy.
Mel grew up in Hamilton, Ont. He got his first construction job at
age 11 when he bid on a sewer line project at a new home being built
nearby. He worked all day with a pick and shovel like a beaver
possessed. By day's end the job was complete and young Mel received
the magnificent sum of $10. He was also hooked on construction. By
age 18 he was building houses.
Like most young people, Mel was restless. So, he moved to Toronto
and tackled the big stuff: highrises. Before long, he had a string
Never satisfied, and always a challenge seeker, in 1977 he won a
contract with the Egyptian government to build an entire village way
out in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Mel was there for four
years. The project was a shambles from day one. He lost a bundle and
earned the nickname "Mel of the Desert". Soon he expects to hear
good news from the courts in Egypt regarding his lawsuit going back
Bowed but never broken, Mel returned to Toronto and picked up where
he left off. His list of involvements include rebuilding hockey
arenas throughout North America, as well as owning a number of
highrises around Toronto. He is always seeking new challenges.
Ask him if he feels there is still the same opportunity to achieve
in Canada as when he started out and he'll tell you this: "Probably
now more than ever. Just their desire would carry them through.
There have been downturns before in Canada and there'll be downturns
again. But you can succeed in Canada no matter what. Canada is the
greatest country. It's a godsend to live here."
Mel still puts in 14-hour days. His wife Thelma runs their home
office and tries to keep him organized. Why he does he do it?
"Because I enjoy every minute of it."
Canada needs more risk-takers with the work ethic of Mel Dancy.