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Homestead founder, Kingston philanthropist Britton ‘Brit’ Smith celebrates 100th birthday

Click to play video: 'Kingston’s Britton “Brit” Smith hits the century mark'
Kingston’s Britton “Brit” Smith hits the century mark
WATCH: Well-known Kingston businessman, philanthropist and Second World War veteran Britton "Brit" Smith turns 100 – May 13, 2020

A lifelong resident of Kingston, Ont., is celebrating a milestone in his life.

Britton Smith, a well-known businessman, philanthropist and Second World War veteran, turned 100 years old on Wednesday. But because of COVID-19, it was a very low-key celebration.

Smith was named to the Order of Canada last year, just one of many accolades over his century of living. Most people know “Brit” Smith for his philanthropy. He’s donated endless amounts of money to hospitals, universities and organisations — you name it, he’s probably donated to it. Elizabeth Wilson is the board chair of the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation

READ MORE: New charitable project to give $500K of free groceries to Kingstonians affected by COVID-19

“He cares deeply about this community,” said Elizabeth Wilson, board chair of the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation.

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“He was born here, he raised his family here and home means something very important to him.”

Click to play video: 'Celebrating from home amid the pandemic'
Celebrating from home amid the pandemic

Smith, however, doesn’t enjoy the notoriety, she says. But he does enjoy the impact that his donations have on the  community.

Mr. Smith wasn’t available for an on-camera interview, but Global News did contact him by phone. When asked about the milestone, he said it’s just another day and he expected it to be a busy one.

READ MORE: Homestead founder opens up about purchase of Kingston dry dock

One of those visitors was former Kingston and the Islands MP and longtime speaker of the House of Commons, Peter Milliken.

“He’s just fine and obviously he’s having a great celebration,” Milliken said.

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“Lots of family were there and they all were very keen to wish him well on this great occasion of a 100th birthday.”

Bhavana Varma, president and CEO of the Kingston, Frontenac Lennox and Addington United Way, can’t say enough about Smith and the work he’s done.

“He does not have to be but yet he does so much for just about every charity in town,” Varma said.

“He gives very generously with humility and a sense of humour.”

Until the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith was the founder and chair of the board of of Homestead Landholdings — the third-largest residential landlord in the country — and was spending three to four days a week in his office, he admitted.

Still, it was for only an hour or two a day.

Click to play video: 'Thousands of cards flood in for fundraising British veteran Captain Tom’s 100th birthday'
Thousands of cards flood in for fundraising British veteran Captain Tom’s 100th birthday

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