Historic Don Jail “Governor’ House”…becomes a Home…

Toronto – October 14 2010

Historic Don Jail “Governor’ House”… becomes a Home … a unique children’s home

For well over a century, the big house at 562 Gerrard has stood formidably on the grounds of the Don Jail.

Designed by architect Charles Mancel Willmot in the style known as “Queen Anne Revival”, the three story, 5200 sq ft home was built in 1888 as a residence for the “Head Gaoler”…the Governor of the Don Jail.

In 2000, it was designated a historical site under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Now, “The Governor’s House” is about to begin a new life…as Toronto’s first children’s hospice.

The children's hospice movement is relatively new in Canada…possibly because people find it difficult to talk about children dying. In 1995, Vancouver became the first city in North America to open a children's hospice. Four others have since opened in Canada…nearest to Toronto being the Darling Home for Kids in Milton.

Renovations to the former Governor’s House are now underway.

On completion, the 10-bedroom children’s hospice will provide comprehensive paediatric palliative care, to children living with a life – limiting illness.

The home will be staffed by social workers, nurses, personal support workers and volunteers 24 hours a day, with doctors constantly on-call.

In the past, families in Toronto with terminally ill kids have had only 2 care options – hospital or home.