Toronto children’s hospice gets lift from local builders

Published on Friday April 27, 2012

Donovan Vincent
Staff Reporter   

Local builders are reaching into their pockets to help a $7.5 million capital campaign for a new children’s hospice in Toronto meet its goal.

So far, $6.2 million has been raised for the construction of Emily’s House, to be housed in a refurbished heritage building that includes an addition, located on Gerrard St. across from the Toronto (Don) Jail. That money has come from sources such as corporations, foundations, private donors and Ontario’s Ministry of Health.

But that still leaves $1.3 million outstanding, and the non-profit agency heading the project is anticipating about $150,000 will be coming in the form of cash donations from builders and construction firms involved in the project.

Companies including Priestly Demolition, and Buttcon Ltd., the project’s general contractor, have given money, and Buttcon took the lead in asking businesses involved to donate.

The plan is to have the companies do their work on the project, get paid and then donate money back, said Rauni Salminen, executive director of the Philip Aziz Centre, the non-profit home-based hospice program leading the Emily’s House project.

“We still pay for the work, and they’ll make a donation, anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000,’’ Salminen said in an interview.

“It’s amazing because it lowers the capital costs for us,’’ she said, adding it is hoped the entire capital fundraising campaign will wrap up in two months. (After the $150,000 from the trades, it’s hoped the remainder of the $1.3 million will come from similar sources that gave toward the $6.2 million, Salminen said).

Sam Costa, president of Scarborough-based C & T Reinforcing Steel, says his company will be cutting and bending and delivering steel for the project, and a mill in Whitby will be supplying the steel.

That’s about $8,000 worth of materials and services, and that money will be donated back toward the capital fundraising target for Emily’s House, said Costa, who sits on a committee of volunteers from the building industry overseeing the project.

“We felt this was a great cause, and that the construction industry needed to step up and support this project,’’ Costa said.

The only work that has been done so far is demolition, excavation and shoring. The new 10-bed hospice is expected to be finished near the end of December and will be the first children’s hospice in the city.