Here in Canada, and in our city in particular, there has always been amongst our citizens those who have stepped forward to “share the wealth” and in doing so helped improve the communities in which they live.
Recent examples include the anonymous donor who gave $100 million to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Judy and Wilmot Matthews Foundation that assisted in funding the creation of The Bentway, an innovative public space that opened recently under a portion of the Gardiner Expressway.
Such philanthropic gestures are but two examples of financial donations that have, in totally different ways, helped improve life in our country. Another mission that’s just getting started is a multi-year $1.3 billion fundraising project to bring Toronto’s iconic Hospital for Sick Children into the 21st century, while at the same time, ensuring that the 173 year-old institution’s motto, “Where No Child Knocks in Vain,” is kept forever front and centre.
Sick Kids occupied several old buildings until a brand new home was to be provided through the generosity of John Ross Robertson, founder of the Evening Telegram newspaper. Erected at a cost of $120,000 the location of the new hospital, at the southwest corner of College and Elizabeth Sts., was chosen by its benefactor as it was in a part of the city, known disparagingly as “the ward,” that was characterized by having some of Toronto’s worst slums. It was built “close to the source of supply” as Robertson noted. Under its slightly modified title, the Victorian Hospital for Sick Children opened its doors to treat youngsters of all faiths (or none), creeds and monetary status on May 6, 1892. Over the next 59 years, thousands of youngsters were treated within its massive (and no doubt daunting) red brick and stone walls until the “new” Hospital for Sick Children at 555 University Ave. was officially opened on Jan. 17, 1951. The actual “move-in day” for patients occurred the following Feb. 4. An interesting Sick Kids trivia fact is that it has been estimated that since the first Sick Kids opened in 1875 and the new hospital was ready 76 years later, more than 240,000 children received treatment as in-patients with another 2.7 million on an out-patient basis. Since then, I can only assume that those numbers have increased astronomically to a point where a NEW Sick Kids Hospital is a must. Additional photos showing this world famous Toronto institution as it looked over the years can be found at torontosun.com/author/mike-filey.
When the Second World War was finally over, and building materials once again became available, the city fathers agreed that the time had come to replace the overcrowded Sick Kids on College St. A fundraising plan was put in place and it wasn’t long before the initial $8 million objective was oversubscribed. But as with all major projects, costs continued to escalate, so that by the time the new building on University Ave. opened its doors 67 years ago tomorrow the price tag had risen to $12.5 million. An interesting piece of hospital Sick Kids trivia is the fact that the proposed site of the new hospital was initially to be on the west side of University Ave. until an exchange of locations was made with Mount Sinai Hospital officials. Another couple of facts: to lessen the noise created during the construction process instead of ear-shattering riveting of the superstructure, welding was used wherever possible, and because the building site on the east side on the street was crisscrossed with underground watercourses including tributaries of the infamous Taddle Creek, the new structure was allowed to “float” on a huge reinforced concrete pad five feet thick. This photo taken in the summer of 1950 shows work on the new hospital well underway. For the car buffs note a “split rear window” Volkswagen in the in the bottom right foreground.
A sketch of the proposed new hospital prepared in 1947 by the architectural firm of Govan, Ferguson and Lindsay.
On Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., Toronto city councillor Mike Layton and a representative of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment will unveil the sign commemorating and naming the Christie Pits skating rink in honour of the late Toronto Maple Leaf hockey legend Sid Smith, pictured in this rare hockey card. As many staunch Leaf fans will know, Smith played his entire NHL career, 1946–1958, as a left-winger with the Toronto team. During two of those years, he was team captain, the eighth in Maple Leafs franchise history. As a youngster and young man, Smith played a lot of hockey in Christie Pits, living around the corner from the park and often returning from practice with the Leafs to play shinny with the youth on the ice many of whom were his neighbours. As a player, he exhibited many of the qualities all persons participating in sport should strive for, being judged by the hockey world as the Lady Byng Trophy winner on two occasions, an award given to the most sportsmanlike player who also exhibits a high level of skill. Smith was named to seven all-star teams and won three Stanley Cups as a Leaf. Generations of skaters and hockey fans alike will now have the opportunity to “share the ice” with Smith on Sid Smith Rink.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies