The Government of Canada is committed to investing in infrastructure projects that contribute to the health, vibrancy and diversity of Canada’s communities. To this end, it provided up to $8,680,139 through the Economic Action Plan for the construction of a new Ronald McDonald House in Toronto.
The new Ronald McDonald House offers many programs and services to sick children and their families, including the Child Life Program, the Expressive Arts Program, laptops, home-cooked meals, a car that can be used by parents and Shiatsu massages performed by a volunteer.
The House, located at 240 McCaul Street in Toronto, is in close proximity to partner hospitals. It has 65 family bedrooms, 15 two-bedroom suites, program space, and a one-room school with classes ranging from kindergarten to grade 12.
The Ronald McDonald House Toronto project began construction in February 2010 and was open to families on November 18, 2011. Ronald McDonald House Toronto can now serve three times the number of families it did at the old location, providing almost 19,000 additional nights of accommodation annually for out-of-town families while their children are receiving critical medical care.
Ronald McDonald House Toronto estimates that this new facility resulted in the creation of an estimated 150 jobs for the duration of the 18 month build, and the generation of approximately 26 full-time and eight part-time positions.
Ronald McDonald Houses started in the United States in the early 1970s. In 1975, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada flew a group of Toronto-based parents of sick children to Chicago to visit its House. These parents, along with representatives from the Hospital for Sick Children and local McDonald’s restaurants, developed Ronald McDonald House Toronto, which opened in 1981. Today, there are 12 Ronald McDonald Houses in Canada and more than 282 Houses in 31 countries around the world.
The Government’s contribution to this project was provided through the Economic Action Plan’s Infrastructure Stimulus Fund (ISF). The ISF provided funding to provincial, territorial, and municipal governments and to non-profit organizations for infrastructure projects across Canada to create jobs and stimulate economic activity. The Infrastructure Stimulus Fund was delivered by Infrastructure Canada and came to a close on October 31, 2011.
The Province of Ontario contributed $9 million toward the construction of the new facility, and the approximate balance of the total eligible project cost of $26 million was provided through Ronald McDonald House Charities and private and corporate donations.
Through the ISF, the Government of Canada has supported the expansion of the Ronald McDonald House of Southwestern Ontario in London and the Ronald McDonald House of Hamilton, Kids’ Care Oncology Central West Ontario.
The Government of Canada has also supported a number of other major EAP projects in the Toronto area, including support for GO Transit, residential road upgrades, and improvements and expansions to several post secondary institutions.