Montfort receives record $1M donation

… but the Montfort Hospital recently found one large cause for celebration, after philanthropist couple Yves Tremblay and Sylvie Villeneuve announced …

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Located at Mer-Bleue Road and Brian-Coburn Boulevard in Orléans, the Hub is scheduled to open next summer. The project, led by the Montfort Hospital, includes as partners the Youth Services Bureau, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre, Ottawa Public Health, Ottawa Community Geriatric Psychiatry Services, Bruyère and the Champlain LHIN.

According to Montfort CEO Dr. Bernard Leduc, the new facility “will be built with the patient in mind, both physically and logistically.”

The province, which is picking up $75 million of the Hub’s $87-million cost, sees it as a prototype for the future of the healthcare system in Ontario.

The remaining $12 million, meanwhile, is expected to come from community donors. Tremblay says that his and Villeneuve’s donation brings that total to a little more than $3 million.

The pair are hardly strangers to philanthropy, regularly (and quietly) giving to numerous causes. In 2003, Tremblay, who was a senior vice-president at JDS Uniphase until his retirement two years earlier, was, along with JDS founder Jozef Straus, the reluctant public face of an otherwise anonymous $15-million donation by some of the company’s employees to The Ottawa Hospital.

In the late 2000s, meanwhile, Tremblay and Minto Group chairman Roger Greenberg co-chaired a $20-million fundraising campaign to expand The Ottawa Hospital’s cancer centre.

Tremblay has also served on the boards of governors of The Ottawa Hospital, the Ottawa Health Research Institute, La Cité Collégiale and the University of Ottawa.

Like many philanthropists, he prefers to remain out of the limelight, but says it was important to get in front of this project, in part to help dispel the misconception many people, including potential donors, have of the Montfort as a hospital that only serves Ottawa’s French-speaking residents.

“Montfort is a bit cornered because it’s perceived as a French hospital catering to the French population, and this is wrong.”

The hospital provides between 15 and 20 per cent of all acute care services in hospitals in Ottawa, while about 25 per cent of births in Ottawa hospitals occur at the Montfort.

“And the majority of families who go there are English-speaking,” Tremblay adds. “But if you’re French, it’s the only place where you can be guaranteed to be served in French.

“So people need to understand that the Montfort Hospital is as much their hospital as the Queensway Carleton and The Ottawa Hospital are.”

bdeachman@postmedia.com