SickKids launches $1.3 billion fundraising campaign to build a new hospital

Today, SickKids Foundation announces the SickKids VS Limits campaign with a fundraising goal of $1.3 billion, the largest in Canadian health care history.


In anticipation of today’s public launch, $570 million in donations and pledges has been secured through philanthropy. This includes support from corporate partners, community organizations, events, individuals and families, reflecting the full breadth of the donor community.


The VS Limits fundraising campaign supports three key elements: re-imagining the campus, including building a new patient care centre on University Avenue ($600 million); continuing breakthrough paediatric health research ($600 million); and establishing partnerships for better, coordinated patient care ($100 million). The campaign period is anticipated to run through to March 31, 2022, just shy of five years from now.


When The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) was built at 555 University Avenue in 1949, it was the largest children’s hospital in the world. Some 87,000 donors contributed to the capital campaign and 85,000 Torontonians lined up for pre-opening tours – that’s more than four times the capacity of the Air Canada Centre. The hospital expanded in 1993, nearly 25 years ago, with the opening of the Atrium building at 170 Elizabeth Street.

SickKids VS: All In

Medical treatments and technology have come a long way since the 1940s or even the 1990s, making it more important than ever before for the hospital to evolve to fully realize the possibilities in children’s health. The vision for a hospital of the future includes state-of-the-art technology, facilities designed to enable the latest advances in clinical procedures, optimal patient safety and infection control, and best practices in family-centred care. In short, in order for SickKids to remain a world-leader in paediatric health, the time to realize a fully redeveloped campus is now.


“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the future of children’s health. The people of Toronto and beyond have done it before and we are poised to do it again."

A Campaign Cabinet, comprised of 68 individual business and community leaders, will serve in a volunteer capacity to help lead the charge on achieving the ambitious fundraising goal. The Cabinet is led by three volunteer Co-Chairs – Katie Taylor, current Chair of the SickKids Foundation Board of Directors; and John Francis and Patsy Anderson, the Foundation’s two immediate past Board Chairs. For the full list of Cabinet members, click here.

To date, 110 Catalyst Donors have pledged their commitment of $1 million or more in support of the campaign to help build momentum for the bold undertaking. These include individuals and families, corporations, community organizations and events held on behalf of SickKids, all of whom were celebrated at the campaign launch event held today. For the full list of Catalyst Donors, click here.


SickKids VS: All In

Today also marks the release of the SickKids VS: All In video, a 2-minute rallying cry to the community asking everyone to join in and support the campaign to build a new hospital. The spot features 200 SickKids patient ambassadors and their siblings and was filmed in various locations throughout the city.

Its broadcast debut is on Saturday, October 28 during the Toronto Maple Leafs home game. The fully integrated marketing campaign is supported with a media buy, including TV, print, out-of-home, digital and social media. Out-of-home includes branded TTC streetcars, wild postings, murals, projections and stencils on 75 outdoor walls throughout the Greater Toronto Area, most of which have been donated to SickKids by the building owners.


Credit for the concept goes to Cossette, the agency of record for SickKids. The TV spot was directed by Mark Zibert of Skin and Bones, with music handled by SNDWRx. Media planning and buying was managed by OMD.



“Many of the world’s top paediatric health experts work right here at The Hospital for Sick Children, but our facilities and infrastructure don’t match the level of expertise of our people. Twenty-first century medicine shouldn’t be held back by a 1949 building. Our facility is becoming technologically and functionally obsolete. Our vision for the hospital of the future includes design features for optimal family-centred care, state-of-the-art technology and best-in-class patient safety and infection control.”
Dr. Mike Apkon, President and CEO, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the future of children’s health. The people of Toronto and beyond have done it before and we are poised to do it again. It’s going to take all of us to achieve this ambitious goal – donors who give monthly, at their local retailer, at community events, through employee campaigns, you name it. We are especially grateful to our 110 Catalyst Donors, each of whom has already committed $1 million or more, for their generosity and for helping us build the momentum needed to unleash the full potential of SickKids.”
Ted Garrard, CEO, SickKids Foundation

“The kids pull you into the story and as you come to understand the narrative you quickly realize the urgency and ‘at all cost’ mentality of building a new facility. As an adult you can't fight the urge to help. There's a strong sense of team work among the kids that serves as an important reminder that it is going to take all of us for this to happen – to come together as a city to make this new hospital a reality for the kids. Now, we need the community to join us.”
Lori Davison, Vice President, Brand Strategy & Communications, SickKids Foundation

“Let me salute the incredible people who helped get us here and who will help us through this extraordinary undertaking. Thank you to the Boards of the hospital and the Foundation for your leadership and dedication; to the members of the Campaign Cabinet – I’m honoured to stand with you as we embark on this historic campaign; and to all of our donors, past, present and future, thank you for your incredible generosity.”
Katie Taylor, Chair, SickKids Foundation Board of Directors, and Campaign Co-Chair