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Generations of charity behind $6.5-million St. Paul's Hospital donation

Inpatient cardiac centre at new St. Paul's to be named the Tong Louie Cardiac Wing
Members of the Louie family attended an event to announce the $6.5-million donation, including from left to right: Gregory Louie, Kurt Louie, Brandt Louie and Stuart Louie | Photo: Dan Toulgoet

The London Drugs and Tong and Geraldine Louie Foundations have injected $6.5 million into St. Paul’s Foundation for the provincial heart centre at the new St. Paul’s hospital, which will be built in False Creek Flats.

The inpatient cardiac centre at the new facility will be called the Tong Louie Cardiac Wing in recognition of the donation.

Brandt Louie, Tong Louie’s son and chairman of London Drugs Ltd., spoke on behalf of the family, which owns London Drugs. Tong Louie died at age 84 in 1998.

Louie said every generation of his family, beginning with his grandfather Hok Yat Louie who founded what became the H.Y. Louie Company in 1903, has taken the ideas of charity and giving seriously.

In a series of letters, Hok Yat Louie encouraged his sons to give back.

“He said, in part, when pursuing prosperity you must follow the laws of heaven. Don’t be afraid to be kind and charitable. Those words have been a guiding principal for our family company for 115 years and four generations of family leadership,” Louie said.

He said his father, Tong Louie, was a tireless supporter and fundraiser for St. Paul’s who served on the board of the hospital and the foundation.

“[My father] believed in the work of this great facility and more importantly, the future of the hospital,” he said, adding many members of the family have received care at the hospital, including his mother Geraldine.

“Like St. Paul’s, we know something about what it means to be firmly rooted in the past but focused on building for tomorrow for all the generations yet to come. While it is our hope that this gift would ensure improved quality of life for many thousands of British Columbians well into the future, we are also aware of the impact each of those lives could have,” he said. “We have no way of knowing the differences one person’s life can make but we do have the ability to create opportunities for that life to flourish. We see this gift as just that, the opportunity for each one of those treated in the Tong Louie Cardiac Wing to reach their potential and to continue their journey in good health.”

The Tong Louie Cardiac Wing will be located on an entire floor of the 11-storey state-of-the-art acute care hospital.

Dick Vollet, president and CEO of St. Paul’s Foundation called the donation a “transformative gift.”

He said the cardiac wing will support “exceptional cardiac care” and “will allow the provincial heart centre to expand its programs, its research, its recruitment and education.”

Fiona Dalton, president and CEO of Providence Health Care, called it more than a donation. “This gift, coming on the cusp of a new hospital, gives us a unique opportunity to reimagine cardiac care for the 21st century,” she said.

Dr. Sean Virani, physician program director for the heart centre, said St. Paul’s is the provincial heart centre and the most complex cases from across B.C. are sent to the hospital.

The new facility, he said, will offer opportunities for innovation and research.

“The infrastructure or the structure that’s created at the new St. Paul’s will harness new technology and allow us, as a result, to provide better care to our patients, whether that be new technologies at the bedside, new technology in terms of how we evaluate and diagnose patients and new technology in terms of our treatment,” Virani said.

IBI Group, on behalf of Providence Health Care, recently submitted a rezoning application to the City of Vancouver for the new St. Paul’s Hospital and health care campus redevelopment.

It will be built on an 18.5-acre site in False Creek Flats.

PHC will eventually sell the land where St. Paul’s is located on Burrard Street and invest the money into the construction of the new facility.

In 2012, the provincial government committed $500 million towards the project.

In 2017, billionaire Jimmy Pattison announced he would contribute $75 million for the new hospital.

The provincial government is currently reviewing the business plan for the project.

Vancouver Courier