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$50 million donation to cancer center earns naming rights for Arthur J.E. Child
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$50 million donation to cancer center earns naming rights for Arthur J.E. Child

Calgary’s newly built cancer center has received a $50-million donation from the Arthur J.E. Child Foundation.

The donation, means the $1.4-billion building is now named the Arthur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

“This historic donation, the largest gift for cancer care and research in our province’s history, hits very close to home for me,” said Health Minister Adriana LaGrange, adding she had eye cancer and lost her father and a sister to cancer when she was younger.

“I believe it hits very close to home for most of you as well.”

LaGrange said hope is important for anyone who has encountered cancer.

“This gift will go a long way in the search for treatments and cures, and creates many reasons to have hope.”

The facility, which is scheduled to open in 224, is next to the Foothills Medical Centre and near the University of Calgary in the city’s northwest.

Mauro Chies, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, which delivers health care in the province, said it’s an incredible gift.

“We are going to be able to transform the lives of so many patients and their families, and our staff,” he said.

“This world-class facility will be a place of innovation, a place of research, keeping Alberta at the forefront of cancer care research and treatment.”

Child, a former CEO of Burns Foods in Calgary, was described as a prominent businessman and philanthropist.

Arthur J. E. Child was born in Surrey, England, on May 19, 1910. At the age of three, he emigrated with his family to Canada, residing in Gananoque, Ontario. He graduated from Gananoque High School at the top of his class, and enrolled at Queen’s University.

It was here that Child had one of the defining experiences in his life. He joined the Canadian Officers Training Corps at Queen’s, which began an interest in military matters and history that would continue for the rest of his life. After graduating from Queen’s, Child went to work for Canada Packers, bringing with him ideas on authority and responsibility honed by his time in the military. These ideas proved successful at Canada Packers, and no doubt helped propel Child from office clerk to Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer.

In 1960, Child became President and CEO of Intercontinental Packers. Six years later, he was asked to become the President and CEO of Burns Foods, a company facing bankruptcy. Under Child’s leadership, the company turned around and began to thrive again. Child remained CEO for three decades.

Arthur Child was known for his generosity, both financially and in his willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt. Former President of the Canada West Foundation David Elton said this about him:

“Mr. Child’s interest in the well-being of the community spanned almost every aspect of community endeavors, from the arts to poverty, from politics to education and the military. His breadth of interests and involvement in the Calgary community, in Canada and throughout the world never ceased to amaze me.”

Arthur Child was dedicated to a stronger Western Canada, a goal he pursued as not only a founder of the Canada West Foundation, but by chairing the board from its inception.

Photo:  Arthur J.E. Child

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