Honouring the Life and Legacy of Charles Juravinski
Businessman, philanthropist, entrepreneur and lifelong Hamilton lover – Charles Juravinski never tired of praising his adopted hometown, nor of sharing his good fortune with the people living in it. Whether he was walking the halls of a city hospital or on the phone with politicians or university presidents, he loved to talk about all of the attributes that make Hamilton great. He was especially fond of the partnerships that brought the best people in health research and health care together for the greater good.
We were saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Juravinski on February 16, 2022. Survived by his wife of 65 years, Margaret, he passed away, perhaps fittingly, at Margaret’s Place – a hospice named in Margaret’s honour at St. Joseph’s Villa in Dundas. Charles’ passing came just a day after he and Margaret had announced a new $5.1 million Valentine’s Day gift to support health research across the city through their continued investments in the Juravinski Research Institute.
The Juravinski Research Institute was established in 2019, when Charles and Margaret announced an endowed legacy gift of $100 million. The endowment was designed to generate approximately $5 million annually to support health researchers at Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The Juravinskis’ estate gift is one of Canada’s largest-ever legacy gifts.
Some speculated that this would be the couple’s penultimate philanthropic gift, but since that time, they have continued to make additional in-life donations of more than $11.4-million to kickstart vital research projects related to COVID-19, Brain Health, Child and Youth Health, Burn Trauma, Integrated Care and more.
“Through our lives in Hamilton we have been fortunate to build wealth to share it with the community that helped us to prosper, and in our charity work, we have had the chance to meet and learn about many talented and devoted researchers. We want them to have the chance to do their very best work,” the couple said in one of their letters to the community published in April 2020.
Charles and Margaret Juravinski from “A Letter to the Community,” May 2019
It brings us great pleasure to think that when we are gone, our legacy to this community may be measured in the good health of those who come after us. As a couple, our most important lesson has been this: the greatest pleasure in life, and the most powerful force for good in the world, is sharing.
Margaret and Charles Juravinski have pledged a legacy gift of over $100 million to fund research in perpetuity.
While the Juravinski Research Institute has been the couple’s philanthropic focus for the past few years, in the decades preceding they established a powerful philanthropic legacy in Hamilton, which includes giving more than $63.7 million to Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton while also supporting many other worthy causes and organizations in the city.
Their generosity is recognized in part with the naming of the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre at Hamilton Health Sciences, the Juravinski Innovation Tower at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Charlton Campus, the Margaret & Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare at St. Joseph’s West 5th Campus, and Margaret’s Place Hospice at St. Joseph’s Villa.
Born in Saskatchewan in 1929, just as the Great Depression started, Charles had a challenging upbringing as his family struggled to make ends meet. In 1942, his family relocated to Hamilton.
Charles spent his early career working in construction, establishing WilChar Construction Limited with his brother-in-law. When the company closed in 1971, Charles took a chance and launched the Flamboro Downs racetrack. Charles and Margaret managed the business for 30 years until they sold it to Magna Entertainment in 2003.