NIMBYism? We’ll take that hospice, thanks!

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  • Philip Russel says:

    A few years ago, The Toronto Commandery Hospice was donated land in an industrial area, an employment zone. Across the street is a long term care facility. The City and neighbours blocked construction because it was improper land use. City planners were dead against us. Why? God knows.
    We now plan to locate on a non-hospital healthcare park next to West Park Healthcare Centre.
    It is an uphill battle all the way.

  • Bob Parke says:

    Neshama Hospice is well designed to fit with the community in which it is proposed to be built. It is also a much needed resource to care for people within the adjacent neighbourhood. It will be a wonderful home like environment that will provide compassionate care near where people live. I hope delays will be minimized and have no doubt that like Hospice Windsor, Neshama Hospice will be a welcomed hub for community care.

  • Joan Eaglesham says:

    Another great piece of journalism, Dr. Cargill! Thank you!

  • Carolyn Thomas (@HeartSisters) says:

    Thank you for this, Dr. Cargill. The controversy is sadly reminiscent of the early neighbourhood protests against the 14-bed St. John’s Hospice on the UBC campus in Vancouver, which survived similar local angst. Its first proposed building site was opposed by UBC students living in the nextdoor residence, then by Wreck Beach supporters (a nearby nude beach); UBC finally settled on a vacant lot near the football stadium.

    But citing “traditional beliefs”, residents of the luxury Promontory highrise condo building next door to the site claimed in 2011 that “living near a hospice brings bad luck to its neighbours”. As one condo owner told CTV News at the time: “Eighty per cent of the residents in this building are Asian, and 100 per cent of them are very upset!”

    The condo owners’ claims were roundly discredited by prominent members of the local Chinese Canadian community in Vancouver as “a misrepresentation of Chinese culture”. The project was approved; St. John’s opened on that site in 2013.

    The negative impact on neighbourhood real estate prices is often the underlying concern of neighbours, even though this does not seem to be based on actual reality. Consider Vancouver’s Canuck Place, founded in 1995 as the first free-standing children’s hospice in North America. Its historic Glen Brae Manor site, a 16,000 sq ft mansion sits in the beautiful Shaughnessy neighbourhood (and is leased to Canuck Place for $1 per year for 50 years by the City of Vancouver). Hardly an area where any property values have gone down…

    Thanks for your generous offer to use your backyard as a future Hospice site. NIMBYism is alive and well, sadly, when it comes to end-of-life care…

    • Darren Cargill says:

      Thanks for your insights Carolyn. Hopefully NIMBY becomes less and less of an issue as communities realize the importance and value of hospices.

  • Franklin Warsh says:

    Surprising but not surprising. Surprising because it’s not a safe injection site or homeless shelter under consideration (where the NIMBYism is predictable), and because there’s nothing terribly upscale or idyllic about that neighborhood.

    The absolutely ideal spot for a hospice in Toronto is the Shouldice facility. It not only has much of what’s needed already there, the grounds are beautiful. Maybe COVID will have dented the hernia tourism business enough to make it possible.

    • Darren Cargill says:

      I was surprised too. I has never even remotely been a consideration here.

      I would challenge that there really isn’t a bad place for a hospice. I have seen them in all types of settings and locales.

      Thanks Frank.

  • Theresa Greer says:


  • Maureen Taylor says:

    The Windsor-Essex Hospice has a stellar reputation in the community and it’s very hard to imagine that any community would be opposed to a hospice. One day they may need that end-of-life care themselves — where is the compassion?

    • Darren Cargill says:

      Thanks Maureen.

      You have always been and continue to be a great advocate for quality palliative and end of life care.

      We will all need EOLC one day. I’m still waiting for my first patient who won’t :) But I imagine he will be a big Hollywood star playing a Marvel superhero…..

      (I’m foreshadowing one of my next Healthy Debate articles. Jack will be very impressed with my literary skills)

  • Rosalee Berlin says:

    Dear Dr. Cargill:
    Thank you for your beautiful, caring, heartfelt article. I believe in everything you wrote and hope the North York residents that live in the area of the proposed Neshama Hospice, sit up and take notice.
    Also thank you for taking the time to support Dr Sandy Buchman, Debbie Berlin and Rob Kamen the original founders of Neshama Hospice as well as the entire Board of the Hospice.

    Most sincerely,
    Rosalee Berlin RN BHSA

    • Darren Cargill says:

      Thanks Rosalee.

      As I point out, we are nowhere near the capacity we need for hospice beds. Hospices beds are desperately needed, especially in Toronto (who would have thought that?!). I hope Neshama is the beginning of a trend.

  • Darren Cargill says:

    I am not pursuing a position with the OECD so I will be around to respond to your questions, comments and gratuitous insults.

    • Heather Zak says:

      I was CEO of Hospice Caledon when we build Bethell Hospice, a 10 bed residential hospice serving Caledon and Peel Region. If I can offer any support at any time, let me know.

      • Darren Cargill says:

        Thanks Heather. Your support is greatly appreciated. I will let Dr. Buchman know.


Darren Cargill


Dr. Darren Cargill is a fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, and American Association of Hospice Palliative Medicine. He is the past medical director for the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County and lead physician for its community-based Palliative Medicine Program. He is one of only two certified hospice medical directors in Canada and has his designation as a certified Canadian physician executive.  He received HPCO’s Larry Librach award in 2017 for excellence in leadership and advancing palliative care through mentorship.

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