B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison reached into his deep pockets to make an unprecedented donation to the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation on Tuesday.
Pattison is giving $75 million to build the Jim Pattison Medical Centre, an 18.4-acre health campus on False Creek Flats that will serve as the home of the new St. Paul’s Hospital and several other facilities.
The donation is the largest in Canadian history by a private citizen to a single medical facility.
Dick Vollet of the St. Paul’s Foundation said the medical centre will be state-of-the-art.
“There were plans for a new St. Paul’s for a long time … but this really ups the game to allow us to enhance that patient-focused care. It really allowed to do the things around technology and the things that we need to do to make health care better for the patients and the citizens of British Columbia.”
WATCH: Pattison donates millions to St. Paul’s Hospital
Pattison is known for using his philanthropy to boost the health care system.
In 1999, he donated $20 million to Vancouver General Hospital.
Then, in 2008, he gave $5 million to Lions Gate Hospital.
Three years later, Surrey Memorial Hospital received a gift of $5 million. In 2013, Pattison donated another $5 million to Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. His personal generosity totals $110 million.
Pattison credited his longtime executive assistant Maureen Chant for inspiring his philanthropy at a press conference on Tuesday,
“She’s the one that got us started in supporting health care,” he said.
Pattison built his company from a single GM franchise that he purchased in 1961.
Jim Pattison Group is a holding company with interests in the automotive, advertising, media, agricultural equipment, food and beverage, entertainment, export, financial and real estate industries. Its website says it employs about 42,000 workers and had annual sales last year of $9.6 billion.
At 88 years old, Pattison still starts his workday at 6 a.m. and he shows no signs of slowing down.
“I’ve got to get up and pay for all this stuff now,” he joked. “Now I have to go to work.”
– With files from Aaron McArthur, Robin Gill and The Canadian Press