The family of Marco Muzzo, the impaired driver who killed three children and their grandfather in a horrific 2015 crash, has donated millions for the construction of a new hospital in Vaughan, Ont. that will bear their name.
The Mackenzie Health Foundation said in a statement the $15 million gift was “the largest single donation in its history” and was jointly given on behalf of the De Gasperis and Muzzo families to help build the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital. The organization said it had decided to name the west wing of the facility the “De Gasperis-Muzzo Tower” to recognize the “exceptional contributions.”
“We are very grateful for this generosity, which will benefit the people of Vaughan and neighbouring communities for decades to come – providing exceptional health care for patients and families close to home,” Ingrid Perry, President and CEO of the Mackenzie Health Foundation, said in a statement.
“This gift has been in development for more than three years, and we are extremely pleased to see it come to fruition.”
The “state-of-the-art” $1.6 billion health care facility began construction last fall and features “smart” technology systems and medical devices with a scheduled opening in 2020.
The site of the hospital is about 10 kilometres from where Muzzo struck and killed nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly and the children’s 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville, on Sept. 27, 2015 in Vaughan.
“This whole situation I was forced into by the drunk driver is beyond upsetting,” Jennifer Neville-Lake, the children’s mother, told Global News Thursday.
“Every day continues to be a challenge for us and this is yet another reminder of what happened to my children. This event, like what happened to my family, is clearly beyond my control.”
Muzzo is currently serving a 10-year sentence in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm last year.
“We will continue to reach out to individuals and organizations in our ongoing fundraising drive,” Perry said. “We hope they will follow the examples set by the De Gasperis and Muzzo families, and by all our very generous donors who have made a commitment to our new hospital.”
The Muzzo family owns the drywall company Marel Contractors and is worth nearly $1.8 billion, according to Canadian Business magazine.
The magazine has previously cited the De Gasperis family’s net worth at $1.67 billion. Major company holdings include Condrain Group based in Vaughan, Ont., commercial and retail contractor Metrus and developer Aspen Ridge Homes.
The Mackenzie Health Foundation said the families have “a long history of philanthropy” that includes “many contributions” to the organization. The regional health care provider serves more than 500,000 people across York Region.
In March 2016, city officials changed the name of the Marco Muzzo Memorial Woods in Mississauga, Ont., which was named after the late developer Marco Muzzo Sr., after outcry from the public.
Mississauga Coun. Sue McFadden said dozens of people contacted her after the crash to voice their outrage over the park’s name, not knowing it was a tribute to the grandfather.