Hamilton philanthropist Charles Juravinski dead at 92

A photo of Charles and Margaret Juravinski. Supplied by McMaster University

A well-known Hamilton philanthropist who contributed considerable funding to local health care institutions has died.

Charles Juravinski passed away in his sleep on Tuesday at the age of 92, according to a joint statement from executives with McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Charles and his wife Margaret donated millions of dollars in endowments to Hamilton-area health facilities and the City of Hamilton over a number of years.

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“He passed away, perhaps fittingly, at Margaret’s Place – a hospice named in Margaret’s honour at St. Joseph’s Villa in Dundas,” the statement revealed.

The facility was one of many that received a multi-million dollar gift from the Juravinskis – a $2.8-million expansion.

Just a day before Charles’s death, the couple donated $5.1 million to the Juravinski Research Institute (JRI), to support studies focused on child and youth health, integrated care, and burn trauma.


The JRI was one of a number of legacy gifts given to Hamilton health care, established in May 2019 via a $100-million contribution — one of Canada’s largest-ever.

In recent times, the Hamilton philanthropists have invested in research focused on COVID-19, brain health and health system transformation with two previous gifts totalling $6.3 million.

Read more: Juravinskis celebrate Valentine’s Day with $5.1M health-care gift to Hamilton

Those donations included $3.3 million to help fight COVID-19 and fund brain health research as well as $3 million for health-care projects, including a saliva-based COVID-19 test for use in places like retirement homes.

In all, the couple has given more than $63.7 million to HHS, McMaster and St. Joe’s.

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“Charles Juravinski was a true original – his distinctive style and manner were well known and admired across our city,” HHS President Rob MacIssaac said in the statement.

“Together with Margaret, their philanthropy in health care and innovative research has positively influenced the lives of countless patients and their families in our region, and across our Province.”

Juravinski, born in 1929 in Saskatchewan, is best known as the founder and owner of the Flamboro Downs racetrack near Flamborough.

With shareholder John Grant, Charles would launch the venture in April 1975 before selling the profitable operation in 2003 to entertainment and real estate giant Magna.

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Juravinski also worked in the construction industry in the late 50s founding Wilchar Construction Limited in Dundas with his brother-in-law.

Two of the city’s major health facilities, including a cancer care and research centre, would bear the Juravinski name in 2010 after the couple gave $23 million for the reconstruction of the previously named Henderson hospital on the Mountain.

“Charles Juravinski was relentless in his belief that the depth and breadth of knowledge, innovation and partnership here in Hamilton was special and something to be exceedingly proud of,” McMaster president David Farrar said in a release following Juravinski’s passing.

As per his request, there will be no funeral service or visitation following his death.

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