In July 2014, the committee that launched Hospice Georgian Triangle in 1987 took the first tour of Campbell House. The dedicated volunteers never imagined their passion to support those at end-of-life would evolve into a state-of-the -art home for hospice palliative care. 

“Absolutely amazing, incredible,” said Rev. Richard Newland, the inaugural chair of Hospice Georgian Triangle, as he stood in the homey front entrance that resembles someone’s living room. “I would have never dreamed that it would have developed into something like this.”

Campbell House was named after Audrey and Donald Campbell. The Audrey and Donald Campbell Foundation provided the lead gift of the capital campaign in 2013. The facility was fully funded by community donations. 

Rebecca Wall, a founding Board member, volunteered in the early days. “They were planning into the future. The one thing that was very clear, was that a hospice- palliative-care facility was required in the community. A dedicated place for the provision of care, for people and families who did not feel prepared with the resources to die at home.” 

It was humble beginnings, notes former Collingwood Mayor and Hospice Georgian Triangle Board Chair, Ron Emo. “We had a small office in Sunset Manor,” recalls Ron. 

There was no money for a building, very little awareness about what hospice palliative care was, and no commitment from the Ontario government to provide funding. With the odds stacked against them, they forged ahead. After months of road trips, speaking engagements, and numerous meetings, the vision was a reality. 

“We had to get into the heart of the community to educate and advocate. The Collingwood General and Marine Hospital became our first supporter,” Rebecca said. Next, the Campbell family came to the rescue.” 

At the time, Bob Morton was the President of the Local Health Integration Network (now operating as Home and Community Care Support Services). Rebecca remembers meeting him in their small Sunset Manor office, when he said “You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”

Rebecca noted, “We invited Bob to the new building when it was complete. He walked through the halls and touched all the woodwork. He learned that Campbell House was a peaceful and welcoming place. When he later became a palliative patient, he decided that Campbell House would be his final home. He passed away in the care of Hospice Georgian Triangle long after making the decision to flow funding to the facility and its ongoing operation.” 

Collingwood residents Dunc and Sheri Hawkins were Board volunteers, community advocates, and fearless fundraisers. Sheri remembers meeting in Ron Emo’s dining room every few weeks. They established a model where all levels of government would provide at least 50% of the operational funding required. They developed a strategy and fundraising plan. 

“We flipped over every rock,” recalls Dunc. “There were challenges, but mainly support,” he shared. 

Bruce West, was the president and CEO for Hospice Georgian Triangle, and not only led the capital campaign but initiated the formation of Hospice Georgian Triangle Foundation, which incorporated in January 2012 with a mission to both raise awareness and long-term funding to sustain the operations of Hospice Georgian Triangle. John Kutcy and Paul Williams joined the forces consecutively as leaders of the Board and avid fundraisers. 

Unlike other health care institutions, Hospice Georgian Triangle was created from the ground up through citizenship. There are so many incredible senior leadership volunteers that contributed to what the organization is today. 

One of the special features of Campbell House is its home-like feel. Board member and lawyer Karen Sweet hand-picked all the furnishings and worked with the architects, designers, and suppliers to make sure the aesthetics matched the vision of comfort. Murphy beds were thoughtfully put in each room and the furnishings reflected a warm and less clinical space. 

So many people contributed to the incredible look and feel of the house. The architects donated their time and talent for the plans. The original kitchen was donated by local business owners Patti and Dean Mills, of Premier Kitchens. The spa room was donated by the Rotary Club of Wasaga Beach. The bath was donated by local doctors. The sanctuary garden was donated by Ricki and Bob Thompson. The patio and quiet room were provided by the Knights of Columbus. And the list goes on and on. 

On August 7, 2014, Kathleen Zubek was the first patient to have her end-of-life journey at Campbell House. Her daughter Paula now serves on the Foundation Board  and is Chair of the Care Gala and organizes the In Memory Golf Tournament. 

“My charitable work with Hospice Georgian Triangle is very meaningful because of the exceptional care that my mother received during her time at Campbell House before she passed away. This is my way of giving back and I know that she would be proud of the dedication that I have made in her honour,” says Paula. 

Thanks to the community, today Campbell House is a facility that includes 10 family suites, offering end-of-life and respite care. Hospice Georgian Triangle offers a variety of community programs supporting individuals and families along their illness journey and  with grief and bereavement counseling. 

The dream became a reality. It is time to celebrate the milestone of 10 years of Campbell House, thanks to the hard work and efforts of a dedicated group of trailblazers, along with the support of many generous donors, and government funding. 

A special thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in growing Campbell House to what it is today.