The Early Years / History
Canuck Place began as an idea with one person – Brenda Eng a registered nurse in Vancouver
After working as a pediatric nursing consultant with British Columbia’s Ministry of Health, as an oncology nurse at BC Children’s Hospital and as a community health nurse with the Vancouver Health Department, Brenda travelled to Oxford, England in the spring of 1988 to work for several months at Helen & Douglas House, the world’s first children’s hospice. Her experience at Helen & Douglas House convinced her that something similar was needed in British Columbia.
Following her return to the province in the fall of 1988, Brenda met with other healthcare providers and community leaders, including George Jarvis, a local advertising and marketing executive. Shortly afterward, HUGS (the acronym for “Human Understanding, Growth and Sharing”) Children’s Hospice Society was formed. Its goal was to create a children’s hospice to serve all of British Columbia.
Working tirelessly over the next few years, Brenda and George rallied support for the hospice throughout the community. By March 1991, the Vancouver Canucks Hockey Club was on board through its community service arm, then called the Canuck Foundation (now known as the Canucks for Kids Fund).
In the months that followed, several other prominent organizations embraced the concept, including the Loewen Group, the Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund and the Variety Club, all of which provided substantial financial assistance to bring the idea to fruition.
The City of Vancouver generously arranged for a dollar lease for fifty years for a turn-of-the-century heritage home in Shaughnessy. Canuck Place now had a home. It would be another three years of painstaking restoration and renovation before Canuck Place opened its doors to welcome its first children and families on November 30, 1995.