A century after their deed, family behind Royal Vic fume over MUHC plans
Published Friday, April 5, 2013 7:04PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 5, 2013 7:11PM EDT
MONTREAL—It’s arguably one of Montreal’s most coveted real estate spots, on the slopes of Mount-Royal with panoramic views of the city.
While the McGill health network is planning to sell off parts of the Royal Victoria Hospital, the family behind one of the men who donated the land argue the original deed is being trampled on.
The Royal Vic was a gift from two Scottish immigrants—Lord Strathcona and Lord Mount Stephen—who made their fortunes with railways. They wanted to thank the city they loved by offering a hospital for those who couldn’t afford medical costs.
The deed clearly states “under no circumstances shall the property be used for any other purpose than the Royal Victoria Hospital as declared by its charter.”
That the iconic site could end up in the hands of condo developers has Lord Stephen’s great grandniece fuming.
“This was for the population, it wasn't just to be taken over by some entrepreneur to make a pile of money for himself,” Elspeth Angus said.
Angus said the MUHC will not even return her phone calls.
“I spoke to one of the board [members] and he said ‘Oh, that's old hat, we fixed all that,’ and I said 'You haven't you know,' and he walked away,” said Angus, who is hopeful others will get involved to help protect the spirit of her family’s gift.
A spokesperson for the health ministry said lawyers will consult the deed of gift before any sale is approved. The Royal Vic has not ruled out having a clinic at the Vic.
The site will be available because the MUHC is moving its operations to the $1.3 billion superhospital at the Glen Yards in 2015.
The Royal Victoria Hospital is having trouble rounding up operating room nurses, leading to many delays in surgeries. (CP file photo)