Philanthropy 'part of her DNA': Margaret Juravinski dies at 91 after donating millions to health care

Margaret Juravinski, known for donating millions of dollars to local health-care initiatives, died on Tuesday at 91.

Juravinski and husband created $100M endowment fund to continue donations after death

A woman smiling.
Margaret Juravinski died on Tuesday. She was 91. (St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton)

Margaret Juravinski, known for donating millions of dollars to local health-care initiatives, died on Tuesday at 91.

Juravinski grew up in east Hamilton during the Great Depression and met her husband Charles after the war while working at the Woolworth's counter.

They were married for 65 years, as Juravinski helped Charles manage horse racing track Flamboro Downs for decades before the company sold in 2003.

Charles died last year at 92.

Both left their mark on the city, so much so the Juravinski name can be spotted on buildings across the city.

Two people standing.
Margaret and Charles Juravinski established a $100-million legacy estate gift in May 2019. (Submitted by McMaster University)

"Margaret will be fondly remembered for her dedication, her energy, and her wisdom," Mayor Andrea Horwath said in a media release Thursday.

"Together with her husband, Charles, they leave behind a much-treasured legacy of remarkable generosity, that has touched the lives of so many."

Couple will continue donating after death

The couple donated more than $60 million to health-care causes and research in the city.

They also created the Juravinski Research Institute in 2019, which took the form of a $100-million endowment fund.

That gift will see McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton collectively receive up to $5 million per year in perpetuity after their deaths.

HHS called them "an unstoppable force" in a statement.

"Margaret's strength was conveyed not through grand displays, but through a quiet consistent presence, a keen understanding of the evolving healthcare system, and an unwavering commitment to sharing her good fortune in the hopes of making a difference in the community she called home for nearly a century," reads a joint statement from St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation and St. Joseph's Health System. 

"She was a lover of books, a caregiver of our community, and a woman of few, but astute and impactful words."

Dr. Julian Dobranowski, chair of the Juravinski Research Institute steering and scientific committees, said "giving was a part of her DNA."

"It was a tremendous pleasure to call her my friend, and while I'll miss her wonderful smile and endearing sense of humour, it gives me hope to know that her and Charlie's legacies will live on through the Juravinski Research Institute and the countless patients and families who have been touched by their immense generosity."


Bobby Hristova is a journalist with CBC Hamilton. He reports on all issues, but has a knack for stories that hold people accountable, stories that focus on social issues and investigative journalism. He previously worked for the National Post and CityNews in Toronto. You can contact him at bobby.hristova@cbc.ca.

With files from Dan Taekema