June 14, 2005

Tommasina Conte
Corporate Communications & Public Relations
519-685-8500, ext. 77062

London hosts Canadian Shriners delegates

(LONDON, Ontario) - Shrine leaders from 11 Canadian cities visited London today on the invitation of the Mocha Shriners, London, as part of a campaign to promote the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) as the new home of the Canadian Shriners Hospital for Children.

"London is a vibrant city with an exceptional medical community, highly motivated public officials, and very dedicated Shriners members, all of whom are working together to put forward a proposal that is in the best interests of the new Canadian Shriners Hospital for Children," says Grant Fotheringham, Potentate of the 3,800 Mocha Shriners in London.

"This visit is an opportunity for us to showcase the strengths of the London bid to our Canadian partners, and to ask them to support the recommendation to establish the new hospital in London when it is tabled at the North American Shriners Imperial Council Session in July," says Fotheringham.

The Shriner delegation included Potentates or their representatives from St. John's, Halifax, Saint John, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

Delegates were officially greeted at London City Hall in the morning by Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco; the Honourable Chris Bentley, Minister of Labour and MPP London West; LHSC President and CEO Tony Dagnone, Head of the London Bid Committee, and LHSC Board Chair Jeff Low; members of the Mocha Shriners; and a procession that included the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the London Fire Services Honour Guard & Pipe & Drum, the London Police Service Honour Guard, and the Korea Veterans Association Unit #4 Colour Guard.

"The Shriners' reputation for providing excellent health care to patients is renowned throughout the world," says Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco. "And, today we have enthusiastically demonstrated the tremendous community-wide support behind London's unique bid to build a Shriners Hospital for Children in The Forest City."

The day included tours of LHSC's robotic surgery centre, Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics (CSTAR), and the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario. Delegates also received a briefing on the contents of the London proposal by Dagnone and members of the Bid Committee team.

"London has a compelling story to tell when it comes to medical and research accomplishments," says Dagnone. "We are an academic health sciences centre that is recognized nationally and internationally in orthopaedic surgery; we are completing a one-of-a-kind facility with the future Children's Hospital of Western Ontario and Grace Donnelly Women's Health Pavilion; and we have earned status as a world leader in robotic surgery. We are confident that we offer the best home for the new Canadian Shriners Hospital for Children."

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada's largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs. Located in London, Ontario, LHSC encompasses three sites, South Street Hospital, University Hospital and Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and the London Regional Cancer Program. LHSC is the home of the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario and CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics). The research arm of LHSC is Lawson Health Research Institute, which is also partnered with London's other teaching hospital, St. Joseph's Health Care, London. LHSC is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. Physicians and staff at LHSC number close to 8,000 and together they provide care for more than 600,000 patients each year.