Longtime harness racing industry participant and well-known philanthropist Margaret Juravinski, a lifelong resident of Hamilton, Ont., passed away on May 9, 2023 at the age of 91.
She is predeceased by Charles, her husband of more than 65 years. The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer passed away on Feb. 16, 2022 at the age of 92.
Margaret was a proud Hamilton and beloved by the local community. Her care and concern for the people of the city manifested itself in her and her husband’s remarkable generosity over more than 20 years, creating a transformational philanthropic legacy in Hamilton.
For Margaret, ‘sharing is caring’ was a mantra she invoked each and every day. It didn’t matter the amount or where the gift was directed, it was the act of giving and the impact it would make that was paramount.
“It’s what we want to do for the community because we care for this community … caring and sharing is the general idea we hope other people would pick up on,” she said in a 2019 interview.
Margaret grew up during the Great Depression in east Hamilton. After the war, she met Charles Juravinski while working at the Woolworth’s counter making sandwiches.
Across all aspects of her life, Margaret was known for her dedication, energy and wisdom. She worked alongside her husband, helping manage Flamboro Downs for 30 years until it was sold in 2003. Her legacy lives on with an invitational event for pacing mares at Flamboro, the Margaret Juravinski Pace, held in concert with the Charles Juravinski Memorial Cup (formerly the Confederation Cup).
Throughout all their various business and philanthropic endeavours, Margaret was Charles’ top advisor and partner. While Charles may have been the more vocal of the pair, both he and Margaret made it clear time and time again that the success of their 65-year plus marriage relied heavily on the fact that they were partners: in business, in marriage and in life.
Margaret and Charles spent more than two decades making gifts to several Hamilton organizations, including giving more than $68.8 million to Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.
"Today, we mourn the loss of a true champion for the health and prosperity of Hamilton," stated Dr. Julian Dobranowski, Chair, Juravinski Research Institute Steering & Scientific Committees. "Margaret Juravinski and her husband, Charlie, embodied the spirit of philanthropy. Selfless to her core, Margaret sought to make Hamilton a better place by improving the quality of health care for patients at all stages of life. Giving was part of her DNA, having spent much of her golden years inspiring others to make gifts to causes close to their hearts.
"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."
Their generosity is recognized in part with the naming of the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre at Hamilton Health Sciences; the Juravinski Innovation Tower at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Charlton Campus; the Margaret & Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare at St. Joseph’s West 5th Campus; and Margaret’s Place Hospice at St. Joseph’s Villa.
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the news of Margaret Juravinski’s passing," said Hamilton's Mayor, Andrea Horwath in a social media post. "We will truly miss this life-long Hamiltonian and well-known philanthropist. Together with her husband, Charles, they leave behind treasured legacy of remarkable generosity."
Over the last four years, Charles and Margaret continued to make new gifts totalling $16.5 million through their namesake foundation to support research on child and youth health, integrated care, burn research, macular degeneration, health system transformation, COVID-19 and brain health.
Today, the Juravinski name is synonymous with world-class, personalized health care and health research in Hamilton through the Juravinski Research Institute.
Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Margaret Juravinski.
(with files from McMaster University)