Casey House (Toronto)

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Casey House
Casey House buildings 1.jpg
The original Casey House on Huntley St.
Casey House (Toronto) is located in Toronto
Casey House (Toronto)
Location in Toronto
Location119 Isabella Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M4Y 1P2
Coordinates43°40′09″N 79°22′41″W / 43.6691°N 79.3781°W / 43.6691; -79.3781Coordinates: 43°40′09″N 79°22′41″W / 43.6691°N 79.3781°W / 43.6691; -79.3781
FundingOntario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Private and Corporate Donations (Casey House Foundation)
Beds14 inpatient
SpecialityHIV AIDS specialty hospital

Casey House is a hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that specializes in HIV/AIDS care and also provides home care and outreach programs. It is located in the downtown area, at the corner of Jarvis and Isabella streets. When it was founded in 1988, by a tenacious group of volunteers and renowned journalist and activist, it was the first specialized facility of its kind in Canada.[1] It is named after Casey Frayne, whose mother June Callwood was one of the principal volunteers whose efforts brought about the founding of the hospital.[2] 1 in 120 adult Torontonians is HIV-positive.[citation needed]


Casey house was the first stand-alone hospice for people dying of AIDS in Canada. Aware that community relations would be especially important to establishing such an institution in a residential neighbourhood, Callwood and other volunteers met with community leaders when the before the location of the project was announced in 1986, then organized door-to-door visits to provide information to residents.[3]

Work on establishing the hospice first began in October 1986, in which June Callwood and other volunteers helped register and incorporate Casey House as a charity. In March 1987, 9 Huntley was purchased and renovated with $1 million from the Ontario Ministry of Health and $500,000 from its first DQ show. By March 1988, Casey House opens its doors, the first client, who has been in isolation for months and was delivered to the hospice by medics wearing masks and gowns, was received by Casey House with an embrace. Around this time, the life expectancy of a person diagnosed with AIDS was 9 months.[4] The opening of Casey House marked the first hospice in the world to provide support and palliative care for people with HIV/AIDS, at a time when little was yet known about the disease and the ignorance and fear surrounding it were intense.[5] June's goal for Casey House was to establish a place of medical excellence in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and, most importantly, a place of love and compassion.[5]

When Casey House opened in 1988, its founders expected that a cure for the disease would be found so that it would not be needed into the 21st century.[6] Instead, HIV became more treatable but not curable, so that more care is needed and more can be provided. The building has since been transformed from a hospice to a hospital under the Ontario Hospital Act.[4][6]

Who was Casey?[edit]

Casey Frayne was the son of June Callwood and Trent Frayne. Casey was killed in 1982, at the age of 20, by an impaired driver while riding his motorcycle to university. The tragedy June experienced in losing her son was also shared by Margaret McBurney (one of the principal founders of the facility). Both mothers had lost their son by impaired drivers and were appalled by society's treatment of people dying from AIDS with no comfort. The facility was named after June's son in memory of the tragedy of losing a young life.[7]


In 2000, the hospital acquired the 1875 William R. Johnston house that fronts onto Jarvis Street,[8] formerly nicknamed "the Grey Lady" by neighbourhood residents due to its grey paint (now removed).[9] In 2015 renovation was begun on the existing mansion, to restore its heritage features[6] and to add a large addition to the west. The 1889 coach house at the southwest corner of Huntley and Isabella Streets was demolished to make way for the addition.[10]

In October 2010, with the medical advancements of HIV and AIDS, there arise the need to meet HIV/AIDS patients with the focus of treating their illness, and not providing comfort for their last days. A $10 million capital campaign launched to supplement the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care commitment to fund the construction of an expanded facility. This $10 million campaign was completed on February 2017, by then the campaign was dubbed "Rebuilding Lives Capital Campaign".[4]

The redevelopment was completed in June 2017, the building itself, was renovated as a purpose-built facility and restored heritage house,[4] and enables the hospital to more than double its care capacity, including new programs better suited for the new approaches to care required for a more ambulatory and diverse population of people living longer with HIV.[11]

The new, award-winning [12] 58,000 square foot health care centre designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects allows Casey House to expand and improve upon its capacity to provide advanced HIV/AIDS specialty health care services including inpatient, day health care and community care, including outreach.[11]

Day Health Program[edit]

At the day of its expansion in 2017, Casey House initiated a program to address the gaps in care of HIV/AIDS clients. The program focuses on clients who were seen to be well enough to be able to live with HIV/AIDS. The program is designed as one-stop care and treatment for individuals affected by HIV/AIDS by making clinical services and community programs more easily accessible and geared towards a client's treatment. Their underlying focus of reducing patient's isolation and improving their overall health with inclusivity and unequivocal compassion still remains much a part of the program as it did from the beginning of Casey House.[13]

Casey House describes this program as:

The day health program is a time-limited, goal-focused program that is working to serve community-based clients with complex illnesses and fragile health who could engage with, and benefit from, the services of an inter-professional team.  In collaboration with the client, health goals are set and integrated plans are developed.  Significant outcomes for the day health program will be connecting clients to health and psychosocial resources, improving quality of life, identifying and intervening with emerging health issues and decreasing utilization of emergency and acute care resources. This could include access to nurses, social, mental health and substance use workers, physiotherapists, case managers, recreation therapists and massage therapists.[13]


  1. ^ "Official web site".
  2. ^ "Who Was Casey?".
  3. ^ Enright, Michael (December 30, 2018) [2011]. The Sunday Edition - December 30, 2018 (Radio interview). CBC. Event occurs at 40:20.
  4. ^ a b c d "Our history & milestones".
  5. ^ a b "Canada's Conscience: A Biography June Callwood, C.C., O.Ont., LL.D." (PDF).
  6. ^ a b c Patty Winsa (Jun 19, 2012). "Casey House to undergo $36 million renovation and expansion".
  7. ^ "Who Was Casey?".
  8. ^ "William R. Johnston House – 571 Jarvis Street". Upper Jarvis Neighbourhood Association.
  9. ^ "The Crane Also Rises: A Tale of Three Toronto Mansions | Urban Toronto". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  10. ^ "WE'RE LOSING AN 1889 COACH HOUSE, BUT GAINING A 50,000 SQ. FT. HIV/AIDS HEALTH CARE FACILITY". Toronto Savvy. 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  11. ^ a b "An Inspired Plan: Rebuilding the Heart of HIV/AIDS Care".
  12. ^ "Casey House and Hariri Pontarini Architects Win Prestigious Award".
  13. ^ a b "Day health program".

External links[edit]