ST. CATHARINES — Willson International Limited is committed to bringing hospice palliative care closer to home for people and families in Niagara.
The Fort Erie-founded business has pledged $1.5 million towards a significant expansion of hospice care in our region, including the addition of 20 new hospice beds and the construction of two new Hospice Palliative Care Centres of Excellence in Niagara by the end of 2024.
Willson International is a fourth generation, family-owned customs and brokerage service provider with deep roots in Fort Erie. The founder, William Willson, opened an office at the ferry landing in 1918, and served on the committee to build the Peace Bridge. Today, the company is a leader in international trade providing brokerage and logistics services in Canada and the United States, and the world. Under the leadership of Peter Willson, the current Executive Chairman, a strong commitment to community service and family has been deeply engrained in corporate values.
“Supporting our communities is an important value for Willson,” says Peter Willson, Executive Chairman of Willson International and great-grandson of founder, William F. Willson. “We have been looking to invest in the Fort Erie community since we celebrated our 100th anniversary in 2018. With the passing of my father earlier this year, supporting Hospice Niagara in this important community initiative is the right project for us at this time.”
The new hospices will be located alongside long-term care facilities, Foyer Richelieu in Welland and Gilmore Lodge in Fort Erie. In recognition of Willson International’s generosity and commitment to community, the Fort Erie hospice centre will be named, Willson House.
“Willson International has a long history in Niagara and a strong commitment for giving back to the community,” says Carol Nagy, Executive Director of Hospice Niagara. “We are extremely grateful for their support and trust in our vision of ensuring that everyone receives the dignity of compassionate care throughout an illness and at end of life.”
Hospice care is needed now, more than ever. Death, grief and loss will eventually touch each of us. It is becoming more difficult to meet the increasing and complex needs of people in Niagara, without a significant expansion of services. Our region urgently needs more hospice beds and community palliative care.
Hospice Niagara’s $18-million capital campaign has had a strong start with early commitments from local municipalities and Niagara Region, the Ministry of Health, as well as community leaders including a $1.5-million investment last year by Walker Industries.
“Together with community support, we can ensure that exceptional hospice care is available at no cost for people in Niagara when they need it most, for generations to come,” says Nagy.