50 Years of Impact
Transforming Care Through Community
Over the last 50 years, The Vic Foundation has been dedicated to enriching the health and well-being of those living in our community and served by our community hospital. We remain focused on our vision of creating healthier futures for the people in our community.
Working together, we will continue to build a healthier community where we can all enjoy a better quality of life. It is this inspiration that has motivated us from the very beginning and that we carry forward as we look ahead to the next 50 years.
Victoria General Hospital opened in 1911 at the corner of River Avenue and Rose Street. In 1971, the hospital moved to its present location on Pembina Highway. Since that time, The Vic has become a cornerstone of the South Winnipeg community and celebrated an incredible 100 years of caring in 2011.
Our community hospital has grown and changed over the years, but what has remained constant is the compassionate and dignified care provided to individuals and families in our community when they need it most. The Vic currently provides a wide range of programming and services to support the health of our community, including: mental health inpatient and outpatient care, elder care, day surgery, bariatric care, and more.
Photo: University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, Winnipeg Tribune fonds, PC 18 (A1981-012), File 5989, Item 14
The Vic Foundation first formed in 1971 when Victoria General Hospital moved from its downtown location to South Winnipeg in order to expand and modernize for future growth. It was initially incorporated under the name Victoria Hospital Research and Services Fund. In 1991, we transformed from a modest research and development program to a vibrant, non-profit organization named Victoria General Hospital Foundation.
Today, The Vic Foundation remains committed to enriching the health and well-being of those living in our community and served by our community hospital. We champion innovation and are dedicated to advancing research and technology in our province. We are committed to transforming mental health care close to home to ensure our community can access care when and where they need it. We believe in empowering older adults to live safely and independently at home. And when hospital stays are necessary, we want to enhance the patient and family experience at our hospital.
At The Vic Foundation, we believe in building a healthier future for our community where we can all enjoy a better quality of life.
In 1988, The Vic Foundation introduced a brand new community service: Victoria Lifeline. Initially operating out of The Vic's Emergency Department, Victoria Lifeline opened with the goal of helping seniors and people living with disabilities maintain their independence.
Victoria Lifeline has grown to serve more than 350 communities and almost 6,000 active clients as the #1 medical alert service in Manitoba. Through its service, Victoria Lifeline has raised over $7 million for The Vic
Foundation over the last ten years to enhance patient care at our hospital and improve the health and well-being of our community. More than 30 years after it began, Victoria Lifeline remains a valued part of healthcare in our province and continues
to empower thousands of Manitobans to live safely and independently.
Victoria General Hospital’s Family Birth Centre first opened its doors in 1992. The Family Birth Centre was unique because it was the first family-centered birthing environment in Manitoba that had labour, delivery, recovery, and post-partum all located in one room. The Family Birth Centre delivered 15,000 babies and became a signature part of our community hospital before it closed more than a decade ago to allow for the birthing program to be centralized. The Family Birth Centre remains an important chapter in our history and is symbolic of our innovative spirit, which continues to this day.
In 1992, The Vic introduced minimally invasive surgery, which involves smaller incisions than a traditional surgery. Minimally invasive surgery offers patients less pain, fewer complications, and faster recovery times.
Our hospital’s surgery program has accomplished so much since it first began. The Vic became the first hospital in Manitoba to perform routine minimally invasive colorectal surgery. The Vic also became the first hospital in Manitoba and second in Canada to perform Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) procedures. Our hospital also performed the first five Transanal Total Mesorectal Excisions (TaTME) in Manitoba.
These accomplishments were made possible thanks to The Vic Foundation’s supporters, whose generous contributions funded the technology and equipment necessary for these procedures. In 2011, The Vic Foundation invested in technological upgrades to two existing surgical suites to convert them to minimally invasive surgical suites.
The Vic’s minimally invasive surgery program continues to make a significant impact on the health and well-being of our community. Our hospital is now a provincial Centre of Excellence for bariatric surgery and has the largest minimally invasive day surgery program in Winnipeg.
In 2006, the unique Mature Women’s Centre opened at Victoria General Hospital. This nurse-managed program provided comprehensive management of health issues related to menopause and aging women through an inter-professional team of expert healthcare professionals. This innovative approach to women’s healthcare was the inspiration that led The Vic Foundation to tackle one of the greatest threats facing women today: heart disease.
Heart disease is now recognized as the #1 killer of women. To address the growing threat of women’s heart disease, The Vic Foundation invested in a pilot cardiac care program, a research study, as well as an urgent community awareness and education campaign.
While the Mature Women’s Centre program ended in 2017, The Vic Foundation remains committed to advancing women’s heart disease prevention and treatment and is currently working with experts in our province on a new initiative to improve the
heart health of women in Manitoba.
As part of The Vic Foundation’s ongoing commitment to discovery and innovation, we invested in a research program at our hospital known as the Clinical Institute of Applied Research and Education (CIARE) in 2006. CIARE was created to support research in and for our hospital, to educate our community about important health issues, and to support continuing education and professional development for staff.
CIARE was The Vic Foundation’s first significant investment in local research, and these early steps paved the way for our strategic partnership with Research Manitoba in 2020. This strategic partnership provides us with an opportunity to advance
research in Manitoba and support made-in-Manitoba solutions from our own talented local researchers. To date, we have invested in a telepresence robot project to support individuals living with dementia and their caregivers, COVID-19 clinical trials,
and a health research grant program.
In 2008, our hospital’s previous Oncology clinic transformed into the bright and spacious Buhler Cancer Centre we know today with help from the generous support of our community. Patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment have a private view of our award-winning Miracle Garden designed to heal the mind, body, and spirit.
In 2018, we invested in the transformation of our Buhler Cancer Centre Solarium to better support patients and families. This restorative environment is filled with natural light and provides a calming space for rejuvenation. The Buhler Cancer Centre Solarium is also home to the Look Good Feel Better® program, which helps women restore their confidence following the appearance-related changes of their treatment.
The Buhler Cancer Centre remains a space of hope and healing for patients and families living with cancer in our community.
Darlene Williams was a devoted wife, mother, and friend who sadly passed away at The Vic in 2006. When she was in hospital, visits with her family lacked space and comfortable seating. Her Christmas dinner was served on paper plates with frequent trips to the nurses’ lounge for re-heating.
In honour of Darlene’s memory and in appreciation for the care she received, her family and friends set out to fulfill her wish as someone who wanted to be remembered for making a difference through the creation of the Darlene Williams Comfort Room.
This cozy home-like environment gives families a comfortable place to play games, watch movies, or cook meals together. Since opening in 2010, hundreds of families have created lasting memories in the Darlene Williams Comfort Room.
Victoria Lifeline launched its award-winning AutoAlert fall detection button in 2010. This innovative technology helps Manitobans keep their independence while giving them peace of mind knowing that AutoAlert’s built-in smart sensors can detect
a fall and automatically alert the Lifeline Response Centre. AutoAlert is the most widely adopted fall detection technology in North America and is trusted by clients across Manitoba to call for help if they can’t. In the past year, over 700
Manitobans received help automatically after a fall thanks to AutoAlert.
What began in 2011 as a new Emergency Centre has since evolved into the Urgent Care department we know today in order to provide better care for all patients and families in Winnipeg. Since its revitalization in 2017, our Urgent Care Centre provides 24/7
care for individuals experiencing non-life-threatening health concerns. Patients benefit from receiving coordinated and focused care in a more comfortable and private space.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, The Vic Foundation invested in technological upgrades to two existing surgical suites to convert them into state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgery suites. Patients now experience less pain and scarring, fewer complications, less risk of infection, significantly reduced recovery time, and a quicker return to normal activities.
Over the past decade, these suites have been furnished with various pieces of surgical equipment to enhance patient care. In 2011, a generous donor funded a Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) system that allows for polyps and potentially cancerous growths to be removed using natural orifices without an incision, thereby reducing the risk of complications. The Vic became the first site in Manitoba and the second in Canada to use this groundbreaking technology.
The Vic’s surgery program has evolved in recent years. Our community hospital is now home to the largest minimally invasive day surgery program in Winnipeg, with 15,000 surgeries performed annually. The Vic is also Manitoba’s Centre of Excellence for bariatric surgery.
In 2012, The Vic became the first medical facility in Manitoba to treat enlarged prostate using a breakthrough treatment called GreenLightTM XPS Laser Therapy, which uses laser energy to vaporize enlarged prostate tissue. This innovative therapy
allows for less risk of sexual dysfunction and other side effects common with traditional invasive surgical procedures, rapid symptom relief, improved urinary flow, and rapid recovery following the procedure.
In 2013, The Vic Foundation partnered with the Hearne family and our hospital to invest in the Laerdal® SimMan® 3G, a specialized patient simulator which offers educators the ability to test critical thinking and clinical decision making by simulating challenging and realistic scenarios. These hands-on simulations help to prepare healthcare professionals for real world situations in a safe environment, which in turn helps to improve patient care. The SimMan® is the centrepiece of our hospital’s state-of-the-art Hearne Simulation Learning Lab.
Since opening, the Hearne Simulation Learning Lab has expanded to include a mobile ultrasound unit and partial manikins for advanced airway training. Over 400 medical professionals have refined their skills in the Hearne Simulation Learning Lab since
its inception, including search and rescue technicians from the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue, members of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, the International Medical Graduate Program, Victoria General Hospital Nurse Educators,
the Winnipeg Critical Care Nurse Education Program, rural family doctors, and more.
Our peaceful Miracle Garden provides patients, staff, and members of our community with a healing and serene environment designed to nurture their mind, body, and spirit. Since opening in 2014, our Miracle Garden has offered refuge, relaxation and recovery
to people of all ages and abilities. This unique space won the award for Excellence in Universal Design and Accessibility at the City of Winnipeg’s Access Awards later that year. As the need for mental health resources continues to grow, this
calming environment space will promote healing, inspiration, and renewal for countless individuals in our community for years to come.
Recognizing that staying active and socially connected are key components of healthy aging, Victoria Lifeline launched their GoSafe service in 2015. The GoSafe mobile pendent automatically transitions from in-home coverage to on the go, giving clients
the confidence to continue living life to the fullest. GoSafe features six advanced location technologies, fall detection and two-way voice communication with the Lifeline Response Centre right through the button.
In 2015, The Vic Foundation invested in a micromanipulator which allows surgeons to make more precise incisions during middle ear procedures, allowing for quicker and safer operations, less anesthetic, easier set-up for nursing staff, and an improved result for the patient due to the use of a more focused laser.
Women’s heart disease is the leading cause of death in Manitoba women. To address this growing health concern, The Vic Foundation invested in For Her Heart’s Sake: an innovative project designed to improve the quality of life for women living
with heart disease and prevent heart disease for those at risk. The project included a cardiac care program, a research project, and an urgent awareness and education campaign.
Building on the important groundwork of For Her Heart’s Sake, The Vic Foundation is currently working with health experts in Manitoba to advance women’s heart disease prevention and treatment through a new initiative designed to improve the heart health of women in our province.
Staff at The Vic and ACCESS Fort Garry continue to experience unprecedented challenges on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients at our hospital also face the additional challenges of visitor restrictions and social distancing as they cope with illness and injury.
To address this urgent need, The Vic Foundation created a COVID-19 Critical Response Fund to support the needs of our frontline workers and patients. Through the generosity of our community, we invested in a resiliency project to support the well-being of staff during this difficult time. To improve the comfort of patients, we invested in iPads to help patients in hospital stay connected to their loved ones and new televisions to provide respite from their health concerns.
We are grateful for the support of our community as we continue to support the needs of our frontline staff and patients and address the toll the pandemic has taken on the mental health of our community.
At The Vic Foundation, we believe strongly in driving change through innovation and in working together to turn ideas and discoveries into sustainable change. In 2020, we were proud to announce a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership with Research Manitoba
to advance research in our province.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have invested in three innovative research initiatives through this strategic partnership. We invested in a telepresence robot research project to support informal caregivers and those in their care, a project which builds on our proud history of empowering Manitobans to live safely and independently through Victoria Lifeline. We helped to fund a series of COVID-19 clinical trials to enable local researchers to make their own contribution to the global fight against COVID-19. Finally, we invested in a health research competition to help fund excellence in research here in our province.
The Vic Foundation believes in the importance of helping older adults remain in their homes and communities and developing innovative responses to the family caregiving needs of older adults. Since 1988, our community service Victoria Lifeline has empowered
over 50,000 Manitobans to live safely and independently at home. As the #1 medical alert service in Manitoba, Victoria Lifeline has grown to serve more than 350 communities and almost 6,000 active clients.
To support older adults living with dementia and assist their informal caregivers, The Vic Foundation recently invested in a new telepresence robot research project. We have also invested in initiatives to support seniors in hospital during the pandemic, such as iPads to help patients stay connected to loved ones and new televisions to enhance the comfort of patients.
Seniors play a vital role in our lives. Together we can continue to enhance quality of life for older adults in our community and those who care for them.
Due to COVID-19, the best thing we can do for the seniors we love is to keep them safe by keeping our distance. Unfortunately, many seniors were already experiencing social isolation even before the pandemic.
Our Victoria Lifeline staff and volunteers are in the homes of seniors every day and see the devastating effects that social isolation and loneliness have on seniors, which are especially profound during the holidays. To combat social isolation in seniors, The Vic Foundation and Victoria Lifeline launched a new year-round program called Send a Smile to a Senior. This special program lets seniors in our community know they are not alone. The program kicked off by delivering care packages with homemade cards to 450 seniors over the holidays. Not only did the project brighten the season for many local seniors but also supported amazing local businesses at a time when they need it the most.
This spring, our Send A Smile To A Senior Calls For Comfort initiative connected local seniors with high school students for weekly phone calls providing support and friendship. We look forward to sending many more smiles to seniors in our community for
years to come.
Studies show that engaging in creative activity can have a positive impact on mental wellness. It can reduce negative thoughts, give people an opportunity to express themselves, and build self-esteem. As symptoms of anxiety and depression rise due to the global pandemic, we wanted to help people access resources to help them thrive. Our partnership with Artbeat Studio helped to connect individuals living with mental health issues with art kits and journals to support their healing and recovery in this time of need. These items promote healthy self-expression and provide an emotional outlet along with a sense of connection and community.
Artbeat Studio was the first recipient of The Vic Foundation’s Healthy Community Grant Program, which supports projects, programs, and initiatives that enrich the health and well-being of those served by our community hospital or living in our community.