Remembering a champion of Toronto Western Hospital

Fraser Fell

Fraser M. Fell, C.M.

UHN lost one of its most passionate champions with the passing of Fraser M. Fell, C.M. on April 23, 2020 in his 92nd year.

A former Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) Board Chair, Fraser was one of the leaders of the amalgamation of TWH with Toronto General Hospital, which created The Toronto Hospital in 1986. He continued to champion many projects at TWH, including the Krembil Brain Institute and the Krembil Research Institute. His contributions were recognized with the naming of the Fraser M. Fell Pavilion at TWH.

Fraser was deeply involved in many aspects of UHN’s history, governance and fundraising activities. He was a tremendous support to five different board chairs who counted on him as a dedicated board member who rarely missed a board meeting and always followed through on his commitments. His attention to detail, sense of fairness and superior collaborative skills guided the amalgamation of the organizations and ensured continued growth.

From 1979 to 1985, Fraser served as Chair of TWH and was one of the first Chairs of The Toronto Hospital. In fact, both Fraser and his youngest brother, Anthony (Tony) S. Fell, were key forces behind the eventual creation of University Health Network. Tony, having been chair of the Princess Margaret Hospital and a former chair of the UHN Board of Trustees.

Fraser was born on June 17, 1928 in Toronto. A successful mining executive and lawyer, he gave generously of his time and resources to the arts, health and education sectors. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995 and was also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals.

“My father was very proud of his role in the merger of TWH with Toronto General Hospital to create what is now one of the world’s best hospitals,” says Mark Fell. “It took a great deal of diplomacy and negotiation, but he was convinced it would result in the best outcome.”

Fraser and Margot Fell with Prince Edward

Margot and Fraser Fell with Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex at Toronto General Hospital. 

Fraser, and his late wife Margot who passed away in 2017, were generous supporters of nursing at UHN through the Fraser and Margot Fell Nursing Fund. Moreover, they were also enthusiastic benefactors of the Krembil Brain Institute and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. Both Fraser and Margot imparted to their five children the importance of giving back, as shown through their involvement in many causes that spanned education, social services, the arts and health care.

As a fundraising champion and volunteer, Fraser participated in several major campaigns with Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation (TGWHF). He was a Vice Chair of The Toronto Hospital’s $34-million Generation Fund campaign. His volunteer participation also includes the Spark of Life Campaign and the Cardiac Centre Campaign, Together We Make Life Better Campaign, the Krembil Discovery Tower Campaign and the Brain Campaign. During his 27-years as a TGWHF board member, Fraser served on many subcommittees of the board, including chair of the Audit Committee. He remained a trusted advisor to his board colleagues as well as the senior management of TGWHF when he stepped down in 2013. Even then, he kept busy with TGWHF, serving as one of the first chairs of The Senate, a newly formed society to keep former board members of UHN and TGWHF engaged.

“Fraser’s exceptional legacy to our hospitals and our Foundation will be remembered and appreciated for years to come,” said Tennys Hanson, Chief Executive Officer of TGWHF. “He will be deeply missed by the many lives he helped and touched.