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Touching your hearts and minds

More than 60 years ago, a visionary group of Canadians, including physicians and researchers, established the National Heart Foundation of Canada with big hopes for the future.

They had a dream: to put heart health on the public agenda, to empower researchers to turn the tide on heart disease, and to educate Canadians about their hearts. With the emergence of Ontario's Foundation in 1952 and British Columbia's three years later, a network soon began to develop across the country. In 1956, the Quebec and Saskatchewan Foundations were established. In 1961, the Foundation was renamed the Canadian Heart Foundation.

After decades of growth in influence and impact on the health of Canadians, the Heart and Stroke Foundation reached its latest milestone in 2011, when the national office and nine independent provincial bodies united to become one strong, national organization. Today, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada is at work in communities from coast to coast, with:

  • 140,000 volunteers
  • close to two million donors
  • more than 600 full-time employees.

Through the years and guided by visionary Canadian men and women, doctors and researchers, staff and volunteers, the corporate community and the community at-large, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has played a leadership role in the study, prevention and reduction of disability and death from heart disease and stroke in Canada.

A few facts...

  • The death rate from heart disease and stroke has declined by more than 75 per cent since the Foundation’s beginnings in 1952.
  • There is still a lot to do: Heart disease and stroke remain a leading cause of death for Canadian men and women, and 9 in 10 have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke.
  • Eighty percent of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable.
  • Changing demographics make the issues even more urgent, with the aging of the baby boomers and a younger generation facing increasing risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
  • The Foundation raises funds through the generosity of about two million donors across the country, and by partnering with corporations to fund initiatives that improve the health of Canadians.
  • The Foundation receives no operational funding from government sources.

Since 1956, the Foundation has raised and invested more than $1.39 billion in leading-edge heart disease and stroke research. These impressive results have been made possible by the ongoing and valuable efforts of volunteers and donors across this country.

As heart and stroke-related diseases continue to touch so many lives, your financial support also continues to grow and reach new milestones in supporting research, health promotion and advocacy.

Learn more about how the Foundation is tangibly improving the health of Canadians.