Learn more about Heart Month

Heart and Stroke Foundation - History:

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:

  • 130,000 volunteers
  • close to two million donors
  • more than 800 full- and part-time staff

Since 1956, the Foundation has raised and invested more than $1.3 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.

Heart Month - History

The Heart Month campaign began in 1958 when the Foundation, led by Dr. Wilfred Bigelow, committed to raise $600,000 to fund heart research. In Ontario, volunteers in Hamilton, Kingston, Lakehead, London, Oakville, Oshawa, Peterborough and Port Hope launched a modest door-to-door campaign to raise a provincial goal of $250,000. By the end of the campaign, they had exceeded goal and raised $320,000.

In 1962, the canvass – named the “Heart Sunday Canvass” – was expanded to include additional cities. Canvassers consisted primarily of Air Cadet Squadrons, Ladies’ Auxiliary and Canadian Legion branches and medical students from the University of Toronto.

Today, the February Heart Month Person-to-Person canvass is our biggest and most well known campaign.

Now, the Heart Month Campaign is a well established national community based fundraising campaign. The success of this program is rooted its 80,000 volunteers, who make friendly, personal requests to their neighbours and networks, by canvassing their neighborhoods for donations through the month of February, to support life-saving research and raise awareness of heart disease and stroke within their communities.

Today, heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor. Heart Month is the Heart and Stroke Foundation's key opportunity to reach millions of Canadians in February and alert them to the risks of heart disease and stroke. Volunteers are the face and the voice of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Heart Month is a critical time when we depend on you to share our message.

Register to canvass this February.

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