History of the John Gordon Home

The London Regional AIDS Hospice ~ John Gordon Home has the distinction of being Canada's first hospice built exclusively to meet the needs of those living with HIV or AIDS. But the John Gordon home has become much more than that. LRAH sprang from the vision of Betty Anne Thomas and Dr. Iain Mackie in the late 1980's. Their desire to provide a safe, home-like environment for those in the end stages of AIDS and HIV infection has grown into the John Gordon Home of today; A place where people living with AIDS and HIV and Hepatitis-C receive compassionate care and supportive housing that builds on individual strengths to promote wellness and independence.

Here you will find excerpts and articles that chronicle the history of LRAH/John Gordon Home. The first article, 'This House Is a Home', outlines the story of JGH from its inception through the move to our present location at 566 Pall Mall St. in 1997.

This House Is A Home

written by Leslie Garrett for London Magazine

May-June 1998

Were it not for the John Gordon Home, Norman Shearing admits he’d likely be “dead or sick in the hospital”. Shearing has been living with HIV for roughly half his 34 years. Originally from St. Thomas, he now makes his home in a self-contained apartment on the second floor of the John Gordon Home.

On April 15, 1997, the 5’7” Shearing came to the John Gordon Home weighing less than 100lbs. Staff quickly discovered his partner had been administering too much morphine. He was slowly weaned off the narcotic and given appropriate medication in appropriate doses. But the John Gordon Home has done more than help him recover his physical health, says Shearing, it has giving him his “own life, privacy, respect and dignity.”

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Steering Committee Press Release

dated October 31, 1990

A Steering Committee has been formed to undertake the creation of a hospice for persons with AIDS and HIV infection as they reach the final stages of their illness. The goal is to create a caring, compassionate, home-like environment where residents can spend their last days with dignity.

The Steering Committee has set a target date of September 30, 1992 for the opening of the Hospice. Funding is expected to come from the Ministry of Health of the Province of Ontario, as well as community fund-raising activities.

We expect the Hospice to have 16-20 respite and terminal care beds. It is expected to be housed in a home-like setting, centrally located, with ready access to community services and public transit.

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A Setback and a Challenge

A letter to the editor of the London Free Press from March 1992

written by Dr. Iain Mackie after efforts to purchase Grosvenor Lodge were turned down by London's board of control

Now that the issue of Grosvenor Lodge has finally been settled, I would like to reassure the citizens of the City of London that the search for an AIDS hospice will not cease. We hope and expect that a functional AIDS hospice will be up and running in London within the year.

Morris Dalla Costa hit the nail on the head when he said that what happened at City Council on Monday, March 2 was a piece of 'sleazy politics'. It was very clear from the outset tht a number of City Councillors felt that anything should be at Grosvenor Lodge but the AIDS hospice. It is also clear that a number of City Councillors used questionable tactics to defeat the proposal.

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LRAH~John Gordon Home Nears Completion

A promotional letter written July 31, 1992

In September, 1992, the John Gordon Home for people with AIDS will open. Initiated in 1990 as a project of the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, it has taken long planning and hard work by over 100 volunteers to make this much-needed home available for London area residents living with AIDS.

The John Gordon Home is named after a young London man who died of AIDS in Parkwook Hospital on New Year's Day, 1992. As the first person in Southwestern Ontario to publicly acknowledge his disease, John worked to dispel the myths about AIDS and the people who live with it. Before his illness became severe, John also worked as a counsellor at the AIDS Committe of London, providing care and support to others living with HIV/AIDS.

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John Gordon Home Opens Its Doors

Press release, October 7, 1992

The Board of Directors of the London Regional AIDS Hospice is holding an open house for The John Gordon Home, an 8-bed home for people in their last stages of AIDS, on Friday, October 9, 1992 from 2:00 pm. to 6:00 pm. Memmbers of the communnity are invited to tour the newly renovated home. Anyone unable to visit the home on Friday is welcome to tour on Saturday, October 10 between 9:00 am. and 5:00 pm.

The home, located at 414 Dufferin Avenue, was aquired in July 1992. Over the summer, volunteers have given over 2500 person hours, giving up evenings and weekends to help renovate and refurbish the home. With the official opening scheduled for the first week of November, a lot of hard work has been completed in a short period of time. The Board is very appreciative of everyone's time and of the gifts we have received to date. We could not have done it without them. ~

Official Opening of the John Gordon Home

Press release, October 27, 1992

The John Gordon Home, at 414 Dufferin Avenue, will be officially opened by the Hon. Marion Boyd on Friday, October 30,1992 after a summer of very hard work by volunteers who have ploughed their talents into making the former home of Joe Swan and his wife a warm, comfortable and beautiful home for persons living with AIDS.

The Board of Directors would like to thank all the neighbours and friends who have given their support and help in making this dream come true. the first residents will enter the Home on November 2, 1992 under the guidance of the newly appointed Coordinator, Ms. Julie Johnston. ~