About Ian Anderson House
Ian Anderson was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He immigrated to Canada in 1953 where he met Margaret. They married in 1955 and their son, Stuart, was born in 1959. The family moved to Mississauga from Scarborough in 1972. Ian was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1987 and died at home in the care of his wife and son in November 1990. He was 59 years old.
At the time of Ian’s death, there were no residential hospices in Ontario and little support was available for those who wished to die at home. Because of her experience of caring for Ian in the last few months of his life, the physical and emotional toll, the sense of isolation and the feeling of fear and uncertainty, Margaret decided to build a residential hospice in memory of her husband so that families in a situation like hers could be cared for and supported.
As a first step Margaret, with the help of her son Stuart established The Ian Anderson House Foundation. Margaret experienced many unexpected obstacles as a result of a general lack of understanding in the community concerning hospice philosophy and the valuable service that residential hospices provide to the terminally ill.
Margaret and Stuart eventually found a property in Oakville where the hospice could be built. Margaret then donated $1 million to the foundation to purchase the property and construct the hospice. In 1997, Ian Anderson House, Ontario’s first residential cancer hospice was finally opened, on the anniversary of Ian Anderson’s death.
Ian Anderson House is now one of many residential hospices in Ontario. Margaret Anderson’s tireless efforts were a catalyst for palliative care and the hospice movement. Indeed, for over two decades, her dogged determination and tenacity have helped to shape and remold attitudes towards caring for the dying.