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Sunnybrook remembers Alexandre Raab: philanthropist, entrepreneur and friend

Sep 24, 2015

Sunnybrook is marking the recent passing of Alexandre Raab, whose legacy as a generous supporter and friend of the hospital is truly extraordinary.

Having fought for freedom as a Second World War resistance fighter, Mr. Raab, along with his wife Jeannine, immigrated to Canada in 1953 with profound gratitude for the courage of Canadian soldiers. Drawn to Sunnybrook’s heritage as a hospital for war veterans and by our transformation into a major academic health sciences centre, the Raabs would go on to become generous philanthropic supporters and enduring friends. Today, it is the Sunnybrook community that expresses its deep appreciation and condolences to the Raab family.

“Our patients are fortunate to have benefitted from the kindness and generosity of Mr. Raab and his family,” says Dr. Barry McLellan, president and CEO of Sunnybrook. “They have left their mark across the hospital, from medical imaging to musculoskeletal care to veterans care.”

Sunnybrook was able to acquire its first MRI machine thanks to a landmark gift from the Raabs. The family continued to support a wide range of initiatives at Sunnybrook, including a history book that offers a photographic journey through the hospital’s past. Mr. Raab also supported Sunnybrook Foundation as a volunteer, having been a long-time member of the foundation’s Governing Council.

Fittingly, visitors to Sunnybrook can drive past our veterans’ centre along Raab Boulevard, named in recognition of the tremendous impact the family has had on the hospital’s development.

As avid horticulturalists and successful entrepreneurs in the gardening industry, the Raabs created a hybrid rose specifically for the hospital and aptly named it the Sunnybrook Rose. It serves as the symbol we use to honour the dedication of volunteers to philanthropy at Sunnybrook, through our annual Sunnybrook Rose Award ceremony. A bed of Sunnybrook Roses can be found in front of the veterans’ centre, along with a bust of Sir Winston Churchill that was sculpted and donated by Mr. Raab’s brother, Ernest Raab.

“The Raabs’ dedication to our patients has served as an example for the many generous donors who have followed in their footsteps,” says Dr. Jon S. Dellandrea, president and CEO of Sunnybrook Foundation. “A man of great intellect and many accomplishments, Mr. Raab will be fondly remembered by the Sunnybrook community.”