Our History Timeline

Our History

10 Years of care

Hospice Greater Saint John was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Charities for Giving for 2020.  Bobby’s Hospice admitted their 1,000th patient and celebrated 10 years of care.

Residential Hospice Standards

Hospice Greater Saint John, Hospice Fredericton and the NB Medical Society met with Progressive Conservative Health Minister, The Honourable Ted Flemming to discuss the need for Residential Hospice Standards.  The Minister agreed to the establishment of Residential Hospice Standards based on evidence and best practices to ensure the effective delivery of in-patient palliative care outside of a hospital setting in New Brunswick.  As members of the New Brunswick Hospice Palliative Care Association’s Residential Hospice Committee, Hospice approved Residential Hospice Standards to be sent to the Department of Health for consideration.

Increased Operational Funding

The Liberal Government of New Brunswick, under Premier Brian Gallant, provided an increase in operational funding to $766,500 per year.   With increased government and community support, Hospice invested in additional human resources to enhance patient care and hired a Music Therapist, Social Worker and Development Manager.  With special grant funding, Hospice invested in new flooring, patient beds, new mattresses, patient chairs, over bed tables, bedside tables, pumps, etc. at Bobby’s Hospice and improved their wound care program and drug coverage program.   Hospice entered into two new strategic partnerships this year:  Fundy Funeral Home to provide their customers with private and group grief support counselling and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation to support enhanced and cost effective electronic tax receipting and donor database management.

Free Public Lecture

Hospice expanded its services to include education and launched the first annual Free Public Lecture and Living Well Dying Well Conference.

500th Patient

Bobby’s Hospice admitted their 500th patient and celebrated 5 years as a preferred place of in-patient palliative care with stellar community support.

Hospice Legacy Foundation

To ensure the sustainability of Bobby’s Hospice, the Hospice Board of Directors led by Chair Shirley McAlary established the Hospice Legacy Foundation in June 2012.  The Foundation serves as an investment fund with the annual earnings being directed to support Bobby’s Hospice.   The annual Hospice BBQ Fundraiser is launched at Bobby’s Hospice.

Sunflower Luncheon

The first Annual Sunflower Luncheon is held.

Renovations Complete

The Hospice staff moved back into 385 Dufferin Row just prior to the February Valentine Gala as renovations were nearing completion and work began on setting up the facility for operations.   Hospice hired Dr. Chris O’Brien, as Medical Director and Nicole Hamming, RNBN, as Nurse Manager in July to establish our 24-hour medical and nursing services.  Ruth Hill, Volunteer Manager, recruited and trained a team of volunteers to support the work of the physicians and nurses and set up our food services program.  Diane Sullivan, Grief/Spiritual Care and Support Services Manager, served as the Décor Lead designing the colors for the home and purchasing supplies and furniture, as well as establishing our spiritual care services.   In August, Hospice and the Government of New Brunswick signed a Memorandum of Understanding for residential hospice operations at a ceremony held at Bobby’s Hospice.   In October, the Hospice Board of Directors hosted a Public Open House to thank the community and showcase the home.  The newly hired clinical care team and support staff underwent an intensive two-week training program in the delivery of palliative care and working in a residential hospice.   On November 1, 2010, history was made when Bobby’s Hospice opened its doors and accepted its first patients. 

Operational Funding

Board Chair Patrick Woods successfully convinced the NB Government to provide operational funding in the amount of $730,000/year.  Minister Mary Schryer from the Liberal Government announced the operational funding partnership at the Hospice Valentine Gala February 14, 2009.   Board member Cathy Connolly led the research and establishment of The Hospice Shoppe.  UNBSJ’s Business Department was contracted to do the market research and business plan and The Shoppe opened in July as an upscale second-hand retail store with 100% of the profits designated to fund care at Bobby’s Hospice.


The Hospice staff moved out of 385 Dufferin Row in October and took up residence in Brunswick Square in complimentary office space donated by Fortis Properties.   Board member Shirley McAlary chaired the multi-year renovations project from 2008 – 2010 and co-signed bank loans when funding ran short.  Local Architect Michael Richard did the official architectural design work and Bird Construction managed the extensive renovations.   CEO Sandy Johnson led the design and set up of the residential hospice, using the business plans and best practices of several Canadian residential hospices as models.

Official Establishment
Official Establishment

Hospice purchased St. Joseph’s Convent at 385 Dufferin Row from the Sisters of Charity at the significantly reduced rate of $250,000, and sold the Douglas Avenue house at a loss. The official establishment of Bobby’s Hospice was underway. Hospice publicly launched the “Realize the Dream” Capital Campaign to raise the funds needed to renovate the Convent and convert it into a residential hospice.  The Campaign ran until March 2010 and raised $2M.  The Campaign Cabinet included:   Campaign Chair                      Dr. Nancy Grant Honorary Campaign Chair     Steve Murphy Government Gift Chair           Patrick Woods Service Clubs Gift Chairs       Marilyn Craft and Ivy Cosman Foundations Gift Chair           Sandy Johnson Corporate Gift Co-Chairs       Cathy Connolly and Tina Learmonth Individual Gift Chair              Dr. C. O’Brien Community Gift Chair            Alan Macdonald


In May, Hospice moved out of the hospital and into a home at 282 Douglas Avenue.  From there our volunteer visiting and grief support programs continued, along with the addition of a Day Hospice program.   Hospice conducted extensive research and developed comprehensive plans to establish, operate and fund a 10-bed residential hospice in the community.  Meetings took place with politicians, government, hospital officials and the newspaper.   All agreed to work together to make Bobby’s Hospice a reality.

10 Bed residential hospice

While facing her own end of life illness, Hospice volunteer Catherine “Bobby” Lawson and her family donated $100,000 to begin the journey of establishing a 10-bed residential hospice. Hospice launched the “Brick Capital Campaign” led by Board Chair, Marilyn Craft, with the goal of raising an additional $200,000 to purchase a Hospice House in the community.  Virtual bricks were sold for $10 and Minister Trevor Holder from the PC Government made a donation of $50,000 from the NB Regional Development Corporation

Memorandum of Understanding

Hospice started a community volunteer palliative support program in the Sussex region. An official Memorandum of Understanding was signed for the Hospice Palliative Care Centre and this new service opened as a one-year pilot project in April.  Hospice provided three staff and the hospital provided the palliative physician and a nurse to see patients in clinic and at home.  The program continues today as the Hospice Palliative Care Outreach Service and is staffed and funded by Horizon Health. The first annual Hospice Memorial Walk is held.

Research & Planning

Research and planning began on the establishment of a Hospice Palliative Care Centre of Excellence, in partnership with Extra Mural and the Palliative Care Unit.  A Therapeutic Care Clown Program was launched in partnership with the Hospital’s Volunteer Department to bring smiles to those in need.


Hospice moved from St. Joseph’s Hospital to the Saint John Regional Hospital.  That same year, Hospice Executive Director, Sandy Johnson was named to Health Canada’s National Strategy on Palliative and End of Life Care.

The vision of Bobby’s Hospice
The vision of Bobby’s Hospice

The vision of Bobby’s Hospice was launched with the release of the Senate Report, “Quality End of Life Care:  The Right of Every Canadian.”  Later that year, Hospice established an Education & Advocacy Committee under the leadership of Dr. Chris O’Brien to advance end of life care in our community.

Grief Support

Hospice added grief support services to its programs of care.

Friends of Hospice

Our Ladies Auxiliary, the Friends of Hospice, was formed to support patient services and help with fundraising.  The first Annual Hospice Valentine Gala is held.


Radiation Oncologist Dr. Nancy Grant and a team of community leaders established Hospice Saint John.  The Sisters of Charity provided complimentary office space at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  Volunteers were trained and began supporting patients in their homes, providing emotional, spiritual and practical support.