Alumna Mary Pat Armstrong has been appointed to the Order of Canada. Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.
Mary Pat Armstrong has been a committed community volunteer and advocate for nearly 40 years. She dedicated much of her life and career to founding, chairing and funding several organizations with the aim of bettering the life of children with cancer and children with disabilities. Her passion, enthusiasm and unwavering commitment have led to many profoundly impactful contributions to the healthcare and disability communities in Canada.
She played a key role in establishing the first Ronald McDonald House in Canada (the second in North America). Mary Pat’s leadership and vision gave rise to Toronto’s Ronald McDonald House and enabled it to grow so significantly that it is now the largest of the 340 Ronald McDonald Houses around the globe.
Mary Pat went on to found Camp Oochigeas in 1982 a camp for children with cancer. Today, Camp Oochigeas hosts over 2,000 children with cancer each year. On a mission to improve life for people with intellectual disabilities, Mary Pat became involved with a technological project, ConnectABILITY, which helps improve life for people with intellectual disabilities. Inspired by the positive impact that program had on her daughter, Mary Pat partnered with Community Living Toronto to form LIGHTS, a program which assists families in supporting their intellectually challenged sons and daughters to live with a greater degree of independence.
Mary Pat’s vision, drive, and passion have improved not only the communities in which she works and lives but Canada as a whole. She was the 2017 recipient of the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing Dean’s Award of Excellence.