In 1964, in response to the community care needs in the changing society and the Chinese Canadian community, a group of concerned individuals led by Rev. Ron Con, former Minister of the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Toronto, established the Mon Sheong Foundation. It was named after Mon Sheong, a man of legendary generosity who lived in China around 300 B.C. The objectives were to promote and pursue worthwhile projects within the Chinese Canadian community. It became the first Chinese Canadian voluntary charitable organization in Ontario when the Foundation received its Provincial Charter in 1965 and its registered charity number in 1967. In 1967, the foundation was recognized by the Federal government to be the first charitable organization.

The Mon Sheong Board today is made up of about 20 prominent philanthropists, business leaders and medical professionals under the distinguished patronage of the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and his predecessors.

The Mon Sheong Foundation was proudly to be the first Chinese charitable organization to participate in the Festival of Ontario when Queen Elizabeth II visited Toronto in 2002.

In 1965, the Foundation started evening English classes for new immigrants at the Orde Street Public School, and then conversational Chinese classes for the children of these immigrants. In 1967, in co-operation with the Toronto Board of Education, the Foundation started the adult Chinese classes in the evenings at the Bickford Park High School, and they are still going strong. In 1968, they started the Mon Sheong Chinese School, eventually establishing three sites in Toronto. In 1975, Ping Shao Quan became the principal, and under his guidance, generous grants from the Secretary of State of Canada were received, and the Chinese School grew from 47 students to an astounding number of over 1,600 students, probably the largest private Chinese language school in the whole of Canada!

Today, the Mon Sheong Foundation Chinese School located at North York, Markham and Richmond Hill provides Chinese classes taught in Cantonese and Putonghua, and also conversational Cantonese program, conversational Putonghua program and mathematics classes, to over 1,000 students. There are thirteen levels of instruction in the Chinese program for children aged 3 and above.

The Mon Sheong Foundation Youth Group was founded in 1969 for young people 15 to 24 years of age, with Victor Wong as their first President & Mrs. Margaret Mui as their first Advisor. It was celebrated with a skating party at Nathan Philips Square. The original objectives were to invite Chinese youth together, to provide them with an opportunity to meet and know one another and pursue charitable projects while having fun. It provides young people with opportunities to develop leadership and cooperative skills. In 2002, the Group developed into two chapters: the Young Leaders’ Chapter (for ages of 18 – 30) and the Youth Chapter (for ages of 14 – 17). This extension in age group allows the Foundation to create different programs and activities for high school students, university students and young professionals. Working under the guidance of a sub-committee, these two Chapters meet regularly and work on charitable projects in a spirit of fun, goodwill and community.

Volunteers are important pillars of the Mon Sheong Foundation. They are involved in various services ranging from serving in the Board of Directors of the Mon Sheong Foundation to contributing in different but essential areas, including long-term care centres, adult day care centre, Chinese School and various fundraising activities.

The Foundation upholds the Chinese tradition of honour and respect for the elderly with its long standing Mon Sheong Home for the Aged on D’Arcy Street. With the help of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Mon Sheong Home for the Aged was opened on May 7, 1975 as a residential home for 65 seniors (the first three residents were admitted that day). It provides a culturally appropriate environment for elderly Chinese Canadians. The Home thus became one of the early “community halls”, where different organizations in the Chinese Canadian community met and planned their worthy projects. The Home helps to develop outreach programmes in conjunction with other organizations, like Chinese meal on wheels and medical lectures.

The Foundation continued to promote and support organizations and services for the seniors, e.g. the Chinese Senior Citizens Recreation Society, the Chinese Seniors Home Support Services Association, etc. It also lent its volunteers and sponsorship to Chinese cultural events. The members also paid frequent visits to the Chinese Canadian elderly and organized entertainment and dinners for them.

In 1985, the Home finished a major renovation and converted 34 beds to extended care level (same as nursing home beds), becoming more than half a nursing home to Chinese Canadian seniors. Architectural improvement enhanced the residents’ desired for more autonomy and privacy. At the same time more nursing and other services were provided.

By the end of 1985, the Foundation found the Home too small to serve the community, and decided to plan and expand. A feasibility study was commissioned in 1987, and areas of large concentrations of needy Chinese Canadian seniors were focused on and their needs assessed.

In 1990, the Ministry of Health awarded 40 nursing home beds to the Mon Sheong Foundation. The Foundation acquired neighbouring land for extension. On June 29, 1997, Queen Elizabeth II visited the Mon Sheong Home for the Aged on D’Arcy Street, and laid the cornerstone for the Home’s new wing. The building had been holding 65 beds until 1999, and with its successful phase of expansion, extended to a total of 105 beds. Building a home close to families and the familiar landmarks of Toronto’s Chinatown was an early focus of the Foundation. The home is a convenient health care centre for elderly Chinese living in the area and provides a day program to support those who wish to stay in their homes. The Foundation increased its outreach with its Asian Meals-on-Wheels program, ensuring independent senior citizens have nutritious meals made to cater to their tastes.

The Mon Sheong Foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care have taken the first step to make our dream of care a reality. In 2000, the Mon Sheong Foundation was granted permission by the Ministry of Health to create long-term care beds within the Greater Toronto Area. The Foundation built two new long-term care centres with 192 beds in Richmond Hill and 160 beds in Scarborough, which is a dramatic addition to the original 105 beds in D’Arcy Home. Both Centres completed and in aggregate, Mon Sheong is providing 457 long-term care beds to meet the needs of seniors and physically challenged individuals in the region.

All these 3 state-of-the-art facilities provide quality care services for seniors, physically or mentally challenged, and individuals suffering from other dementia. With 7-day, 24-hour nursing services, the risks caused by delayed treatment can be restrained to a minimum. The management of these three Long-Term Care Centres will meet with resident families regularly to enhance communication about the conditions and needs of residents.

Today, the demand for elderly services among the Chinese population is rising. More than any other time in the history of Canadian healthcare, there is an urgent need today to provide for the elderly. There are currently approximately 3,000 elderly Chinese Canadians on our waiting lists for care. On average, people who urgently require our services must wait for two to five years to be admitted.

In order to meet the needs of frail seniors living in the York Region, as well as alleviating the burden of their caretakers, the Mon Sheong Foundation launched its first adult day care centre at Richmond Hill Long-Term Care Centre in 2008 without government funding, after undergoing extensive preparation. The Adult Day Care Program is a community-based program which aims to enhance or maintain optimal functioning by engaging participants in activities; delay premature institutionalization by providing caregiver support through education, counseling, and caregiver relief; and promote self determination, independence, wellness and quality of life of participants.

In addition to hot meals, the Program also offers client-focused activities based on social, mental, physical, recreational, educational, spiritual and religious needs of participants. Care services include basic health monitoring, group physiotherapy, dietary consultation, Snoezelen treatments, and so forth.

Recognizing the need for reaching out to more seniors living nearby, Mon Sheong Foundation has established two Community & Volunteer Services Centres in Scarborough and downtown Toronto. They serve as a supporting resource for our volunteers and Youth Group, and are open to seniors, offering a variety of activities, programs and classes catering to the interests of our users. The “Friends of Senior Circle”, our dedicated seniors’ club for those aged 50 or above, has been introduced in each Centre. Members of the club can enjoy the facilities and the discounts on our paid recreational courses.

Completed in 2008, Scarborough Mon Sheong Court, the first senior home project of the Mon Sheong Foundation, aims at enabling more seniors to enjoy quality care services and surroundings. Located in close proximity to Scarborough Long-Term Care Centre, Scarborough Mon Sheong Court provides 242 suites with life lease housing options for seniors aged 55 years and above. Apart from a 24-hour monitoring system with an emergency medical alert/call system installed in each suite and along the corridors, interiors are also thoughtfully designed to cater for the specialized needs of seniors. The building has a well-equipped recreation centre, a multifunction card room, a well-stocked library, and a large and elegantly furnished dining room, and meal delivery services for its residents – services that cater to meet residents’ every need.

Following the success of Scarborough Mon Sheong Court, the Mon Sheong Foundation started to develop Richmond Hill Mon Sheong Court in 2010 with over 300 senior apartments. Building A commenced occupancy in December 2013; Building C will be closing in June 2014. The ground breaking ceremony of Markham Mon Sheong Court Phase I was held on October 2013. The project will project will provide 450 suites and is expecting to complete on 2016.

Richmond Hill and Markham Mon Sheong Court projects will provide assisted living, private care and charity care services to relieve the demand for long-term care beds. Mon Sheong Foundation is proud to be the pioneer of these philanthropic services to the community. Mon Sheong Charity Care Service will provide healthcare supportive services that are equivalent to those offered by Private Care, to individuals who are qualified and are waiting for admission to Long Term Care Centres; this will provide a caregiver relief to the senior’s families.

Just as the needs of our society are constantly changing, the Mon Sheong Foundation is taking strides to step up to the challenge. With the provision of services by three long-term care facilities now a reality, we are now faced with the challenges of keeping up our high service standards, looking after the maintenance needs of our three long-term care facilities, and expanding our scope of services to meet our users’ ever-changing needs. We are counting on you to be our partners in service delivery, and your generous support is urgently needed.

If you want to participate in any of the foregoing services, we will love to have you in Mon Sheong’s family. We will provide training if you are new to the services. If you have special skills, we would like to invite you to share your skills and experience with others.

“Sharing and Caring with You by Our Side” is our proud theme. We ask you to make it yours as well.