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Our History

Anne Armstrong Gibson - colourWellspring was founded in Toronto in 1992 by Anne Armstrong Gibson, who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1988. Along with all her other fears about treatment, survival and the future of her husband and two young children, Anne experienced something more, an overwhelming sense of isolation. She quickly realized that this was an all-too-common experience among cancer patients, and became determined to fill the void.

With the help and encouragement of some of the leading experts in the field of oncology, Anne worked with family, friends and supporters to establish Wellspring, a non-profit organization offering psychological, emotional, social, spiritual and informational support to individuals and families living with cancer.  Anne’s vision for Wellspring was to create a Canada-wide network of community-based centres that would provide people with the tools they required to cope with cancer.

In 1992, Wellspring opened its first centre, The Coach House, on Wellesley Street East in Toronto. In 1999, Wellspring launched its second centre, in north Toronto, on the campus of Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre.  Although Anne died in 1995, her vision still guides the organization’s growing network, a network that now serves individuals and families living with cancer across Canada.

In keeping with Anne’s vision, Wellspring continues to provide an innovative and creative approach to the overall care of the whole person, with the aim of improving quality of life. It is a cooperative, community effort, based on the needs of patients and their loved ones, and the approach is designed to complement any medical treatments patients may be undergoing.

Key Dates

1988 – Anne Armstrong Gibson is diagnosed with Cancer

  • Idea of Wellspring is born
  • Advisory Committee is established

1991 – Wellspring is registered as a non-profit organization

1992 – The Coach House opens inToronto

1995 – Anne Armstrong Gibson dies

1999 – Wellspring Sunnybrook (Westerkirk House) opens

2000 – Wellspring Halton-Peel (Birmingham Gilgan House) opens

2000 – Wellspring London opens

2001 – Wellspring Niagara opens

2002 – Wellspring Centre of Innovation is founded

2007 – Wellspring Calgary opens

2008 – Wellspring Chinguacousy opens

2017 – Wellspring Edmonton opens

2019 – Wellspring starts to offer online programs, available across Canada