This housing complex was built on the site of the former Wellesley Central Hospital. Its construction was possible through the vision and financial contribution of the Wellesley Institute and the leadership of one of its board members – Tony Di Pede.
A teaching organization affiliated with the University of Toronto, the Wellesley Hospital was founded in 1911. It merged with the Central Hospital in 1996. In the 1990s, Wellesley Central Hospital, through its Urban Health Initiative programme, became a community-oriented teaching hospital and an outstanding model of health service delivery, education, and research in urban environments. Innovative health care was provided for people living with HIV/AIDS. The hospital closed in 1998. Ownership of the site reverted to the Wellesley Institute, the Hospital’s successor organization. The Wellesley Institute redeveloped the site for a long term care facility, non-profit housing, condominiums, and the Wellesley Magill public park.
Tony Di Pede has been a truly outstanding advocate for the treatment, counseling, and financial aid for people living with HIV/AIDS, seniors and disabled. For the past 20 years, he worked for the interests of people living with HIV/AIDS serving on the Board of Directors of numerous local, provincial, national and international AIDS service organizations. He was Chair of the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation (1990 – 1997), and Chair of the Wellesley Central Hospital Community Advisory AIDS Committee (1993 – 1998). Through his work as a Commissioner on the Ontario Advocacy Commission and as a board member of the Drs Paul and John Rekai Centre, a long term care facility, he was an advocate for the interests of the disabled and seniors. He has had a paramount focus on those at risk of losing housing, the under housed and the homeless. He has undertaken this community service as Chair of the Out of the Cold Resource Centre (2000 – 2003), as a board member of Fife House and at the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation.
He joined the Wellesley Hospital’s Board of Directors in 1995. As a board member of the Wellesley Institute he successfully led a board initiative that would assure this housing complex would be built on the site of the demolished hospital. (The Wellesley Institute provided approximately $1,300,000 toward the construction of the building.) In recognition of his stellar contribution the Board of Directors of the Wellesley Central Residence Inc. passed with distinct pleasure a 2008 motion designating this building as the “Tony Di Pede Affordable Housing Complex.” His contributions, passion and commitment have set a high standard for younger generations to follow and his legacy will live on through this building and the gratitude of its residents.