As you enter the front doors of St. Joseph’s Health Centre, you’ll find a gift shop that from the outside, may look like many others—but on the inside, it’s filled with more than a few surprises. Of course, you’ll find lots of giftware, fashion jewellery, warm slippers and stuffed toys. But you’ll also find items hand-made by our patients and residents and cards for every occasion. You can pick up a coffee or find something for every craving—salty or sweet. But what’s perhaps most remarkable about this shop is that there is not one, single paid employee. The shop is entirely managed by a team of passionate, dedicated volunteers.

“Our incredible team of volunteers look after all aspects of the shop, from ordering stock and managing inventory, to making beautiful window displays and creating an inviting atmosphere with outstanding customer service,” says Alaina Holman, Volunteer Coordinator at St. Joseph’s Health Centre. Since many people at St. Joseph’s are living with serious illnesses or injuries, it can be challenging for them to go out shopping, so the Silver Maple Shop offers them a place where they can find something special for themselves or the people they love. But patients and residents are not the only customers the shop sees. Staff, visitors and neighbourhood friends have also found the shop to be a great gift-giving go-to. “We’re so thankful to our team of volunteers,” said Sera Filice-Armenio, Foundation CEO. “Not only is the Silver Maple Shop an important part of the St. Joe’s community, it’s a strong supporter of our Foundation, too. One hundred percent of the proceeds from sales at the shop support our Health Centre and enable us to continue providing exceptional care. It’s the gift shop that keeps on giving.”

Did you know…

The Silver Maple Shop’s name was based upon a story that began shortly after the hospital opened its doors in 1861. One day, a peddler selling saplings appeared on the doorstep of the hospital. The Sisters of St. Joseph could not afford to buy even one sapling, but they did invite the peddler in for a meal. In gratitude for their hospitality, the peddler planted a silver maple sapling on the front lawn of the hospital. This majestic tree became the symbol for the strength and caring that St. Joseph’s hospital and its founders embodied. After standing like a sentinel for more than 150 years right where it was planted so long ago, the original silver maple had to be removed in 2011. Its legacy lives on though. Silver maple saplings have been planted throughout the years all over the grounds of St. Joseph’s to ensure there is always a silver maple on the property.