ANTIGONISH: The late John MacLellan, lifetime resident of Antigonish, gifted the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation (SMRHF) with a $1.68 million legacy donation.

“This gift from Mr. MacLellan is the largest single gift received in the Foundation’s history—it is truly extraordinary,” said Meghan MacGillivray-Case, Chair of the SMRHF. “We are so grateful to John for his donation. Through this donation, the foundation will ensure John’s legacy of community service will live on through our ‘St. Martha’s and You…’ Endowment Fund and continue to support St. Martha’s Regional Hospital for years to come.”

The SMRHF said many know MacLellan from his long-time career as a taxi driver in Antigonish. They said he started his career as a driver with Zinck’s Taxi and continued driving taxi for other companies in town, boasting over 60 years of service in the industry.

The foundation said MacLellan took pride in his job and always dressed in his trademark blue uniform and cap. He was recognized by the Town of Antigonish with a plaque for his 60-plus years of dedicated service to his community and awarded the Tourism Nova Scotia Pineapple Award in 2011, which recognizes an industry person who gives exceptional service beyond tourism standards, they said.

In his honor, the SMRHF and Nova Scotia Health have renamed the palliative care unit at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, the John MacLellan Palliative Care Unit.

“We wanted to recognize the importance of this donation to St. Martha’s” said Kathy Chisholm, Site Lead for St. Martha’s Regional Hospital. “Mr. MacLellan’s generosity will have a lasting impact on St. Martha’s Regional Hospital and our community”.

The SMRHF said the $1.68-million gift brings them significantly closer to its capital campaign goal of $20-million by 2026. They said the funds from the capital campaign go towards equipment purchases for St. Martha’s Regional Hospital that provide enhanced care to patients from Antigonish, Guysborough, Inverness, and Richmond counties.

The foundation said funds are also used to support education and research for St. Martha’s staff. These investments in equipment and innovation have helped position St. Martha’s Regional Hospital as a teaching hospital and a community of choice for physicians, nurses and technicians looking to come to the area, they stated.

The foundation said a video has been created by the Foundation in honor of John’s legacy and legacy gift which can be viewed online at:

The SMRHF added that a legacy gift is a gift left in Wills can have a lasting impact on the charity of choice. They said their mission is to ensure that the highest standard of health care is available to the patients of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, by having the resources to support quality health and medical care.