With his impending retirement on Thursday, October 12 local philanthropist and Canadian Tire owner Malcolm Jenkins has found a new way to stay busy.
Jenkins is on the board of directors for the soon to be renamed Victoria Hospital Foundation, which is the first thing he has been able to do because he will no longer have running the store as an excuse.
“For years it’s been ‘we do stuff and donate and whatnot,’” he explained. “(Then) it was, ‘oh, can you go on this committee or can you go on this board or what have you.’
“I’ve always said, ‘no, I’d love to, but I don’t have time because I have the store right now.’ The people said, ‘we know you’ll have time now. Can you do it?’ They took my excuse away, so now, for the next people to come along, I’ve got to say, ‘I’m too busy with the hospital. It chews up my entire day.’”
The board is currently looking to raise $30 million for its next project. Jenkins has raised funds for countless projects in Prince Albert, and he said it’s going to be a challenge.
“That’s not going to be a walk in the park,” he said. “It took us 14 years to raise $5 million for the Rose Garden Hospice. Fourteen years that took. (It’s) amazing. We did the (Alfred Jenkins) Field House in two years and we did the Rawlinson Centre in two years and they’re big projects.”
He said that fundraising for the Hospice was a challenge, as opposed to fundraising for something that benefits children, for example.
“If you say, ‘let’s build a hospice for people who are coming to the end of their life and they’ll be short numbers of them and they’ll be in there for a few weeks,’ well, that’s not very exciting,” Jenkins said. “They don’t want to think about that. That’s like death. We don’t want to think about death.”
Along with fundraisers for the Hospice in Canadian Tire, Jenkins became a regular on stage at the EA Rawlinson Centre, which hosted a number of fundraising concerts for the Rose Garden Hospice.
“I’d introduce the show, and say, ‘before we do anything, tonight’s fundraiser is for the hospice and $5 from every ticket it’s going to the hospice now. Anybody know?’ It took me a while before I realized maybe I should ask them if they know what a hospice is,” Jenkins said.
For a while he would get 80 people from a crowd of 500 who knew what a hospice was.
“We’ve been pounding hospice. I explained it is spelled like hospital, but different at the end. We had put up signs and we realized that we were flogging a dead horse, you know, that we had to explain better,” Jenkins said,
He said that something like the Rose Garden Hospice will encourage other places to build similar projects. He said it’s also something Prince Albert can be proud of building.
“We did it and we got it. It’s beautiful,” Jenkins said.
For several years, the Canadian Tire in Prince Albert raised funds through Toffifee Canada, the company that produces Werther’s Original candy. Toffifee donated $30,000 worth of product in 2021, with the proceeds going towards the hospice.
In 2020, for the second year in a row, the Rose Garden Hospice was chosen as the recipient of the Toffifee fundraiser. From November through January, the store sold almost 30,000 boxes of candy.
At his retirement party on Oct. 1 at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation, Jenkins folded a Tofifee box and used it to hold his speech and encourages others to use it in a similar fashion.
“There’s 28,000 of these going to the dump in Prince Albert Saskatchewan every year. We can do something about them, I said, because they’re handy pocket folders for holding notes in. You can put dollar bills for Christmas if you are giving money to your kids (and) it makes a lovely gift box,” Jenkins said.
“I was kidding around with that. It was fun but that’s been part that was just part of the equation,” Jenkins added.
“I get up in the morning and say, ‘hey, I’m above ground. I’m vertical. This is cool, let’s do something,’” he said.