Mercy Ships Canada legally incorporated as a society under the Societies Act of British Columbia in Victoria in 1989, but didn’t open a physical office until nine years later when Suzanne Sellers relocated from the International Operations Center in Texas to establish a Mercy Ships presence in Calgary, Alberta.
After a challenging start the Board elected to move the office to Victoria, BC, where a solid base of support already existed due to previous extended shipyard and dry dock work on the Anastasis in 1985 and 1986.
Two visits of the Caribbean Mercy to Victoria in 1999 and 2000 helped put Mercy Ships on the map locally and nationally, allowing for increased staff and attracting more volunteers, board members, donors, active recruits, alumni, and media attention. The ship’s visit in 2003 to the east coast of Canada continued to solidify the national scope of Mercy Ships.
In 2003, Lorraine and Richard McDonald left their Anastasis home of 15 years to take on leadership of the Canadian office in Victoria. Since then Mercy Ships Canada has hosted many events, including black-tie galas, medical evenings with Mercy Ships doctors, executive luncheons, alumni reunions and golf tournaments. Staff members and volunteers have also worked to spread awareness of Mercy Ships across the country by presenting at service clubs, churches, schools and universities, missions and medical events, women’s groups, etc.
In 2009, the Board appointed Tim Maloney as the new National Director and relocated the office to its current home at #5 – 3315 Oak St., Victoria.
“I see our work as threefold at present,” says Maloney. “We need to raise awareness, recruit even more Canadian volunteers, and fundraise on behalf of the organization. All of these elements are part of that sense of delivering hope and healing through the activities, programs and people of Mercy Ships. Our desire is to see our Canadian office become a nationally recognized charity that fulfils its mandate of serving the world’s forgotten poor by supporting Mercy Ships International’s work.”
The Canadian office is part of a global network of 16 land-based national offices that support the work of Mercy Ships International.
Mercy Ships Canada’s charitable number is 89064-8249-RR0001