Two hospitals say they will not remove Muzzo family name

Two hospitals that have received donations from the family of Marco Muzzo, the drunk driver who killed three children and their grandfather in a 2015 crash, say they will not remove his family’s name from their institutions.

This comes as calls mount for the Muzzo name to be erased from the region as the Neville-Lake family, who lost three children in a crash seven years ago, faces a new wave of tragedy. On Monday, the children’s father Edward Lake, died.

“Marco Muzzo is responsible for the deaths of five people including three children due to drunk driving. His family should not be honoured with buildings bearing their name,” said Barbara-Ann Smith, an Ontario woman who started a petition that has accumulated more than 3,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

Mackenzie Health and the SickKids Foundation, associated with the Hospital for Sick Children, both separately told CTV News Toronto they have no plans to strip the Muzzo family name from their hospitals.

A spokesperson for Mackenzie Health acknowledged the enormity of the family’s loss and the public response that has followed the tragedy in a statement on Tuesday.

“We understand the strong emotions people have expressed related to the recognition displayed on our hospital, and we accept and respect their concerns,” a Mackenzie Health spokesperson said.

However, they said the hospital has no plan to remove the family’s name from their institution. This follows a joint $15-million donation from the De Gasperis and Muzzo families in 2017 to help build the new Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital. Their donation came at the same time that Marco Muzzo was in jail following the 2015 crash.

“We do not have any plans to remove the signage on the building as it recognizes the family’s long history of philanthropy, including many generous donations to Mackenzie Health. Their contributions helped build an exceptional health care facility for the community and for that we are very grateful.”

In a parallel response, SickKids acknowledged the “unimaginable grief” the Neville-Lake family is going through.

“In 2006, the Muzzo family foundation made a gift to SickKids Foundation in support of our operating suites redevelopment project and a small plaque recognizing the gift was placed in a nearby hallway,” SickKids Foundation spokesperson Sandra Chiovittit said.

“There are no plans to change this donor recognition at this time.”

Meanwhile, Smith said she started a petition on Monday night after hearing of Edward’s death because she couldn’t imagine his wife walking through a hospital and seeing the Muzzo name on a wall.

“I can’t even imagine,” she said.

“If you’re really a philanthropist coming from the right place, you don’t need your name on a building to do it.” 

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