Homebuilder Peter Gilgan’s donation of $100 million to the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto makes him the largest benefactor to health care in Canada.

It’s the largest single gift ever to SickKids, which is in the midst of a $1.3-billion fundraising campaign – the largest in Canadian history – to redevelop its aging facilities.

With Gilgan’s donation, the SickKids VS Limits campaign has reached $914 million, or about 70 per cent of its goal, with three years left in a five-year campaign.

A new patient care tower will be named the Peter Gilgan Family Patient Care Tower. It will house critical care and inpatient units, including private one-family rooms, dedicated mental-health beds, a state-of-the-art blood and marrow/cellular transplant therapy unit, specialty operating theatres, advanced diagnostic imaging facilities, and a vastly expanded emergency department.

“With this gift, we are more sure than ever that a new SickKids will rise,” said Ted Garrard, CEO of the SickKids Foundation at Monday's announcement.

Gilgan, who founded Mattamy Homes, also donated $40 million to SickKids in 2012, which helped to build a new research centre. Those two gifts, along with those to other hospitals, make Gilgan Canada’s leading health-care benefactor.

The news comes less than a week after Charles and Margaret Juravinski announced they have created a $100-million endowment to support health-care research in their home of Hamilton. The couple made its fortune in horse racing and has already donated millions to local hospitals.

SickKids was the largest children’s hospital in the world when it was built in 1949. It had one significant expansion 25 years ago.

Gilgan says new facilities are critical to control hospital-borne illnesses and to harness the power of technology and medical research, which he believes will result in a Nobel Prize one day for SickKids research.

“And to have what I’ll call a race-car engine available to you in the form of modern science and then say let’s try to run that engine on a car with flat tires. And that’s what you’re doing with an old facility, in my view,” he said at an announcement in a jam-packed SickKids atrium Monday.

“We’re are hoping to do our part to give the hospital that new set of tires, so to speak, to really make as much of a difference as they can now and in the future.”

SickKids sees more than 150,000 patients a year. Among them was Marlow Ploughman, whose image adorned a huge banner announcing the name of the new tower. Marlow died last year at nine years old after a six-year battle with cancer but her mother Tanya was on hand to present Gilgan with a ceremonial first brick for the tower.

“Marlow loved her work with the SickKids Vs campaign and, without fail, stepped up with her friends each time despite all of their challenges and their battles,” said Ploughman, wearing a SickKids VS The Odds T-shirt.

“SickKids is undergoing a paradigm shift from a one-size-fits-all approach to a truly individualized care approach for patients,” said president and CEO Dr. Ronald Cohn. The hospital will use artificial intelligence and big data to create a more predictive and preventative healthcare model.

But for many years, the hospital’s skills in delivering precision health care have not been matched by its facilities.

“And that is just about to change now. A new SickKids will rise, which will allow us to provide precision child health not to only more children, but to every single child that will enter our door.”

Cohn said SickKids cares for some of the most complex pediatric cases in Canada and must be ready for a rapidly growing population in the GTA.

“It’s SickKids versus the greatest challenges in child health. And guess what? We are about to win this fight. And today’s announcement is going to bring us that much closer.”

Mattamy says it has built about 90,000 homes in hundreds of communities and claims to be North America’s largest privately held homebuilder.

“I’m in a privileged position to be able to make this gift, and I know it’s going to be used to help children today and in the future live longer and healthier lives,” Gilgan said in press release. “I want to thank my family, both the Gilgans and my Mattamy family, whose unwavering support over many years has made this commitment possible.”