Our History


Made up of six formerly independent Parkinson charities, working as a federation, Parkinson Canada became one, pan-Canadian health charity on January 1, 2016. Below are some of the milestones of Parkinson Canada, and its forebears, as it  has evolved during 52 years of operation. We acknowledge the dedication of thousands of volunteers, staff and donors whose contributions and tireless efforts have paved the way for these achievements.

1965 - Canadian Parkinson’s Disease Association / Association Canadienne du Parkinson is incorporated with a mandate of research, education and services. Directors attending the first meeting include the mayor of Toronto, Charles Mortimer Q.C., Dr. Ronald Tasker and Dr. André Barbeau, the internationally recognized neurologist who initiated research, in 1960, that demonstrated Parkinson’s resulted from a dopamine deficit.

1966 - Grassroots groups form in Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.

1969 - B.C. Parkinson’s Disease Association is incorporated, sharing a board of directors with the Vancouver Neurological Centre until 1984. (It becomes the Parkinson Society British Columbia, September 14, 2002.)

1971 - The organization is renamed The Parkinson Foundation of Canada / La Fondation Parkinson du Canada.

1972 - The Saskatchewan Parkinson’s Disease Foundation registers as a charity.

1973 - The Parkinson’s Society of Alberta is incorporated.

1977 - The first chapter is organized in Manitoba.

1979 - The Parkinson’s Disease Society of Ottawa-Carleton (Ontario) is incorporated. (It becomes Parkinson Society Ottawa in 2002.)

1980 - Volunteers form and run the London, Ontario Parkinson’s Support group.

1981 - The National Research Program is launched with the creation of the organization’s first Scientific Advisory Board.
Parkinson Foundation of Canada awards its first research grant, $150,000, to Dr. Clement Young of Toronto Western Hospital/University of Toronto.

1983 - Parkinson’s Disease Society of Nova Scotia is established. (It becomes Parkinson Society Canada – Maritime Region in 1999.)

1984 -At the launch of the first Parkinson Awareness Week in Canada, Honorary Chairman Murray Koffler salutes the Foundation and urges people with Parkinson’s to “tell it like it is.”
Dr. James Parkinson tulip bulbs are available for the first time in Canada in the Ottawa area. 10,000 bulbs are sold.

1985 - Dr. André Barbeau merges the Quebec Parkinson Chapter with the Parkinson Foundation of Canada and pleads for volunteer solidarity.

1986 - Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Centre (British Columbia) incorporates.

1987 - A Newfoundland and Labrador support group is established.

1988 - The first annual sale of James Parkinson tulip bulbs across Canada results in the sale of close to 20,000 bulbs.

1989 - The Parkinson Society of Fredericton (New Brunswick) receives its charter.
The Saint John (New Brunswick) Chapter co-hosts Parkinson Foundation of Canada’s Annual General Meeting and Conference in Saint John, establishing a model for the Foundation’s travelling AGM and conference.

1990 - Seven members of the Toronto (Ontario) Chapter hold the first SuperWalk.
The first annual Blue Jays ‘Pitch In for Parkinson’s’ baseball game takes place. Pitcher John Cerutti tapes a 30-second public service announcement.

1993 - One of the first Parkinson Foundation of Canada fellowships is awarded to Dr. Pierre Blanchet.

1994 - Sales of James Parkinson tulip bulbs across Canada reach 100,000 (up from 20,000 in 1988).

1994 - Dr. A. Jon Stoessl receives a two-year operating grant to study “Mechanisms underlying complications of dopaminergic therapy in PD.”

1996 - Parkinson Foundation of Canada supports the development and validation of the first North American rating scale to measure quality of life in Parkinson’s.

2000 - SuperWalk for Parkinson’s celebrates its 10th Anniversary with 38 walks across Canada, raising $641,191.

2001 - The organization is renamed Parkinson Society Canada/Société Parkinson Canada. A new logo is introduced and the mission statement is revised.

2001 - A National Agreement among Canadian Parkinson’s organizations is signed by every Canadian organization representing Canadians living with Parkinson’s.

2001 - The National Information and Referral Centre opens.

2002 - The Donald Calne Lectureship is created to provide Canada’s Parkinson and medical communities with access to some of the world’s foremost experts on Parkinson’s.

2002 - In two years, SuperWalk doubles its revenue to $1,266,574.

2003 - Parkinson Society Canada works with Health Canada to produce a report, Parkinson’s Disease: Social and Economic Impact, which for the first time reveals economic statistics about Parkinson’s.

2004 - Parkinson Society Canada hosts the 8th International World Parkinson Day, bringing together all the stakeholder groups in the Parkinson’s community.

2004 - At the annual conference of the College of Family Physicians, Parkinson Society Canada provides family physicians with the newly-developed Family Physician Information and Resource Kit.

2004 - SuperWalk reaches new heights – 74 walks raising almost $1.7 million.

2005 - Parkinson Society Canada celebrates its 40th anniversary.

2006 - More than 70 Canadian delegates attend the first World Parkinson Congress in Washington, D.C.

2006 - Parkinson’s Report insert appears in the Globe and Mail to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease, research, education and community events.

2007 - Parkinson Society Canada’s National Research Program invests $1.1 million in Parkinson’s research.

2007 - Parkinson Society Canada helps launch the Parkinson’s Research Alliance, a group of 50 of Canada’s leading researchers and clinicians and Parkinson Society Canada, who share ways to collaborate, promote and advocate for excellence in clinical care and research in Parkinson’s disease.

2007 - Parkinson Society Canada launches the new website to coincide with Parkinson Awareness Month in April.

2007 - SuperWalk breaks the $2.1 million mark, with over 12,000 walkers participating in 80 walks across Canada.

2008
- Parkinson Society Canada is instrumental in getting the Neurological Health Charities Coalition off the ground.
Parkinson Society Canada launches its new National Ad campaign, “Nothing’s easy when your body turns against you.” The campaign was developed by the renowned creative agency, TAXI 2.

2009 - The federal government announces $15 million in research funding for the first-ever national study on the prevalence and impact of neurological diseases in Canada.
SuperWalk for Parkinson’s raises more than $2.3 million with over 13,000 walkers in 87 locations across Canada.

2010 - Parkinson Society Canada celebrates 45 years of service.

2010 - On its 20th anniversary, SuperWalk for Parkinson’s gets a new name, Parkinson SuperWalk.

2011 - Dr. Stanley Fahn delivers the 8th Donald Calne Lecture in June, titled Misperceptions (Myths) and Mistakes made by patients and doctors in treating PD

2012
- Parkinson Society Canada publishes the first ever Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease,
endorsed by the Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation.

2012 - Parkinson SuperWalk raises more than $3.24 million in 100 communities across the country. 

2013
- Parkinson Society Canada hosts the 3rd World Parkinson Congress in Montreal, Canada.

2013 - National Research Program funded researchers Drs. Edward A. Fon and Kalle Gehring discovered the three-dimensional structure of the protein Parkin.

2014
- The College of Family Physicians accredits an online learning module, delivered by Parkinson Society Canada.
The Public Health Agency of Canada and Neurological Health Charities Coalition release a report on the National Population Health Study of Neurological Conditions. The four-year, $15 million study investigated the scope of 14 neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, and how they affect Canadians, as well as related risk factors, economic costs and the use of health services.

2014 - NRP funded researcher Dr. Jacques Drouin uncovers. a mechanism regulating dopamine levels in the brain

2015
- Parkinson Society Canada celebrates 50 years of service.

2015 - Parkinson SuperWalk marks its 25th anniversary.

2016
- On January 1, 2016, six formerly independent Parkinson Societies joined forces and became Parkinson Canada with a pan-Canadian mandate to serve the Parkinson’s community from coast to coast to coast.