Inspirational Stories QCH Foundation ottawa

Take a seat at a table in support of the Queensway Carleton Hospital

Take a seat at a table in support of the Queensway Carleton Hospital
By Joel Haslam, CTV News Ottawa Multi-Skilled Journalist

October 21, 2022

A storm.

A fallen tree.

A newborn baby.

In combination, they have inspired a creative idea; urging you to take a seat at a table in support of local healthcare.

When a 150-year-old Burr Oak at the Queensway Carleton Hospital was blown over during a devastating storm last May, doctors, nurses and staff were heartbroken.

“The mighty oak stood tall and proud and came down right on the awning of our hospital’s west entrance,” said QCH Foundation President and CEO Shannon Gorman.

“The storm took down an incredible piece of hospital history.”

“It was a massive tree,” said Katie Barrett, a Digital Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Associate at the QCH.

“The tree itself wasn’t just split in two; it was uprooted right out of the ground.”

A short time after, Tim Holland and his wife Rachel were at the hospital preparing to give birth to their second child.

While walking the grounds to accelerate Rachel’s labour, Tim, a talented woodworker, saw the fallen oak, and boldly asked his wife, Rachel, to take his photo in front of it.

“I said, ‘Look how big this is’, and I got her to take a couple of pictures of me,” he said chuckling.

“She wasn’t thrilled. But it all worked out in the end.”

Hours later, Tim and Rachel welcomed a daughter, their second child to be born at the QCH.

Their time at the hospital also gave birth to a creative idea. Tim couldn’t stop thinking about that beautiful old tree.

There aren’t too many big, beautiful trees left in the city. When one comes down, you have to do as much as you can to save the wood,” said Holland.

“I was thinking it would be awesome to get it to my shop, or at least salvage as much of it as I could.”

Holland wanted to do something to say thank you to healthcare workers for their tireless work in the face of so much adversity. And he wanted to show his gratitude to the QCH for helping to bring his two daughters into the world.

On Instagram, he posted the photo Rachel had taken of him with the tree and tagged the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation.

“And within an hour, they were calling me.”

Tim and QCH team members came up with a plan for Tim to creatively use the wood, while supporting care at the QCH.

After sawing and milling the wood on the property, one of the giant slabs from the Burr Oak will be used by Holland to craft a stunning live-edge dining room table.

He would also fashion several charcuterie boards from smaller pieces of the tree.

The table, the boards, and several other items—from trips to sports packages—are being sold in the Queensway Carleton Hospital’s “Hope Returns Online Auction”. Bidding is open until Oct. 26 at 9 p.m.

“That tree, but not for Tim, would have ended up in the wood chipper. It’s such a crucial piece of history for the hospital, and it’s so meaningful the way he’s turning it into something great for us,” said Gorman.

“Tim is an incredibly skilled woodworker and this table will be a feature, a centrepiece, in someone’s home. It’s a one-of-a-kind piece with lots of history behind it,” she said.

“And 100 per cent of the proceeds will be going in support of equipment, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.”

“We’re a community hospital and when people come here they feel that true sense of community, and they really want to do what they can to give back. And we’re so grateful,” said Gorman.

And Tim Holland is grateful for the chance to use his gifts to say thanks for everything the QCH has done for his family.

“It was an important tree for the hospital. Every nurse or doctor seems to have a story about sitting under that tree, or walking by it every day. It was there before the hospital was even built,” said Holland.

“It would have been very disheartening to see that tree go into a chipper. Both my daughters were born at the QCH, I have been there many times, so has my family. It’s great to be able to help out when we can.”

To view the CTV News story, please click here.