The Best Memories Are Never Forgotten

After all these years, Dr. Ivan Elkan still looks back on his time at St. Michael’s Hospital with fondness. A retired physician, he is eager to give back a portion of his fortune to the hospital to help bridge the gap between research and care, ensuring St. Michael’s continues to change lives by bringing breakthroughs to the bedside.

Sitting in Dr. Elkan’s living room is like taking a trip to central Europe. The paintings, sculptures and Persian rugs tell the story of a wise and worldly man who is making the most of his retirement. To boot, the fit 82-year-old doesn’t look a second over 70.

A lover of music, literature, photography and wine, Dr. Elkan’s cultural enthusiasm shines bright. “Since my retirement from medicine, I started living again!” he says. “The only thing I don’t really do anymore is travel. But I’ve found a way to bring the world into my home.”

I’m very interested in the work that’s happening at St. Michael’s – I’m interested in research that can be quickly applied to real life and impact real people. — Dr. Ivan Elkan

For Dr. Elkan, St. Michael’s is where it all began. An internship in 1961 exposed him to a range of medical disciplines and departments. “Things were very different back then,” he recalls. “I remember this one time when I had a kidney stone but couldn’t find anyone else to cover me while I was on call. I was in terrible pain but I continued to go onto the wards and complete my rounds. That doesn’t happen anymore.”

Following his internship, Dr. Elkan stayed at St. Michael’s for two more years as a fellow before leaving to specialize in nephrology at Washington University. “During this time, I never forgot St. Mike’s. Those first three years of my career are memorable ones.”

But his St. Michael’s story didn’t end there. When an ongoing issue with his kidney resurfaced, he ended up in the office of St. Michael’s Chief of Urology, Dr. Kenneth Pace. His experience was short and sweet. “Thankfully I didn’t have to see him too much!” Dr. Elkan jokes.

Although he doesn’t practice medicine anymore, Dr. Elkan plays a critical role in advancing the health of his community by funding vital research. His recent gift in his will to St. Michael’s Foundation reinforces his life-long legacy of caring for others. “I’m very interested in the work that’s happening at St. Michael’s – I’m interested in research that can be quickly applied to real life and impact real people.”

To learn more about how to leave a bequest to St. Michael’s Foundation in your will, contact Sandra Smith, Philanthropy Officer, Gift Planning, 416-864-6060 ext. 2044 or